R’s first stamp on her passport, and our big trip of the year was to Paris. We spent 10 days in a lovely 2 bedroom apartment in Marais. The neighborhood was very cute, and our apartment was located in a small square. The journey there was your typical why-is-it-so-hard-flying-with-a-toddler-please-just-go-to-sleep. But once we were there, things went really well. R got over jet lag after one night. I couldn’t believe it.
First things first, the food. We loaded up on yogurt and wine (which cost less than the yogurt!) from the monoprix and supermarche. Also sampled lots of great cheeses from the local fromagerie and breads from the various boulangeries. C’est bon! R asked for yaourt and croissant every morning. There was also a really good falafel a few blocks from us. Eating out was fun, and we did that almost every night. Since we were on the American early-bird schedule, we’d be the first ones seated at the restaurants for dinner - beating even the Parisian seniors! My favorite dishes there the escargot stuffed mushrooms, crepe suzette, and duck confit. The bread served with each meal was also really yummy. R was never a big fan of bread, but she would reach out for the baguette pieces every time in Paris! It was that good. She also loved the macarons when we had afternoon tea at Ladurée.
The sites. Traveling with a toddler means you can’t pack it all in. When we were planning out our itinerary, we decided it’d be good if we even got to do one place each day. That turned out to be the case. We had a lot of fun wandering through Musee d’Orsay looking for the ballerina painting in R’s Olivia book.
R jumped up and down and exclaimed “FOUND IT!”
We took a day trip out to Versailles on the one sunny morning of our trip. Since the garden is 800 hectares, we rented a golf cart to drive around, and it was so much fun. R loved holding the steering wheel. We had stopped and picked up some food from the Place du marche for picnicking. Eating black truffle ham, baguette, and yogurt on the palace grounds was an unforgettable experience.
Getting around Paris was pretty easy on the bus. We tried the metro, but the stairs were too tiring for me, especially while carrying a kid and stroller. Most of the time we just walked. R napped very well in the stroller, so we’d hang out in the city. When we were in Saint Germaine, I got us some treats from Poilâne, and we walked over to a small park and had an afternoon snack there. Another day, she napped for all of Champs-Élysées. After a morning at the Centre Pompidou, we walked over and spent an entire nap at Merci - a beautiful store with a cafe that had yummy pistachio cake.
We booked a chauffeur’d day tour of Paris so that we could get reservations for the Eiffel tower cafe and avoid the crazy long lines. That day had the craziest rain of the week. We had to wait just 5 minutes in the outdoor line at the Eiffel tower, and we were freezing. It was hard to believe the crowds all around us had been waiting for 2 hours. The restaurant was nice (food just mediocre), and they seated us right next to the window where we had an beautiful view of the Trocadero fountains blowing in the wind. The water was spraying everywhere because of the winds. R loved getting milk in a glass with a straw there, and she called it the Eiffel tower milk!
Since our apartment was near the Notre Dame, we saw it every time we left our Paris home. R would always say “Oka Dahm! Found it!” as we passed it. She was very excited to get to “try it” during our tour. Now that we’re back home, she saw another pointy church and called it Oka Dahm, haha.
We must have crossed the Seine almost everyday. Our tour included a cruise on the river, and R had fun seeing all the different bridges and boats. It was raining so hard that day that it was great to relax in a covered boat.
Our friend recommended a kids book for us to buy while we were there called Paris Hide and Seek. It turns out our apartment is on one of the pages, haha. So R found us in the book.
We lived right near the Place du Vosges, and on our last day, R played in the sandbox with a couple other girls her age. One was French, and there were two Italian sisters. Somehow they were able to share sand toys without speaking a common language. They would trade tools and fill up the buckets together. It was amazing to watch.
Other kid stuff. We were lucky that we didn’t need to use a high chair or booster seat for her during the entire trip. It also made it easier that we could just order her milk with our meals and have her drink from glasses. The people that sat near us for dinner always complimented her good behavior - thanks to our headphones and iPad, coloring books, etc. R maintained her potty success there and even though I had packed a bunch of pull-ups to bring with us, we ended up taking a third of them home with us because she didn’t use them during the day.
It was such a great family trip, and we will miss our home in Marais: the cobblestone square, Mme Figuera walking her dog, Paul’s croissants, and the random Qbert and Space Invaders art on building corners.