Tag Archives: paris

Paris November 2023 Trip Report

During Thanksgiving week, we went to Paris. This is a review of how things went traveling as a family with young kids in a city without strollers.

Flight: French Bee

I wasn’t sure what to expect flying this budget airline. They changed our flight months before from [Saturday to Saturday] to [Sunday to Sunday]. This was annoying but we dealt with it by updating hotel plans. The outbound flight was good. The airplane was a modern Airbus plane and we could watch movies from a limited selection. While we had meal service pre-purchased, they only offered water with our meal. Anything besides water cost extra. Not a deal breaker but kind of odd? The prepaid pasta entree was not good.

On the inbound flight, our plane had an issue. This was very concerning as it wasn’t clear if we were going to be able to fly home on Sunday. After a few hours delay, they switched us to another plane (from partner Air Caraïbes) and we were flying home. Despite this significant delay on the return flight, I would be open to flying French Bee again as long as the price is low enough.

Hotel: Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile

We stayed a week in the 17th arrondissement on points. No cash cost for a suite (actually a family room: 2 connected rooms) with a great view of the Eiffel Tower and lounge access. Our kids enjoyed the lounge and we took advantage of the lounge to eat breakfast. The location is not central, so doing stuff “in Paris” meant taking the subway for 20 minutes one way, doing stuff, and then coming back another 25 minutes.

I enjoyed our stay here. There are plenty of other hotels in more central or vibrant locations which would have been more conducive to a mid day rest. This Hyatt had convenient subway access and a great view of the city.


We flew into Orly airport and were lucky that our trip lined up with the Navigo weekly pass. It was hard to purchase the weekly pass since we had to find a manned booth at the “5th” bus stop area outside Terminal 4. Regular public transit machines did not sell the weekly pass. For 30 euros, you get a pass that works exactly from Monday to Sunday for metro, train, RER, express tram, tram and bus. This means you can take unlimited Paris subway, train to Versaille, city buses, etc. rides all for 1 low price.

When it made sense to, I did supplement with Taxi rides via the G7 Paris Taxi app. Not all taxis can hold 4 passengers so hailing a taxi is hit or miss. Also when taking a large passenger van official taxi (with the taxi light on top), I ran into upcharges for luggage and stuff even though the fare from the airport to Paris was supposed to be a lower flat fee. It’s unclear how much of these fees are valid or the taxi driver tacking on extra charges.

Weather: cold & challenging

So this isn’t unexpected, but it’s worth mentioning. The weather during Thanksgiving week is very cold. Even when my iPhone Weather app says today is “cloudy and not raining”, some days would still have drizzle or rain. This made sightseeing or walking around VERY difficult with young kids.


We had 5 full days to sight see. Jetlag was a real challenge during the trip and even after the trip.

  1. Tues – Eiffel Tower summit, Le Bon Marché department store, Tuileries Garden Christmas market. The Eiffel Tower was pretty awful with cloudy & rainy weather, but we had pre-purchased tickets. The Tuileries Christmas market was fun with lots of carnival games.
  2. Weds – Louvre, Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre. The Louvre was good as we saw the famous art and ate at Cafe Angelina inside. There was also a kids studio in the basement of the Louvre with crafts. For dinner, we ate at Bouillon Pigalle which was pretty awful, my fault for picking a lower end place.
  3. Thur – Versailles palace, Bateaux-Mouches Seine river boat cruise. In Versailles, the weather was pretty bad with drizzle. Since we have young kids, there was no way to walk around the whole estate, so we rented a golf cart which was fun. The boat cruise was definitely worth it to see the city of lights at night.
  4. Fri – Shopping (La Samaritaine, BHV Marais), walking around (Île de la Cité). We made a pit stop at Boulangerie BO&MIE which had excellent pastries. For dinner, we ate at Grand Brasserie. Our kids were really tired. The beef quality in France seems worse than the US. Obviously the wine, cheese, bread, etc. are all top notch in Paris.
  5. Sat – More shopping (Printemps Haussmann, Galeries Lafayette Haussmann), Saint Germain Christmas Market. The rooftop of the Printemps was not anywhere as amazing as the Galeries Lafayette. Since this was a Saturday and “Black Friday” shopping, the crowds at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann was just too crowded. I wanted to look around more for kids stuff, but there were way too many people. Also the Saint Germain Christmas Market was a few stalls alongside the road – not worth checking out.


Despite the weather and time difference, we enjoyed the trip. The kids already want to go back to Paris. While we can’t go back right away (the trip just happened), it will be fun to come back eventually and spend time doing other things (walking around, eating, shopping, and not visiting the Louvre or Eiffel tower). It was good to take an international trip, expose our kids to a different culture/language, and challenge ourselves visiting a major European city (instead of a more typical Hawaii vacation at the beach/resort).