Sunday, June 5, 2011

Paris Museums with a baby

Paris of course has art museums like no other city in the world. Orsay, Rodin, Orangerie, and the Louvre are the obvious ones. They are also one of the most crowded places with lines reaching around buildings in the hit summer sun. You can buy your tickets ahead of time online, but this isn't always practical, especially with a young child whose schedule isn't always in sync with an itinerary. But Paris museums are one place where having a baby is actually a major advantage (at least in some ways). Have no fear of the long lines and hour long waits. If you are visiting with a baby you can walk right up to the handicap entrance. Not only is this a time saver, but as I have already mentioned in earlier posts, Harris doesn't handle any amount of heat well, so it saves from having a very fussy baby.

Once inside every museum is different in terms of ease of access with a stroller. Musee d'Orsay was excellent. There were ramps and elevators to just about every exhibit. And at least one bathroom had a changing table.

The Louvre is such a large museum and in an old building so it is obviously not going to be as stroller friendly. There are elevators to access everything, but they are not always in the best places for seeing the highlights in an efficient way. If possible it would be best to plan out your route through the museum ahead of time. There is an okay cafe. And there are changing tables in the bathrooms. However, they are crowded bathrooms to begin with and the tables are tucked into the entrance doorway niche so it makes it a difficult spot since generally the line is out the door. There are bathrooms inside the exhibit halls that wouldn't have as bad of lines. Also, not all entrances are handicap/stroller friendly. The main, pyramid entrance is and as previously mentioned you can skip the queue and go straight to the security check. You are then escorted down to the main level via an attendant operated lift.

Musee Orangerie is small museum and the only museum that actually made me turn in the stroller even though they all listed this as a rule on the website. The other museums' websites said there was a free stroller rental, but that your own wasn't allowed in for security reasons. Orangerie offered me a carrier, but we had brought our own Ergobaby carrier. it is a small museum and you only need an hour to do it, so this isn't a big deal. There isn't a cafe. There is a nice bathroom with a changing table and plenty of room.

Overall I thought the museums we went to were baby friendly. We traveled a bit before the huge tourist season and it was already extremely crowded at the Louvre. Orsay had long entrance lines, but was not too crowded inside and Orangerie had only a short security line and was very enjoyable inside. I will say that I think the crowds at the Louvre could be a problem if you have a more mobile baby who isn't happy being trapped in a stroller as it can be quite chaotic. This wouldn't be as much of an issue during the lighter travel seasons.

I hope this helps someone planning a trip to Paris with a young family. There is a lot of negative information out there about Paris not being baby-friendly. There are definitely challenges, but the museums weren't one of them.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Paris, France

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