• 20 unmissable things to do in Barcelona

    20 unmissable things to do in Barcelona

    Barcelona seems to find its way onto most people’s itineraries… and for good reason. It has a vibrant food scene, fantastic art and architecture, great Mediterranean weather and beautiful beaches. And it’s simply a great destination for a weekend trip!

    Barcelona is a fantastic city but usually gets very crowded during the summer months. Many sightseeing places and the city center get packed with people and you’ll have better to keep away from those places during peak season (July/August). I have listed for you our top 20 Barcelona highlights providing a perfect mix of “must seen spots” and hidden places known only by locals.

    In the map below you can find our best addresses and itineraries of Barcelona.

    1. SPEND A DAY AT THE BEACH

    We really love Barcelona during the off-season, when beaches are empty. Already in March the temperature is very pleasant and you may have a nice walk and lunch at the Barceloneta beach. You can rent a bike and  enjoy a cruise along the beach in direction of the Port Olímpic. The restaurant close to the beach are great to have lunch and enjoy the fantastic view.

    During summer months, beaches in Barcelona  are always packed with endless people and are really and crually lacking. If you want to spend a relaxed day at the beach, follow the locals and head to one of the beaches near Tarragona, called playa de la Roca Plana” and the Cala Fonda” (called Waikiki Beach by the locals). 

    To get there you need to walk 20 minutes but its definitely worth the effort and you will feel like at the Costa Brava or in Menorca.  Dont forget to pack enough water and food for the day (there is no bar/restaurant around).

     The easiest way to get there is by car. You have many car rentals in the center of Barcelona, like Avis or Europecar. The price for a day rental is around 40 Euros depending to the season.

    Park your car near  La Mora Beach in Tamarit (Tarragona). This is the closest place where you can park. Then its a 20 minutes walking to the Roca Plana” beach or 30 minutes walking to Waikiki beach.

    Check out the itinerary in our map below.

    2. Sagrada familia, park güell, casa vicens – visit Gaudí’s incredible work

    The architecture in Barcelona makes this city unique. Its wide range of modern and traditional architectural style, standing side by side throughout the city, is creating a beautiful balance between old and new. Antoni Gaudí is Barcelona’s most famous architect and has given the city some of the most incredible and distinctive buildings. He worked on all his creations until the smallest detail, integrating into architecture a whole series of hand-crafted works of which he himself mastered the techniques to perfection: ceramics, glassmaking, ironwork, carpentry.

    His most incredible and famous work is the Sagrada Familia. The construction still started in 1882 and is actually planed to be finished in 2026. Here you can watch an impressive 3D video on how the Sagrada Familia will look once finished.

    • Better to buy your tickets online to avoid long queues. You have different ticket option and guided tours which you can book directly on the official website.
    • The Sagrada Familia opens at 9 am everyday and it’s surely when there is the least number of people. 
    • If you are planning to go on top of either of the towers, keep in mind that children who are less than 6 years of age are not allowed.

    3. Stroll through the narrow streets of  Gothic District

    The Gothic Quarter, or Barri Gòtic, is a dense web of historic buildings and shady atmospheric squares located between Las Ramblas and Via Laietana, and has formed the central part of the Old City since Roman period. The Gothic District is full of character but also is one of the most touristic aeras in Barcelona and can get very crowded during the high season in July and August. Nevertheless, it is a nice district to stroll through the very narrow, winding streets and explore the amazing medieval architecture.

    Some of the classic sightseeing spots in the Gòtic neighborhood are the Portal del Bisbe (Bishop’s Gate), the Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia, Plaça Reial or Plaça de Sant Jaume.

    Here are our top picks for the Barri Gòtic:

    Eat/Drink: The Gothic District is a very touristy area and definitely not the place where you find the best restaurants of Barcelona, most of the restaurants are tourist traps or uninspiring fast foods. But if you are in the area and hungry, we recommend you 2 traditional restaurants.

    Bodega La Palma | Carrer de la Palma de Sant Just, 7 | 08002 Barcelona

    El 4Gats | Carrer de Montsió, 3 | 08002 Barcelona

    4. Try out some real good tapas

    Barcelona is heaven for all foodies and one of the world’s best cities when it comes to eating and drinking. The offer is varied and of high-quality, from the neighborhood Tapas bars that’s been around forever to the more than 30 Michelin stars restaurants.

    In the map below we have listed our favorite restaurants.

    5. Visit one of Barcelona’s covered Food Markets

    La Boquería is no doubt one of Barcelona’s most famous tourist attractions. The fresh ingredients and cooked foods available are impressive and it’s a culinary icon of Barcelona. There are a couple of well known legendary tapas bar within La Boqueria ( El Quim De La Boqueria or Bar Pinotxo) where you can eat while being surrounded by the busy market environment. If you visit during high season try to come early in the morning or visit one of the less known markets. The Santa Caterina market or the Mercat Sant Antoni are a good alternative.

    6. Visit Barcelona’s great museums and expositions

    In Barcelona’s museums you’ll also find plenty of collections that span from medieval period to the 1990s. Here is a list of our favorite art museums:

    • Museu Picasso – The museum features over 3,500 works of art by Picasso, one of the larges Picasso Collecion in the world.
    • Fondació Joan Miro – A museum dedicated to his work, the Fundació Joan Miró was created by Miró himself and built in collaboration with the architect Josep Lluís Sert.
    • MACBA – Museu d’Art Contemporani – Every weekend, the MACBA offers an ongoing program targeted for families, which combines tours of the exhibition galleries and workshops
    • MNAC – Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya – The MNAC collection includes what is believed to be the largest collection of Romanesque art in the world.
    • CaixaForum – Is one of the city’s  architectural jewels lesser known. This cultural center has 4 art expositions, an auditorium for special shows, workshop and movies for kids

    We also recommend two great Science Museums:

    • Cosmo Caixa – offers an amazing experience for everyone interested in science and nature. You can see live experiments in physics, geology, biology and mathematics. The highlight is certainly the “Underwater Jungle,” a 1000 square meter greenhouse with real crocodiles and 30 meters high trees behind the ceiling-high glass.
    • Museu Blau –  The massive blue triangular shaped building is an architectural masterpiece of Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. The Museu Blau features a permanent exhibition called “Planet Life”, which covers the progress of our planet from the beginning to our days.

    7. Get lost in the Park del Laberint d’Horta

    This is Barcelona’s oldest garden which is situated outside the crowded city center among the hills of Horta district. It’s one of Barcelona’s best kept secrets and a great spot to spend a relaxed family afternoon. The highlight of the gardens is, of course, the neoclassical-style labyrinth standing at its center. Apart from the labyrinth, the park also has a large playground, an outdoor/cafe bar, picnic areas, and gorgeous landscaped gardens to contemplate.

    Entry price: 2.50 Euros (cash only)

    Opening hours: December to February, daily from 10am-6pm; March and November, daily from 10am-7pm; April and October, daily from 10am-8pm; and from May to September, open 10am-9pm.

    Laberint d’Horta Park | Passeig dels Castanyers, 1 | 08035 Barcelona

    8. Explore the mount Monjuic

    Montjuïc is a great place to escape the noisy city life and relax in the many green areas and parks. Possibilities are wide on the small mountain of Montjuïc and it is easy to find a quiet place for a  picnic. We reveal our best addresses for Montjuic here in another dedicated article.

    9. Design, fashion & street food at Palo Alto Market

    Palo Alto Project started with the idea of transforming an old factory into a space that brought studios and creative professionals’ workshops together. Today, it’s the most popular street market in Barcelona with live music, workshops for kids, fashion & design stalls and insanely good food trucks. Make sure you won’t miss it. It takes place the first weekend of every month.

    Palo Alto Market | Carrer dels Pellaires, 30 | 08019 Barcelona

    10. Relax in the Parc de la Ciutadella

    When you need a rest from the bustling city take a walk through Barcelona’s most famous Parc de la Ciutadella.  Locals love to organize picnics here, play table tennis, practice yoga or to have their kid’s birthday parties, while tourists come to soak up the atmosphere.

