My writing is so backlogged but I had to start somewhere. I was browsing photos of our last major family vacation and up popped this
Nyaeli is to young to even know but I was soaring when we came upon Moulin Rouge! If the history of this place doesn't excite you, how about Nicole Kidman's infamous movie or even Patti LaBelle's song? I made our matching mom and baby outfits but didn't expect our red dresses would have the perfect photo opp in front of Moulin Rouge! We didn't go inside because it's closed during the day. After Moulin Rouge, there's a plethora of sex shops and adult video stores but we were hungry so we headed to the next landmark.
Palais Garnier Opera house
Just shy of 2 years, Nyaeli is the most traveled toddler I know. She's been across the United States and over seas more than myself at her age. It helps that Nyaeli loves traveling. So when the time came for our Europe trip, we were really pumped to have our toddler in Paris. My great grandmother was born in France before moving to Canada so my sister and I were pumped to visit the mother-land! Paris the city was not anything like the romance movies portray it as. I felt more like Carrie in Sex and the City (minus the poop incident). Lack of romance but as a graduate of fine arts, I owed it to myself (and my student loan debt) to visit as many monuments as possible.
Musee du Louvre
We visited Musee du Louvre (famous in The DaVinci Code movie starring Tom Hanks) and I saw the Mona Lisa painting. Immaculate Egyptian relics, massive religious paintings, pristine royal jewels, and the beautiful Nike of Samothrace (cue the tears).
After a long trek through the most amazing curation Ive ever witnessed, we make our way into a large room filled with crowds of people all clamoring to see the Mona Lisa. Talk about underwhelming! The walls were decked in gorgeous floor to ceiling paintings of angels and godly bodies but everyone seemed more focused on that tiny, greyed, ugly woman Mona Lisa. We came, we saw, next...
We went in August when the weather was really warm and sunny. If you're wondering what to do with your toddler in Paris, Toddlers and water go together like cookies and cream. In front of the Louvre is a shallow water fountain and the kids sit on the sides dipping their feet in. Please supervise your kid; the fountain is fun but slippery. It's also windy and very dusty near the Champs Ellyses; I strongly suggest a parasol, lots of water, sunglasses, and comfortable (but cute) shoes.
Place de la Concorde
Another place to take your toddler in Paris; you cant miss it. You'll feel Alice in Wonderland vibes entering Place de la Concorde; the manicured gardens just outside of the Louvre. Let your kids run crazy, buy souvenirs, have a picnic, and ride the Carousel! In that heat, with that much excitement, you'll thank me later.
Nap time!! She couldn't stay awake long enough to eat lunch. Speaking of food, if you're on a budget but have high taste standards, I recommend you shop at a local market for meats, cheese, and wine. Generally, any restaurant located close to monuments has terrible food and rude service. I mean french onion soup tastes like dish water with melted cheese and customers were fighting with staff! Save your money and sanity for quality; not the tourist traps.
However, if you want to splurge (we did on our last night in France), walk a few blocks away and look for any restaurant with a long wait. That is how to spot a gem. A friend recommended we dine at Chef Christian Constant Cafe. There, we enjoyed warm conversation, delectable dishes that somehow my father ordered 3x (the pork sausages were that good), and the best rum cake hands down. My father tracked down the only store in the United States that sells the same rum and yes we had a Merry Christmas!
So how was the Eiffel Tower? Massive! Bigger than I expected it to be. We went on the coldest days and didn't pack for such temps. Luckily, a vendor sold us mohair jackets and parkas. On our way to the tower, pretty ducks played with my toddler in Paris gardens. She was content with her feathery friends but we convinced her to climb the tower with us. Once at the top, you get 360 degree views of Paris and every hour at night, the tower lights up!
Need some more ideas for things to do with your toddler in Paris? Which monument would you love to see in person? Share in the comments below!