Last week I had to go to Paris during Fashion Week for a few work projects and decided to bring Romy along. I thought I would share my experience because the challenges of traveling with a child change as your child grows. Here is a practical guide and my recommended do’s and don’ts to make your trip overseas as easy as possible.
HOW WE GOT THERE:
I was very lucky to be able to bring a guest on my trip, so I had two Business Class tickets and decided that my guest would be Romy. On the way there we took Air France and on the return we flew on Delta. It’s amazing to fly Business Class, however, if you have to pay for it yourself, don’t. You will get frustrated as you will not be able to relax and enjoy the seat as much as you want. In the meantime, here is a comparison between Air France and Delta
- The service: Both airlines had extremely friendly staff, doing everything they could to make it as easy as possible for Romy and me, whether it was to make her bed, to give her toys and crayons, or to warm her milk.
- The food: I have to say, I liked it better on Delta. Their Ice Cream Sundae Cart made all the difference, both for me and for Romy! On this one Delta wins!
- The entertainment: Delta had a much wider selection of movies, cartoons, tv shows, both for adult and kids. Delta wins.
- The seats: both were extremely comfortable, with a proper duvet and real pillow. However, the Air France seating layout is way more practical. On the Delta flight, Romy and I were seating next to each other, however, a huge wall was separating our two seats, as well as a 50cm table in between. This made it impossible to help her with anything without standing up everytime. I could not even hold her hand while sitting. I had to stand up and even go around the aircraft to go on her side to put her seatbelt or take her to the bathroom. I basically had to spend my flight standing up.
- RESULT: As much as I loved the food and entertainment on Delta, standing up every 10 minutes exhausted me and just for this, I vote Air France
WHERE WE STAYED:
We stayed the first four nights at the new Mandarin Oriental Hotel on rue Saint Honore. Then we stayed at the Hotel Bristol. Both hotels were great and extremely kid-friendly, considering they are both luxury destinations. They both had a great kids menu–the Mandarin Oriental had a slightly healthier menu, but the Bristol welcomed Romy with a plush Bunny, crayons and coloring book, as well as an assortment of mini cakes and juice. Both have a pool which is great for a rainy day. The pool at the Bristol is accessible for kids at any time and the pool at the Mandarin allows kids from 9 to 5 pm. If I had to chose between them, I would chose the Bristol– the main reason being that they have also a kids club playroom where you can drop off your kid when you have a SPA treatment, and that’s amazing when you have absolutely no one to watch your child!
WHAT WE DID:
Paris has so much to offer for kids. Whenever I go back, I love to take Romy to the places I used to go myself as a child. I love taking her to the Jardin D’Acclimatation in Boulogne (the closest train station- a 5 minute walk- is Sablon on Line 1). It’s a small theme park owned by LVMH where you have everything for kids: carousels, pony and camel rides, roller coasters, a little farm, a zoo, a petting zoo, and a few games. It also has great restaurants. My favorite one is the creperie in the middle of the little farm. I used to eat there all the time with my grandmother when I was Romy’s age. You can definitely make a day out of it.
Another favorite destination is the Jardin du Luxembourg. It’s one of my favorite gardens in Paris, and has everything from pony rides (you can check the hours and schedule of the pony rides in all the Paris parcs on AnimaPoney), playground, coffee shops, snack shops (I love getting a waffle or a “Barbapapa-Cotton Candy”), and restaurants as well as their famous puppet show “Les Marionettes du Luxembourg.” The shows last for 45 minutes and are the same as when I was a kid. This time we saw Le Chat Beaute /Puss in Boots.
WHERE WE SHOPPED:
One of my favorite destinations when I come to Paris is Zara Home. I know, it sounds weird considering all the amazing shops, but their home and nursery selection is amazing (much better than online), they have great vintage looking furniture, and amazing cotton pyjamas for kids, all at a very affordable price.
Another favorite destination is Chocolat Show. It is a tiny boutique hidden in the 16th Arrondissement. They sell everything from toys to costumes and birthday supplies, all with a vintage appeal. They also do birthday planning in Paris. I wish we had the same in New York! They deliver to the US but unfortunately the shipping cost is very high.
- To get to JFK, our car was delayed and I ordered a last minute Uber car with car seat, it was perfect.
- We did not take a car seat either as we used in Paris Taxi G7 where you can book cars with car seats, and my mother had a car seat in her car.
- If you decide to bring a car seat I recommend the Immi Go Car seat. It will change your life! It’s extremely light and foldable.
- We did not take a stroller. I hate carrying things, but if you do want a stroller and travel a lot I recommend getting the Yoyo Baby Zen Stroller. Very light, and when folded you can carry it over your shoulder as well as leave it in the compartment above your head on the plane, which saves you time.
- Bring a lot of entertainment for your little one: books, crayons, stickers–they get bored quickly!
- Bring extra blankets too, I always love Aden and Anais Dream Bamboo swaddles– they’re very soft and light and perfect to cover the airplane seat.