Paris Travel Tips: Let’s Plan a Trip to Paris

Paris Travel Tips: Let’s Plan a Trip to Paris

Ah-ah-ah-AH-achoo! It’s flu season, and it seems like half of my daughter’s school is sick. Literally. We haven’t had the flu but our own personal set of viruses that keep the child out of school and in bed or on the couch. Unfortunately, most of these will keep a kid out of action for at least a week, and believe me they go crazy with boredom. Oh, yes. There’s only so much crafting, TV watching, reading, and homework ignoring one can do! Of course, there are also those days the patient is so sick and out of it they can’t really do anything, but what I’m talking about is that time when they’re almost well but still aren’t allowed back at school because of a fever or other factors. Then it’s time to plan a trip to Paris!

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So what do you do when you run out of things to do for the sick child on the couch? I’m tempted to say let them be bored and figure it out, which is not a terrible suggestion. However, when you’re sick I think a little humoring and encouragement is due! Therefore, what better thing is there to do than plan a trip to Paris??

“Plan a trip to Paris?” you may say, “I’m not going to Paris! Why would I plan a trip there?”

Why?! Well, why not? Paris is ALWAYS a good idea, and basic organizing, trip planning, and budgeting are great skills for kids to learn. You may not actually go on your trip, although I highly suggest it, simply planning and learning about an awesome place like Paris is really a lot of fun.

Let's plan a trip to Paris, Eiffel Tower pin

What exactly do you need to plan?

Airplane Tickets

As far as airplane tickets go, you can book through any number of sources. There are the traditional type websites. You can go through a travel agent. Or you can go to the individual airline’s website such as British Airways.

Arc de Triomphe, Let's Plan a Trip to Paris

Where to stay?

There are so many options for places to stay in Paris! Part of the fun of this exercise is to search online for the best Paris hotels or B&Bs.

Hotel Websites

Of course, you could always plan to stay at the Ritz Paris. If money is not an issue there are all sorts of fun websites to explore accommodations in Paris.


Look for good locations on Airbnb. I’ve used Airbnb internationally and nationally and had great experiences with the hosts. If you use my link, and it’s your first time to sign up you’ll even get a $40 travel credit, and who couldn’t use that?! Click here to sign up and get your credit.

If you do choose to book through Airbnb I always suggest selecting a place with many good reviews, not something newly listed. Also, as far as location goes, try to be close to a metro station or within good walking distance to the monuments and places you’d like to see.

Jardin du Luxembourg

Take some time to search

Another option is to simply Google “best hotels for families in Paris” or specifically the style of accommodation you’re looking for. Go to your favorite travel website or look at several such as or or whatever you’ve had success with yourself in the past. As an exercise, it’s fun to look at several and get a variety of options.

Are you going on a road trip soon?

Road trip activities, in the car with feet on the dash

Read all about the Ultimate Road Trip Activities For Kids. Let’s keep them happy and occupied!

What monuments or places would you like to see?

Do some searches. What are you interested in? The history of Paris? Art? Food? Sports? Do you want to see some of the amazing churches in Paris such as Notre-Dame or the dazzling stained glass in Saint Chapelle? Maybe you were a fan of Highlander back in the day (or another show set in Paris 😉 ) and want to see all the places around the city where it was filmed. If nothing else you can plan to have a sword fight with baguettes under a certain bridge with the Eiffel Tower in view.

Sainte Chapelle stained glass windows

There are so many amazing places to see in Paris, famous cafes and restaurants, and ways to grow and learn. Plan to take your time with meals in France and do as the French do. Enjoy each other’s company and delight in the food. Relax and breathe in the culture. It’ll be good for you.

What will your trip cost?

Fill out your free printable Let’s Plan a Trip to Paris! worksheet. Add everything up and see how much your trip will cost. If you wish, add in a budget for food as that’s not included in the basic plan.

It’s not that much now, is it? Make a plan and jump on that airplane. I’ve never regretted traveling to a new place and the amazing new experiences to be had. Take a risk and act on it today! Or simply enjoy a sick day diversion to lift your spirits.

