It was a fantastic trip, the "best week of my life," according to my seven year old son. He is the one sporting a beret in the picture above. At seven, ten, and eleven, my children are the perfect ages for a trip like this one, which is a good thing too as it was probably a once in a lifetime event for us. It was magic, and fun, and immensely educational. The London highlights include Westminster Abbey, riding the London Eye, and Stonehenge. As an English teacher, I have to include Shakespeare's Globe Theater on this list as well. Having my family sing "Happy Birthday" to me on top of the Eiffel Tower was of course a highlight, but all three kids cite Notre Dame as one of their favorite things we toured in Paris. I am so glad we read The Hunchback of Notre Dame as preparation. Three hours in the Louvre was just about right for all of us. From the photo above, you can tell that we enjoyed biking around Paris. If you are ever there, I cannot sing the praises of Fat Tire Bike Tours loudly enough.
We brought some great guidebooks with us. Here is my shout out to Fodor's. If you are planning a similar trip with kids, Fodor's has Around London with Kids and Around Paris with Kids which were invaluable when planning ahead. While on the trip, Fodor's London's 25 Best and Paris' 25 Best which come with pull out maps were very helpful.
For the plane ride and downtime (there was none, by the way), my ten year old daughter packed only books set in Europe. I was inspired by that and brought Chris Cleave's Little Bee which is largely set in contemporary London. It was a real page turner. More on it soon.