Sunday, 10 April 2016

Paris with the 5 year old...

So we decided to take the little man to one of our favourite places. Mr M and I had been to Paris many times in our pre-parenting days and we wanted to show it to him - I also had a little dream of him sailing a boat in the pond at the Jardin du Luxembourg (more on that later). It was good, but didn't go entirely to plan.

The small boy was VERY excited about going to Paris. We reminded him frequently that we would not be going to Disneyland and he seemed OK with that - to be fair he didn't mention it at all while we were away so he clearly was OK with it. He was looking forward to seeing the Eiffel Tower and just visiting Paris (always loves to be somewhere different). As we'd been so many times before it was easy to plan our trip around him - nothing we needed to go and see and we'd do whatever he wanted to. 

So, the first stop was our hotel - the Hotel George Opera. We chose this hotel as it looked to be very child friendly, wasn't too horribly expensive, and had an apartment so the little man could sleep in a separate room (so quieter and we didn't have to go to bed early with him). Unfortunately though when we arrived they'd double booked our room so we had to spend the first night in a standard triple room, which really took the edge off things (we all had to go to bed at 9pm). They did refund us for the first night and move us to the apartment for our second one - it was much much better. 

The breakfast room was lovely and had a really nice area for younger children to play - the little man managed to amuse himself for a few minutes though with the kitchen. 

First stop after dropping off our bags was the metro to the Eiffel Tower. Our hotel was just up the road from Saint Georges metro station (and down from Pigalle) - we'd never stayed in this part of town before and it made a nice change. Once you drop down the hill a bit the ultra touristy, tacky Pigalle area actually becomes quite nice. We took the metro to Trocadero so we could recreate a photo from my first visit 24 years ago (almost to the day) but sadly there were hoardings up which prevented it. The little man was still excited to see the tower though (and not fussed to go up, which was a good thing as we'd left it too late to buy the queue jump tickets) - we walked under the tower and through the gardens on the other side where I hunted for mangnolia in flower (only spotted one the whole weekend and it was too far away to photograph!). 

We found a cafe on Rue Cler for a much needed snack and glass of wine, before heading back to the hotel. We found a great little pizza place for dinner, which was a 10 minute walk from the hotel (we went both nights as the little man loved it and behaved himself there - arguably the most important thing as for the most part his behaviour was atrocious to the point of embarrassing). Trying to find somewhere suitable to eat with him in the evenings was tricky as most places are child friendly during the day (provided they behave - he didn't) but not at night. Our hotel didn't have a restaurant so that wasn't an option... 

On day 2 we headed off to the Jardin du Luxembourg to find the boats. Which we couldn't. We searched and searched and established (as best we could with zero signage or information) that they were closed. Little man was sad. I was possibly even more so. So we headed off to the play area which was brilliant. There's a small entrance fee but for that you get a huge playground with a great range of equipment, which is clean and in excellent condition (so a far cry from South London!). We were there for about an hour and he completely wore himself out, before we walked over to Rue Du Buci (another of Mr M and my favourite spots from years gone by) for lunch. He did OK but kept wanting to crawl along the benches as if he was a toddler (give me strength). 

After lunch we walked up to the river to take a boat trip (something we did do once - I think on our first visit) so very touristy but the plan was to appease the little man. It sort of worked. We took a boat from and back to Pont Neuf. 

He was then complaining about the sun in his eyes (he doesn't have shades as he wears glasses and prescription sunglasses aren't recommended for children) so we headed to the shops to get him a cap. Then a walk through the Louve "Oh look, pyramides!" and the Tuileries where we had ice creams and he had a massive tantrum when he got covered in chocolate ice cream and I wanted to wipe it off. Then a trip on the big wheel before heading back to the hotel to chill out in our larger room for a little while. 

As I mentioned we went to the pizza place again for tea, but then walked up to Sacre Coeur (taking the funicular for the last part) so see the sun go down and the lights come on. This was a bit of a mistake as they were selling lit up Eiffel Tower models up there (we'd already bought him a normal one) so a good 20 minutes of screaming and crying ensued when we said he couldn't have one. Then back to bed...

On our last day the first stop was the Centre Pompidou. It was closed as it was a Tuesday but that was OK as I didn't plan to pay to take the little man in as his attention span was similar to that of a gnat. We had a look at the outside and he commended that it looks like a hamster cage (good observation) then popped to a cafe next door for excellent hot chocolate.

We then agreed to take him to a toy shop. We wanted a nice toy shop so where else but Galleries Lafayette? He chose a Paris bendy bus and was very happy with that. This was the first trip to Paris where I didn't buy anything for myself at all! 

We found a bistro for lunch en route to the Champs Elysees then walked along to the Arc de Triomphe where the little man ran around a bit (and Mr M looked out for car crashes) before heading back to the metro and the hotel to collect our case and travel back to Gare du Nord for our 5pm Eurostar. 

So it was pretty exhausting, but the little man still says he had a brilliant time and he loves Paris. He told me not to be sad that I was leaving as he's going to take me back when he's a bit older. Mr M and I are currently debating whether we ever want to go on holiday with him again!! It's definitely true that there's no such thing as a holiday when you have children - work is much easier!

Hasn't put me off Paris though...

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