Download the free Let’s Plan a Trip to Paris! worksheet

Let's Plan a Trip to Paris printable preview


So, will you plan a trip to Paris?

Are you inspired yet to plan a trip to Paris? Maybe even act on that plan and do some bookings? I love Paris, and there’s nothing like a sick day to make me long to be able to travel. So, step 1, if you’re sick, get better! Step 2, download your Let’s Plan a Trip to Paris printable. Step 3, explore the internet using your printable as a guide, and plan a trip to Paris! Step 4, go to Paris!

Have you and your family visited Paris? What are your favorite monuments or places to see? I was lucky enough to first make the trip in high school with our high school French club. I loved it so much I’ve studied the French language and have been back many times. However, it’s been too long! I really need to start planning…

Let's plan a trip to Paris, the Eiffel Tower and Deux Magots

Georgian Language Phrases For Travelers

Georgian Language Phrases For Travelers

When you travel to other countries do you try to learn the basics in the native language? Even if it’s just a few words as an introduction, I’ve found it paves the way for a richer, fuller visit. In addition, it helps to ingratiate you with the local people and gives you a whole other view of the place and culture.

I’ve had many people ask me how in the world I learned Georgian, even after living there for several years. How? I studied. I interacted with people all over the country (and that done with me being an introvert). Was it always comfortable? No, of course not, and language learning is never perfect, but little by little you begin to understand and feel a part. Georgian language phrases

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Useful Georgian language phrases for travelers, free printable over Trinity Cathedral Tbilisi

Luckily for you, if you’re traveling to Tbilisi or any other part of Georgia soon, I’ve put together a handy printable list of useful Georgian language phrases for travelers.

Speaking foreign languages while traveling

I vividly remember the reaction of a woman I met in Baku, Azerbaijan when I attempted to speak to her in Azeri. This was a while ago now, but she was taking money for tickets or a tour at the Maiden Tower, an old Zoroastrian tower in Baku that’s now a local history museum. At first glance, she bore the no-nonsense, expressionless face I associate with former Soviet countries. They all feel Americans smile too much at strangers, as do many other countries. To me, she looked put out at having to be bothered with doing her job and giving out tickets.

Slowly, I stepped up and asked for the tickets in what I thought was correct Azeri. She did a little double-take and really looked at my face, and I was able to respond to whatever she asked me in return. Her face lit up, smiled, and she yelled over to her friend that these girls were actually trying to speak Azeri and NOT Russian. At least I think she said something to that effect. We ended up getting more attention, and a bit of a special tour.

Metekhi Church entrance

My foreign language teacher lecture

Indeed, it’s all about being polite and respectful when you go to someone else’s country, to speak their language. Even if you don’t get very far, or they speak English and cater to tourists, they will generally appreciate your attempt. Don’t be afraid of not getting everything perfect either! I do pretty well in Latin languages and Georgian; however, my German, Russian, Azeri, etc. are pretty horrendous. But don’t fear! Most of the time they don’t expect you to have perfect grammar and pronunciation. The point is to communicate and learn from your hosts.

Georgians are some of the most hospitable and welcoming people I’ve ever met. They take great pride in their hospitality and love to have guests. They, like the Azeri woman I mentioned, are super-excited when foreigners speak Georgian to them and not Russian or another language.


I first fell in love with the Georgian language through traditional Georgian music before I could speak a single word. Music so often communicates the history and passions of a place so I like to listen to what I can before and during my visit. Also, I encourage my kids to do the same thing and so makes travel a huge living lesson for us.

You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.

Geoffrey Willans

English Author and Journalist

Need some ideas about things to do in Tbilisi, Georgia?

Narikala Fortress, Tbilisi

In my recent blog post, you can read all about awesome activities to do with kids in Tbilisi, Georgia. It’s an amazing city and so much fun to explore!

Georgian language phrases

The Georgian language is a beautiful language rich in history. What’s it related to? This is generally one of the first questions I get asked when speaking to someone about how I know it. Georgian is in its own family and branch, and therefore it’s not Slavic, Latin, Germanic or others. In addition, it has its own alphabet with 33 letters always pronounced the same way when read, similar to Spanish. Right now I’m not going to go into the alphabet but for our purposes use Latin letters to make it easier for travelers to get some words out!

