The babymoon; No longer just the name to describe the period of time couples spend adjusting to their new roles as parents and getting to know their baby, but more so now – with a considerable amount of help from the travel industry – a modern day name for a trip for a couple to take before they become parents; any excuse to travel in my opinion and a lovely chance to get away just the 2 of us before life is turned upside down! We wanted to go as late into pregnancy as possible, so flying was out of the equation, so we decided to jump on board the Eurostar and pop across the water to Paris.
Paris in the spring…Or so I thought! It was absolutely freezing, and in fact snow covered most of northern France! I wouldn’t be returning from this trip bronzed after all. **un-packs Maxi dresses**
A friend of mine had been recently and was so passionate about it she gave me loads of great tips of where to go and what to see which was great as we were only there for a few days so it was good to know we were fitting everything in to a short space of time, including the extra places which aren’t in the guide books. So, off we went with my itinerary in hand! The Eurostar was such a seamless process; I would recommend it to anyone. We stayed up in London the night before then it was a short walk across the road in the morning to check in and half an hour later we were on the train! (Well, actually Stuart’s time keeping rules of never being late (which still haven’t brushed off on me after 5 years) meant we were actually there an hour before, but you get the picture!)
We arrived in central Paris just a few hours later and after a few Franglais confused conversations (with some Spanish thrown in for good measure) we jumped on the Metro to get over to Pigalle where we were staying – the home of the Moulin Rouge. After dumping our bags at our boutique hotel we ventured out to make the most of our first day in the Romantic capital.
We strapped my painful back up with heat patches, donned our hats & scarves and off we went to walk as far as my little pregnant body would take us! Over the next 2 days we walked around the main sites of Paris, and got lost amongst the back streets and cobbled hillsides lined with cafes and quirky boutiques. There is so much to see in this cosmopolitan city; here’s a selection of what we managed to cram into our few days in the French capital.
The Trocadéro, site of the Palais de Chaillot, It was absolutely freezing as we arrived as it’s an open site at the top of a hill. There are some great photo opportunities here though as it has a fantastic view of the Eifel Tower from across the river.
The tree lined wide streets of the Avenue Champs Elysees is home to hundreds of divine shops to tempt the purse strings and eateries to sit and people watch from (I was hoping to spot the Beckham’s, as David was over playing for PSG, but it wasn’t to be unfortunately!) from here you can see the Arc de Triomphe which has to be marvelled at close up, the intricate details crafted by hand in the 1800’s.
You can climb up inside it for views over Paris and a walk around the museum inside; it’s often said that it’s actually better than a trip up the Eiffel Tower. Even if you don’t choose to climb it, go there just to wonder at the 8 lane roundabout where each car appears to have no right of way over the next and hundreds of cars per minute weave their way around this chaotic motoring masterpiece! Not forgetting of course the Louvre, home to the world famous Mona Lisa (And I thought the one hanging in my downstairs toilet was the real one!) and hundreds of other iconic art works. It is huge and there are guided tours to help you around different sections of the museum. Notre Dame Cathedral is absolutely incredible with architecture dating back to the 12th century and a great position on the Ile de la Cite (right next to the beautiful Ile Saint-Louis). Entry is free, although there are paid tours which you can take. The detailed Gargoyles, workmanship of the ceilings and beautiful stained glass windows are amazing to see, especially knowing they are over 800 years old!!
After a flying visit to the Luxor Obelisk, we walked the Rue de Rivoli to find the famous Angelina’s tearooms; a former favourite of Coco Chanel. This came highly recommended and I have to say we were not disappointed! The queue, as anticipated, was a hundred people long so we opted for a take away signature hot chocolate. I was warned beforehand not to attempt a cake and a hot chocolate, which I thought was a cautious statement especially for a pregnant lady, but in fact we could have actually shared one cup between us! It was pure liquid chocolate, absolutely divine but hugely sickly!!
We also took a river tour down the Seine, which unfortunately was slightly marred by it being at the same time as what seemed like every single junior school from England; Certainly not a romantic trip! But it gave some good views of all the sites from a different angle and perfect for anyone who just has a day or 2 to explore Paris.
One more must see to mention is the Sacre Coeur, in Montemartre. The highest spot in Paris which boasts fantastic views (including the Eifel Tower) We visited on the last day as it was right by our hotel. By then I barely had enough energy to walk to the local boulangerie without stopping to catch a breath, let alone up to the dome of the Basillica but it was fantastic all the same from the bottom of the hill; make sure you go via one of the many chocolate shops along the way!
The Metro took us everywhere we wanted to go and gave us (well, me) some good respite in between all the walking. It is really easy to navigate, even without speaking the language.
Being 34 weeks pregnant and exhausted by 7pm, we spent our evenings around the local area which had a plethora of bars and restaurants. In fact there was so much character in these little paved streets and the non-assuming restaurant fronts that half the fun of going out in the evenings was to choose which of the many tiny, non-commercial restaurants to go with. We dined on traditional French food and Stu tasted some of the local wines while I indulged in litres of San Pellegrino – my staple pregnancy drink! The walk home afterwards not only helped with digestion (as any preggo would tell you it’s incredibly uncomfortable if you overindulge – which was hard not to “when in Rome”) but also offered more opportunities to people watch and enjoy the many interesting sites of the area around the Moulin Rouge.
We had a fantastic time and I hope this helps anyone thinking of popping over to the city of love 🙂