Where we stayed:
We knew we wanted to stay in a family-friendly apartment in Paris. Hotels are expensive and we wanted to be in a neighborhood that would let us get a sense of what it is like to really live in Paris. We found a family on Homeaway.com who had several children and lived in a two-story 3 bedroom apartment in the Place Monge neighborhood in the 5th Arrondissement. The rental rate was around $190 per night, which seemed really reasonable during the summer season especially considering how much it would cost to get a hotel room with as much space. The apartment was within walking distance of several grocery stores, bakeries, restaurants, the Place Monge metro line, and playgrounds. The link to the apartment isn't live on Homeaway anymore, but if you are interested in more information feel free to contact me.
We loved our French apartment because it was very family-friendly. It had a large kitchen and family room on one floor (with a washer/dryer) and then on the next floor there were three small bedrooms and a large bathroom with a bathtub. The apartment had a lot of toys for our kids to play with, which was a blessing and a curse. The apartment was on the fourth floor, so we had to climb a few flights of stairs daily, but we enjoyed the exercise and it gave us an excuse to eat more French pastries.
What we did:
We mostly explored Paris on foot. We wandered the Seine and stopped at every playground we found. However, we didn't visit very many museums on our trip, aside from the Musee de l'Orangerie. We were almost thrown out of the museum by security guards when our kids started running around instead of looking at Monet's paintings. We ducked into chocolate shops and grabbed ice cream almost every time we saw it. There was a heat wave when were were in Paris, so we spent a lot of time looking for shade. Our all time favorite spot in Paris with kids was the Jardin du Luxembourg. We could've gone there every day. The playground was a good fit for all three of our girls' ages and we also enjoyed sailing vintage toy boats in the fountains.
The Paris-Plages were happening while we were in Paris (basically, areas along the Seine are turned into an artificial beach) and we stopped by to check out the various activities throughout our trip. We played in the sand, enjoyed various exhibitions, and hung out in the kid zones.
The best part about being in Paris though was just living like a local. We visited our neighborhood boulangerie daily, went grocery shopping, rode the metro, and sometimes just sat in cafes and people watched. We loved pretending like we were Parisians for a week and we can't wait to go back again for a longer visit.
Travel with kids:
Paris is a pretty easy place to travel with kids. The French people were very kind and loving to our girls. We primarily traveled throughout the city on the metro or in Uber taxis. Most of the time the metro was the easiest, but occasionally we got a taxi when our girls were completely exhausted. We traveled to Paris via train from London and then took an Uber to our apartment.
We didn't eat out much in Paris, we mostly ate in our apartment. When we did eat in restaurants our children seemed a bit wilder than their French counterparts, so maybe we could learn a few things from them. Paris is probably one of the easiest places to find food that all children would like -- we had a lot of bread and cheese and crepes.
I would travel to Paris again in a heartbeat. We just had our stroller and our Ergo carrier with us most days and just explored.