Paris with bèbè

Well, given it’s Paris I figure I can save a ton of time writing this post because I don’t have to convince any of you that is beautiful and a must see. I will give it 1 additional minute to say Paris in winter is still worth visiting if you are questioning the time of year to go. Two words for winter visitors: Christmas lights. As my idol Audrey Hepburn said, “Paris is always a good idea!” And she’s right.

Now, Paris with a baby… it’s still a good idea, but it’s definitely not easy. I’m going to do a highlight of the setbacks and how we overcame them for now because you know all of the great reasons to go.

  1. There are no highchairs. I’m not exaggerating here. We knew of 1 restaurant with them and that is because my friend worked there and ordered them two high chairs after talking to me and constantly saying sorry to many American tourists from the hotel it was connected to requesting them. This is fairly easily solved with either keeping your child in the stroller and eating outside on the sidewalk seating (beware lots of smoking happening here) or getting an over the seat highchair cover thing. We did both, but our chair cover really caught the eyes of Parisians. Just a note as well, you won’t find any Parisian babies out at restaurants really. Saturday morning/lunch maybe, but it’s just not the culture. The heavy use of crèche, nannies and babysitters is very common. To the point of having a few long conversations explaining our parenting style with my friend’s friends and explaining why I/we take my baby places and why I/we spend so much time with him. Attachment parenting has not hit France yet. Personally, I loved proving everyone’s opinions wrong by having a happy well behaved little man while eating out. If you are a bit sensitive be prepared for a less than gracious host once they discover you plan to eat avec bèbè. 
  2. Elevators do not mean no stairs or that you can keep baby in a stroller it is highly likely you will still encounter some stairs even if your building has an elevator. Newer buildings you’re ok, but older buildings usually have a step or two before or after the elevator. In many places you will have to fold your stroller to use the elevator (the Eiffel Tower, small elevators in residential buildings if you don’t want to wait forever) even umbrella or compact size strollers. Sometimes it’s just easier to fold and do the stairs or carry the stroller with baby in it because you will not get the courtesy of people who are capable of taking the stairs getting off and letting you on because you have a baby. Nor will you find people who will let you on before them. We had a particularly bad experience at Les Invalides with the elevator. There were quite a few young adults there that day and young children with their parents (and all I will say about the french children we encountered is the book Bringing Up Bèbè must have been inspired by some very different Parisian children that we never saw because the ones we were around were not inspiring us to follow their parenting methods.) despite not really being busy, and they all used the elevator. Even just for 1 floor. They showed no care for the fact we had to use the elevator, and they didn’t considering they spent each floor chasing after their offspring who many times while waiting for the elevator went running up and down the nearby steps trying to coerce their parents into just taking them instead. Then, when we did fit with one family on the elevator their little girl pushed every button. No punishment, no telling her to say sorry, one elevator. The Louvre was not much better once you are in the galleries, but you do get to skip the entry line if you have a stroller and that lift is nice and controlled! Yay! 
  3. Smoking is everywhere. Our son had never really been exposed to it, we aren’t used to it either, bring allergy medicine for you, baby saline drops and a travel humidifier. Shouldn’t be as bad is summer when it doesn’t linger as much. The air pollution was also terrible while we were there, but hey, they made the metro free! 
  4. Hardly Any Changing Stations we have this problem here in Chicago too, so I’m not afraid to do it right there in the stroller wherever I am. Don’t like it? Install facilities for babies! The museums do have some great changing areas, usually in a private family bathroom or at least a separate area for just the station with its own sink. 
  5. Crappy Diaper Selection the diaper selection is pretty small. If you use pampers you’re in luck. I ran out of day time diapers literally 24 hrs before our flight home. Finally found a sensitive brand I had never seen before. It took 4 stores and every pharmacy along the way. Plus side of packing diapers? Lots of room in your suitcase by the end of the trip for your new purchases;) 
  6. Just not that baby friendly like other places we have traveled. I believe this is because of the cultural differences in how babies and children should be treated and should spend their time. Like I said before, I don’t think attachment parenting is big in Paris. I wouldn’t say anyone was directly rude to us, but on a few occasions we were given a cold shoulder. We did have a welcoming experience at the children’s emergency room, but that is obviously considered an appropriate place to bring your baby.  The nurses (who all spoke English!), the facility, everything was very nice and affordable! No insurance, 56€ for the hospital visit and 2€ for all three of his medications!! One stale note about the experience, our doctor stopped speaking English once he realized I spoke french and did so well enough to clearly understand everything happening to our son. My husband asked him if he would please speak English again, and he straight up ignored him continuing only to talk directly to me in French. I translated it, no big deal to me, but hubby was pretty upset. So we did have one stereotypical French snobbery experience, but that’s it. 
  7. No Kids Menu at most places sorry if you have a picky eater, there is McDonald’s there and frites are a french norm. I don’t really believe in the “kids” menu anyway. We just share our food with Sebastian or order him a small dish of something to supplement our sharing.

