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Trip Report Elmo in Paris: The Parisian Adventures of Two Parents, One Toddler and One Red Monster

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My husband, 21 month old daughter (at the time) and I visited Paris October 8-18. The trip was both wonderful and exhausting. Exhausting, well you can imagine why. Wonderful because traveling with a toddler who is excited by everything and eager to explore her world forces you to slow down, look around and enjoy the moment. Although we were constantly on the move, this was not a whirlwind trip. We really enjoyed the delight of just being in Paris, spending time outdoors (we lucked out on the weather) and seeing the city through a child's eyes. While that perspective involved a lot of time examining puddles, ducks and cigarette butts, it also allowed us to enjoy all the small joys of a beautiful city.

Last year around the same time we took our first trip overseas with our daughter (aka “La Petite” or “LP”) to Rome when she was 9 months old.  We had a fabulous time.  We were very nervous before we went but traveling with an infant was much easier than we expected and so rewarding.  We were exhilarated and immediately after that experience we began planning our next adventure.  Again, we chose to go to a city that we had been to many times before, were familiar with and where we would not be disappointed if we missed out on some sightseeing.  We decided to stay in one place for the whole time and do day trips if we wanted so we would have to move.  We booked our tickets very early (for us) - in May for October - and got a good deal on US Air tickets from Boston connecting through Philadelphia (the direct flight was much more expensive). We rented an apartment on the Left Bank.  We were looking forward to the trip for months and were very excited....although as our daughter because a typical pig headed toddler, we began to have some doubts. 

I used the Forum extensively to read all the postings about traveling with kids. Thank you Mebe, lawmom, BKP, jck4, and others for the useful information.  While my husband was taking French lessons and sensibly reading about exhibits and happenings in Paris I agonized over whether to bring regular or disposable bibs, to buy my wipes and home or bring them, etc.   Clearly time well spent! 

We bought LP a seat on the plane as when we went to Rome we plopped her in the carseat and she slept for entire flight.  No such luck this time.  Despite getting good advice on the forum to leave our bulky carseat at home and use the 1lb CARES harness, we brought the carseat.  A friend let us borrow her Go Go Kidz wheels which helped in that you can roll the carseat around the airport but it is still a heavy unwieldy bundle.  On the plane, our daughter refused to sit in the carseat.  I have no idea why, she is fine with it in the car but I guess that is just one of those irrational toddler things.  We forced her to sit in it during take off.  After her screaming for 15 minutes straight (and not just the kind of crying you can blame on her ears hurting where the other passengers m ight feel bad for you but articulate protests of "Mama Up, Up! Dada up!  Up! Up!").  If there was ever a time I was hoping to be teleported to another dimension, this was it.  After a while we couldn't take it anymore, took her out of the carseat and she remained on my lap for the next 7 hours with intermittent periods of sleep.  If we hadn't had the damn carseat I actually think she would have sat in the seat.  Oh well.    Anyway, we finally got to Paris, no problem getting our bags, got in a taxi (where yes, I did use the carseat) and we were off on our hour long car ride at rush hour into Paris.

We rented apartment 148 from Vacation in Paris (http://www.vacationinparis.com/apts/id_148.htm).  The location was perfect for us - right across the street from Jardin Luxembourg so the little one could have some time to run around each day and convenient to shops, restaurants and sites.  It was also spacious - a decent size living dining room with two bedroom that each had queen size beds (not the typical Napolean sized beds).  The washing machine actually worked although it took about 6 hours to wash 4 pairs of underwear some socks and pair of jeans that came out soaking wet and the views from this top floor were fabulous.  The decoration was austere which suited us, less for LP to break.

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