When you speak in Georgian, do not stress syllables as in English, but read through them with the same level of stress throughout, if that makes sense.

Here are a few examples I’ve mentioned before:

gamarjoba (gah-mar-joh-bah) This means hello!

me lareni var (may lahren-ee var) My name is Lauren.

Tip here: You’ll want to insert your name instead of mine. 😉 In Georgian, you add an ee (long e) sound to the end of your name if it ends in a consonant sound, in this case. I’ll not trouble you with a bunch of grammar right now.

sasiamovnoa (sah-see-ah-mohv-noh-ah) It’s nice to meet you. (I love saying this word so had to add it in.)

didi madloba (dee-dee mahd-loh-bah) Thank you very much.

kargat (kar-gaht) Good-bye! (informal)

nakhvamdis (nahkh-vahm-dees) Good-bye!

Do you want some more? Get the free PDF printable, and practice to your heart’s content. Most Georgians are thrilled to help you with pronunciation and language so if you know someone who’s Georgian enlist their help.

Download your free Georgian language phrases for travelers printable below!

Georgian language phrases preview

Free Printable

A different language is a different vision of life.

Federico Fellini

Italian Film Director and Screenwriter

Travel and languages

Do you tremble with excitement when you learn a new word or piece of language? Well, maybe we won’t go that far, but it’s exciting! Just imagine how much you can learn about a culture with a few simple words, some good food and company, and a lot of observation.

I said it before, but let me stress again, don’t worry about getting it perfect! We are communicating, and a couple words are better than none to get a point across. Language is such an amazing part of a culture and helps form the identity of the people.

Good luck on your travels. I hope you enjoy learning a bit of Georgian today and have the opportunity to travel there someday!

Narikala Fortress and the Mother of Georgia overlooking Tbilisi

Unforgettable Things to do in Tbilisi, Georgia With Kids

Unforgettable Things to do in Tbilisi, Georgia With Kids

First, let me tell you, Tbilisi is one of my favorite cities in the world. There are so many things to do in Tbilisi, so much culture at the Silk Road crossroads, it’s hard to narrow it down. I have many memories as a Peace Corps volunteer coming into the capital from my home site. Now, this was over 10 years ago I can barely believe, but around every corner, there are memories and smiles, and ahas!

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Granted, many things I used to get excited about are no longer as dramatic and appealing:

Ahh! A hot shower as long as I want! And then for good measure, I’ll go to the sulfur baths to get all the winter dirt and grime scrubbed off of me!

No way! They have an internet connection!?

The electricity doesn’t usually go off in the capital!

An English bookstore?! Let’s go!

(I love Prospero’s Books and Caliban’s Coffee House on Rustaveli Street. I’ve spent a LOT of time there, and even had an apartment just around the corner up the hill for a while.)

Tbilisi’s had many changes in the past ten years, and so many have made it an awesome destination for tourists. Of course, one of the main things I love about Georgia is the AMAZING hospitality of the people. So many people are incredibly friendly and ready to go out of their way to help you out. Obviously, be careful, but if you even attempt some basic Georgian phrases you will be a prized welcome guest in someone’s store, B&B, or home. You pretty much can’t miss those eager to share the history, culture, and joy of their country.

Georgian language basics

Therefore, before we get on with our unforgettable things to do in Tbilisi as a family and with kids, let’s practice together:


gamarjoba (gah-mar-joe-bah) This means hello!

me lareni var (may lahren-ee var) My name is Lauren.

Tip here: You’ll want to insert your name instead of mine. 😉 In Georgian, you add an ee (long e) sound to the end of your name if it ends in a consonant sound, in this case. I’ll not trouble you with a bunch of grammar right now.

sasiamovnoa (sah-see-ah-mohv-noh-ah) It’s nice to meet you. (I love saying this word so had to add it in.)

didi madloba (dee-dee mahd-loh-bah) Thank you very much.

kargat (kar-gaht) Good-bye! (informal)

nakhvamdis (nahkh-vahm-dees) Good-bye!

Now say each 5 times fast. Kidding. However, practice makes perfect!

