Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Last Weeks As A Family Of Three

We spent some time a couple of weeks ago taking some family photos with the fabulous Adriana Klas.  We wanted to document my baby belly, Charlotte's upcoming second birthday, and our last weeks as a family of three.  I'm so happy with the results.  

Don't be fooled into thinking everything was perfect, though . . . Charlotte hates sand!  She mostly refused to pose on the beach alone.  There's always a story of reality behind the perfect pictures. Keeping it real!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Travelogue: Paris 2014 (Part One)

As I mentioned in my post about tips for traveling with a toddler, Paris is my ultimate happy place.  It is delicious in every way.  We were so lucky to get to take our little Curly Cub to London and Paris.  A European traveler by 12 months!

We arrived from London via the Chunnel.  Charlotte enjoyed the train, but did not sleep a wink.  So, once we pulled into the Gare du Nord, we were all ready to settle in at our apartment.  After an unmentionably expensive car ride later (scam! tourists!), we had arrived!

We stayed in a delightful apartment in the Marais, which we rented through Haven in Paris.  The wood-beamed ceiling, white sofa, and views of the charming neighborhood down below were impeccable.  I could move right in there permanently.

Charlotte slept for a few minutes on the car ride about which we can never speak, so she would not fall asleep once we got to our apartment.  Or perhaps, her nap refusal was due to her excitement about being in Paris.  So, we abandoned the nap and headed out on the town!  First stop . . . Berthillon for Charlotte's first taste of ice cream.  The kid lives a good life, I know. 

We wandered through the Marais, around Ile St. Louis, and to Notre Dame on our first day in bright, sunny Paris. 

On our first night, we got food to go at L'As du Fallafel, a classic in the Marais.  Charlotte loved the frites!

Day Two

On our first full day in Paris, we made an important morning stop at our local patisserie.  Like true Americans, we stuffed ourselves standing at the tiny counter in the bakery in the Marais.  After our delicious breakfast, we decided to brave the metro for the first time.  We hopped on (with a bit of ticket/stroller entrance confusion) and headed to the Tuileries stop for a stroll.  Despite the drizzle, we loved it.

We then made our way to the Louvre and plunged inside.  Luckily, we learned ahead of time to buy a Museum Pass, so we got to skip the lines (key with a baby!).  We stayed away from most of the star exhibits (catch ya next time, Mona Lisa), so that Charlotte would have room to roam.  That led us to, well, Rome!  We spent a lot of time in the Ancient Greek and Roman sections.  We particularly liked all the curly haired statues.  

Next up was a fancy lunch at Cafe Marly right near the Louvre (surprisingly accommodating with kiddos) and some photos by the pyramid.

We made our way back to our apartment by walking by the Pompidou and Les Halles.  Naturally, Charlotte made a French friend.  She is very social. 

We had a wonderful babysitter for the evening, so that les parents could enjoy an evening a deux.  We dined at Michel Rostang, a delicious and traditional French restaurant.  If you're up for an expensive meal with pigeon on the menu, make a reservation!  Alas, we did not eat the pigeon . . .

Day Three

We woke up to lots of rain, but it did not deter us!  We walked all the way from the Marais to the Musee d'Orsay, making a stop along the way to check out the Pont des Arts and its many locks.  A kiss was in order. 

The d'Orsay is magnificent.  Such a treat to get to see so many Impressionist paintings in one place. The building itself is beautiful, too.  Check out this huge clock with a view out to the city.  

 We ate lunch at Eric Kayser, a great bakery and sandwich shop that has a location right near the museum.  After a stop at the local fromagerie to get some supplies for later, we walked all the way to the Jardin du Luxembourg for some outdoor play.  The gardens have a pond with toy boats, ducks to feed, lots of room to run and sun, and even a fantastic playground (for an entrance fee).  We loved it and made it back a few times on our trip.


After some relaxing time back at the apartment, Chad and I headed out for another date night dinner.  We dined at Chez Omar, a delicious and casual Moroccan restaurant in the Marais.

Day Four

We decided to take it easy on our fourth day in Paris, a Sunday.  We had a delicious sit-down breakfast at a local patisserie.  It is so difficult to choose between all of the delicious things, so we didn't!  One of each, please!  Particularly the Charlotte!

We spent the rest of the day walking and wandering in the Marais, with plenty of time for Charlotte to play in the Place de Vosges.  Days like these are so important when you have an extended time in one place.  We really felt like Parisians.

Another French kiss . . . 

I love this spot.  If anyone wants to loan me their apartment on the Place, I'd gladly accept :)

We had a casual family dinner at a Thai restaurant right near our apartment.  Charlotte is a fan of Parisian pad thai!  It was a great place to go for an early dinner with a little one.

Day Five

We woke up on Day Five and headed for the metro again.  Destination, L'Arc de Triumphe!

What a view!

After our trip up the Arc, we strolled on the Champs d'Elysee.  It is quite commercial, but it did allow for a stop at Petit Bateau, where we picked up some darling French cotton basics for Charlotte.  We stopped for a bistro lunch with a side of cuddles and then went to visit Twitter Paris!

After visiting Chad's French counterparts, we went straight to Angelina's for some midday dessert treats.  We highly recommend the extra rich hot chocolate and the Montblanc.  Charlotte was partial to the whipped cream!  After a brief stroll on St. Honore, we made our way back to the apartment for Charlotte's afternoon snooze.  For dinner, Chad and I went to one of my very favorite places in Paris - L'Entrecote.  They only serve salad and steak, so vegetarians beware.  The garlic butter on the steak is something I dream about.  They don't take reservations, and there is always a wait.  We went to the location near the Champs Elysees.  I think next time we'll try the Left Bank outpost.   

Stayed tuned for Part Deux . . .