Friday, October 10, 2014

To Paris with the baby

A week ago, we were running around the house, packing last minute things, washing the diapers one last time before we left and getting ready to take baby girl to Paris for the first time. My best friend from my time at the University of Geneva was here to see a professor (she might move back to Europe!) and we hadn't seen each other for 8 years. I was so happy and excited, specially because we discovered Paris together for the first time 14 years ago. That time we took the train and arrived in Paris without a place to sleep because a 'friend' who was supposed to host us cancelled on us at the very last minute. Luckily we found a youth hostel as soon as we arrived and we did not actually end up sleeping under a bridge.

  It was amazing, Yu loved going on long walks all over the place and stopping at cafés for hot chocolate and french fries (she tried her first!). We went to the Jardin de Plantes, the second most ancient zoo in the world, which opened its doors in 1793. We also walked along the Seine, as has to be done, saw the Pantheon, the Luxembourg gardens, La place des Vosges, La Bastille, the beautiful green mosque. Paris is child-friendly in that there are a lot of parks and activities that can be done with kids, but when it comes to public transportation it gets tricky with huge strollers, because only the biggest metro stations like Gare du Nord, Gare de Lyon, Louvre, Bastille or Austerlitz are equipped with elevators. Sometimes the doors to access the platforms are so narrow that we had to take a wheel off the stroller to be able to enter. But this was not a general problem for us because we tend to walk a lot, and we only used the metro system 2 or 3 times, at the end of the day when we were really tired and just wanted to get home fast.

We stayed at the Ibis Daumesnil Porte Doree and I think it is going to be our go-to hotel whenever we go back to the city of lights. It was practical, simple, clean and not too expensive (with a long-weekend deal we were able to find). It is located right in front of a Metro station and if you are a walker like us, you will reach the center before you know it, going through characteristic neighborhoods and markets. The hotel provided a baby cot, that Yu used as a play box. Does your baby sleep in "Pack 'n Play" type of cribs? She wouldn't, we're not sure if it was because of the temperature or because she was too close to the floor, but she ended up sleeping between us, sneaky baby. We were afraid she wasn't going to sleep on her crib when we came back, but luckily she is back in her room, no problems.

Another pro-tip: we took  our beloved Babycook steamer-mixer and it was the best decision ever. We got some fruit and vegetables when we passed markets or small fruit shops (so many! and so much variety... we could get peaches, which we haven't been able to get in Holland for the last 3 weeks) and we made her food and packed it in glass jars early in the morning, before breakfast.

Now, getting to Paris was not as easy as we thought it would be. Yu has been on car trips many times before, and it had never been a problem. We've taken her to Amsterdam, to Utrecht, to the Keukenhof, to Hilversum (45 min. car rides) and while we were in Mexico we went to places like Puebla, Tepoztlan, Cuernavaca and Mexico city (all 3.5 to 4 hour drives each way). At the very beginning she used to sleep in the car-seat, it was magic. She was a newborn and then a small baby. When we were in Mexico she was around 5 months, and during the summer we still went on day trips here and there or to visit friends. Well, this time it was fussy town all the way. She just would not stop crying and nothing we would do would make her settle down.

 On Friday we decided to leave at 14:30 p.m. soi-disant (supposedly) to avoid traffic. Well, we ended up getting traffic at the south of the country, all the way to Belgium. The kid was having a meltdown and hating her baby seat. We had to make a stop in Antwerp to kill time until the traffic more or less stopped. So we walked to the center through a very hip neighborhood, where we managed to find an Argentinian bar (Bar Buenos Aires, at Koepoortbrug 3) where they had the most delicous empanadas. We tried Spinach and Ricotta and Meat and they were really good. They also had real meringue alfajores, Mark's favorite.

We took the opportunity to find some sales and restock Yu's wardrobe on onesies and a couple of other items for the next size up. We love Petit Bateau and Du pareil au même, the last one being always so happy and colourful.

Do you have any tips for taking car rides with babies? Is she crying because it's uncomfortable or because she is outgrowing it (though it is supposed to last until she's 15 kg...  she has yet to double her weight for that).


  1. Linnndooooo, es uno de mis sueno! ir a Paris....con bebe y todo pues ya toca ni modos de dejarlo cuidando la casa jiji Me encanta lo descomplicada que eres!!!.
    Un saludito

    1. Jaja , bueno , mi esposo dice que soy bastante complicada jeje, cada que salimos es una organización con la pañalera y el montón de cosas que cargas por "si acaso", pero al final te acostumbras.

      Verás que te encantará viajar con tu bebé, es super lindo descubrir todo a través de sus ojos!

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