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Making merry in Paris Vacationing with kids easy with planned yet open trip

New York Habitat featured in Richmond Times
June 19, 2005
Section: Making merry in Paris
Page 01-02

Where to stay: Since hotel rooms in Paris tend to be small and expensive, a short-term apartment rental may be better. We used New York Habitat (, 307 Seventh Ave., Suite 306, New York, NY 10001, telephone (212) 255-8018). For a nice two-bedroom apartment near the Eiffel Tower in summer, expect to pay from $240 to $400 per night, which covers everything except long distance.

When I think of Paris, I don't think of museums, romance, food and fashion. To me, Paris means merry-go-rounds.

I wanted to give my children a taste of what traveling has meant to me. So, factoring is everyone's wishes and my sense that not moving from place to place would be less stressful, we settled on Paris.

The standard guidebooks had a great deal to say about how to spend a day at the Louvre and which three-star restaurant was hot, but devoted no more than a few paragraphs to visiting Paris with children. Figuring out what to do with an 18-year-old son (Mike), a 15-year-old daughter (Grace Flatin), and, especially, my 6-year-old daughter (Johanna) was challenging.

With some forethought and luck, and several accommodations, it became the most enjoyable of the half dozen visits I have made to Paris.

The first accommodation was upon arrival after an overnight transatlantic flight. Rather than deal with public transportation, I arranged for a car service to meet us at Charles de Gaulle airport. In short order, we were catching brief glimpses of famous landmarks as we headed toward our short-term rental apartment.

Choosing a short-term rental apartment rather than a hotel turned out to be an inspired decision. Not only was it less costly than the hotel rooms we would have needed for our nine days, it also provided welcome space compared to the usually cramped Paris hotel room. It gave us a refrigerator that we stocked with snacks and bottles of water, juice and milk. There was a washer and dryer, so we packed light enough that the kids could carry their own stuff. Perhaps the best part was it gave us entrée to a real neighborhood away from the tourist areas. ...