Last week we went on our honeymoon to Paris for 5 days, we took Matilda with us because we just weren't quite ready to leave her for that long. I thought I'd write a little post just in case it helps anyone in the same situation. Please excuse the fuzzy photos, I opted not to take my camera so I just used my iPhone. We quickly realised that not taking the camera was a good idea as we had so much to carry around with us and my camera is pretty bulky.
I will admit for the first two days we weren't overly enamoured by Paris. We were very very tired on the first night after a super early morning flight and a baby that didn't feel like sleeping and then the next day I was nauseous all day before vomiting in a Paris street at night like the classy Brit that I am. I think something didn't agree with me and it meant that by the end of the 2nd day I kind of just wanted to go home. But, Paris won us over and we survived our first family holiday with some great memories. If I am completely honest, I still don't quite get why fashion bloggers are always going on about how wonderful Paris is and, while the pastries were amazing, I didn't eat any 'French' food that was particularly better than any British food I've tried. Maybe it's my unrefined British palate ;)
Be prepared to sit your baby on your knee at mealtimes. There was only one restaurant we visited that had a highchair so I just sat Matilda on my knee or she ate in her stroller. It's only inconvenient if you let it be. If your baby isn't on solids yet then this won't be a problem.
We made an effort to speak French wherever we could and I think we did ok for the most part. In one coffee shop I apologised for my poor French to which the barista replied 'well speak English then'. Aside from that we found Parisians were more friendly than not, and Matilda seemed to win over even the grumpiest of them.
We walked everywhere so I don't have any tips for getting the metro with a baby but we found it fairly easy to find our way around. We stayed in the Derby Alma near the Eiffel Tower so we just followed the river down to wherever we needed to be.
The Derby Alma was a nice hotel and very clean however they charged us an extra 100Euros (they wanted 200) as they had to move us to a bigger room to accomodate the travel cot, despite me e-mailing weeks before to say we needed a cot in the room. The lesson here is, just be wary that your hotel could do the same, or stay in an apartment - which we wish we had done.
V I S I T
The zoo at Jardin des Plantes. We had such a great day here. Matilda is just at an age where she appreciates animals so she really enjoyed it, especially the flamingos. We paid 13Euros each and Matilda was free and it filled a whole afternoon. We also wanted to visit the galeries de l'evolution in the natural history museum but it was closed on Tuesday and we didn't think to check beforehand.
Bateaux Mouches - we took a boat trip down the Seine on a rainy Wednesday and, despite the rain, it was really good. We got to see some sights that we wouldn't have had chance to see in our short trip and it gave our weary feet a rest.
The Louvre - I will admit it is difficult to do the Louvre with a stroller and we only covered a quarter of it as we went on the last day but it is very impressive. There are lots of stairs but also the lifts are fairly regular as you walk about. I always love a good Greek, Roman and Egyptian section in a museum and the Louvre did not disappoint.
The Eiffel Tower - We took Matilda in the carrier and went first thing in the morning. She was very good and only got sick of being in the carrier when I was stood in the same place for too long. The views are simply amazing, we didn't go to the top floor, just the 2nd but I had read that the views from the 2nd were just as good.
E A T
Breakfast in America 17 Rue des Écoles - a great little American Diner near the Jardin des Plantes. Very cramped but very friendly and great food.
Tribeca on Rue Cler 7thArr - we had a lovely meal here on our last night. Brilliant food, great wine and family friendly. Rue Cler is a gorgeous market street full of fromageries, boulangeries and wine, plus a choclatier that smelt so good I was sad to leave the shop.
Pain et Chocolat 7thArr - a gorgeous little cafe that served up a delicious petit dejeuner that brightened up a rainy morning.
Boulangerie Lapelosa 16 Avenue Rapp 7thArr - sorry if you aren't anywhere near the 7th on your stay, although if you are going to the Eiffel Tower it's worth the 5 minute detour to pick up their brioche au chocolat or almond croissant.
E X T R A S
I also have to give props to the baguettes we bought in the louvre, they were pretty damn good for what I expected of museum food. We loved Saint Germain, the shops there were brilliant and it was lovely to walk around. Mini supermarkets are very common so we picked up a lot of Matilda-friendly things along the way. She actually didn't eat very well in restaurants and pretty much lived on blueberries, bananas and French baby biscuits for 5 days. She didn't much care for Parisian tap water either so we just filled her sippy cup with bottled water. We sterilised her bottles by filling them with boiling water and sitting the teat upside down in the top filled with abit more boiling water. We left them for ten minutes to make sure they were well sterilised.
Thank you for sticking with me through this long post, I've tried to condense it as much as possible but I didn't want to miss out too much. Have you been to Paris? Any tips for anyone else making a trips avec or sans bebe? Have a great weekend and I'll be back next week with some seriously good breakfast fodder.