Wednesday, May 23, 2012

paris part deux

So we are back from Paris and I finally have a few minutes to sit down and reminisce about our trip.

When big daddy and I were in France last year, the whole time we kept thinking that we would love to have Lulu with us.
Well maybe not the entire time...that was a nice break.
But after a few days we really started missing her.
While touring around and seeing little french children playing in the beautiful pristine parks, we always felt like there was a piece of our family puzzle missing.
So we vowed that one day we would return with our little lady.

Fast forward one year.

We only had one week, so we didn't feel that was enough time to head to the south so we opted to just focus on Paris and take our time in the city instead.
We also decided to rent an apartment instead of staying in a hotel.
Best. Decision. Ever.

(the view from our front door)

I love to eat out at restaurants, but not 3 meals a day for 7 days straight.
Especially when kids are involved.
Not to say that Lulu isn't a seasoned restaurant goer and behaves amazingly when we are out, it's just that food wise it gets a bit tiresome.
So our apartment was in the perfect location.
In the 6th arrondissement St. Germain close to everything.

Lulu had her own bedroom and bathroom which was fantastic.

I swear we didn't have the computer on the entire time...

I loved having a  kitchen and laundry.
Bonus-I came home with a suitcase full of clean clothes.
I really enjoyed going to Rue Buci to get fresh fruit and veggies and also learning to navigate the marcher.
You have to weigh fruit and veg yourself and put the price stickers on them before heading to the cash.
Learned that the hard way when I was at the check-out and a big line of annoyed locals were waiting for me to hurry up and go weigh all of our produce.
But it was kind of a fun way to teach Lulu how to say all the names of the fruit and veg in french as I made her help me put the stickers on each day.
Big daddy went across the street each morning for fresh baguette and croissant at Paul or Eric Kayser.
While in Rome...or in this case Paris.
It goes without saying that the patisseries are so amazing.
How the French manage to eat all those carbs and still stay so thin is a mystery to me.

It was also fantastic being able to relax in our big living room at the end of a full day and people watch from our big windows facing the lively street below.

Speaking of people watching..
The fashions, oh the fashions. Oh la la.
I couldn't get enough of all the beautiful clothing.
Everyone dresses so well in Paris.
Men especially are dressed to the nines. Not trendy, just so classic.
Very few big beards or tattoos to be found.
(Not that I have anything against either, just an observation)
They are all so handsome and chic.
Women as well are so natural and in my humble opinion-beautiful.
I spotted very few fake blondes in Paris.
Women don't seem to get highlights, wear lots of make up or get their nails done.
Not sure why I noticed the nail thing, but so many North American women seem to wear nail-polish and plenty of it.
(I for one just had a manicure yesterday and am sporting opi- step right up)
But I don't think I saw one nail salon while we were there.
Like I said, everyone is very Au Natural.
And they smell amazing too. (aside from the clouds of cigarette smoke surrounding them)
Not like strong sickly sweet perfume, but a subtle and kind of musky sexy.
The women of Paris really know how to wear fragrance.
Not too strong- just right.
Women of all ages just look so great.
I don't think the term cougar exists in paris.
I also don't think I spotted one person wearing yoga pants in public, never mind some sort of tacky slogan written across their derriere- like for example"Juicy".
Not really sure why I packed my lululemons..what a waste of suitcase real estate..

And I can't forget the petite enfants.
OMG the cutest kids on the planet.
The little outfits are adorable and so stylish.
There wasn't a Gap or Hannah Montana tee shirt to be found.
These kids dress so sharp- I saw a ton of children in little blazers and scarves.
And the shoes, oh the many to choose from, so little time ( and euros...)

So from a fashion standpoint, Paris once again never fails to disappoint.

But the real reason for visiting Paris wasn't to be a fashion critic, but we wanted to show Lulu all the beautiful buildings, museums, parks and mainly the history of such a world renowned city.
We were about a 10 minute walk to Notre Dame.

and also St. Sulpice, one of my favourite churches in Paris.

We also arranged a private tour of the Louvre for Lulu.

I can't recommend this enough.
What an amazing decision. (thanks Big Daddy & Ciao Bambino)
It was so fantastic to have our own private tour and also a scavenger hunt all through the museum.
Lulu learned so much and was so into it. (not to mention me)
Our guide Colleen was so informative and excellent with kids. She knew how to keep her audience captivated, yet still manage to answer all kinds of questions along the way.
I wish I could have hung out with her for the entire day!

The tour is specific to your child's age and Lulu was absolutely riveted.
What a fantastic experience.

So great to watch Lulu see all these amazing works of art for the first time.