    11. Visit the trendy El Born District

    El Born is one of Barcelona’s trendiest districts, located between the Ciutadella Park and El Gotic. It’s a very historical district in the heart of Barcelona, an old craftsmen area in the past. Nowadays, it’s filled with nice restaurants, trendy bars and concept stores. It’s also home to some famous places as the Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona’s most stunning concert hall or the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar.

    Here are our top picks for El born:

    Eat/Drink:

    Casa Lolea | Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt, 49 | 08003 Barcelona

    Shop:

    Bornisimo | 08003 98, Carrer de Sant Pere Més Baix | 08003 Barcelona

    Tinycotton | Passeig del Born, 7 | 08002 Barcelona

    Gidlööf | Passatge Mercantil, 1 | 08003 Barcelona

    12. Take a Ceramic or Mosaic class 

    Barcelona is a great place for creative people. The city offers a large range  of courses in different artistic domains. Here are two of our favorite addressses:

    Atuell Ceramic | Carrer del Montseny, 45 | 08012 Barcelona | Spain – Open from Mon – Fri, 18.30 – 21h.

    Mosaic Course by LÍVIA GARRETA | Carrer de Pere Serafí, 39 | 08012 Barcelona

    13. Watch a movie under the stars

    During summer months, the Sala Montjuic takes place in the garden of the Castillo Montjuic. This popular outdoor cinema starts always with live music. Friends and families gather together for a picnic, to listen to music before movie session begins. Don’t forget to reserve your tickets in advanced here.

    14. Enjoy a swim with a view

    Montjuïc Municipal Swimming Pool is located up in the mountain of Montjuïc and has one of the most spectacular view of the city.

    15. Explore Barcelona’s most bohemian district

    Gracia is our favorite district in Barcelona. It’s a very bohemian area, home for young families and working artists which has retained a village feeling. In the crowded summer months this area is a much more pleasant than the stuffed neighborhoods near the sea. We have dedicated an entire blog post on Gracia and reveal our best addresses. Find out more here.

    16. Get the best view of Barcelona

    Barcelona is one of the cities that has quite a few things you can only experiment here.  Like the Tibidabo Amusement Park, on top of the Tibidabo mountain or the carretera de les Aigües with an incredible view on the city. Find out more in our special Tibidabo post here

    17. Have fun at a Summer Open Air or Street Festivals

    There are so many things to do in Barcelona during summer! Eeach district has its own festival but the most extravagant is far and away the Festa Major de Gracia. The residents transform streets into pirate ships, rainforests and Jurassic landscapes depending of the given theme. You can find over 600 activities, from concerts to ‘sardanes’ and bouncy castles for kids.

    If you like open air concerts we can recommend Primavera Sound or the Cruïlla Festival both located at the Parc del Forum with a view on the sea.

    18. Bargain in one of Barcelona’s Flea Markets

    “One man’s garbage is another man´s gold”. That´s the main philosophy of the Flea Market Barcelona, which is organized monthly in the streets of Barcelona. Here is the link for the upcoming markets: Fleamarketbcn

    Barcelona’s Encants Vells is the largest second-hand market and one of the oldest in Europe. You can find everything from rare antiques, second-hand books, ornaments, cameras, furnitures and clothes.

    19. Try Calçots, the Catalan green onion

    Calçotada is something that is completely unique to Catalans; it is a grand celebration, a winter barbecue where the calçots are packed tight on a grill – it’s a type of spring onion crossed with leek. You peel off the outer skin and then dip them in a delicious Romesco sauce accompanied with all type of grilled meat . The Calçotada menu runs from November to April, whilst the spring onions are in season.

    Here are 3 restaurants where Calçotada is served in and outside of Barcelona. Don’t go without reservation.

    20. Go to see a movie in the charming cinema Verdi

    The movies in Barcelona are mostly spoken in Catalan or Spanish. The Cine Verdi is one of the few cinemas where you can watch movies in the original version. It’s a small and charming independent cinema situated in the Gracia district . 

    Cinema Verdi | Carrer de Verdi, 32 |  08012 Barcelona

    Things NOT on our list:

    Las Ramblas:

    La Rambla is still on the lists of many tourist guides and travel blogs and we don’t really know why! It’s a pedestrian street packed with tourists and sellers of cheap trinkets. Restaurants on Las Ramblas are overpriced and serve low quality food. Better to stay away and to enjoy some more authentic spots in Barcelona.        

    The Beaches during peak season:

    From June to August, Barcelona’s beaches are over crowded with annoying tourist and the sea along is very dirty.  You won’t find many locals at the Barceloneta beach during Summer months. If you like to spend a day at the beach, go to Tarragona, Sitges, Castelldefels or the Costa Brava.   

    Flamenco:

    Flamenco comes from the south of Spain, from Andalusia and is not a Catalan tradition. In Barcelona, Flamenco shows have mainly appeared in response to tourist’s expectations.

    Shop at Z*** & Co.:

    Prices are even lower in Spain due to small transport costs but the quality remains the same, cheap & low. We prefer to buy in small local shops where you can find nice and unique designs. Check out El born or the Gracia district where you can find many local design shops.    

    Check out all our best addresses in the map below (we update our maps regularely).

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  • MONTSERRAT | DISCOVER THE IMPRESSIVE ROCK FORMATION

    MONTSERRAT | DISCOVER THE IMPRESSIVE ROCK FORMATION

    The Montserrat mountain range, an essential symbol of Catalan culture, is one of the treasures to be discovered during a family trip to Barcelona. It is located near Barcelona at only 60 kilometers and accessible by several routes.  It is difficult not to be seduced by the beauty of its landscapes and the range of activities it offers to its visitors. Take a closer look at all you need to know for your day trip to Montserrat.

    Montserrat is a massif that has existed for nearly 50 million. A visit to this remarkable site with its peaks in the form of teeth or fingers makes it possible to learn more about Catalan culture. With the presence of a monastery with the same name, this mountain is a high place of religion and spiritualism and worth a visit when you stay in Barcelona for a couple of days.

    What to do in Montserrat?

    There is a multitude of activities you can do during your family trip on Montserrat. In addition to the many climbing and hiking opportunities, the place is perfect for a day in the mountains with your children. The site has an impressive number of hiking tracks that will delight young and old. During your walk in this beautiful environment, you will have a magnificent views on the Catalonian landscape and the Monastery and Abbey of Montserrat.

    The room of the Virgin and the Basilica are essential places to discover during this visit of the Monastery. The abbey was built in the heart of this mountain and houses a large museum with over 1300 pieces of art mainly Impressionism, Catalan and Spanish art of the nineteenth and twentieth century, ancient painting or archeology. What better than mix a hiking day with a some culture.

    How to get to Montserrat?

    For your excursion to Montserrat, you have the choice between different ways of transport. The access to the mountain massif is very easy and conveniently by car. From Barcelona, ​​you take the  A2 motorway which takes you directly to the Montserrat massif in about one hour. You can even drive up to the Monastery and park there. But the Car park capacity is limited. We suggest to go up to the sanctuary either by the rack railway or the cable car and park your car at the station. The train is also a good and easy way to go to Montserrat. Opt for the R50 line or the R5 line from Plaça Espanya. Once your arrive at the train stations, you can reach the Montserrat by the rack railway or the cable car. Choose this option if you want to contemplate the treasures of the beautiful surrounding nature.

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  • A day trip to Girona | the beautiful little city in Catalonia

    A day trip to Girona | the beautiful little city in Catalonia

    Girona is situated only 100 km (62 miles) north-east from Barcelona in Spain. It’s a 38-minute train ride from Barcelona with the high speed train, arriving directly in the center of Girona. Despite all those practical advantages and many recommendations from my friends , it took me almost 3 years before I decided to visit Girona with my kids.

    When you are walking through Girona you might notice a fair amount of Catalan flags and yellow ribbons which is the symbol of the Catalan independence movement. The Catalans have many quirky customs and tradition which are very different from the rest of the country. The most iconic tradition is the “Els Castells”, or human tower. It represents solidarity and team spirit among Catalan people. To complete a tower, a child of the team climbs up to airy heights of more than eight meters. The experience of watching a team of castelleres forming a tower is quite breath-taking.

