Thursday, June 17, 2010

Trip to Paris

It was a relief going to Paris. Paris is almost the opposite of Toulon. The city is always bustling in activity and there is almost too much to see and do. I wanted to go there for a few days to shop and sightsee with Tristan. I also had a friend I wanted to visit. Since it wasn't too far from Vernon, Jean-Louis' cousin and family took the train down to see us one afternoon as well. With so many plans, we didn't have a chance to do or see a lot :(

We stayed at a hotel by Montparnasse. My parents-in-law came along with us. They were still living in Paris the last time we visited but now they just come to visit every couple of months. When we arrived in Paris on the TGV, we had to take a taxi to the hotel. We had 2 big suitcases, maybe 5 carry-ons and handbags, plus a stroller. We waited to take the biggest taxi so that we could all go together but it just wasn't possible. The other problem is that none of the taxis have a car seat so I was upset. When we realized all of us wouldn't fit in one taxi and my father-in-law wanted to take two taxis, we said no and we told them we would walk to the hotel instead. I felt safer doing it this way since the French drive like mad and I really wanted a car seat. We ended up walking half way across Paris in probably 1.5 hours. It wasn't too bad except that we were carrying heavy bags and it was hot out. However, any walk in Paris is a lovely walk :) Unlike Toulon, many of the sidewalks are nicely paved and very wide too.

Our hotel stay included a buffet breakfast and dinner. It was nice because there was always something that Tristan could eat! Eating was fine for me but really stressful for my parents-in-law because we let Tristan eat on his own in the highchair and he would make a mess each time. Of course he will! He's only 18 months old. He may make a mess but a lot of the food actually ends up in his mouth. They were embarrassed because we were in a public place and thought we should have fed him instead. Here is the thing. Tristan was brought up eating on his own. He has been doing it since probably 9 months old so needless to say, he won't want us to feed him. He wants to do it all himself. We also tried to feed him things we knew he would eat too to minimize the mess.

We went to Ladurée, a fancy salon de tea, in Printemps with the family. We munched on delicious macaroons and had espressos. There, we also found out that it costs 1Euro to pee without a restaurant coupon. If you want to change a baby's diaper, it will cost you 2Euros. What!! There was no way we were paying 2Euros just for a clean diaper room. We took a stroll in the Parc Monceau and changed Tristan's diaper in the stroller there. For FREE! Take that Paris!

We soon learned that Paris is just not baby-friendly. Sure, they may have tons of beautiful baby and children clothing stores but it's no city for parents with small children. Buses are ok to take but they are slow and the subway is brutal for strollers. Unfortunately since we were pressed for time, we had to rough it in the dirty subway. I would carry Tristan in my arms and Jean-Louis would carry the stroller down or up the stairs. A few of the big subway stations had a stroller access once you are inside the station but most of them don't. We had to disassemble our bugaboo stroller into two parts and slide it through the gate at the top. All this while juggling Tristan and bags in our hands :( We were really sweating it too. I forget how hot it was down there!

Walking through Paris, brought back so many memories. I sure miss the shopping paradise. The elegant shops, great choices of styles, restaurants etc. What I didn't miss was the cigarette smoke and I smelled it almost everywhere we went. Yuck! The longer we stayed, the more I realized I couldn't live in Paris anymore and am so glad we live in Vancouver. It's hard to believe we lived there for so long. I was unhappy when it was just the two of us but now with Tristan, it would be a nightmare! I couldn't wait to go home :(


Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

When I was in Paris in 2003 my friend and I commented to each other that Paris didn't seem like a good place to bring young kids - and that was years before any came onto the scene for us. It's a great place though and I look forward to bringing the kids when they are much older.

Related Posts with Thumbnails