France is a wonderful country and it’s an especially good country to travel to with children. France remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world (Paris is actually the most popular) but as with any country, when you travel there you need to prepare, especially when you have a toddler or baby in tow. I have had many family holidays France, and for a few years, always had small children with me, so let me pass on some knowledge I gained from my travels.
Firstly, you have to decide where in France to travel to, seeing as France is such a huge country, there is a lot of choice. When deciding on where to go, you have to consider how your child will react to the journey. Even the best behaved child in the world can become bored on long journeys and so it makes more sense to stay as close to Britain as possible to minimise the travelling. Luckily Paris is not far from Britain and can be reached easily by train.
Not all hotels are suited for small children in France, so make sure you do some research on hotels that have the necessary amenities for you. Make sure you don’t skimp on price, because children take lots of naps so you need to find a place that’s comfortable for them. Another important point is to make sure your hotel is as close to the action as possible. As an adult it can be nice to stay in a hotel that’s in a quieter location away from the main town; however, you don’t want to make your toddler travel miles just to get back to your hotel for a power nap before dinner.
Don’t worry about bringing baby food over from the UK with you, I found my kids much preferred the French versions better. You can pick up cheap but high quality baby food from any of the local supermarkets. The French baby food is much better seasoned, plus it has a much bigger variety of flavours as the French like to make sure children’s palates are used to having a wide range of food tastes.
You always hear of horror stories about drinking the water abroad, however in France you can drink the majority of the tap water (unless it specifically states that you can’t in your accommodation). If you’re in the countryside, the water can have quite a high nitrate concentration, so it might be better to buy bottled instead. The bottled water is safe to use with powdered baby milk, in case you have a baby with you.
The French are very particular about hygiene, especially when it comes to the pool. Make sure your toddler is aware of the pool hygiene rules (number one: don’t pee!) and that they must shower off before entering the pool as the French hate sweat mixing with their pool water.
Well those are the tips I’ve picked up on from my travels over the channel. The French are an extremely welcoming nation, especially for children, and they pride themselves on an excellent level of service so you should have a wonderful family holiday.
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