    Catalans are fascinated with poop! One of the custom is the Cacaner, which means ‘the shitting one’ in Catalan. This porcelain figurine is placed in the Nativity scene during Christmas. It is a part of many kids’ favorite tradition of finding the hidden figurine. You can find all kind of different figurines representing well known personalities like Emmanuelle Macron, Lady Gaga or Donald Trump with the pants down and …

    Crisscross the eleven Bridges

    Girona’s old town is car free which makes it very pleasant to visit and stroll around this part of the city with kids. When you arrive at the Plaça de Catalunya you will see the Onyar river, separating the old from the new town. Girona has eleven puentes, each with a distinctive style and perspective on the city. The Pont de Ferra is the most famous and photogenic, made of rust red iron by the french architect Gustave Eiffel (yes, the one who built the Eiffel Tour in Paris).

    When you are crisscrossing the bridges you have a beautiful view on the brightly painted patchwork of houses overlooking the Onyar river. The color swatches from yellow to deep orange or brown is a result of the work of two Catalan painters, Enric Ansesa and Jaume Faixó.

    If you want to enter one of the houses over the Onyar river, you can visit the family home of architect Rafael Masó. It is one of his most important work and open to the public.

    Casa Masó | Bellesteries, 29 | Girona

    Walk the Roman City Walls

    To enjoy the best view of the city you should climb up the “Passeig de la Muralla”, Girona’s old city wall. Located east of the Onyar River, the wall spans around 3 km and has seven towers. We started our visit with a walk through the beautiful Jardins de la Francesa which is situated behind the Cathedral. From there you can climb up the spiral staircases and start your walk along the wall with a beautiful view on Girona.

    We would suggest avoiding the afternoon sun as it can get really hot in Girona during the summer month.

    Tip: Don’t forget to bring suncream, sun hats for your kids and a bottle of water!

    Get lost in Girona’s Old town

    The Old Town is the most picturesque part and has the majority of places of interest. It’s a small area and you can walk easily from one sight to another. It’s a magical part of the city with labyrinthine cobbled streets, lined with stone buildings from Girona’s medieval past.

    Put away your map and let your kids guide you and chose the next direction to go. We are sure you will come along some beautiful unexpected places, hidden gardens and small patios you would never have found following the map.

    Girona has a rich history and hosts some interesting museums and historical locations that can help you to understand what shaped Girona, its culture and its people.  

    The Museum of Cinema:

    A real paradise for cinephiles. This museum exhibits Tomàs Mallol’s valuable collection of pre-cinema pieces, from the first moving images from shadow theatres to today’s cinema.

    Museum of Jewish History:

    The museum is actually housed in an old synagogue, and gives visitors a great in-depth look at the culture of the Jews in Catalonia, and in Girona itself. 

    Museum of Archaeology:

    It’s located in the Monestir de Sant Pere Galligantsis, one of the most notable examples of Catalan Romanesque architecture from the 12th century.  The museum contains materials found during archaeological excavations at various sites in the province of Girona, dating from prehistory to the Middle Ages.

    Museu d’Art:

    Girona’s Art Museum is a must for Romantic and Gothic Art lover.

    Climb up the Cathedral stairs

    You can notice characteristics of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles as the cathedral combines architectural styles from several periods and was built between the 11th and 18th centuries.

    If we counted well, we climbed up over 90 stairs to the top.  If you are a righteous person, you will count an even number of steps, and if you are a sinner, the number of steps will be odd. But even in this case you should not worry as there is another popular belief, according to which each step up the stairs removes one of your sins!

    A city for all Game of Thrones Lovers

    I never really managed to finish a Game of Throne saison. But I can completely understand that Girona has been selected as one of the top location for the famous tv show, mainly for the season 6. You can find awesome locations and hidden places around the old town and the jewish quarter, taking you back into a sober mid-century mood. We visited (not on purpose) several “Game of Thrones” location like the stairs of the Cathedral de Girona or the Arab bath which was built in the 12th century.

    The Arab bath | Ferran el Catòlic s/h | Girona

    Enty price: 2 Euros

    You can check out this article if you want to do your own self-guided Game of Thrones tour.

    Restaurants in Girona

    • El Celler de Can Roca is THE food place in Catalonia and has gained a worldwide prestige after winning the World’s best Restaurant title twice. The three Catalonian brothers who grew up locally with a love of Catalan cuisine. Joan, a chef, Josep, a sommelier and Jordi, a pâtissier have combined forced to create an experience that is authentic to the core. But if you’re a foodie, and have a special celebration coming up, there’s no place I can recommend more highly.

    El Celler de Can Roca | Carrer de Can Sunyer, 48, 17007 Girona

    • And if not, there’s always the off-shoot ice cream shop in the heart of Girona, Rocambolesc Gelateria.

    Rocambolesc | Carrer Sta. Clara 50 | Girona

    • La Fabrica is a nice place to take your lunch when you in the old town. Former pro-cyclist Christian Meier opened this coffee shop and lunch place together with his wife.

    La Fabrica | 17004, Carrer de la Llebre, 3 | 17004 Girona

    • Bionèctar is a bio restaurant in the center of Girona with a small concept store.

    Bionèctar | Carrer D’en Francesc Eiximenis, 8, 17001 Girona

    Hotels in Girona

    HOTELS/APPARTMENTS

    Hotel Nord 1901 Superior

    This family-run hotel is only a 5-minute walk from the Cathedral and offers a nice garden terrace with a small swimming pool to relax after the city visit.

    Price per night from 150 Euros for a double room with extra bed.  Click here to check the prices and availability.

    Alemanys 5

    This beautiful and typical stone house from the sixteenth century was restored recently. The Alemanys 5 house can be rented as a single large home (5 bedrooms), but it can also be divided into two independent apartments: El Badiu (3 bedrooms) and El Jardí (2 bedrooms). Click here to discover more.

    Bed & Breakfast Bells Oficis

    The charming 19th-century town house is very well situated in Girona’s old town. It’s the cheapest on our list with prices from 80 Euros. Click here to check the prices and availability.

    AIRBNB

    A historical Appartment with a vintage touch | A perfect combination between contemporary modernity and early 20th century architecture. The apartment has great tranquility, natural light in all rooms and beautiful views. It has 3 double bedrooms, 1 bathroom, kitchen, living room and balcony. Click here for more information.

    Great appartement with a huge terrasse | It’s a spacious and very bright appartement, with large windows to the pedestrian street, well equipped kitchen, two cozy and spacious double rooms and a bathroom. You can enjoy the beautiful views of the “Barri Vell” from the sunny roof terrace. The building is part of the Architectural Heritage of Catalonia.

    If you love apartments but aren’t a fan of Airbnb, then follow this link to find lots of other options.

    HOTEL OUTSIDE GIRONA:

    When you have the chance to stay a couple of days longer in Catalonia, we can recommend the Eco Country Hotel Mas Pelegri.  The hotel is set in the countryside with beautiful views over the Garrotxa volcanic national park and close to the lake Banyoles.

    Hotel Mas Pelegri | Serinyà | Girona (Outside Girona, 40 Minutes by car)

    PRACTICAL FACTS

    Girona Airport:

    The Girona Airport is only a short 20 minutes taxi drive from the city centre. The price is around 30 Euros. Alternatively, the airport is serviced by several local bus routes – see here for further details.

    Barcelona Girona Train:

    Girona is a great day trip when you are based in Barcelona. You can book the high speed train easily online on renfe.com which takes you in only 38 minutes from Barcelona Sants to Girona. You have trains every hour in both directions. The ticket price is depending the day and hour of your trip and costs between 10 and 30 Euro (one way). Children under 14 years will get a 40% discount and kids under 4 years can travel for free.

    Costa Brava:

    Girona is only a 45 minute drive away from the Costa Brava. When you are staying a couple of days, we can recommend you the lovely cost village Begun or a visit to Cadaques and the Dali Museum.

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  • BARCELONA | BIO ICE CREAM & ORXATA IN GRÁCIA

    BARCELONA | BIO ICE CREAM & ORXATA IN GRÁCIA

    Gràcia is a very bohemian area, home to young families and working artists and has retained its village feel. In the crowded summer month this area is a lot more pleasant than the stuffed neighborhoods near the sea. The district is located above Avenida Diagonal and known to be an authentic, lively residential area with small shops, tapas bars and vermuterias. Gràcia is largely car-free and perfect for a walk with kids along the narrow pedestrian walkways. The large squares, Plaça de Sol, Plaça de Vila de la Virreina, are lively meeting points. The locals meet here to drink a Copa while their children play football on the squares or paint the floor with chalk.

