2 Weeks in France for Families
You might think that France is all about lengthy museum visits, classic architecture, quaffing fine wines, and splashing out on exquisite dining experiences. And you’re probably right. But what you might not know is that it’s also the perfect country to explore by rail with the whole family. There’s a beauty, a sense of history, and an endless array of things to see and do that’ll keep all members of the family entertained – no matter the age. Here’s how to make the most two weeks in France with the family.
France for families
- Days 1 – 5: Paris
- Days 5 – 8: French Alps (Les Karellis)
- Days 8 – 9: Marseille
- Days 9 – 13: Nice
- Days 13 – 14: Return to Paris
Days 1 – 5: Paris
Paris will delight the young and old and is therefore an ideal destination for families. Children will revel in the magic of the Eiffel Tower, particularly at night. Older family members can scale the structure, while others can hop into the elevator for unbeatable views. Don’t underestimate the power of the other famous attractions. The Notre-Dame, with its ties to the Hunchback of Notre Dame, is always a popular place to visit. The views from Sacré-Coeur are also impressive and will put the city into perspective.
Many of France’s museums are also geared towards younger members of the family. The Musée du Louvre has many of the displays that are intriguing to children and can ignite a passion in art for years to come.
When your legs tire, you can hop aboard a sightseeing boat and cruise the Seine for safe and comfortable sightseeing.
Day trips from the capital are also captivating. Your kids will no doubt nag you to visit Disneyland, which can occupy the better part of your day. You can also overnight there. Don’t forget to include a day trip to Versailles. The palace with its Hall of Mirrors is enthralling for young and old, and also a picnic in the gardens is an ideal way to spend a day with the family.
Don’t miss: Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie is a great museum for children – there are interactive exhibits, a cinema, and engaging displays.
Days 5 – 8: French Alps (Les Karellis)
Depending on the time of year, a trip to the Alps with the whole family is a memorable way to spend a holiday. There are several resorts that are perfect for families. Some, such as Les Karellis, are easy to reach by train and require a short connection from the nearby station.
Ski resorts are a safe, comfortable and generally healthy holiday destination. Many resorts offer free or discounted equipment and passes for younger members of the family. Some also provide daycare facilities so that you can spend a few hours tearing it up on the slopes.
Les Karellis is particularly convenient if you have young children. It’s car-free, close to the ski lifts, there are dozens of freebies and perks for younger members of the family, and special attractions and events for all ages.
Don’t miss: Visit the snow play area in the resort center – it’s a great place for the whole family, and there are regular activities and events during school holidays.
How to get there by train: There is a daily TGV train from Paris Gare de Lyon to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne that takes 3 hours and 41 minutes. From there, the resort is just a 30-minute bus transfer away. There are three daily bus transfers from the station to the resort.
Days 8 – 9: Marseille
The South of France is a fantastic place to spend a few days with the family. Marseille has attractions that will suit young children and older teenagers, and all members of the family will enjoy the laid-back coastal atmosphere and sense of history. In addition, there are gardens, theaters, museums, and beaches that will appeal to all ages.
Don’t miss: A walk through the old port, or a boat ride out to the famous Calanques, is a great way to spend the day as a family.
How to get there by train: Make your way to St-Jean-de-Maurienne Arvan or Chambery by bus or taxi. From there, trains will connect you with Marseille in approximately 3 hours. Check schedules according to the season, as trains do not always run daily.
Days 9 – 13: Nice
Nice, the capital of the French Riviera, is a great city in which to end your stay in the south. The old town’s bustling streets are sure to fascinate your children, as will the topless bathing on the nearby beach. The Nice boardwalk is a particularly vibrant place ideal for the whole family.
The nearby hills offer a great opportunity to get out of town and take in some stunning views of the surrounds. Exploring St-Paul-de-Vence, with its ramparts and pedestrianized streets, is a perfect way to spend an afternoon.
Another French city that is family friendly is the principality of Monaco. It is just 11 miles away from Nice and is therefore perfect for a quick day trip or stay overnight. Time your visit with the changing of the guard ceremony outside Les Grands Appartements du Palais. There’s also a massive doll collection in the Musée National de Monaco.
Don’t miss: The Musée Océanographique de Monaco is one of Europe’s biggest aquariums.
How to get there by train: There are direct, regular TGV, EC and also IC trains between Marseille and Nice that take approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Day 13 – 14: Return to Paris
If you’re following a circular route back to Paris, allow yourself one day of travel on the trains, and a final morning in the capital before departing. There are regular and direct TGV trains between Nice and Paris that take approximately 6 hours.
France is a fascinating country to explore by train with the whole family. The history, beauty, and culture are sure to create lasting memories for everyone. The trains are also an ideal way to get around. With a Eurail France Pass, you can travel freely on most rail networks, including the TGV lines with just a small reservation fee. Children under the age of eleven also travel free – visit the Eurail website for more information.
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