Traveling with Children in Europe: Bring the Kids!


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Feeding a poney at Luxembourg gardens
Photo by Chris Card Fuller
Are you worried about bringing your children to Europe? Will they scream on the airplane and make you want to crawl into an overhead compartment? Will they run around restaurants and invoke stares of disdain? Will they run their fingers along the newly restored glass mirrors in Versaille’s Hall of Mirrors?

Being a traveler sans enfants, I can’t give you much advice about preparations to make your family trip to France ‘worry-free’ and fun, but I can tell you this much. Children are rarely excluded in France. People rarely invite parents to dinner without inviting the children. The fact that kids are so often included in outings – they learn at early age how to act in a ‘grown-up’ environment. When things do go wrong, kids are the models for us adults.

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I’m referring specifically to the famous five-hour wait on the runway on our connection from Paris to Rochester. Directly in front of us, a young girl (not older than twelve) and a family friend were headed up to Rochester where the girl would be attending summer camp. After five hours of sitting and waiting for take off, and knowing that she would miss her first day of summer camp, she didn’t complain once. There were a lot of kids on this flight and aside from one infant who cried maybe once during the entire wait, the only people complaining and groaning were the adults.

Next time a kid is kicking the back of your seat in sardine configured tourist class, remember that in stressful situations, kids often save the day with their optimism!