    Casa Vicens, Gaudi’s first commissioned work, is located in the upper part of Gràcia. Hidden in a narrow street, its colorful newly renovated façade stands out among the other buildings. Casa Vicens was built in 1885 as a holiday residence for a wealthy industrial family and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005. It is definitely worth a stop, not only for Gaudí lovers.

    Case Vicens | Carrer de les Carolines, 20 | 08012 Barcelona | Spain

    Rates:16€ for adults | 0€ for children up to 11 years | Check out the time table on the official website as entry time vary 

    CARRER VERDI & PLACA DE LA VIRREINA

    Our walk starts from Casa Vicens and leads us downhill past the animated Calle Verdi and three of the most famous squares of Gracia. This off-the-beaten-path neighborhood has resisted the trend towards the big brands and maintains its small streets filled with local shops, organic markets, galleries and cafés.

    ORXATA & GLUTEN FREE ICE CREAM

    Gràcia has one of best ice cream shops in Barcelona that offer homemade organic ice cream and Orxata. Orxata is a Catalan drink made from tigernuts. A very refreshing summer drink which is much appreciated by the locals. If you come here for lunch time, we recommend one of the tapas restaurant on the squares. Not especially for the food (you have the usual catalan tapas at a fair price) but to enjoy the lively unique atmosphere of this neighborhood.

    Parallelo / We are street gelato |Carrer Sèneca, 18 | 08006 Barcelona | Spain

    RESTAURANTS

    In the recent years it has become a very diverse multicultural centre when it comes to gastronomy. Scrolling through the streets of the neighborhood you will find many spectacular restaurants with not only the traditional Catalan cuisine, but all kinds of offers from other parts of the world. In our map below we recommend as usual our best addresses for lunch, diner or just a fresh speciality coffee. All addresses have been checked and approved by my kids:)

    Here are our top 3 restaurant tips:

    La Singular (Try it out for diner)

    Carrer de Francisco Giner, 50 | 08012 Barcelona |Spain

    El Petit Bankok (Best Thai Restaurant in Barcelona)

    Carrer de Vallirana, 29 | 08006 Barcelona | Spain

    La Pubilla (Catalan food)

    (I was not so sure if I should reveil this gem … but I’ll do it for you! Go there for lunch with a reservation)

    Plaça de la Llibertat, 23 | 08012 Barcelona | Spain

    JOIN A POTTERY COURSE

    If you’re staying a little longer in Barcelona, ​​Gràcia has a great selection of creative activities. we recommend the ceramic course Atuell Ceramic. The card for 10 hours costs 65 euros (card for 5h is also available) and you can choose the day and the duration freely.

    Atuell Ceramic

    Carrer del Montseny, 45 | 08012 Barcelona | Spain

    Open from Mon – Fri, 18.30 – 21h.

    FIESTA DE GRACIA

    Every year in mid-August the Fiesta Major de Gràcia takes place during one week. It is known to be the most beautiful festival of Barcelona, prepared by the inhabitants of Gràcia for several months. Don’t miss it if you are in Barcelona in August.

    Info and date of the upcoming Fiesta Major de Gràcia:

    https://www.festamajordegracia.cat/

    Check out all our top Gracia addresses in the map below (we update our maps regularely).

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  • TAKE YOUR KIDS TO THE ALHAMBRA!

    TAKE YOUR KIDS TO THE ALHAMBRA!

    Do you know that feeling? You just visited a place and then you feel that you want to return? That’s what I felt after visiting the Alhambra. I was fascinated by the incredible craftsmanship, the complexity and size of the Alhambra and I felt as if I had seen only half of it.

    Before our visit I prepared and read about the Alhambra in blogs and guides but it is only when you actually stand in front that you realize the size and history of this place. The first stories go back to the 9th century. Palacio Nazaries and Generalife were built in the 13th and 14th centuries under the sultans Ismail I, Yusuf I, and Mohammed V and later improved and rebuilt by the Catholic kings, always with the idea of ​​creating a paradise on earth.

    The complex and long history is reflected in the different parts of the Alhambra. You can appreciate it while walking through the various building and palaces connected by paths, gardens and gates. The visit is very varied and there are always much to see and discover on the way which makes the visit fascinating for kids. You will wander from the Palacio Nazaries with its Moorish art and highly ornate interior spaces through the beautiful botanical gardens up to Generalife. Almost everywhere you have an incredible view of Granada or the snow-capped Sierra Nevada.

    NASRIDES PALACES

    We started our visit in the Nasrid Palaces where we had booked the tickets for the morning visit. The Nasrid Palaces are the only buildings where you have to go in the time slot indicated on your ticket.

    The Nasrid palace complex is designed in the Nasrid style, the last blooming of Islamic Art in the Iberian Peninsula, that had a great influence on the Maghreb to the present day. You wander through the different rooms of the palaces and can admire the incredible interior with its engraved calligraphies, verses from the Koran, colorful ceramic tiles accompanied by basins and flowers. The tour leads you through the various rooms along the famous Lions Court, crossing a wooden footbridge that offers a breathtaking view of Granada, and ends in the gardens of the Myrtle Court.

    GENERALIFE & GARDEN

    From there, we walked along many beautiful garden towards Generalife, the summer palace of kings and sultans. The path leads you through cypress trees, myrtle hedges, orange trees and beautiful flower garden.

    The essential element, however, is the water that you’ll find here in the form of many beautiful fountains and water sources. This part of the Alhambra also offers several places to relax and enjoy a picnic.

    ALCAZABA

    The oldest part of the Alhambra is the Alcazaba military fortress. Its privileged position high on a hill overlooking the city made it ideal for surveillance. Walk up to the top of the ancient watchtower for an unbeatable views of Granada and the Sierra Nevada mountains beyond. Beneath the towers, in the old Plaza de Armas, you’ll see the ruins of the foundations of old Moorish houses and even a dungeon!

    We visited the Alhambra in November and the weather and temperature was perfect. During the summer months, the temperature in Granada can be very high and a visit might be less suitable for small children. We spend around 5 hours in the Alhambra with some small breaks.

    TICKETS:

    If you plan a visit in high season,  we recommend highly to buy your tickets at least 3 months in advance. The tickets are limited and quickly sold out. The best way to buy tickets is through the official Alhambra website.  With the day ticket you have access to all public areas of the Alhambra: Alcazaba, Nasrid Palaces, Generalife. The Nasrid palaces can only be visited on the booked time (indicated on your ticket)

    WE LOVE:

    • The incredible mosaics and colorful tiles of the Nasrid Palaces
    • Watching the sunset on the towers of Alcazaba
    • Walking through the labyrinth gardens of Generalife
    • The amazing view over Granada and the snow-capped Sierra Nevada

    EAT/DRINK:

    • We recommend to bring your own water bottle. You can find water sources everywhere to fill it up.
    • The “Parador de Granada”, is the only restaurant in the Alhambra complex. You can find more restaurants outside the complex, but to reach them it is time consuming and complicated with children. We recommend to bring your picnic.

    STROLLER FRIENDLY:

    • Strollers are not allowed at the Alhambra. You can however borrow a baby carrier for free and leave your stroller in the cloakroom / baggage storage located near Puerto del Vino.

    TIPS:

    • We suggest to book your tickets for the Nasrid palaces in the morning, so you will have plenty of time to visit the other parts of the Alhambra.

    We did the following tour: After the Nasrid Palaces we walk through the different botanical garden in direction of the Generallife where we spent around 1 hour.  On the way back we came along the northern wall of the Alhambra back to the starting point, the Tore del Vino. In the evening we climbed up the towers of the Alcazaba to enjoy the breathtaking view over Granada during sunset.

    DURATION:

    • The average visit duration is 3 hours. With children you should count easily 4 – 5 hours.

    BEST TRAVEL SEASON:

    • We recommend a visit in spring or autumn. During summer month it can get very hot which makes a visit more difficult with small kids.

    HOW TO GET THERE:

    • You can get there on foot but we would not recommend it with children. The hill is quite steep to climb and there will be a lot of walking in the Alhambra.
    • Take the bus C30 (Centro) or C32 (Albaicín).

