We returned not too long ago from a fantastic family trip to France. Napper and I hemmed and hawed over the concept of the long (and expensive) flights, the jet lag, and if the whole adventure would be more fun than aggravation with a ten month old baby. We finally just pulled the trigger and decided to go for it as we were lucky enough to be able to make a two week trip out of it.
And worth it it was! After dealing with the travel, my next conquest was finding a place to stay for the three of us in Paris. We were there for a weekend on the front end of our trip and two days on the back end as well– the middle part of our trip was spent at a family friend’s magnificent Chateau in Provence– more on that to come! But back to Paris, Paris is lovely and amazing and has insanely expensive and tiny hotel rooms. That were mostly sold out by the time I was booking.
After learning the hard way that our baby who is champion sleeper does not sleep very well with his parents sharing a room with him and vice versa, I knew we had to have at least some sort of suite with a door that shut or adjoining rooms. Some friends put baby in the bathroom, but that panics me as I often am up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, so…. Which led me to Airbnb to find an apartment to rent. There are so many apartment rental companies in Paris, so check VRBO as well– if you see an apartment you like, chances are it is repped by an agency that will have other offerings as well.
In searching for our home bases (wanted to stay in different neighborhoods each time), I knew I wanted to be central and in neighborhoods where walking was easy and charming. The Paris Metro is notoriously not stroller friendly and taxis are hard to flag down – even if you go to a taxi stand– and then no car seat…. So, walking with a baby in Paris is the way to get around. We brought our City Mini stroller which was great.
The first weekend I found a slightly too bohemian very old three floor house in St. Germain (6th Arrondissement- Paris is divided into neighborhoods called arrondissements which are numbered and are often just referred to by number, ex: “We stayed in the 6th.”). I love St. Germain! It is bustling and charming and not too touristy. It is also ideally located– we were staying in central St. Germain near St. Suplice and it took us 15 minutes tops to walk to the Louvre and the Tuilerie Gardens. We were also 5 minutes from Luxembourg Gardens.
The last two days of our trip we stayed in this lovely bright apartment on Ile St. Louis (view from the windows!)– there are two islands in the middle of Paris– one called, Ile de la Cite where Notre Dame holds court and Ile St. Louis. You are very centrally located here although there are many, many more Americans also staying there.
Eat (and babysitters)
Paris also apparently doesn’t have as many high chairs on hand in restaurants so I bought My Little Seat and stuck it in his diaper bag in case. We didn’t wind up needing it as the weather was so glorious that we mostly just wheeled up to cafes and bistros and he dined in his stroller. We did go out on the town just the two of us two nights and had the loveliest babysitter– Liza (+336 75 24 59 24). She has been with a family for 20 years and the children are grown. Her friend Suzanne Lejarde (firstname.lastname@example.org) babysat for my friend Lizzie’s kids and she is great as well.
Les Deserteurs, in the up and coming 11th, was delicious and we were the only Americans there– dessert pictured above. My very in the know friend Jess who has been to Paris a gazillion times sent me this hot sheet of recommendations which we didn’t get to work our way through this trip!
Berthillon (“the best, oldest ice cream shop in Paris”) was at the end of the street where we were staying so lucky Baby Ever had his first bites of bliss– Raspberry and Rose Water sorbet and the best vanilla you’ve ever tasted. Our time in Paris was very “go with the flow.” We didn’t race around checking off sites and museums and hot restaurants. We really just walked and wandered through charming neighborhoods– St. Germain, the Marais, around the Louvre and Tulieries– popping into shops (Ever is a great shopper!), cafes and playing in parks.
Obviously there is some insane shopping in Paris! It was much more focused for me as I had my two men in tow. St. Germain is chock full of charming boutiques. And the Marais is perfect for an afternoon of browsing. Start at Merci and fan outward. Around the corner from Merci is Cuisse de Grenouille, a very cool men’s shop very Cali surfer yet with Parisian refinement. Further into the heart of the Marais, I wandered into Les Petites and got some cute things on sale. There are literally cute boutiques galore, one right after the next, so pace yourself!
Ok, I think my novel is complete for now. Stay tuned for the next chapters on Provence and Baby and Jet Lag! Au revoir. xx