Amazing things to do in Tbilisi with kids

Narikala Fortress view of Tbilisi, Georgia

This past summer we brought both our kids to Georgia, and while traveling with kids is always more stressful than on your own, it was an amazing journey. Do you look at travel as education? I certainly do. There’s a ginormous (yes, ginormous) difference between pointing to a small green blob on the map and label it Georgia on an exam and visiting the country, interacting with the rich culture.

Where to stay: Airbnb

Tbilisi Airbnb kitchen with light from glass door balconyFirst be aware there are certainly a wide variety of hotels in Tbilisi such as the Marriott, Radisson Blu, Holiday Inn, Rooms Hotel Tbilisi, Betsy’s Hotel, and others. You’ll want to decide what kind of experience you’re looking for. Do you want a traditional hotel, a B&B with an amazing Georgian breakfast, or maybe like we did, your own apartment through Airbnb.

I can’t say enough good things about our experience with Airbnb in Georgia. We booked one in Tbilisi and in the west in Batumi when we were there, and had excellent accommodations and hosts. Often, the Airbnb host will pick you up at the airport for no extra charge, give you a mini-tour of the city on the way, and even take you back to the airport for your return flight no matter the crazy time.

Another plus with Airbnb is, personally, I like to have my own kitchen when we travel, especially with the kids. That way they can get up and going slowly, eat breakfast, and enjoy ourselves without rushing off.

Also, as a mom with a kid with a food allergy, it is really nice to prepare some of our own meals and not have to ask about preparation and ingredients.

All that to say, an Airbnb apartment in Old Town within walking distance of many sites is a fabulous option when you’re with kids. You may not consider it one of our official “things to do in Tbilisi”, but where you stay is important. As an Airbnb tip, when you’re selecting your location be sure it had many positive reviews and a history of people staying there.

Tbilisi Airbnb living room with kids on the couch

1. Mtatsminda Amusement Park

Tbilisi Mtatsminda Park entrance with Georgian fairy tale statues

Tbilisi Mtatsminda Amusement Park leaning houses Mtatsminda. The amusement park here is new in the last few years and an awesome activity for kids if they’re tired of visiting beautiful churches and touring Georgian museums. It’s a very popular spot for locals with children, not only tourists. If you look up the mountain to the Georgian Eiffel Tower (the Tbilisi TV Tower), you may see the Ferris wheel next to it. Yes, that’s where the park is located, right up at the top.

Luckily, you can get there pretty easily by taking the funicular from Old Town up to the top for some fabulous views of the city. Or, if you have a child like mine who absolutely refuses to ride the funicular and has an attack of nerves and vertigo just looking at it, you can drive. Or rather, have a taxi or someone drive you up the winding road to the park entrance.

If you are lucky enough to take the funicular to the top you will experience some awesome views and find yourself at the top of the world. First, take awhile to enjoy the view of the city and pick out all the places you’ve visited with the kids. The love this!

View overlooking Tbilisi from Mtatsminda

Next, turn around to find the beautiful white building, the fairly recently remodeled Funicular Restaurant. The three-story building was built from 1936-1938, and a long-time architectural landmark in the city. Moreover, I have it on good authority from the random person we met outside that it was a favorite restaurant of Stalin’s, the KGB, and featured in every single Soviet movie from the 60s-80s with a scene in Tbilisi.

Tbilisi Funicular Restaurant with blue sky

2. The Peace Bridge

Tbilisi, Georgia Peace Bridge

The Peace Bridge is a modern piece of architecture with a great pedestrian walkway. It’s impressive to the kids and located near the Rike Park and Funicular entrance. On your checklist of things to do in Tbilisi, walk across and take a family photo!



Tbilisi Peace Bridge

3. Rike Park (park area with play area, swings, giant chess board)

Rike Park and view of the President's Palace Rike Park is a fun place to walk around in the late afternoon with kids. After you get your photo taken at the Peace Bridge, come on down to the park. There’s a nice playground area for kids with swings and a play structure and even a giant chessboard! Enjoy the early evening and play time before your evening Georgian meal.