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    MONTEFRÍO – THE ANDALUSIAN VILLAGE WITH THE FAMOUS VIEW

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  • Montefrío – The Andalusian village with the famous view

    Montefrío – The Andalusian village with the famous view

    Montefrio was named by National Geographic in 2015 as “one of the ten villages with the best views in the world”. And of course…we wanted to find out if that is true!

    Montefrío is about 60 km from Granada . By car you drive through a landscape of olive groves and crop fields before reaching the village of Montefrío. The massive and impressive rock on which was built the small church and the Castillo is visible from a great distance. Below are lined up the whitewashed Andalusian houses inhabited mostly by olive farmers.

    We recommend to park your car near the Plaza de España, from where you can climb up to the Castillo. The walk goes through narrow streets and white houses. You will cross cats, dogs and only a few locals. It is quite a steep climb up the hill but in 20 minutes you arrive at the Castillo and can enjoy the beautiful view over the village and the olive groves. The church now contains a small history museum which can be entered for €2 (collect you ticket from the tourist office before climbing up). 

    We were visiting the castle early in the morning and were the only visitors at this early hour. Most people only stop their car at the Mirador National Geographics, take pictures and continue to explore the area. But this small andalusian village definitely worth more than just a quick stop.

    HOW TO GET THERE:

    Montefrío is just one hour drive from Granada and a great trip for an afternoon. You can rent your car at the airport (we recommend) or take a bus from Granada

    STROLLER FRIENDLY:

    If you are decided to climb up to the top better take your baby carrier.

    EAT/DRINK:

    There is a selection of traditional tapas bars and restaurants in town and one grocery store with a nice selection of regional products. Montefrio is famous for producing both chorizo and salchichon sausages, and morcilla, which is black pudding. 

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  • A week-end in Granada

    A week-end in Granada

    Granada has long been on my bucket list and I was looking forward to visit the Andalusian city which offers one of the most beautiful monument in the world, the Alhambra. It belongs to Granada like the Eiffel Tower to Paris and there is hardly anyone who leaves the city without having visited it. It’s considered the most beautiful monument of Moorish architecture and it is one of the most visited attraction in Europe.

    We spend a day at the Alhambra. Check out our visit here.

    Albaycín

    Albaicín is one of the most beautiful areas of Granada. It is the oldest and most authentic part of Granada and is even a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You definitely should not leave Granada without taking a walk through Albaicín. It is known for its picturesque streets and white houses. Albaicín is located on a hill and gives you a perfect view of the Alhambra.

    We started our walk at the Mirador de San Christobal  from where you have a beautiful view of the city. Here, you are at the highest point and it is very comfortable to walk downhill (and kids usually prefer) between the beautiful, white Andalusian houses. After 15 minutes walk you reach the mirador de San Nicolás, which is probably the most famous Mirador of Granada. At sunset, it attracts many tourists who enjoy the impressive view of the Alhambra.

    Carrera del Darro

    Our walk continues to the Paseo de los Tristes along Rio Darro. If you manage to arrive at sunset you can see the walls of the Alhambra, overlooking the paseo ,take the color red, which is a beautiful spectacle. Our walk goes further to the city center and ends in Plaza Isabel la Catolica.

    *We suggest taking the bus to start the walk at the Mirador San Christobal. Bus Nr. C34 from Plaza Nueva (Ctra Murcia Stadium 47 – Col. Ave Mª San Christobal)

    Catedral de Granada | Capilla Real

    The historic center of Granada and the bustling heart of the city has many shops, restaurants, bars and attractions. The Alcaiceria district, south of the cathedral, originally sheltered a Moorish silk market under the Muslim domination of Granada. You can see Arab influences everywhere and it reminds how close Morocco is. You will find there many shops of Moroccan souvenirs with rather basic and cheap products. I rather recommend you to come here one evening and eat a delicious tajine or couscous. Kids love it!

    In the center of Granada is situated Granada’s Renaissance Cathedral (Santa Maria de la Encarnación de Granada). After the Alhambra, the cathedral is the most important monument of Granada. With its unusual height, the cathedral is also very impressive from the inside. Right next to the Cathedral borders the Royal Chapel, called Capilla Real. Here are the mortal remains of many Spanish kings.

    Tips: If you book online, you get a free entrance every Sunday from 15 to 17:45. In Capilla Real, it’s every Wednesday between 2.30pm and 6.30pm.

    Tapas vs Tajin

    I have heard a lot about the tradition of tapas in Granada. Tapas, like flamenco, were born in Andalusia and I couldn’t wait to try some. I did not really find the quality better compared to the tapas I have eaten in other places in Spain. But there is a small difference, we liked very much! The bars and restaurants offer tapas to guests when they order a drink. With every drink comes a different tapa and several rounds of drinks means a full meal can be had. It’s probably also a reason that the restaurants are always packed and very lively with a good mix of locals and tourists.

    You can find our “Best Restaurant of Granada” list on the map below. And if you have eaten too much tapas, I can recommend the Moroccan restaurants in the Alcaiceria district. As Morocco is really just around the corner, the quality of the restaurants is very good and we can recommend it. Buen provecho!

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  • Barcelona | Tibidabo, the amusement park in the clouds

    Barcelona | Tibidabo, the amusement park in the clouds

    Barcelona is surrounded by many mountains and hills and the tallest by far is called Tibidabo. Many locals ride up to the top on their bikes, take a walk along the panorama path Carretera de les Aigües or enjoy a family day in the Amusement Park. Tibidabo is definitely worth a visit and still remains one of the last touched tourist attraction in the city.

    From almost anywhere in Barcelona you can make out the Sagrat Cor church and it’s statue of Christ keeping watch over the city. From the viewpoint in front of the church, you can enjoy the most stunning view over Barcelona and the Costa Brava. Just below was built the Amusement Park Tibidabo, one of the oldest in the world!

    The park has over 30 rides and attractions but is a little bit past its best days as theme parks go. But it still offers a fun day of viewing Barcelona from the mountains, whilst riding around in a rollercoaster.

    If you do not want to visit all the Amusement Park, you can just enjoy the most emblematic part of the Park, the Panorama Area. Here you have a spectacular view over Barcelona and the possibility to use some attractions. If you’ve got a head for heights, take a ride on the 50m high Ferris wheel ‘Talaia’ which will make you the highest point in Barcelona. “Avio” is another ride that offers you a stunning view of Barcelona while you are sitting in a small red airplane, slowly and horizontally rotating.

    HOW TO GET THERE: Take the Ferrocaril L7 to the terminus Avenida Tibidabo. From there, take bus no. 196 or the old blue tram (Tramvia Blau) to the ground station of the Funicular. The Funicular takes you directly to the entrance of the park.

    OPENING HOURS: Since the opening hours and dates vary almost every month, it’s best to check the latest schedules before you plan your visit: tibidabo.cat

    TICKETS: General Entrance Tickets: 28.50 Euro | Children (under 1.20m in height): 10.30 Euro | Children (<0.90m in height): 0.0 Euro

    Panoramic Area ticket: 12.70 Euro | Children (under 1.20m in height: 7.80 Euro | Children (<0.90m in height): 0.0 Euro

    To avoid the lines you can buy your tickets online here.

    Carretera de les Aigües

    The panorama path Carretera de les Aigües is rarely known by any tourist. It is a great alternative to the Amusement park and maybe a more authentic way to enjoy the nature and the view of Barcelona. With its nearly 10 kilometers in length, it is a popular trail for cyclists and hikers. The path is practically horizontal which makes it perfect for a walk with kids. Here you can enjoy the rich and varied flora and fauna. It’s a great place to take a picnic under the pine trees with an amazing view on Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea.

    HOW TO GET THERE: The easiest way to get to the Carretera de les Aigües is to take the Funicular de Vallvidrera which stops one third of the way along the path.

    STROLLER FRIENDLY: Absolutely!

    DURATION: 1h – 1.5h walking time – Length: 10 km

    Check out the walk on the map below:

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  • Barcelona | A walk on Montjuïc

    Barcelona | A walk on Montjuïc

    Montjuïc is a great place to escape the noisy city life and relax in the many green areas and parks. The possibilities are wide on the small mountain of Montjuïc and it is easy to find a quiet place for a family picnic.

