Back from Paris with baby - Trip Report

Old May 14th, 2009, 01:06 PM
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Back from Paris with baby - Trip Report

We spent April 25th to May 2nd in Paris, our second trip (first was in September 2004). This time we went with our baby daughter, who turned 10 months while in Paris, my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law, first-timers both. As we expected, this visit was very different from our first, when we hit all the top sights and were out and about until the city was illuminated. For the record, DD was not crawling at the time of the trip, and she is a very laid back and social baby, used to being out and about with mom and dad back home and eager to engage strangers in games of peek-a-boo.

We stayed in a 2-bedroom apartment in the 1st, it’s one of the vacationinparis apartments (#22) but we rented it through its owner, John Knutson, because his rates were cheaper. Dealing with him was great, very prompt in responding to e-mail, mailed the keys before our departure, and provided us with a playpen and baby bath for our DD. The apartment was very nice, bigger than we expected, the main bedroom had a very comfortable bed and glorious blackout curtains that allowed our DD to sleep until 9 AM every morning. The kitchen could only fit one person at a time but it was well-equipped. The bathroom was a good size with a very deep bathtub. The smaller bedroom had not so comfortable beds according to my in-laws, but it was fairly large and bright. The building elevator fits only two very skinny people at a time.

There was a boulangerie/patisserie one street over with great baguettes and delicious pastries at good prices. Rue Montorgueil was a five minute walk away, there we found grocery stores, roasted chickens, and cake and flowers for my husband’s birthday. It was an easy walk to the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Opera and the 5th and 6th arrondissements.

We arrived in Paris with very few goals in mind, mostly things we didn’t get to do on our first trip. My list included the Carnavalet, Orangerie and Marmottan museums, the inside of the Opera Garnier, taking a boat trip, and watching the Eiffel tower sparkle at least once. My DH just wanted to hang out at the Tuileries by the boat pond, and take strolls with the baby. My in-laws wanted to see all the big sights, so they spent afternoons on their own.

We took a big fully reclining stroller so that DD could nap in it comfortably, with a large basket for purchases, coats, etc., and big wheels to navigate the sidewalks without ramps. As we expected, the metro was problematic as the wheels of the stroller would not allow it to fit through the turnstile or the exit doors. Our stroller is 25 inches wide with the rear wheels on. The wheels snap off making the stroller only 15 inches wide, which was good enough to get through. We took the metro only 6 times with the stroller so it was not a big problem for us. We also tried the bus once and there was a pole when you come into the middle door that kept the stroller from entering with the wheels on. In all, we were happy we took the bigger stroller and would do it again.

Our DD charmed many a Parisian, causing them to come over and talk to us while we tried to keep up with their French. It was wonderful to see DD engage in the same kind of flirty behavior she displays at home with perfect French strangers on the metro or at a museum or at a café, and watch them respond to her. She munched on a baguette pretty much the entire time, we also bought some jars of baby food in very tasty combinations and even got some formula that she didn’t seem to mind.

We visited the Orangerie and the Marmottan with her, the Orangerie does not allow strollers, the Marmottan does, we put DD in the BabyBjorn in both and she had fun making friends with the museum guards while we looked at the paintings. The Marmottan even waived their no food policy and allowed her to munch on her baguette inside the museum since she didn’t want to give it up.

We spent a lot of time by the Tullieries pond watching the boats to my husband’s content, eating lunch or ice cream. We also spent a couple of hours sitting in the little park behind Notre Dame, me contemplating the flying buttresses, DH taking pictures and video, and DD fascinated by three pigeons walking about. We got to do everything on our list in spite of the slow baby pace. The time change pushed DD’s bedtime to 9PM instead of the usual 7:30 so that gave us a bit more time to be outside.