The best thing is that I learned a ton of things as well.
also a bonus was that our guide knew what areas to avoid (re crowds) and how to help us navigate the busiest areas.

LOVEd this day so much. Definitely  one of the highlights of our trip.

After our morning at the Louvre we of course worked up quite an appetite.
we were going to venture out for lunch but instead decided to eat lunch at Cafe Marly.
Close and convenient.
We had dinner there 12 years before.

Although it wasn't quite as romantic this time around, it was still fabulous.
Maybe even better than I remembered.

En route to the Louvre we walked across Pont des Arts and put a couple of love locks on the bridge.

One for us and one for Chelsea. (it was her first birthday) we all really missed her.

xoxoxoxoxox  Happy 1st birthday Chelsea.

Then we spent the rest of the afternoon in the Tuileries next to the Louvre.
Lulu was in Heaven.


We tried to spend as much time as possible in all the beautiful city gardens.
Lulu rode a few different Carousels and I couldn't help to think that before long she will no longer want to do that because it's for "little kids".
Sniff sniff...
But in the mean time...

The Parks in Paris are so great.

Someone is really into perfecting the cartwheel at the moment.
(one of the few spots that we were actually allowed on the grass)
Luxemburg Gardens.

Lulu got to ride go carts

Or in this case a horse.

She is currently really into horses and galloped like one all through the streets of Paris.

Lulu also managed to do a bit of painting in the park.

Poor thing was worried about getting paint on her new Bonpoint blouse though.
Still she created quite the masterpiece.
Tres Bon!

There wasn't a ton of relaxation time or time for reflection, but that's what beach vacations are for and also that's life with a seven year old I suppose.
We were really on the go and wanted to see and do as much as possible while we were there.

I loved walking around the city with Lulu we had so much fun navigating the streets.

But we always stopped to smell the roses...

or petunias...

We also made sure to enjoy all the cafes and Lulu especially loved her first french Chocolate Chaud.
I may never be able to give her Nesquick again...

One of the days it was really hot so we decided to go to the Jardin Des Plants-Museum Natural History on the Batobus.
Ah air conditioning....

Also a highlight.
So much fun.

Whenever we would spot a car like this we would get a photo of Lulu in front of it.

I think we have about a dozen or so.
I'm hoping on doing a bit of a photo project with all the images.
stay tuned for that.

It came as no surprise that Lulu loved all the food.

But she wasn't a big fan all the sauce and mayo on everything.
I could relate. Aside from that, she loved everything else.
Especially the jambon & fromage crepes. yum.
Bonus there was a crepe cart right outside our front door.

Oh and her first Chocolate Eclair.

In addition to the Louvre and the Museum of Natural History we also went to Musee d'Orsay.

Lulu's favourite artist is Claude Monet so it was another amazing experience.

She is also really into Degas and couldn't wait to see the actual "little dancer" in person.

Also Renoir..

Vincent VanGogh was also a favourite.
But unfortunately no photos because we got busted by security.

I've been reading Lulu a series of books by Laurence Anholt that have been amazing for teaching her about all the great artists.
Unfortunately the Picasso Museum is closed for renovation so we were unable to check it out.
But as luck should have it there is a big exhibit happening right here in Toronto.
Will most definitely have to check it out before July 25th.

Mother's day was spent relaxing in the apartment and taking it easy in the morning since it was our last day in Paris.
We took one last stroll around "our" neighbourhood and lucky for me (and my MasterCard) everything was closed on Sundays.
So we just walked hand in hand looking at all the buildings and enjoying the much less crowded streets.

I'm so happy that we were able to share one of our favourite cities with Lulu.
I hope that one day she will look back and really appreciate her first time there.
Hopefully not her last.
I loved looking at the city though her eyes (or at least trying to) and although we came back pretty tired (and unfortunately sick- yup again....) it was one of the best experiences ever.

Most definitely one of the most memorable mother's day yet.

A big Thank-you to big daddy for making it all possible.
Merci mon amour...xoxo


kurrabikid said...

Wow!!!! I love your photos. Sounds like a truly memorable trip. Lulu will recall it forever, I am sure.

Sonia said...

Looks like an amazing trip!! Thanks for sharing the pictures with us!

Lynn said...

How wonderful - looks like a dream vacation. Everything looked so fabulous - almost (almost!) makes me want to try traveling with the kids sometime.

Welcome home!

Tracy said...

She will remember it always. Such a magical city!

Gabriella said...

I absolutely loved the pictures! She is such a beautiful kid!!!

And that's it I'm living vicariously through you now ;-)

I can't wait to bring Samantha to Paris one day, it's my fav city!

jen said...

Sounds like a great trip! So glad it was amazing. And you all look gorgeous in these snaps.