Part 2 in a series on Paris
If you’re planning to go to Paris for a holiday with your infant or toddler, kudos to you! I admire your spirit.
My hubby and I took our first post-baby vacation to Paris and it turned out to be a unique holiday. First of all, we learnt that our lives and our vacations are going to be very different going forward. Secondly, we learnt a number of ways to make this and future trips easier for us.
In this post, I share some tips with regard to travelling within the city. Getting from place to place is going to be one of your biggest challenges, especially since there’s so much to see in Paris! Your life will also be easier depending on where you’ve chosen to live- check my post on ‘Traveling Moms- Where to Stay in Paris’.
Take a Stroller
You may have heard that the Paris metro has umpteen number of stairs and very few elevators, which means you will be hefting your baby and stroller up and down. You may also have heard that the stroller is not allowed inside some tourist attractions like the Palace of Versailles and that many Paris restaurants don’t have the space to accommodate your stroller. This is all true and yet, I say you must take a stroller if you’re going to Paris with a baby or toddler.
If you have a travel-friendly stroller, yet better, but even if you have a bulky one (like we did), go with it. It’s going to be the baby’s bed when he’s sleepy, changing table when she needs a fresh diaper, covered space when it’s raining and a trolley for all the baby bags and stuff you need to carry with you. For the problems I mentioned above, I have solutions and they follow in the post.
Take the Buses Instead of the Metro
Save yourself the trouble of lifting your baby and the pram and ascending and descending the endless Metro stairs. Instead, use Paris buses. We found one for almost everywhere we wanted to go. Even if they didn’t go right up to our destination, we would get off as close as possible and then walk it. The walk isn’t difficult because you have a stroller, right?
You can get yourself a Paris bus map or just look up Google maps to know which bus number to take. We even found the bus drivers exceptionally helpful. We’d reach the closest bus stop and look at which bus was going in the approximate direction we wanted to go. We’d then pay for our tickets on the bus itself and also ask the driver to suggest where we should get off to go to so-and-so place.
Be Prepared to Take a Taxi Sometimes
There will be times when you’re just exhausted or your baby is. She is bawling or he has had enough of the disruption in his life. At those times, be prepared to spend a little extra and take a taxi. While Paris cabs can be pricey, we found Uber quite affordable. In fact, if you are 3-4 people, your combined bus ticket cost might be almost the same as what you’d pay for a taxi. If you’re fewer people, try an Uber Share.
I strongly believe there is not better way to see a place than on foot. If you heed our first suggestion, which is to take a stroller along, walking should not be a problem. Get your baby used to spending extended periods of time in the pram in the days and weeks before you travel. Taking long walks will not just get your little one habituated to the stroller, but also prepare you physically for the trip. Our boy would drink in all the new colours, sounds and tastes while we walked around Paris and when he was tired, he would settle back and nap right there in his stroller. It was a life-saver!
Hop on and off a Seine Cruise
One brilliant medium of transport in Paris is a Seine cruise. Not only is it beautiful and enjoyable, a hop-on-hop-off cruise allows you to make your way from one tourist attraction to another. From the Eiffel Tower to Champs Elysees and from Louvre to the Notre Dame, they are all on the cruise map. We took a two day pass which allowed us to rest on the boat when we were tired and get off at a place of choice when we were ready to go again.
Take Stroller Plastic Covers
This would, of course, depend on the weather in which you’re going, but if there’s any chance of rain, you would want to water-proof your stroller and your baby within it.
I hope you found these tips useful. My next post on ‘Traveling Moms- Meals in Paris’ will give you a couple of ideas to make your trip yet easier.
Also read about our Paris trip from my 8 month old’s point of view in ‘Baby’mooning in Paris- How I Made my Parents’ Holiday Unforgettable.
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Piyushi Dhir is the author of 'In Search of Love', 'I'm Yours, The Next Time', 'Silent Promises' and 'Enmeshed Evermore'. She is a contributor in 'Nineteen Tales of COVID-19', a collection of short stories. A voracious reader, a keen traveler, a businesswoman and a mom, Piyushi currently resides in Canada. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.