What we thought we would be doing in Paris two years ago:
1. Spending countless hours visiting museums, admiring the fine art and exquisite sculptures
2. Walking aimlessly around Paris, staring in awe at the amazing Parisian architecture
3. Sitting in random cafés drinking French roasted coffee, eating butter croissants and people watching
4. Studying the French fashion and applying this knowledge to France’s bi-annual (summer) sale
5. Eating French cuisine (without any modifications)
6. Sipping champagne for breakfast, a beer for lunch, and wine during every other waking hour
7. Catching an opera or ballet or art showing or other posh French activity
8. Spending an evening strolling the river Seine, watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle (begins after dark) and participating in the Parisian nightlife.
9. Staying up late
10. Sleeping in
What we actually did in Paris with a 15-month-old baby
1. Spent most our time in playgrounds and gardens including (but not limited to):
- Jardin du Luxembourg (Baby X’s favourite)
- Le Jardin des Plantes (cute wallabies at the zoo)
- Jardin des Tuileries
- Parc des Buttes-Chaumont (splashed around in small creek)
- Square Suzanne Buisson (near Sacré Coeur)
- Parc near the Église Notre-Dame (especially suitable for young toddlers)
- Jardin Marco Polo (Baby X met his first caterpillar on these grounds)
- Place des Vosges (Baby X adored the sandbox)
- Jardin d’Acclimatation (cute animal farm but more suitable for older children
2. Visited iconic Paris from a distance. We skipped the Louvre and a trip up the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Could you imagine sculptures smeared in banana fingers and floors decorated with abstract images of milk or hiking a bloody buggy up an infinite amount of stairs? No, us either. Instead, we did the following:
- Viewed the Eiffel Tower from the ground
- Bought picnic supplies at Marché Mouffetard
- Strolled along Canal Saint-Martin (Baby X enjoyed first croissant along this canal)
- Bought fresh vegetables and fruit (and a few souvenirs) at Marché Bastille
- Enjoyed breakfast with a dear friend, Carol, at Ma Bourgogne at Place des Vosges
- Dug our toes into a Paris Plages (man-made beach)
- Hiked up Montmartre to the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré Coueur (not the most buggy friendly place). Spotted the Moulin Rouge
- Stood in the les arénes de lutéce (where gladiators once fought)
- Bargain hunted at Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen (flea market)
- Splashed around in fountain jets at a pool near Canal St. Martin while receiving Parisian death stares from more ‘mature’ parents
- Sipped on café crème with a colleague from the 2013 Arbitration Academy – thanks Angela!
- Took a boat down the Seine with Lulu, Kevin, Glen, Aida and Lulu’s lovely family (Baby X learned a bit of Spanish – muchas gracias!)
- Took pictures of Baby X at Louvre Pyramid
- Marveled at Arc de Triomphe
3. Walked aimlessly around Paris in search of baby change tables, boulangeries (for croissants) and jardins (preferably without homeless people sleeping under the slides)
4. People watched the au pairs, grandmothers and parents at the playgrounds (and guessing who is whom)
5. Studied Parisian playground fashion but balked on buying the 100 Euro leather booties (Baby X has already outgrown four pairs of shoes)
6. Ate baguettes, cheese and roasted chicken on a picnic blanket, steering clear of all French restaurants. We couldn’t fathom taking a painfully high-pitched squealing Canadian boy into a high-class restaurant. Could you imagine him ungraciously slurping on his soupe á l’oignon, coating his hair with cheese soufflé, stacking his escargots like building blocks or propelling steak frites across their crisp, white table linens? Lets leave such catastrophes to the imagination.
7. Ate free cookies from all the café patrons intended for Baby X (just because one of us doesn’t consume sugar doesn’t mean we should all miss out on French cookies).
8. (Heather) Attended a French cooking class (solo) – Bon Appétit!
9. Sipped sparkling water (but still had time to sample the champagne, beer and wine once Baby X retired for the night)
10. Turned in for the evening at 7pm (about 2.5 hours before dark).
11. Woke up between 6-7am to the Baby X alarm clock.