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

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

Old Dec 14th, 2008, 08:33 AM
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Thanks. Not sure anyone is reading it but this it the first time I've ever gotten around to writing a report so I feel compelled to finish!

It is hit or miss on the museums. She likes being carried and likes attention so if I leave her in the stroller and enjoy the museum myself, she gets bored, feels ignored and acts up. If I pick her up, or hold her hand while she walks, and talk to her about what we are looking at, she is good. I am sure she doesn't really understand but she knows that mommy is paying attention to her. She did point out a few "feet" and "doggies" so I guess she was looking. I also brought a few not messy snacks because she usually would get hungry (or we'd just run to the cafe for a bite).

Other times, she just liked going into each room and sitting on the bench and looking at the other people.
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Old Dec 14th, 2008, 08:44 AM
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I know what you mean! If my daughter is in her stroller, I have a window of about 15 minutes. After that, she starts to feel left out.
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Old Dec 14th, 2008, 08:51 AM
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Sally30, I'm still reading Our kids are older, but I still love to read about little ones and traveling.
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Old Dec 14th, 2008, 09:38 AM
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Ditto what mms said! And mine are MUCH older.
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Old Dec 14th, 2008, 10:09 AM
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Sally, I read your most recent installment last night after putting my 3-year-old niece to bed (finally); I was too tired to comment. But this is great! Thanks for continuing.
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Old Dec 15th, 2008, 05:42 AM
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Sally-Love your report and finding it extremly helpful. We leave for Paris on Feb 2 with our 21 month old son so this is invaluable information!
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Old Dec 15th, 2008, 09:42 AM
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I'm reading too
My kids are 7 & 10 but toddler tales stories and insight are still entertaining and useful!
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Old Dec 15th, 2008, 01:05 PM
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I'm reading and my kid is nearly 31. This is a great trip report, and inspiring.

We are going to Paris in February, and I just broke one foot and sprained the other. I was reading your report and rethinking my usual Paris behavior of rushing from one sight to another.

I think I'll treat my feet as though they were a toddler, and just eat well, see what we can see, and relax a bit.

I had Pudlo out of the library a month or two ago, and just ordered a used copy from half.com. I'm glad to see that you used yours extensively.

I love to eat, and my butt is spreading anyway, thanks to being stuck here with my feet up in the air. So I might as well let it spread a bit more in Paris.

Thanks!
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Old Dec 15th, 2008, 02:12 PM
  #49  
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Tuscan--Great attitude, seriously Just go with it and I am sure you will have more fun than you imagined. Nearly 40 years ago, my grandparents and aunt traveled around the world for two years straight. My aunt was a paraplegic. That always kept things in perspective for me. I didn't realize you had this trip planned when I first read about your foot, but I have no doubts that you will have a fantastic trip!
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Old Dec 19th, 2008, 04:31 PM
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I looked in my Pudlo. The restaurant we went to, but then left, and looked really good is called Perraudin, 157 Rue St. Jacques.

I realize Elmo is really not getting fair time in this report. He basically came everywhere we did. He seemed to enjoy Paris but really endured some tough treatment as he was dropped in numerous puddles, thrown out onto the street at times. Once after noticing how fond LP had grown of her pain au chocolat, I asked her if Elmo liked croissants too and looked down a moment later to see an entire croissant stuffed into his big furry mouth. He also experienced the pitfalls of French appliances. Every few days Elmo got a “bath” in what looked like a washing machine from Pottery Barn Kids. The washing machine was on the floor level and was front loading with a porthole. LP was very distraught to see the bright red monster spinning around and around in a sea of bubbles. Hopefully no permanent damage was done to LP; Elmo came out fine (and the washing machine was no worse for the wear).

Day 9
Our last day! Today we headed into the 5e toward the Museum of Natural History and the Jardin des Plantes. We enjoyed meandering around the streets by the Sorbonne and talked about how fun it would be to go to school in Paris. Maybe one of us could get a job with the university? We stopped in a very old and beautiful church (name I forget) on the way. We randomly came upon the comic book/Tin Tin store that we have been to on our past visits and had been looking for the whole time. We also found the Rue de Mouffetard, although we must have been on the wrong end, because I didn't see a market and the restaurants looked a little seedy. We continued past the main mosque to the Jardin des Plantes. The Mosque looked interesting for a visit but we decided to skip it as it was getting a bit later than we planned and it was such a nice day we wanted to be outside. We have been to Paris in almost every season and this trip was by far the best weather – very sunny days but cool and comfortable temperature.