4. Old Town

The orange colored roofs of Old Town Tbilisi

Our Airbnb was located in a nice part of Old Town Tbilisi, and so much restoration has been done in the area recently! You’ll have a home base in Old Town to explore the traditional Georgian architecture, tourist shops, cafes, and parks.

If you’d like, you can easily get a tour guide to take you around on a walking tour or by bus or car. There are so many things to do in Tbilisi. Ask your Airbnb host if they know of a local company or ask at a local hotel. If you don’t speak the language and don’t want to be miming most of your trip, this could be a good option. Although, more and more Georgians have been learning English and can help you out.

Want to see more of Old Tbilisi?

Tbilisi, Georgia doors and windows

5. Metekhi Church and gardens

Metekhi Church, Tbilisi

First and foremost, Metekhi Church holds a special place in my heart because it’s the church where I was married. It’s located picturesquely above the Mtkvari River with the great statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali on horseback just in front. The story is that King Vakhtang built a church and residence on the location originally, the buildings destroyed by the Mongols in the 1235 invasion. In the late 1200s, King Demitrius II built the church and over the years it was fortified and restored. It’s been a barracks, a jail, and in Soviet times when religion was banned, an attempt at a museum was made then a theater.

Thankfully it’s been restored back to a church and today is a magnificent symbol and site of Tbilisi.

Tbilisi Vakhtang statue, MetekhiFor kids, there’s a nice little cafe just next door where you can grab an ice cream or a drink then wander around the church gardens. Say gamarjoba to jolly Father Tarieli if you pass him in the garden. You’ll see some amazing views of Old Tbilisi, and have a place to pray and meditate as long as the kids allow. If you go in the church women are expected to cover their heads with a scarf, and there’s a box of shared scarves for guests in most churches (I much prefer my own!). Don’t be alarmed, but a kindly volunteer may chase you around with a scarf until you cover your head.


6. Narikala Fortress

From Metekhi you will be able to get a full view of Narikala Fortress in the distance. The kids will love exploring the old “castle” as you wander along the old wall and yard surrounding. The Church of St. Nicolas was rebuilt recently in 1996-97 after the original was destroyed in a fire. This is another fabulous high point to take breathtaking photos of the city. You can hike up to it, which I’ve done before, however, with kids, I’d recommend taking a cable car up.

Narikala Fortress, Tbilisi

If you’re super-lucky you may even get to see a local herd his flock of sheep through the fortress yard. Consequently, there may be squeals of delight, running about, and much discussion of the amazing sheep of the castle. Let me tell you they are some pretty sure-footed sheep climbing up and down questionable rocky paths. Adventure with the kids and act out a story at the castle!

7. Sameba (Trinity) Cathedral

Sameba (Trinity) Cathedral, Tbilisi Sameba Cathedral, or Holy Trinity Cathedral, is the third tallest Orthodox Church in the world and one of the largest religious buildings. A mixture of traditional Georgian architectural styles, compared to other well-known churches in Georgia it feels new and shiny. Probably because it was built relatively recently, from 1995-2004. It’s huge inside obviously, and the sheer space above and around is impressive.

There’s plenty of space outside to wander around, look at the unusual trees and flowers and let the kids run a bit. This is a must-see in Tbilisi and will be even more impressive to kids. Just imagine being half your height and your eyes going up and up and up!

8. Open Air Museum of Ethnography

The Open Air Museum of Ethnography is just about the only way to get an education in 14 ethnographic zones in one location: Kartli, Samegrelo, Adjara, Abkhazia, Svaneti, Khevsureti, Kakheti, Meskheti, Javakheti, Guria, Imereti, Racha, Lechkhumi and Ossetia. This is a fun place to take kids to explore the houses and artifacts from all the different regions of Georgia. The museum is a fabulous experience even on a regular day; however, they also have awesome festivals and special Georgian folk exhibits so look at their website here as you plan your trip.

History and culture buffs, this is the place for you!

9. Rustaveli Avenue 

Shota Rustaveli statue Tbilisi Rustaveli Avenue is one of the main streets of Tbilisi, and on it, you’ll pass by many Tbilisi sights. Just on this one street, you’ll go by the monument of St. George, the Parliament building, Tbilisi’s number 1 public school, Kashueti St. George Church (with a park behind), the Opera House, the Museum of Fine Arts.

