Friday, March 11, 2011

1 Mom, 4 Kids in Paris

Last Friday, after a few days here in the village, we went to Paris, only a couple of hours' drive, for the day.  That is, my husband had a meeting in Creteil, a town south-east of the capital, and he dropped us off not far from there, a Vitry-sur-Seine, where we took the RER train the last 20 min. or so to Paris, while he went to work.
We took the train to the Invalides Station, and came out to the grand sights of the Invalides Sanctuary and the Alexandre III bridge.

Kind of strange feeling, actually, to find myself back in Paris again, but this time alone with my four children.  It had been almost 4 years since we last came here as a family, so apart for it being Jonatan's very first time, it was in also a discovery for Samuel and Alma, since they were so much younger the last time we came here.

On the other side of the Seine, we had roasted chestnuts, prepared by Fabrice, and on the famous Champs-Elysées Avenue, we had lunch at Pizza Pino, one of my favorite places to eat in Paris.  Big and obviously catering to tourists, yes, but with a very friendly staff, great service, wonderful view, and delicious Italian and French dishes.  No problem at all coming there alone with four hungry kids, since several waiters helped me haul the stroller up the stairs, and we got the most perfect table, with lots of extra space.  Since the place was packed, we had to wait for our lunches, but they brought my toddler fresh rolls, butter and bread sticks so he could start eating.

Leaving the restaurant, Jonatan fell asleep in the stroller, and we enjoyed a sunny walk on the broad sidewalk of the Champs-Elysées.  Up by the Arc de Triomphe, we went down Avenue Iéna and then cut into rue la Pérouse, where I showed the kids the place I lived when I first came to Paris, in the fall of '93.
Then, strolling down Avenue Kléber, we arrived at Place Trocadéro, where you find the most amazing view of the Eiffel Tower.

I mentioned the strange feeling of being alone in Paris with my children, but actually it wasn't that strange at all, it was in fact familiar and normal.  And, as I pushed the stroller containing my sleeping toddler, I realized that this is how my motherhood started.  For the first 2 1/2 years of being a parent, I spent my time walking the sidewalks of Paris, either carrying a baby, pushing a stroller, or holding the hand of a toddler.
How wonderful it is, such a feeling.  The known, the already felt; the not-so-special but very nice emotion of feeling at home.
I think you leave a part of your heart in the place you're defined as a parent, and well, Paris was my first home as a wife and as a mother.  This city definitely holds a large piece of my heart.

Later in the day, my husband picked us up down by the Seine, and we all drove up through Boulevard Saint-Germain to the Latin Quarter, and  we walked to the Île de la Cité island to visit the Notre Dame.Then, after nightfall, we sat down on a sidewalk café, and we feasted on yummy crêpes and sipped hot chocolate before we regained our car and took off, through the City of Lights, out on the A6 road, back to Bourgogne (Burgundy.)

My daughter is the photographer!


  1. You cannot begin to imagine how much I love this post. In April 1999, my husband proposed to me in the gardens outside of The Louvre. You reminded me of those blissful days spent there in Paris. We live in Texas, United States. Paris is quite far from here! Ha! It was like a fairy tale. I have a watercolor we both along the Seine hanging over our bathtub and a black & white drawing also bought there of Notre Dame. I bought a CD entirely in French, of course, by Isabelle Boulay that I bought at the Virgin Records store on the Champs de Elysee (sp?). When I eat croissants with a piece of chocolate inside, I'm taken back to the cafe we shared coffee. It was all so romantic and I loved every minute of it! Thank you for helping me to remember it all. Your pictures are gorgeous, as are you and your children!

  2. Thanks, Kelley, for your comment, and I'm so happy I was able to make those memories alive for you! It sounded wonderful!


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