When we got to the Jardin des Plantes we were a little hungry so I stayed with LP while she ran up and down the rows of plantings and my husband went back to a good-looking sandwich shop we had passed to get us some lunch. LP roamed the grass (I gave up on enforcing the French no walking on the grass rule) and focused on not letting her splash in every puddle she could find (note: it had not rained for days so I am not sure how she found puddles or what exactly they were puddles of). The park wasn't overflowing with flowers – not that it was the season for flowers anyway - but it was interesting to see all the different species of plants and was a very pleasant place to walk around. There was a giant topographical map of France near the museum so we spent some time jumping on that until dad and sandwiches arrived. After eating we headed into the museum.

My husband really wanted to go to the museum. I never think of going to a science-type museum in a foreign country but thought LP might like all the animals. Actually, I loved it. It was a great museum. The building was very striking architecturally, well preserved with a great open space in the center spanning its several stories. It was very easy to get around as well, with big elevators and good displays. The center of the museum is the Gallery of Evolution with a life-size parade of animals. There were some interesting exhibits on extinct and near extinct species as well. Nothing, however, could compare to Siam, the elephant. LP started pointing as we got close and started muttering something which built into a delirious screech of “Elephant! Elephant!” and laughing. We looked at Siam for some time, watched the video of his life and moved onto the parade of animals next to Siam. LP would be intrigued by a lion or some other animal but every few minutes we'd have to go back to see Siam again. After a while of this, we coaxed her to look around the museum a bit more. The excitement of the elephant must have been too much as she went back into the stroller and passed out. I wonder what would happen if we took her to the circus? We looked around for a while more and headed outside. A postcard of Siam is currently hanging in LP's room and she still gets excited by it.

We thought about cramming in another museum or going on a bateaux mouche (still have never done that!) but in the end decided to poke around, our favorite activity. We walked down along the river toward Notre Dame as my husband wanted to take another look inside before we left. I decided to stay outside with LP – too crowded inside. She was still sleeping and I enjoyed sitting in the park behind Notre Dame and admiring the architecture. I also looked at the Deportation Memorial which was quite moving. LP woke up and we listened to a street band.

My Place to See Again Before We Leave was Place Dauphine. It is such a pretty, peaceful square (despite the chaos of the police headquarters next to it). We were hungry again so we went to one of the cafes, sat outside and ordered wine and a cheese plate. We were startled to hear a loud noise as glasses crashed off a table at a nearby cafe and two of the customers got into a fistfight. Then we noticed that this was actually a movie being filmed. It was entertaining the first time but we saw the same scene again and again. I realized how boring it must be to make a movie. The real entertainment was watching the film crew try to keep people from walking through the scene. Most people were very nice and just stopped and waited to walk in front of the cafe until the scene concluded. A few people just walked right in the middle of things. When the filming wrapped up for the day, the actors and crew came and sat with us at our cafe. They were making a German wartime documentary. I can see why they chose that location – it really does look like time stopped there.

LP was now awake, fed and ready to run around the square. She spotted a set of twins playing with a ball and we joined them. Their mother was very nice and we spoke for a while. LP then bid her new friends (and everyone else we passed) “Ovwa” and we took a long meandering walk towards the apartment.

Since it was our last night we wanted to eat out. A few nights ago while having a drink at a cafe, we noticed a nice looking restaurant across the street right by our apartment (on our trusty Rue Saint Jacques again, on the side of the street closer to the boulevard San Michel). It looked a bit fancy for LP but we saw that there were tables set up outside so we decided to take our chances. The restaurant is on a corner by an intersection with a stoplight so LP kept busy waving and talking to all the passengers in the cars stopped at the light. The motorcycles were a big hit. I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant because the food was great, the wine was excellent (I think the name may have been a type of wine) and the people were very nice. I had a delicious pork loin and my husband had rabbit. LP had pate again and we shared a couple of desserts. It was a lovely end to our trip. We headed back to the apartment, put LP to bed and packed up. Too bad we weren't staying longer, LP was now sleeping so well at night.

In the morning I called the English speaking cab company that Vacation In Paris listed in the information packet in the apartment. We quickly ran out and grabbed some snacks and supplies for the flight home. The cab right away, no problem. I was a bit worried since I didn't want to have to try to find a cab on the street with all of our gear. No problems getting to the airport or on the flight. LP was up for most of the flight – I think she slept for a few hoursn– but I let her sit in my lap and we had no screaming or crying this time. There were a bunch of kids on the plane so we walked up and down visiting them and she did the same. Thankfully this was MUCH better than the flight there.

