Family Travel Ideas in France

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Accommodation

Renting an apartment in Paris or a house in the countryside is less expensive overall and more family-friendly than two or three hotel rooms. There is more space; sleeping quarters are separate from living quarters and a kitchen is available to prepare, at the very least, breakfasts and dinners for children accustomed to cereal and macaroni and cheese.  To save even further, look into an exchange organization which will post your house or apartment description and your requirements for space in the location you will be visiting. You communicate directly with the other family and set up the exchange.

Kid-Friendly Activities

Alternate museum visits with more kid-friendly activities such as zoos, playgrounds, or beaches. Keep an eye out for museums that cater to children like the Cité des Sciences/Enfants or the Natural History Museum in Paris or that have activities that children will enjoy watching and possibly participating in such as those at the living history museum, the Ecomusée d'Alsace , in eastern France. At the very least, if the kids clamor for an amusement park, opt for Parc Astérix , a Disneyland-like venue outside of Paris that has costumed figures from the popular books and more than enough rides to satisfy all tastes.

Eating

As mentioned earlier under accommodation, a rental apartment or house makes it easier to feed young ones for much less cost than a restaurant. Moreover, some of the fun of being in France can be shopping at farmers' markets or perusing grocery stores for items that may be similar to but not identical to what kids get at home. Self-service restaurants usually have children's options and allow everyone to see what they are getting ahead of time. And, of course, when the weather is fine, picnicking is inexpensive and allows families to eat at their own pace. When you must eat at a restaurant, choose a large café where light meals are available at all times of the day.

Transportation

Car rental is expensive (as is gas) but less so if you can drive a stick shift. For trips of more than three weeks, it is possible to purchase and sell a car back to the original owner (companies are set up for this kind of transaction). Train travel is less attractive these days for families traveling long distances though the French railway system is efficient, fast and offers discounts for groups traveling together. A number of cut-rate airlines offer inexpensive internal flights; however, the closer you get to departure day, the more expensive the tickets usually are, so book well in advance.

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November 18, 2009 new by kimerly

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