Parent tip: I know it sounds terrible and right now you adamantly claim you would never stop in such a place while traveling. However, after a day of walking and wandering around these amazing places, kids get tired. They refuse to do anything. You are tired and may wish to give in to the Georgian McDonald’s just next to the Rustaveli metro. Ahhhh! NEVER! You say – just wait.

Shota Rustaveli is arguably the most famous Georgian poet. There are universities named after him, almost every town in Georgia has a Rustaveli Street, and you’ll see this statue of him with a fountain in front on Rustaveli Street in Tbilisi. It’s conveniently located just next to the Rustaveli metro stop, and the Rustaveli McDonald’s. There are so many things to do in Tbilisi with Rustaveli in their name!

Shota Rustaveli was a medieval poet, the greatest of the Georgian Golden Age, and composed the epic poem The Knight in the Panther’s Skin. Born in 1166, he served during the time of “King” Tamar the Great (female) and is revered by all Georgians. You might even find a copy of the poem from one of the street vendors near the statue.

Tbilisi McDonald's menu

10. Dry Bridge

Man looking at displayed paintings at the Dry Bridge If you’re looking for a souvenir to take home, you’ll find paintings and souvenirs in Old Town shops (probably the most expensive place), outside souvenir and painting shops along Rustaveli Street just a bit north of the Rustaveli metro, or at the Dry Bridge.

The Dry Bridge is fun to visit and just look around at all the paintings, textiles, Georgian figures, anything you could want. I love to look at the paintings, but my daughter, of course, was on a mission to find the perfect Georgian hat, slippers, and doll. The four-year-old got tired after awhile, but it’s a great place to grab any necessary souvenirs. Also, I’d suggest taking a taxi there and back as it’s not the easiest place to walk to.

There’s a sort of a flea market area on top of the bridge where you’ll find people selling old dishes, Communist paraphernalia, binoculars, silverware, whathaveyou. If you have room in your bags and enjoy flea markets and garage sales, it’s a little paradise. Just be careful and haggle a bit as it’s expected.

Georgian dolls, Tbilisi

11. Eat Some Good Khinkali

Khinkali, meat dumplings, Tbilisi This is a do not miss! Definitely, seek out some traditional Georgian restaurants and try the local cuisine. It’s AWESOME. I love almost everything, but make sure to order some good khinkali. A true Georgian will tell you to pick it up the dumpling by the nib, carefully bite into the side, and drink the lovely warm broth out of the middle. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT spill the juice on your plate (you will 😉 ) Only a wimp uses a fork!

You order khinkali by the number, and they come out on a big plate family style in the center of the table. So if I say: Otsi khinkali gvinda, that means we want 20 khinkali. There are different kinds although most places will have pork or beef. Sometimes you can even get potato, mushroom, or cheese. Normally I don’t embrace carbs, but I LOVE khinkali!

12. Sample the Churchkhela

Churchkhela (stringed nuts dipped in grape juice and flour/corn flour mixture and dried) in various colors, Tbilisi Another food the kids will enjoy is called churchkhela. Basically, it’s hazelnuts or walnuts strung on a string. They’re then dipped in a grape juice, flour and corn flour boiled mixture, and set to dry. Traditionally, churchkhela was made as a treat in the home and would last and not go bad for a long time. In World War II and probably even before, men were sent off to war with churchkhela as a sort of travel food. The early Georgian fruit and nut bars that are amazing and addictive.

Allergy Warning: As we have a nut allergy in the family, we are always on guard at all times when traveling. In Georgia, you especially have to look out for walnuts because they are in sauces, salads, desserts, pretty much everything.

So are you planning a trip to Tbilisi?

Lately, I’ve seen Tbilisi on National Geographic’s top places to visit this year, as well as on many other lists. Georgians are open and hospitable, and it’s a culture-filled trip. There are so many more things to do in Tbilisi also. My kids absolutely loved exploring, as well as through the country to the Black Sea. All things considered, it’s an education and experience not to be missed. Your taste buds will thank you!

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