Just merely joining the three words “babymoon”, “Paris” and “your toddler” in only one sentence sounds a lot of fun to me. So only imagine how fun it will be if you can actually do it? And this is exactly what we did just few years ago!
I had always wanted to go to Paris. To the city of great romances, culture, remarkable buildings, art, and of course croissants. It is amazing how our imagination with the help of books, movies and stories creates its own version of expectations of each place. When my husband announced few years ago that we are going to celebrate my birthday in Paris, I was happy. Although, being four month pregnant of course completely cut off the possibility to complete my personal bucket list bullet nr. 78 “Drink Calvados when sitting in a Paris café”, I sure was excited. [You do agree with me that the way Remarque speaks about drinking Calvados in his “L´Arc de Triomphe “ kind of makes you want to try it out also?]
Our Paris trip was not only aiming to celebrate my birthday and the new baby but also to enjoy some extra family time with our one year old (17 months old at the time of travel). Ever since our children were born, we have been taking them with us to most of our trips. Although not everybody likes to travel with their kids and does not understand well why others do it, for us it is a normal part of life. Of course every now and then we do short romantic breaks here and there, but our holidays we like to spend as a family. Travelling is just the best way to practice mindfulness, by spending as much time in the present moment as possible without our everyday worries. And it is definitely the best way to teach to our children about the world around us, how to be curious and tolerant. This Paris trip was our first foreign travel with a child (when discounting flying home),and luckily a good one thus providing us with an extra travel-courage for the coming years.
If Paris already did remind me some works of the great authors (especially from the lost generation, like Remarque and Hemingway), then our Paris accommodation was like the cherry on top of that Parisian cake! We got the chance to spend our 3 Paris nights in a tiny attic apartment (of a friend) on the last floor of an old building, just about 100 meters away from the Notre Dame Cathedral. This tiny charming Parisian apartment just made the whole trip even more magical than expected.
We normally like to literally walk around the cities when travelling, but this time we had to adapt a bit to the special needs of the travellers involved 🙂 December breeze, baby on the way, toddler in the trolly did require a bit bigger comfort. Even though Paris has a good network of public transport, we opted for a touristic bus this time. Not only did it tour us around the city, we could also easily jump off when needed. The logistics seem to work out well, although challenging at times for my husband, who had to manage all the lifting and carrying most of the time.
They say “art never comes from happiness”. I am not sure about the source of origin, but I do believe that the end result does contribute to the happiness of the world. To be honest we are far from being artsy or anything like this, but we do enjoy seeing artworks. Although we are normally not travelling with a tight pre-planned itinerary, we do try to squeeze in a museum or two every now and then. And Paris is the perfect place to boost up one´s necessary art intake. We started with the Centre Pompidou, the colourful contemporary art gallery and sort of a cultural hub. We spent hours enjoying the ambience and the artworks and so did our little daughter. [The rainy Paris weather of course helped a lot with indoor activities.] We finished the visit to the Pompidou Centre by sneaking into the rooftop restaurant, the Georges Restaurante (restaurante Georges). And I do mean “sneaking into” because we were totally under-dressed for the occasion (wearing winter jumpers opposed to other fancy dinner outfits of other clients) and pulling a stroller with a sleeping baby (the ambient did not seem like a typical baby-friendly place). Probably the only pro-argument for them to accept us without reservation was the fact we had been visiting the museum. Well whatever it was, we did have a great experience. But I was secretly praying (read: asking the universe) that our baby would sleep through the meal, without waking up and creating any confusion and mess.. I believe this is a typical fear of a recent parent during their first public appearances. And being abroad in a fancy environment dressed in a ski jumper was not helping at all. However, this experience did go smoothly 🙂 And I do recommend for you to give a try!
Of course, really nothing can beat the experience of visiting the Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre)! Seeing the great treasures it hides inside feels even more exciting after reading the novel (or seeing the movie) the Da Vinci Code. When walking around its galleries, it is easy to imagine oneself in the middle of some mysterious happening.. And for sure you feel that even more when the local security man joins you to chase after your toddler, who has escaped to the other side of the security barriers… Great fun for all parties 😉
Like every Louvre visitor, we also did wait patiently until we arrived to see the famous Mona Lisa painting. I was quite disappointed. When it was my turn to go closer, there was too many people on top of one another and I did also sense a possible pickpocketer behind my back.. So basically I felt I have had more intimate moments with Mona Lisa when seeing her through a television or on a print-out.. However, I assume there is no better way to organize the daily crowds of her visitors. This experience is what it is.
We always try to make sure we do visit some nice restaurants or coffee-shops as gathering culinary memories and savouring the moment with good food is an important part of our travel routine. Besides trying the famous french onion soup and having some more casual meals, we did also made an effort to visit the famous Angelina Tea House (La Maison Angelina).. After a little bit of standing in a queue behind the door we were shown to our table. And we did go for its traditional favourites – the African hot chocolate and the Mont-Blanc pastry (meringue, light whipped cream and chestnut paste vermicelli.. I shall talk no more..).
On my birthday we chose to visit the Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles), the beautiful royal palace and gardens full of history and stories. It was a great sunny day in that royal ambience, and a fertile soil for one´s imagination. The only downside was the fact that you are not allowed to take the baby stroller with you. So as one can imagine it was not so easy to carry for few hours a toddler. I tried my best to help my husband, but carrying two babies is not always easy 😉
Since we had already started a special relationship with the Angelina Tea House, we were happy to find their tea house also in the Versailles premises. My birthday cake was tiny but delicious, shared with my favourite people. ❤
Going to Paris for a short city trip is always an awesome idea! This romantic city full of history and cultural treasures offers to any type of traveller something to experience and something to remember. Even if it is the visit to the most famous landmark of Europe, the Eiffel Tower! This time our family did not go to the Eiffel Tower, because of the long queues and cold weather, but something has to be kept for the next visit too!
Our TOP 3 TIPs for travelling to Paris with toddlers:
- Be aware that you are not allowed to take your baby stroller to some of the museums, including the Versailles Palace & Eiffel Tower (to the upper level)
- Parents with baby strollers might get a priority entrance to places
- Watch out your toddler does not cross these museum safety lines (protecting the artworks) the security people take their job very seriously and go after your child immediately.
- Pre-purchase your entrance ticket to the Eiffel Tower or any other site
- And be courageous and do sneak into a nice restaurant (even if at once) for a great dinner experience. Probably dressing up and choosing an off-peak hour would be the best 😉