And that is really all I can think of. We rented an apartment from A la carte Paris. It was in a fantastic location for us, beautiful, clean and fully equipped. We will definitely be staying there again. Apartments are definitely the way to go in Paris with or without kids. We had a good trip despite some personal obstacles and illness. We will hopefully be back in the city of light in the near future, and actually get to use our Disneyland passes and not spend that day sick in the hospital instead! 

Leave me some comments with questions or your own experiences! 

Buon viaggio amici! 

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Paris with bèbè

  1. Hey lady! Was thinking about this post and wondering if you’d had your trip yet? If so, I hope it went well and didn’t involve too many tears. If not, I’m thinking about you. I was away from Gia for the first time Thursday night because the hubs had a business dinner in charleston and I went with him. I was a wreck.

    Also, after hearing about the house y’all are buying, I think you should blog about your renovations!

    Like

    1. Thanks! We had a good evening! Our son didn’t even miss us, but I decided to go pick him up from my mom’s in the morning and cancelled our brunch reservations😅 He seriously didn’t even care we came back to be with him, so I probably shouldn’t have done that. Oh well!

      I was thinking about it, but thought it might be weird bc I started this as a travel blog? Not weird? I also refinish furniture as a hobby and got an amazing set when we went salvaging for my birthday. I will have to post those before and after pics too.

      Btw we are going to Savannah this summer for a couple of days in early June on our back home from Disney World! Pretty sure we are staying at the Hampton Inn in the historic area bc it had the best HH points deal, so definitely need recommendations on what to do, see and eat with 48 hrs in Savannah!

      Like

      1. The way I see it, life is about adventures! And what bigger adventure is there than buying and remodeling a home? He’s “on board” for all of it! I wish I had chronicled our remodel.

        We live in the Victorian District, which is south of the historic district!

        My number one favorite place in the city is Forsyth Park! It is gorgeous at dusk. I also recommend that everyone visiting take a riverboat cruise! There are tons fun little shops in the southern part of the historic district. Leopalds ice cream and Paris Market on Broughton Street are must visits!

        I know you mentioned that yall love history, which is great, because there is soooo much down here.

        Battlefield Park is a revolutionary war site that sometimes has reenactments.

        Wormsloe Historic site is frequently recommended, but it’s not my favorite. It’s mostly nature and trees and not worth it if y’all want to do a plantation tour. Rose Hill is only about 45 minutes away and much better, but I didn’t know if y’all wanted to drive that far.

        There are also ghost tours, cemetery tours (Bonaventure is well worth it), architecture tours, etc. but Savanah is a great town to walk and explore on your own!

        Tybee island is fun too, but y’all may be done with the sun after Disney in June!

        As far as food goes, pretty much everyone recommends Mrs. Wilkes, but I don’t care for the atmosphere. The food is fantastic, but they seat you with 6-8 other people. That’s not how I prefer to enjoy a meal.

        Olde Pink House is a local fave, but it’s pricey for what amounts to upscale soul food. I’ve never had a bad meal, but you can get the same meal at about a hundred other places for cheaper.

        I really like Vic’s on the River. It’s also a little pricey, but the atmosphere is fantastic!

        If you are adventurous eaters, Alligator Soul is a must hit (even if you aren’t adventurous, the food is incredible). They have an exotic section of their menu that has all kinds of unusual meats, kangaroo, ostrich, antelope. And they have half price happy hour drinks!

        Vinnie Van Go Go’s pizza is yummy and you can get it by the slice or y’all can share a full size (and eat the leftovers for dinner later…they are huge) It’s cash only though, which I have a tendency to forget.

        My fave brunch spot is Huey’s! It’s a New Orleans inspired menu and the seafood omelette is perfection!

        Haha, I could go on and on and on! I love living here!

        I hope y’all have a blast visiting!

        PS we leave for St. Augustine tomorrow morning!!

