our 6th day with 3 children in Paris: Catacombs and Luxembourg Garden

On Sunday, June 11, we arrived 45 minutes early for our 10am time slot to visit 6 million dead people in the Parisian catacombs.  We descended a spiral staircase into the underground–130 steps–leading to the darkness below.  We walked 1.5km, stopping at visual markers that synced with our audio tours explaining the reasons behind the rows and rows of femurs and skulls that surrounded us.

After we surfaced, we stopped by a patisserie, grabbed some croissants and quiche, and then picnicked at Luxembourg Garden to eat before the children enjoyed a paid (nominal fee) playground whilst the adults sat on benches surrounding it.

Then, we explored the gardens, including one of Paris’ several statutes of liberty, before stopping at the large pond where children can rent sailboats (just 4 Euro per 1/2 hr) with different countries featured on each one’s flag (to tell them apart) that could be shoved across the pond and propelled by the wind.  My children loved this.  They raced their boats against each other or toward one another, talking and laughing with Parisian children who were spending their Sunday afternoon in the same fashion.  It was good, clean, analog fun.

After about 3 hours at the garden, we visited the Pantheon, touring the inside, and then walked into the Latin Quarter, where we stopped for ice cream, and hit the Cluny museum.

The Cluny had several interesting medieval artifacts and art to check out, but its most famous is the “lady and the unicorn” tapestries.

Then we explored the Saint‑Germain‑des‑Prés area, where some of our favorite writers used to hang out, before returning to our apartment for a quick change of clothes before doing something I’ve wanted to do my entire adult life but have never done–have a dinner at a Michelin-Star restaurant.  Atlanta has none; most of the U.S. has none; Paris has over 70 (in fairness, the rating system originated there).

Using my Amex card’s concierge service, I had a list of a few restaurants with a star that were open on Sunday and could be kid-friendly.  I struck out on the first couple, but when I called Epicure (which has 3 Stars) and learned it was booked, the person I spoke to asked if we’d like to go to the same chef’s (Eric Frechon) brasserie, which earned its Star in 2013 and is located at the same hotel. Of course, I said “yes.”  So, a few hours later, we sat down at Le 114 Faubourg in the Bristol Hotel for what was likely the best meal I’ve ever had (and is certainly the best meal my 3 children have ever had).

Even the kids’ coloring books were amazing!

After dessert, we had a drink in the hotel bar (including mocktails for the children), toured the lobby, and met the hotel cat (and mascot).  It was probably the most “grown up” they’ve ever been treated, and it perfectly punctuated a wonderful day–my favorite day so far of our trip.

Leave a Reply