    For athletes, Montjuïc is “the place to be.” Most sports facilities were built for the Summer Olympics 1992 and are still in use today. I can recommend the outdoor swimming pool Montjuic, with its wonderful view of Barcelona ​​or the Open Camp, where children can try over 25 different sports activities.

    But now, I would like to show you one of my favorite walk in Barcelona, ​​where you come across some of the best places and views on Montjuïc. We start at the Castillo de Montjuïc. and to get there you have 3 options: 1. take the bus n° 150 from Plaza España and stop at the castillo. 2. Take the metro to station Paralell and there change to the funicular. 3. Take the cable car from Port Vell up to the castillo and enjoy the fantastic view on Barcelona and the sea.

    At the top of the Castillo de Montjuïc (185m), the view is simply mind-blowing. When the weather is clear you can distinguish the costs of the Costa Brava or observe the activities of the port of Barcelona. The visit of the Castillo is only worth because of the stunning view you have from the top view-points. The long history of the place is unfortunately not shown in a deserved way.

    During the summer months, the Sala Montjuic takes place in the garden of Castillo. This popular outdoor cinema starts always with live music. Friends and families gather together for a picnic, to listen to music and at dusk the movie session begins. Don’t miss it and reserve your tickets in advanced here.

    We continue our walk downhill through the Jardin de Joan Brossa where you come along  charming ponds with aquatic plants and you may spot dragonflies and frogs. When you arrive at Avenida Miramar, you will see the Miró Foundation.

    FONDATION JOAN MIRÓ

    The Fundació Joan Miró was created by Miró himself and built in collaboration with the architect Josep Lluís Sert. You can recognize the complicity between the artist and the architect, making the collection integrate wonderfully into the white building and underlines the work of Miró in a very positive way.

    Fundació MiróParc de Montjuïc, s/n, 08038 Barcelona

    The walk then continues towards Plaza España through the Jardins de Laribal. A walk through this garden is a real pleasure. The lush vegetation, the water that gently flows out of small fountains and between the stone walls, ornate benches and small places to rest constitute an extraordinary beauty.

    The path continues to the National Art Museum of Catalonia. It stands out primarily for its exceptional displays of Romanesque and Gothic collections, which are among the finest in the world. For a visit, you should plan at least one full afternoon. But let’s go past the imposing building and take the escalators down to Plaça de les Cascades. This area of Montjuïc is more touristy and very busy during the summer months. To experience the Font Màgica, the spectacle of the magical fountain, you should come after sunset. The lights and water games last about 15 minutes and are repeated several times in the evening.

    Plaza España is only a 10 minutes walk away and from there you have many bus and metro connections.

    Duration: the walk alone lasts about 1 hour. But for the whole excursion with a visit of the castle and the museum, you have to plan a good day.

    Drink/Eat: Montjuïc does not have many restaurants but we can recommend 2 chiringuitos:

    El Cims | Passeig dels Cims, s / n | 08038 Barcelona

    The Caseta del Migdia | Mirador del Migdia, s / n | 08038 Barcelona

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  • CITY GUIDE | 15 AMAZING WAYS TO EXPLORE PARIS WITH KIDS

    CITY GUIDE | 15 AMAZING WAYS TO EXPLORE PARIS WITH KIDS

    Paris is a city known for being the center of fashion, art, culture and world-class restaurants. There is something so special about Paris that you can’t wait to show it to your kids. But for most children, a trip to Paris means only one thing: Disneyland. Don’t let you persuade! We have some great ideas, activities, and addresses which will keep your children entertained and will please the parents. You won’t find another guide to get faster on the Eiffel Tour but some cool insider tips from Parisian mother and blog reader. So read on and dive into the charm of Paris.

    THE ESSENTIALS

    When to go: The best time to visit Paris is from April to June and September to early November when the weather is mild. From July 15 until the end of August almost all Parisians leave for holidays and Paris is an empty place and only filled with tourists. This can have its charm but personally, we prefer Paris with its inhabitants.

    Where to stay: Paris has a multitude of hotels, from the nice design hotels to huge luxury palaces like the Ritz. Check out in which Arrondisment you want to stay before booking a hotel. You can also check Airbnb but the prices have increased in the last years.

    What to do: Visit museums and galleries, spend your days in the parks, enjoy some shopping… Moreover, we will present to you the good addresses in the following paragraphs.

    Transportation: The public transport system is excellent. The buses and the subways are operational until around 0.30 at night. If you are really in a hurry, you can always take a taxi or an Uber. You also have the usual e-bike rentals like Bird or Lime.

    Currency: Euro

    Language: French is obviously the official language. However, the local population mostly speaks English.

    Budget: Is Paris an expensive city? Basically yes, but there are also good plans. For accommodation, count at least 150 Euros. For meals, prices range from 20 Euros upwards. The tip is appreciated in all restaurants!

    Transport: The Paris Visite travel pass allows you to use all of the public transport networks: the metro, tramway, bus, RER, and SNCF Transilien networks.

    Prices for 1 day: 12 € for adults, 6 € for children (10-15 years) | 2 days: 19.50 € for adults, 9.75 € for children | 3 days: 26.65 € for adults, 13.30 € for children | 5 days: 38.35 € for adults, 19.15 € for children.

    THE MAP

    STROLLING THROUGH THE ILE SAINT LOUIS: A UNIQUE ATMOSPHERE IN PARIS

    A walk on the beautiful île Saint-Louis is undoubtedly one of the visits not to be missed during a stay in Paris. It offers a peaceful timeless atmosphere and magnificent views on both right and left banks and on the Seine. All the buildings on the Ile Saint Louis date from the 17th century and most of them are beautiful ‘Hotels particuliers’. They have the typical iron balconies and carved stone doorways. The roads around Ile Saint Louis are narrow and cobbled and very few cars drive through. It is a pleasant place to walk around with your kids.
    And why not finish your walk by a visit to the most prominent ice-cream maker of Paris, Berthillon.

    GLACIER BERTHILLON

    29-31 rue Saint-Louis en l’île | 75004 Paris

    The small shop and tearoom are located on the east side of the Rue Saint Louis en l’Ile, just before the crossing with the rue Des Deux Ponts. It is open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 10 am till 8 pm. At peak hours, the line gets really long. But apart from the main shop, most of the Cafés, brasseries or tea-rooms of the Island offer Berthillon ice-creams

    VISIT A CHILDREN’S THEATER IN PARIS

    Even if your kids don’t speak french, visiting a typical children’s theatre in Paris is a real pleasure and your kids will quickly get into the story and will follow the spectacle like the little Frenchies. There are many different theatres and shows around Paris and we suggest that you have a look at the website Fnac Spectacles , where you can buy the tickets online.

     If you prefer to see a typical french Guignol Theatre, you can go to the Jardin Luxembourg. Ther e is no need to take the tickets in advance, just be there 10 minutes before the show begins. For more info go to their website.

    A LA FOLIE THEATRE

    6, rue de la Folie Méricourt – 75011 Paris

    Housed in a paved courtyard, La Folie Theater is a small charming theatre in the 11th arrondissement and one of your favorite ones. In the afternoon they propose different shows for kids. You can find their program online on this website.

    SHOPPING IN PARIS: IT’S A MUST, EVEN WITH CHILDREN

    Paris is THE place for hunters and collectors. There are always new boutiques with the latest trends and concepts to discover. Stroll through the beautifully decorated Le Bon Marché, discover the latest trends in kid’s clothing and toys at Smalllable or get some new books at one of the established book shops in the 6th arrondissement. Paris is heaven for hunters and collectors, but not only to find the latest products but also for antiques and vintage treasure. Take a tour at the St. Ouen Market or on one of Paris Flea Market.

    LE BON MARCHÉ

    24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris

    Le Bon Marché is the temple of shopping for most Parisians. The selection is sophisticated and you will quickly get lost in the huge offer of products and nice decoration. The kid’s section has a nice offer of kid’s clothes and toys as well as a corner for children’s books.

    BONTON 

    Bonton is a lovely French Brand with a few shops around Paris. It’ main concept shop is in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris where you can find the brands clothing line, toys, decoration and furniture and even a hair dresser for kids.