We did miss seeing the city at night, especially the Eiffel Tower sparkling, so on our last night we left the in-laws with DD asleep and took the metro to Ecole Militaire to watch the tower sparkle at midnight. We didn’t know that nowadays it only sparkles for a couple of minutes instead of the ten minutes when we were there last, so it was a bit of a letdown to have it end so quickly. Yet, sitting on the grass, amidst a bunch of loud Parisian teenagers, watching the tower sparkle with a couple of glasses of Cremant d’Alsace on a plastic bottle was our most romantic Paris moment this trip.

Having DD with us this time around helped us experience Paris not just as the beautiful, historic city we love, but as a sweet, welcoming, warm city as well, and that was worth all the challenges of traveling with a baby.

Thanks for reading and happy travels!
regalada is offline  
Old May 14th, 2009, 01:44 PM
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What a great report! Makes me want to have a baby and take it to Paris
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Old May 16th, 2009, 12:53 AM
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hey thats great that you managed so well
i personally wouldnt travel with a baby if i had a choice but if there is a trip to be had and baby to take - then id do it!

glad she is so well travelled already!
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Old May 16th, 2009, 05:40 AM
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Sounds like a great trip! I would think that travelling with a baby that age would be great - especially for a second trip. Your trip report attests to the joy of being 'forced' to have to relax the pace, but like you said, it didn't mean you missed anything, just gave it a different perspective! They are portable, not yet independantly mobile, so not frustrated at being contained as long as the scenery in front of them is changing. I think it sounds delightful! thanks for posting
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Old May 18th, 2009, 11:38 PM
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Hi Regalada, that was great report, we will be travelling to Paris also with our 2 y/o son on sept, im thinking it would be hard cause he is really a terrible 2 but reading your post made me think that it would be awesome, we travelled to Asia and other states in the US when he was 1 y/o but he wasn't that active yet, i just hope he will cooperate, and we are bringing big wheelstroller to navigate the sidewalks but im thinking it would be hard for my husband to lifting it up to the 4th floor and down everyday (for the apt we rented doesn't have elevator) so we're might just just bring the lighter one but durable. Did you guys go to different parks/gardens? what are the activities they have? im sure my son will enjoy them. Thanks.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 04:53 AM
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Great trip report! To the previous poster (NJ05047), assuming this will be your first trip to Paris, you will definitely want to take your son to the Luxembourg gardens as they have a wonderful play area for children plus the lake with sailboats. Although my husband and I did not have any children in our prior trips to Paris, we were struck by how many nice children's play areas/parks there were and we are now looking forward to taking our 1.5 year old daughter this summmer and hope for her cooperation as well!
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Old May 19th, 2009, 12:10 PM
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hi Norcal_jo, thanks for your suggestion, you're right, its gonna be our first time to visit Paris, we will difinitely bring him to the lux garden, he will enjoy that for sure, im just hoping the weather will cooperate by the time we are there.(september)
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Old May 21st, 2009, 07:24 AM
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nj05047, we spent a lot of time watching the boats at the Tuileries gardens, and also spent time at a couple of playgrounds we saw on our way to somewhere else. DD is not mobile yet so she was happy sitting in her stroller or on our laps watching the world go by. She did love the Seine cruise, every time we would go under a bridge she would look back to see where the bridge went .

We were there in September of 2004 and the weather was glorious, hope it will be the same for you!
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 04:48 AM
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Great report...and fully in line with the way we live it in Paris (and yes, stroller in an issue in public transportation ! baby carrier is very usefull here !).

Camille
writer of baby'tems blog, referencing "baby friendly" addresses in Paris area
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 11:21 AM
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great report. you bring hope to all of us parents who wish not to give up traveling! we're going to paris/nice/burgundy with our 6 month old in april. good advice on the baby carrier versus stroller.
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 12:38 PM
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What a lovely report. When we travel, my husband and I prefer to do less and see more. How nice to find that out when you're young, and what wonderful memories you'll have and stories to tell when she's older.

You might like to check out http://tinyurl.com/ychlks6 for a trip report on travelling to Rome and Tuscany with a toddler—hint, hint.
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