As you may know, Mom and Buried and I recently got back from our tenth-anniversary trip to Paris. Without the kids!
It was the first time we’d gone anywhere alone for more than a weekend since Detective Munch was born. And while the lack of children in tow definitely had its perks, being our first time in France, it wasn’t exactly relaxing. There was too much to see!
Thankfully, that didn’t include “my children’s faces” at the crack of dawn, so the sore feet were totally worth it.
I’ve traveled with my kids before. We’ve taken a whole bunch of road trips, during which I’ve learned what it’s like to visit Hell, and we once took a baby to Ireland, during which I learned what it’s like to drive terrifyingly narrow roads in a tiny rental car on the other side of the road with your most precious possession in the backseat.
So even though our five days in Paris were hectic and exhausting – in our efforts to squeeze as much in as possible, we walked a good 50+ miles in and around our home base (in the St. Germain arrondissement) – at least we avoided diaper blow-outs and difficult attempts to ask for “buttpaste” in French.
I made a list of the things we saw/did, and included little “kid-based deal-breakers” to indicate why those things would not have been possible with a 7-year-old and a toddler in tow.
- The Eiffel Tower – We walked the first two stories and took an elevator to the top, where an overpriced glass of champagne helped calm my height-phobic nerves. Kid-based deal-breakers: the stairs, my anxiety over them falling
- Stylish Children – The kids we saw – and, surprisingly, we didn’t see a ton, probably because they were all at home eating cheese, drinking wine, and being better-behaved than American children – were wearing super-fashionable outfits. Except the occasional clown wearing a beret. But I’m pretty sure those were tourists. Kid-based deal-breaker: they’re Americans
- Notre Dame – You’ve seen one ancient church, you’ve seen ’em all! The outside is certainly impressive. Kid-based deal-breakers: the boredom, the churchy-ness
- Champagne – Before we left, we scored a deal through Trip Advisor and Viator to take a day-trip to Epernay, to visit Champagne Avenue and explore the vast cellars and taste the delicious champagne. We booked in advance on the TripAdvisor website (they even gave me a discount!) After reading all the reviews of the different options, we selected a tour that sounded up our alley and fit our packed schedule, which was super easy because there were so many choices. It ended up being a great little excursion, especially for the champagne-worshiping Mom and Buried! Our tour guide with VineEscape was a delight and spoke perfect English, having lived in the States despite being born in France, and we got a lesson in how champagne is made, a fun test of our olfactory capabilities, info on the crazy industry regulations in place to help maintain champagne’s status. Then, after tasting some wine from the bigger houses, we visited and toured a small independent vineyard whose wine doesn’t even ship to the U.S. In your face! Kid-based deal-breakers: every single aspect of the event
- The Seine – The river that runs through the center of Paris may have been my favorite part of the whole town. You can walk along it on either side, there are bars for people watching (which we did), bikes for renting (which we did), boats for cruising (which we did). It’s beautiful and peaceful and at night Parisiens linger by the side of the river with cheese, baguettes, and wine. It’s great. Kid-based deal-breakers: the walking, the boredom, the limited Wi-Fi, my anxiety over them falling in
- Cheese, baguettes, and wine – No wonder French children are so well-behaved, they’re constantly being plied with this amazing stuff, of which we had plenty. I can’t tell you how many people we saw walking around just holding big loaves of bread. It was like living inside Amelie minus the life-altering coincidences. Kid-based deal-breakers: the drinking age?
- The Louvre – Pretty much the only museum I’ve ever been to that I can’t describe as “overrated.” It’s huge, it’s gorgeous, the artwork is amazing, and you could spend an entire day in there and not see it all. Kid-based deal-breakers: the walking, the boredom, the limited Wi-Fi
- The Reykjavik Airport – We had an eight-hour layover on a rainy day in Iceland. I don’t want to insult a whole country so let’s just say I know “Game of Thrones” films there sometimes and I love “Game of Thrones” and that’s about all I have to say about Iceland. Kid-based deal-breakers: Sorry, but you can’t make me imagine spending eight-hours in a tiny airport with my kids. I won’t allow it!
It was a very successful trip, even if we did occasionally find ourselves missing our l’enfants terribles while we were away. Thankfully they had a great time with their aunt and uncle and it wasn’t at all disastrous when we got home and Detective Munch didn’t immediately make me hate myself.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by TripAdvisor but all opinions are 100% my own and not at all influenced by the copious amounts of wine I drank in France