    SPEND SOME TIME AT A CHILDREN’S BOOKSHOP

    We hope you enjoy reading as much as we do. Even if you don’t speak very well french, it is worth taking a closer look at some french children books, especially the beautifully illustrated versions for the smaller ones. Most of the book shops have an english corner. One of our favorite one is Chantelivre. They have large children’s books corner with a great selection.

     

    LIBRAIRIE CHANTELIVRE

    13 Rue de Sèvres, 75006 Paris

    STROLL THROUGH THE TUILERIES GARDEN

    With its many playgrounds and its idyllic setting, the Jardin des Tuileries is one of the most beautiful places in Paris. You can stroll along the Louvre and the Pyramide and enter the park from the East entrance. Under the huge chestnuts trees, in the center of the park are hidden two outdoor restaurants. This park is a favorite place for many Parisians who spend their free time relaxing on the legendary green Fermob chairs places all around the park.

    When you walk across the park in direction of the Place de la Concorde, you come along a large playground, a carousel, and some trampoline park. Your kids will love it!

    WATCH PARIS FROM THE RIVER

    There is a way to see the most emblematic places in Paris easily and in your own time. The cruise down the River Seine allows you to take in many of the highlights of the city—the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame, etc.—as you float along the famous Seine River. There are many operators, but the offer and prices are almost the same everywhere. You can choose between 30 minutes or a 1-hour cruise. Go to their website if you want to book a special cruise like a lunch or dinner cruise.

     

    VEDETTES DU PONT NEUF

    1 Square du Vert Galant, 75001 Paris

    Boats leave from the Square du Vert Galant near the Pont Neuf on the tip of the Île de la Cité (within walking distance of Notre Dame). 

    Prices: 14 euros for adults and 7 euros for children 4-12. You can find special offers when you book through their website.

    AN AFTERNOON AT THE BOIS DE BOULOGNE

    The Louis Vuitton Foundation and the Jardin d’acclimatation are two attractions situated in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris. When you buy your entrance to the Fondation Louis Vuitton you can enter for free to the Jardin d’acclimatation. It is a nice way to combine an exposition with an afternoon at the Jardin d’acclimatation where you find many attractions, some free play areas, many activities for nature lovers and lots of other interesting things for all the family. 

    FONDATION LOUIS VUITTON

    8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, 75116 Paris

    Frank Gehry imagined an architecture inspired by the glass Grand Palais, and also by the structures of glass, such as the Palmarium, which was built for the Jardin d’Acclimatation in 1893. The resulting glass building takes the form of a sailboat’s sails inflated by the wind. (wiki)

    JARDIN D’ACCLIMATATION

    Bois de Boulogne, Route de la Porte Dauphine

    Mini–roller coasters, mirrored funhouse, pony rides, and more. The entry fee is €5 (for adults or kids over 3), as are the actual rides, which you can buy in bulk at varying rates. 

    MUSEUMS & GALLERIES IN PARIS

    Apart from the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre, known for having the most impressive art collections in the world, Paris has many other incredible museums and galleries worth a visit with your kids. Many of them offer workshops or special kids tours. Here is a selection of our favorite ones:

    Line in front of the Mona Lisa | Louvre

    Centre Pompidou

    A new-age architectural masterpiece that houses over 100,000 pieces of art. The Centre Pompidou is often considered to be a shrine dedicated to modern art. It offers exhibitions, debates, and movies. The Kids Gallery is a special exhibition area designed for children under the ages of 16.

     

    ♥ Musée Rodin

    The Musée Rodin is situated in the beautiful Hôtel de Biron, a superbly maintained early 18th-century mansion with a huge garden with a pond, rose garden, ancient trees (some over a hundred years old), a café and numerous Rodin sculptures for you to admire.

    Musée du Quai Branly

    The Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac is a space dedicated to the arts of non-Western civilizations. It is known for its unusual design by Jean Nouvel. The exterior of the building almost seems alive with plant walls and wild gardens, while the interiors are dark, winding, and dramatically lit. You can take one of the family guided tours the museum offers. During the hour-long tour, you’ll discover objects from different continents, from rare pieces to temporary exhibits.

     

    Musée des Arts Décoratifs

    The MAD is situated in the west wing of the Louvre. It has a large collection of Applied Arts & Design, Advertising & Graphic Design, and Fashion & Textiles.  It is home to some 16,000 costumes from the 16th century to the present day but only displays during regularly scheduled themed exhibitions.

     

    Palais de Tokyo

     Palais de Tokyo   

     

    Palais Galliera | Musée de la Mode

    If you enjoy fashion, this is definitely the place to visit. A stone’s throw from the city’s most prestigious haute couture boutiques in the 16th district, the Musee Galliera is housed in a Renaissance-inspired palace. The museum has no permanent collections, so check out the current exhibition on the official website.

    Musée Rodin

    LUNCH AT THE MARCHÉ DES ENFANTS ROUGE

    If you really want to take a dip in the Parisian local culture, visit Le Marché des Enfants Rouges. It is the perfect place to taste a wide variety of food and choose from one of the many stalls that serve dishes from all over the world. It’s a charming spot in the Marais and we recommend it highly for a nice family lunch served on the small typically French tables.

    Don’t miss the little shops around the Market like the small charming Photography Shop near the main entrance. They have a wide choice of beautiful ancient photographies, views of Paris and portraits of Parisians in black & white.

    When you walk on the Rue de Bretagne you quickly spot the incredible Cheese Shop, who has a waste choice of French cheese. Further down the street, you come across some of the trendy cafés like the famous café Charlot or Le Progrès. Yes, it’s time for coffee on a terrace!

    LE MARCHÉ DES ENFANTS ROUGES

    rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris

    CAFÉ CHARLOT

    38, rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris

    LA CITÉ DES SCIENCES ET DE L’INDUSTRIE

    The Cite des Sciences is the largest science museum in Europe, which is located within the Parc de la Villette and is suitable for all ages with so much to discover, with a focus on science and technical knowledge, that has numerous interactive activities and sections for children upwards. It’s probably one of the best museums to visit in Paris with kids as it is highly interactive and fun.

    In a cavernous concrete block of a building, you’ll find the Cité des Enfants where kids can spend a 90-minute session exploring all sorts of things scientific. There are two entry options for the Cité des Enfants – one for kids aged 2-7 and on for kids aged 5-12.  We recommend buying your tickets online to pass the queue.  

    Tickets cost €12 per adult and €9 for children.

    LE JARDIN DES PLANTES & LA MÉNAGERIE

    The Jardin des Plantes is a lovely 17th-century garden to enjoy a stroll with your kids. Moreover, inside this garden, you will find a playground, some greenhouses and even a zoo (la Ménagerie) with more than 200 species of animals like panthers, crocodiles or orang-utans. Just next to the garden is situated at the Natural History Museum. The Evolution Gallery (Grande Galerie de l’Evolution) is very impressive and shows many realistic models of extinct species. 

     

    LA MÉNAGERIE

    57 Rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris

    Located at the northwest side of the Jardin des Plantes, the Ménagerie is France’s oldest public zoo. It was created in 1794 during the French Revolution to house the four survivors from the Royal Ménagerie of Versailles. Nowadays, its inhabitants include vultures, monkeys, orang-utans, ostriches, flamingos, a century-old turtle, plus another one rescued from the sewers, a gorgeous red panda and lots of satisfyingly scary spiders and snakes.

    LE SALON DE THÉ DE LA GRANDE MOSQUÉE

    2bis Place du Puits de l’Ermite, 75005 Paris

    Just next to the Jardin de Plante is located the Great Mosque of Paris with its traditional restaurant “Aux Portes de l’Orient” and its teashop. Have a break with your family and enjoy Turkish delights and other sweet oriental treats while sipping a mint tea.

     

     

    SUNSET AT MONTMARTRE

    When you visit Montmartre, begin your visit at the Abbesses metro station instead of Anvers, where most tourists start. You can then walk up to the Sacre Coeur through the charming narrow streets of the Montmartre district. For lunch, there are many small cafés and cute restaurants around rue des Abbesses.  Avoid the very touristic restaurants on the Place de Tertre.