        Like

      2. I’m super excited now, and maybe we will add an extra day to our time in Savannah!!

        We are big foodies, so thanks for all of the recommendations!! Over priced food drives me crazy too! We don’t mind sharing the table, though. We were New Yorkers for a short time, and would love to be again if we got the chance. Sharing a table at a diner or deli is pretty normal there, so we’ve learned to either zone them out or make new friends:)

        We are only doing two days at Disney and then hitting the beach in St. Augustine. It shocks most people, but our summers are super hot and humid up here too. The sad part is we don’t have the ocean anywhere nearby so it’s 95 and pavement paradise😝 There is Lake Michigan when will be back up here a couple days a week, but I have this thing against lakes. Lol.

        I hope you enjoy your trip!!! We are having 30s and high winds this weekend, good for February, but no beach weather😉 If you guys stay in a hotel or condo that turns out awesome please let me know! Always looking for suggestions for when we are a big crowd and need extra accommodations:)

        Like

  2. Oh my goodness lady! I’m so excited to see this post! We read Bringing up Bebe as well, and I was super worried about how the French would respond to Gianna being with us all the time. She does really well for being 13 months old and will sit in her high chair for over an hour.

    I also agree with wanting to prove people wrong, that your child can be behave in public. Also, love your point about the kids menu. We refuse to order Gia anything from it.

    I’m going to need you to travel more so that I can decide where I’m going next! We officially decided to take Gia with us in June, so here’s to hoping she doesn’t develop a case of the terrible twos at 18 months!

    Like

    1. You will have a blast! Sebastian had a double ear infection, it was winter (but we live in Chicago so he thought it was spring😂), he is in his own version of the tantrum stage and we still had a good time! Love your daughter’s name btw!

      I think our next big trip is going to be Disney World this spring! We had planned to go to Disneyland Paris, but ended up in the hospital and at the apartment sick those days:( Hubby has to visit 27 US offices this year so we will definitely be doing many little US trips. Thinking LA, NYC, Boston, Tampa (with a trip to Orlando for Disney) and San Fransisco will be our tag alongs. So stay tuned! Trying to get hubby to still take me to Italy, but he got me my dream house that requires more work than he wanted so I can’t push him too far haha. And one of my good friends is coming to the US this year, so I don’t have that excuse anymore. :/ lol

      Like

      1. Oh my goodness! What does your hubby do? My hubs travels a lot, but finally feels like he is at the point that it’s okay for us to tag along. He hates tacking on PTO to business trips.

        As of right now, he supposed to be in Germany for Oktoberfest, so I’m excited to tag along to that one!

        We took Gia to Disneyworld in August. She was only 7 months old, so it was kind of pointless, but we got some cute photos!

        Like

      2. Germany will be awesome. I’m super jealous, I’m big fan of German beer (well honestly I’m a big fan of beer in general) We have been trying to live in Germany for 6 months- 1 yr since my husband started his current job. They told us maybe in another year, again, so who knows if it will ever happen:/ He’s an attorney for an international company, so he goes all over negotiating deals and discussing policy. He goes to Japan at least once a year, but that’s the one place he won’t let us tag along. I really want to go though!! We just do our own thing during the week and spend the weekend together, so he doesn’t have to take any additional time off. For Ireland he took 3 full days, the rest were work days or weekend. But he can work from “home”, so that helps a lot. Disney he will probably take that following Monday, but his work is very generous with pto.

        My uncle and aunt both work for Disney so we get into the parks for free:) We did Disney Springs for lunch on our way to the airport from my grandma’s house. Bash actually seemed interested in the Disney shops, so it was a real bummer he missed Disneyland Paris. We didn’t take him before bc we figured it would be lost on him, so we went places more for us. One baby to travel with is pretty easy, but once we add more to our family we know it will definitely need to be more kid focused travel. Lol. Ireland was actually really kid friendly, so we decided that Ireland and Italy will probably be our vacation spots as our family grows. We’ll always travel, but we know it’s not going to get any easier!

        I’ve never spent time away from Bash, literally, like I think the most is 6 hrs for a wedding this summer. But my birthday is in a couple weeks, and my husband has planned this romantic weekend less than an hour away from my parent’s house so that is going to be my biggest baby travel hurdle. He loves being at my parent’s, but for 540 days he’s slept by my side. For like 440 of those days he slept literally by my side nursing 3 times a night. I’m going to lose it, guaranteed. I’m going to be one of those pathetic women who have one too many drinks and end up crying while reapplying lipstick in the bathroom. Hopefully, I’m being melodramatic right now, but I’m Irish, Italian and Jewish (I’m not religious though) so it’s pretty much in my blood to overreact. 😂😂

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s