Wonderful trip to Paris, while pregnant and with a toddler

Visiting Paris is a memorable experience, right?

Having done it with just my husband (when there was just us two) and having previously lived in Paris for seven years in my student years, doing it with a toddler in tow and pregnant was a (totally crazy) different experience.

Only joking, it was still wonderful, and not more stressful because, hold tight, we didn’t cram in too much during our 3 days there.

Packing too many things during the stay can make it stressful, so we wanted to have a relatively free and spontaneous programme, while also having a list of things to do/see. Having one key attraction per day was the perfect amount we found.

So on to what worked well for us?

Stay close to the departure/arrival station

Well, first staying somewhere close to ‘the point of entry’ i.e. for us the Eurostar arrival station, Gare du Nord. We booked an AirBnb apartment about 10 minutes walk from Gare du Nord and that was brilliant. It meant that we could ‘check-in’ first and drop our bags and have a quick refreshment/put my feet up. Also for our toddler it was exciting to discover a new place and enjoy some quiet time before we set off for an outing again.

Beautiful Canal St Martin area

The second good thing about the location of our apartment was that we were quite close to the beautiful canal St Martin, with its many coffee shops, bars and brasseries. So after a quick rest we headed out again and stopped for a late lunch in one of the canal facing, brasseries. Along the canal there is a playground, an additional attraction for our toddler who still had some remaining energies after all.

Being in a different country is interesting when you observe your own child trying to interact with other local children. And before you ask, no I wasn’t providing any kind of translation, to questions, such as “can i have a go at the swing”, that doesn’t need any translating, does it?

Balloon adventure at Parc Andre Citroen

The definite highlight of our trip was the “balloon” adventure. During my years of studying in Paris and working intermittently as an ‘au pair’ I had gained a good ‘children related’ knowledge of playgrounds and adventure parks.

One I was very familiar with was Parc Andre Citroen, in the 15th arrondissement. It is a little bit out of the way and not a main tourist attraction but for kids it is magical. 

The park has a number of gardens and a great fountain court with water jets that can be such great fun, in hot weather. You can sit on the grass and enjoy a picnic while you look at the balloon, which is not a “hot air” but a “tethered” balloon that goes up to 150 metres. The views of the Seine and the Tour Eiffel are splendid and it is not as crowded as the Tour Eiffel or Sacre Coeur Cathedral.

‘Toujours dans mon coeur’ Quartier Latin

Another favourite area I always love to visit when in Paris, is the Quartier Latin or 5th arrondissement, perhaps because I love to go back to the ‘student streets’ of la Sorbonne where I spent many splendid youthful years.

Jardin du Luxembourg cannot be sidelined and hidden in there, is another great adventure playground for kids, “Les Poussins Verts”.  This one was way too busy than the quiet and relaxing Parc Andre Citroen but it is centrally located and you also have to pay a small fee.

One thing we had not noticed on our previous trips, was the lack of escalators or lifts in the “Metro”. If you can manage not to have a buggy or can take with you a collapsible one, underground journeys will be less tiring.

By the end of the third day in Paris, while also quite pregnant, 7th months precisely, I was starting to feel the heat of the streets and the underground and it was soon time to leave.

Eurostar here we come!

Heading towards Gare du Nord and the exciting Eurostar journey, was extremely pleasant and another adventure for our toddler, the train and the tunnel under the sea!

Some photos from the trip, unseen before, enjoy!

I would love to hear if you have been to any of these places in Paris or have any others to share.


Family day at the Battersea Arts Centre – great way to discover the centre with your children, enjoy live music and free lunch (for kids)

My two boys and me went on a rather special outing on Saturday morning (27th September), at the Battersea Arts Centre. The centre holds a Family Day, on the last Saturday of every month (next ones will be on 25th October, 29th November and 27th December 2014).

The toddler was very excited as I had explained that we are going to:

“a new place where there will be toys and a play area for you to play in, live music (with real instruments and real musicians, something amazing for him!), a workshop where we will be making things (less amazing, he’s not very good at sitting still and making things…) and we can also have lunch there (“and get an orange juice or an ice-cream” ?, he didn’t wait for too long to ask).

When we got there we went straight to the Bee’s Knees, an indoor playing area that looks a bit like the Teletubies garden. My son loved the setting, the toys and the bridge, as well as playing with other children. A place to go back to again, I thought, observing him play, as I was rocking the younger baby in the sling.

As part of the workshop we also went to the Grand hall, to see the spectacular glass window, up in the ceiling in the shape of a dome. My son was rather impatient to return to the main hall, where he noticed the musicians were setting up and the instruments (a cello and 2 guitars) were out.

More activities were available to children to play with in the main hall, next to the staircase.

Then began the music, a kind of gypsy mixed tunes, which reminded me of the music of the Orpheus production we had seen last year in the same place, a beautiful cabaret style performance.

In the meantime my son was getting hungry, tired and thirsty and it was time for some food. We ordered at the bar, ‘beans on toast’ for him and ‘mushrooms on toast’ for me and with our drinks in our hands we were listening to the music in the main hall, dancing and waiting for our lunch.

His lunch was free, a nice little gesture by the centre. The only thing was that it was rather a long wait (the only criticism). My son finished his beans in no time and I took a big longer to eat my mushrooms, dropping some on the baby’s head…

We left at about 2pm, having arrived at 11am after a busy morning with music and some dancing, lunch and even a pair of cute baby slippers I bought for £1 from the clothes swap, at the centre.

All in all, a wonderful busy morning, in a lovely arts centre.

Here is my son enjoying his drink and listening to the live band performing.


Toddler reading books to his animal toys lined up in bed

Two photos for today’s post. Edward has started doing role plays, where ‘he’ reads books to the ‘smaller than him’ soft animals in his bed.

I don’t remember how he ended up in his bed all dressed up but he was there and was asking for all animals to come in his bed. We put them all in and then he asked for the books and started looking at the books and reading them out to the animals.

‘Animals’ he said, ‘look, books’. He was pretending to say the exact words of all the pictures in the book but was producing various sounds rather then clear words.

It was so funny, I was looking at him and laughing with tears. Roger had the brilliant idea of lining up the animals in a row, like in a classroom. So I captured this funny moment and am sharing it here. Looking at the pictures I realized that he has got the books upside down as well, in the first photo 🙂

What about you, any similar experiences with your children?