Post Script
Despite the long flight, irregular schedule and time change, LP was fine within a day of returning home. She was back to her usual schedule, no jet lag, no residual fatigue. My husband and I, on the other hand, were totally worn out and exhausted for about a week!

Like I said in my first post, it was a fun but tiring trip. There were times that were frustrating, meals we didn't eat and sights we didn't see, but we did have the opportunity to enjoy Paris as a family. Having been there several times before, and hopefully many times after, my husband and I will remember running through the park with LP and dancing with her at a guignette, more than the extra museum visit or meal we would have fit in without her. Happy to answer any questions. Have fun in all your travels!
--Ovwa, Sally

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Old Dec 19th, 2008, 05:27 PM
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I loved your report, Sally!

I wasn't lucky enough to be able to take my kids to Paris when they were little, but I'm really hoping to be able to take the grandkids, and you've given a good view of some of the pleasures and pitfalls. Thanks!
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Old Dec 20th, 2008, 05:42 AM
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I have to admit: I usually skim through trip reports, but I really enjoyed this one.

Thanks for taking the time to write it!
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Old Dec 20th, 2008, 05:57 AM
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I've been following your report with great interest - thanks again for taking the time to share such a detailed, thoughtful, and fun report.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2008, 01:43 PM
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"Elmo...basically came everywhere we did. He seemed to enjoy Paris but really endured some tough treatment....Once after noticing how fond LP had grown of her pain au chocolat, I asked her if Elmo liked croissants too and looked down a moment later to see an entire croissant stuffed into his big furry mouth."

I'd love to endure such torture!

"We randomly came upon the comic book/Tin Tin store that we have been to on our past visits and had been looking for the whole time."

I'm certain that the TinTin book my son brought back with him (which he picked because it has pirates) was purchased at that very same shop.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2008, 02:56 PM
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Thanks for finishing. This is a lovely report that makes me want to take my niece to Paris. Or maybe just take a trip with my sister and her family and be the babysitter so they can go out sometimes too. I'm now convinced that it wouldn't even be that difficult to dine all together occasionally.

See, you're inspiring others!
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Old Dec 22nd, 2008, 05:33 PM
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"If there was ever a time I was hoping to be teleported to another dimension, this was it. "

LOL Sally!
Oh, I have been there. Many times. And that is the main reason (other than money) that my twin boys have NOT made it on a plane yet.

I just started reading this and darn it, bath time is almost over and I have to take the kids back from DH.

Loving this report so far. I'm looking forward to another quiet moment to read the rest.

~Mebe
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Old Dec 23rd, 2008, 02:35 AM
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Thanks for all the kind responses. It is nice to know that I might inspire someone else to travel with a toddler, even with the full disclosure!

Funny enough, the eating out was not such a big problem. She did fine for one restaurant meal a day. And in Paris these were LONG meals. Heck, my 31 yr old brother probably couldn't have handled two of those meals a day either. I think the key was to seat her so that she had a lot to look at - either outside or facing into the restaurant - and to feed her something fast (even if it was an old croissant I found in my pocket) so she wasn't hungry.

Mebe - good to hear from you. I have loved your travel reports and am glad to see you are back online. Hope all is well. Not sure I could handle traveling with 3 kids unless I recruited a few more adults to join.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2008, 03:45 AM
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Sally -- loved your trip report. Thanks for finishing.

So, your little girl has seen Italy and Paris . . . where to next for your little world traveler?
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Old Dec 24th, 2008, 04:53 AM
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Sally -- that was a joy to read!

It brought back many memories of traveling with Ada...it is exhausting but worth the extra effort.

A bit of a coincidence -- I was also planning a trip with all the kids (and Grandma) to Paris in October '08. But then my twins (who I think are only a few months older than your daughter...) morphed from cute babies to boys -- and well, need I say more?
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Old Dec 25th, 2008, 05:46 PM
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Mebe - that is a good plan to bring grandma.

BKP - not sure what is next. We'd like to take a trip next year but may go without the little one. Not sure how long grandma and grandpa will be able to babysit though. So a quick trip alone or a longer one with LP? Thinking of maybe somewhere in Spain or I've wanted to go to Bologna and the surrounding area. Any suggestions?
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