We are back from our amazing trip to Paris and Rome. We had a fantastic time and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. I’m going to split up my recap into a few posts otherwise I’d have a post a mile long for you.
First up – our time in Paris! We went totally strollerless on this trip and it made life so much easier. The sidewalks in Paris are mostly stroller-friendly, but not at all in Rome. Neither city is well equipped with elevators in most buildings and in their public transit so having a stroller would have been inconvenient, but it is doable if need be. Don’t worry though, we didn’t make Zain walk all around Paris and Rome on his little legs! I wore him in my super comfortable Ergo Performance Baby Carrier. I am a huge fan of babywearing and one of these days, I’ll have to do a post on my favorite carriers, but for now back to Paris :).
We spent 5 glorious days in Paris before heading to Italy. I mentioned in my post before we left that Paris holds a special place in my heart. It was amazing to be back in the city I love so very much. I feel like I’m at home when I’m there.
Our flight to France was great. It was an overnight flight that left at 9:45pm. It was perfect for Zain because he slept pretty much the entire flight. Of course, he only stayed in his car seat for about an hour and spent the remainder of the flight sprawled out across my lap. I had a tough time trying to get any sleep because I just couldn’t get comfortable. I also think the 12 mile run the morning we left might have been a bad idea. My legs were stiff and uncomfortable sitting for so long.
We arrived in Paris around 12pm local time after our 7.5 hour flight and took a taxi to our hotel. Our hotel, the Albe Hotel, located in the Latin Quarter, was absolutely amazing. Our room was huge and modern by European standards. We could not have asked for a better location. The Latin Quarter is a lively and exciting place to stay with lots of restaurants and shops. It is also a super convenient place to stay to get to all the main attractions in the city.
Day 1 was a bit rough for me because as I mentioned earlier, I didn’t really sleep on the flight over, but we had a whole day ahead of us. I got myself a Coca Cola Light and toughed it out. We ate gyros as our first meal. The Latin Quarter is the place to get delicious gyros. Hubby was in heaven. After lunch, we walk around a bit and then headed back to the hotel for Z to nap. Hubs and I napped too and then we went to a yummy French dinner of steak and French fries.
On day 2, hubby and I both ran separately (post on running in Paris coming up next!) before heading out for the day. We went to the Louvre which was closed, but we needed to find the Apple store since we forgot our iPhone charger. Turns out there is now an Apple store inside the Louvre! I find that to be a bit crazy, but it was very convenient.
We then visited the giant Ferris Wheel. It offers an amazing view of the city.
On our walk back to the hotel, we stopped for Zain to stretch out his legs a bit and then he fell asleep on my back.
After his nap, we walked to the Champs Elysées. We checked out all the cool stores and then decided to take the metro back to the hotel because we were worn out from all the walking. We happened to be riding during rush hour so the train was packed. This would have been fine normally, but I had Zain on my back. He didn’t quite get the whole personal space thing and kept trying to touch people. Some people smiled and laughed, but one cranky man quickly moved his arm away. It was too funny.
Once we got back to the Latin Quarter, we had paella for dinner with some sangria!
On Day 3, we both ran again in the morning and headed to the Musée d’Orsay after breakfast. It started to rain as soon as we got there and there was a line outside with about an hour and a half wait. Luckily for us, someone told us we could bypass the line because we had a baby and enter right away through the handicap door. Nice! The Musée d’Orsay is one of my favorite museums. It is inside an old train station and contains some really amazing artwork.
On our way back to the hotel, we stopped to pick up one of my favorite French lunch items – a baguette sandwich with ham, cheese and butter. It’s simple, but delicious. I used to eat this sandwich all the time before my French phonetics class when I studied abroad.
After we ate lunch, it was family nap time (there were a lot of naps during our vacation!). When we all finally woke up, we took the metro back to the Champs Elysées so we could do some shopping – we checked out Nike, Adidas, Disney, and Louis Vuitton. All those stores and the only thing we bought was a Mickey Mouse for Zain! We ate a yummy dinner of pizza and then walked back to the hotel. We ate our first crepes of the trip back in the Latin Quarter – nutella and banana for hubby, nutella and coconut for me.
On Day 4, we went to visit my old neighborhood. I lived near the Bastille on Avenue Daumesnil. Avenue Daumesnil houses the Viaduc des Arts which used to be a railroad. The viaducts now contain artistic shops and galleries and the area where the railway once was is now a path you can walk on.
After scoping out some changes in the neighborhood, we took the metro to the Louvre. We only spent about an hour walking around to see various exhibits before Zain was ready for a nap.
We headed back to the hotel and took another glorious family nap. Once we were all recharged, we went to visit the Sorbonne where I went to school and the Pantheon which was right next to once of my classrooms. We ate another delicious French dinner and had more nutella crepes for dessert.
On Day 5, we hit some nearby stores for hubby to look for some shoes. Whenever, we go to Europe, he wants to get cool Euro style tennis shoes. He finally found some that met his criteria at the Puma store. I might have also found some cool shoes for myself :). After shopping we ate my absolute favorite French meal – croque madames. They are sandwiches with ham on the inside and cheese on the top. The croque madame has an egg on top; you can also have a croque monsieur which does not have an egg.
After naptime and some souvenir shopping, we had incredible ham and cheese crepes for dinner, followed by more nutella crepes for dessert. Can you tell we did a whole lot of eating on this trip?
We had a really wonderful time in Paris. It was fun showing Zain around and introducing him to all the yummy food – although, the only thing he really wanted to eat the whole time was french fries! I was curious how the French would react to a baby, especially one as social as Zain who likes to say hi to everyone he sees. Everyone always loved him in restaurants. One waitress kept giving him kisses. We didn’t mind, but that’s something that strangers usually don’t do in the US!
I wish we had more time in Paris because we only had enough time to do half the things I wanted to do, but that just means we need to go back again soon :).
Running in Paris was awesome…check back for a post on that coming up soon!