Apr 4, 2014

Paris on Valentines day

I thought it would be fun to spend Valentines day in Paris, so we booked last minute eurostar tickets (Henry travels free) and used Marriott points to stay at the Vendome Paris Renaissance for 2 nights with its great location right by the Tuileries gardens. We spent the 48 hours bouncing between museums and restaurants. The weather was typical for Paris winter - cold, rainy, and gray. Similar to London! But without the bad dreary rap - how does that work? :)

We did the Louvre on Wednesday night, getting lost in the Egypt wing and we didn't bring Henry's stroller because of all the staircases, so we were carrying him and all generally exhausted by the time we left. But we saw the Mona Lisa! And Napoleon's apartment! And so many things. Thursday we spent the morning eating and shopping our way through the Marais - breakfast at the Legay Bakery, early lunch at L'as du Fallafel, ice cream at Berthillon on Ile St. Louis, quick walk through Musee Orsay, the Eiffel Tower, and finally, metro back to Bastille for our only fancy dinner at beautiful Bofinger where Mark ordered the whole ocean and I ate a tender buttery Dover sole. And Henry was a gem.

Ice Cream at Berthillon

The beautiful atrium at Bofinger

Thursday we walked back to the Marais for breakfast in the Merci cafe/library, 5 euro for toast - ouch! Afterwards, we did a little shopping in the Marais - Mark purchased some new waterproof boots, I window shopped, then we had lunch at the sweet little Breizh Cafe for crepes. I'm still dreaming about them. We decided to walk to the train station, and walked to the best bakery of my life, Du Pain et des Idees and shopped some of the cute childrens shops in the Canal district.

Breakfast at Merci

Crepes at Breizh Cafe

 Pistachio snail pastries at Du Pain et des Idees

A few thoughts on traveling with toddlers in Paris: compared to London and even NYC, it's much harder to travel with a stroller. Many of the museums we visited did have elevators but they were often small and cramped and had long lines. The two fancy/non-bakery places we ate at (Bofinger and Breizh Cafe) were kind about letting us leave the stroller in the entrance, as there was no official place for them. The metro is a joke - so many stairs, so be prepared to carry the stroller! Everywhere we ate, especially Bofinger and Breizh treated us really well. We made early reservations so we were the first ones in and first ones out (done with dinner by 8:30), and our waiter at Bofinger even brought Henry a complimentary juice cocktail! It was really thoughtful, and as road-weary parents we appreciated the gesture that our toddler was welcomed to be there. We bought him a little travel case and put new notepads, crayons, pens, stickers, and cars to play with, so it was a special treat every time we ate out. If we go back to Paris, I think it's worth it to eat somewhere nice at least once, so this is a good way to do it. We found Paris to be open to toddlers, but definitely not as baby-friendly as other places we've traveled to like Rome or Costa Rica where they just fawn over the kids!

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