    Once you arrived at the Sacré Cours you can enjoy the incredible view over Paris. The best moment is at sunset. Explore the tiny, winding little streets behind the famed old basilica, for a nice sunset-hour walk you won’t forget. 

     

    RESTAURANT SIGNATURE MONTMARTRE

    12 rue des Trois Frères, 75018 Paris

    A very nice small restaurant with a mix of French and Asian cuisine. Reservation is a must! 

    OUR FAVORITE PLACES TO STAY IN PARIS

    It goes without saying that you’ll have to spend the night somewhere. The big question is which hotel to choose, as the choices are vast. We’ve prepared a selection of great places:

    Mama Shelter is located in the 20th district and was designed by Philippe Starck. It feels rather out of the way, but this is an interesting area both now and historically when it was home to industrial workers. The metro is around a 10-minute walk from the hotel and takes you to the center in 20 minutes. It’s a trendy establishment with a colorful restaurant, a lively bar, and a seasonal rooftop terrace. It features as well an amusement area with table football and a gift shop. A top hotel to stay if you want to avoid the crowds in the center.

    It’s one of the city’s more relaxed, easygoing, and affordable (for Paris) options, it’s also in a great location just a few steps from Grands Boulevards Metro Station. Set in a historic 18th-century mansion and now classified as a monument historique, the Hoxton Paris is undoubtedly the most beautiful place to stay for a few nights.

    Staying the night at this luxury hotel is a real treat, like a slice of paradise in the middle of Paris’s beating heart. Le Meurice is an inspirational and fascinating place where 18th-century splendor and the most innovative modern comforts sit happily side by side.  Across the street are the Tuileries Gardens, home to a carnival in the summer months and Paris’ famed carousel. This makes it one of the most central locales in the entire city and a perfect place for families. Then there are the connecting rooms, perfectly designed for families of four. There’s no doubt that this Parisian locale has a certain joie de vivre.

    A very cozy and nice address in the center of the Marais and perfect when you travel with your family. The famous Place des Vosges is just across the street and many of the top shopping addresses are situated in the Marais like Merci or APC.

    It’s an elegant, family-owned boutique property, located in an aristocratic mansion. You can expect a warm, low-key welcome, comfortable rooms and an excellent breakfast. Some of its best dining spots are a short walk away.

    The Hotel Crayon takes us back to the time of classrooms, blackboards, pencils, and boxes of colors that have shaped our childhood. This Parisian hotel has colorful decorated walls and furniture to welcome its guests in a happy atmosphere. Located in the 1st district, Hotel Crayon is situated in the center of the city and close to all main major sight-seeing spots.

    Parisian real estate being what it is, there’s almost no way to open a hotel that’s both humanely comfortable and genuinely affordable within the actual city limits. Which is why you’re looking at a hotel in Saint-Ouen.

    Tablet’s first hotel in the Parisian suburbs is the product of Cyril Aouizerate, a hotelier whose populist bona fides are indisputable — he was one of the co-founders of Mama Shelter. So we’re inclined to trust him when he says his new project, Mob Hotel of the People, is worth a few extra minutes on the Métro.

    We hope you will enjoy your trip to Paris. And don’t forget to send us your best tips and addresses in the comments section. 

    See you soon for new adventures!

    OUR PARIS SHOPPING

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  • PARIS | Along the Canal Saint Martin

    PARIS | Along the Canal Saint Martin

    The Canal Saint Martin is definitely one of our favorite places in Paris and a very kids-friendly, bohemian area.

    On Sundays, the streets along the canal are only open to pedestrians and cyclists and become a communal backyard for the neighborhoods and a perfect spot for a relaxing Sunday afternoon walk.

    The area is stuffed with cool places to shop for children and parents, hip speciality coffee shops and it-restaurants. Rue Yves Tudic you can find Paris’ best boulangerie  “Du Pain et des idées”. Get your kids one of the famous escarcot à la pistache. They will love it!

    The area around the Canal Saint Martin was once a very working-class neighborhood with many small workshops. Over the last years the area of Canal Saint-Martin has become one of the trendiest places to live for creative professionals in Paris.

    Another great attraction of the Canal Saint-Martin is the multitude of street art and quirky stencils on the many small streets that line the canal. Thanks to its past as an abandoned spot, street artists and graffers have made the walls that run along the canal their canvas. From simple tags to elaborated street art, you can admire a lot of them during your walk (watch out for space invaders).

    At the beginning of the 19th, the Canal was first commissioned by Napoleon I to not only increase the amount of fresh water available to the population but to also provide water for fountains and street cleaning. Nowadays, the barges transporting food and other goods have been replaced by narrow boats traveling along the canal for the delight of tourists. If you are lucky, you may see a boat passing through one of the 9 locks.

     The Canal St. Martin connects to the Seine river just south of Bastille, and runs underground until it emerges again near République. That’s where we start our walks along rue du Fauboug du Temple until Quai de Valmy and then heading north along the canal. At a sunny day the area along the Canal is packed with hipster, running kids and stroller-pushing parents. The shops are allowed to open, including Artazart, Make my Lemonade and the arty cinema store, Potemkine, on rue Beaurepaire.

    When you are up to exploring more, then keep walking along the canal until you reach the Bassin de la Villette. This area has change a lot during the last years and after a much needed “clean up” by the city of Paris, it is now an enjoyable place. There are lots of summer activities like pétanque, kayak, swimming pools. Check out the permit-less electric boats at Marin d’Eau Douce.  You can pilot your own boat on cruises from 1-6 hours.  Bring your own food and drink and make a day of it!

    The Canal Saint Martin is packed with good addresses for kids and parents. Check out our top selection in the map below (all our maps are updated regularly).

    But first… our top 5:

    Artazart Design Bookstore

    A specialized art bookstore that has a wide range of books on painting, photography, and a huge section on graphic design. We love coming here during an afternoon (with the kids) and spending hours (without the kids) thumbing through these books.

    83 Quai de Valmy | 75010 Paris

    Make my Lemonade

    This is the first store of the DIY queen and blogger Lisa Gachet. On the shelves, the label’s clothing line as well as collabs with friendly brands. There is a workshops area, a cosy coffee and you can take all kind of DIY workshops.

    61 quai de Valmy | 75010 Paris

    Ten Belles

    A hip but friendly (doesn’t it go together) atmosphere. We fall for its pastries and good coffee! Check out their homemade breads!

    10, rue de la Grange aux Belles | 75010 Paris

    Du pain et des idées

    The painted glass ceilings and bevelled mirrors of this old Parisian bakery from 1870 reflect the quality of this place. The Viennese pastries, all made on site with perfect raw materials, snails with pralines, chocolate, lemon, pistachio, vanilla, apple and semi-salted butter tart, croissants, slippers, are a delight for children after school.

    34 Rue Yves Toudic | 75010 Paris

    Le comptoir général

    It is probably one of the most original and hidden places in Paris, decorated with African objects and European antiques. Hipsters, boho-chic types and families are all tumbled in together here in this bar/restaurant in an old 600 square-metre barn with lots of room for the kids to play.

    80 Quai de Jemmapes | 75010 Paris

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    INVADER CHASING IN THE STREETS OF PARIS!

  • Invader chasing in the streets of Paris!

    Invader chasing in the streets of Paris!

    We know, we know … it’s not really latest news!

    Nevertheless, it is always fun to stroll through Paris and hunt for some space invaders. The “Flash Invaders” app was released in 2014 and is updated regularly. With the app you can spot and “flash” the famous street mosaics of Invader and collect it in a gallery on your smartphone. With each new Space Invader added, the player is awarded between 10 and 100 points depending on the size, the materials used or where the mosaic is located. You can then compare and compete with other players.

    To realize the application, Invader (the artist’s nickname who wants to remain anonymous) had to collect and update his creation steadily until today. All his pieces are unique, named, dated, photographed and grouped in a database. The artist has made nearly 3,000 mosaics on walls over 80 cities. Paris, however, marked its beginnings and remains its main field of experimentation.

    We opened the hunt in the 11th arrondissement at Boulevard Beaumarchais and walked in direction of the canal Saint Martin. Seems to be one of Invader’s favorite neighborhoods and a nice spot for a stroll!

    Use the link below to download the app for free!

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    PARIS | ALONG THE CANAL SAINT MARTIN