France has always been one of my favorite places to travel. My husband and I spent a champagne and cheese fueled honeymoon driving through France at winter time, staying in the Relais and Chateau properties. Needless to say, by the end of the trip, I was in stretchy pants and couldn’t have been happier. Fast forward to our daughter being born, and France is where we found ourselves once again. Being a first-time parent and having the extreme anxiety that goes with it, I wanted my first overseas trip with her to be familiar and safe yet discover places untrodden by us. So I’ve put together some of the highlights of our trip. Where we stayed, what we enjoyed and what I recommend. Traveling with a ten month old wasn’t easy, but I can honestly say this was one of my favorite trips of all time.
Our two week journey through France began in Paris during August. Going in the summer and being school holidays, our favorite hotel, The Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome was fully booked. Don’t be like us and if you know your plans for the summer book at least four months ahead! We heard about Hotel du Louvre and decided to stay there for three nights. It was a very quaint, historic hotel with incredibly helpful and friendly staff. A little secret? Ask to see the rooftop. With breath taking views of the city, you’ll feel like you’re in a romance novel. You’re not permitted alone, but if you ask nicely someone might escort you to the top.
I always recommend when you fly into a new place to spend a few days familiarizing yourself with your surroundings, especially if you have kids. That way you can situate yourself for the activities ahead and even repack your bags if you are going on a road trip, having your necessities accessible.
We spent one of my favorite days meandering around the city. There were so many stunning things to see by foot. When you have a young child, Paris can be such an enchanting place. We stumbled upon a little thing called the Eiffel Tower and a Parisian man was sitting there blowing bubbles for the kids. My daughter was overwhelmed with joy. We listened to the street musicians and danced, feeling like a child ourselves. Even though the Eiffel Tower and its surrounding areas can seem like a tourist trap, it truly is one of the most breathtaking places to be. I wouldn’t rush it. The energy is palpable and I would spend at least half a day walking the neighboring areas.
A little rooftop romance on the top of Hotel du Louvre at sunset.
We then made our way to the Le Marais district, home to trendy restaurants, hip art galleries and great fashion stores. It is one of the must do’s of Paris. Less touristy, more historical with real Parisian natives. Some of the main features of the neighbourhood include; Musee Picasso, the Musee Carnavalet, the house of Nicolas Flamel, and Cafe Charlot.
We ate, drank wine, people watched and shopped for the rest of our day. Phoenix tasted her first French creme and the transformation to becoming a true Parisienne began. ; )
We celebrated my birthday in Paris on the 19th of August in such a charming, relaxing fashion. Sometimes, with a young child, you take the path of least resistance. We decided to have a picnic in Parc Andre Citroen. There are boulangeries (bakeries) and fromageries (cheese shops) on just about every street corner close by to wherever you decide to picnic. Marche Aligre is probably the least expensive food market and you can pick up anything from ready made pasta to great slabs of camembert. The Bon Marche department store is a great place to pick up food treasures as well. From mousse to stuffed crab, dips and quiches, you can’t go wrong.
View of Sacre-Coeur from inside the Musee d Orsay clock tower.
After our picnic, we wandered to one of my favorite museums in Paris; the Musee de Orsay. I’ve been here multiple times throughout my life but it seemed to have a little added magic getting to experience my love of European art with my beautiful daughter. The museum is open from 9.30am-6pm with late night hours on Thursday nights.
My absolute must see artworks are:
Pierre August Renior: Bal du Moulin de la Galette and Edward Manet: Olympia