When we decided to try for a child, one major thing that I had to reconcile was saying goodbye to travel for a while. I mean, I anticipated plenty of trips to see family, and after a few years, it’d certainly be fun to take our kid on child-friendly vacations, if for nothing else than to see her surprised by new experiences and dazzled by cartoons come to life, ready to give her a big friendly hug.
But I thought for sure we were saying goodbye to non-family travel for a while, and even after we had Zoe, it made me shudder to think of wasting precious time in the world’s capitals dealing with toddler meltdowns or trying to find a decent place to change her. Or sitting in the hotel room with a passed-out child, cursing jet lag and the fact that probably no country allows you to leave your sleeping child alone in a locked room (KIDDING, don’t call CPS on me!). For some reason, I never thought about continuing to travel, just without her.
Silly, silly me. I couldn’t have foreseen that these days — almost two years after Zoe’s birth — I’m in a job that requires two (domestic) trips a year. They may not always be the most glamorous locales, but are still fun, happening cities where I can pretend to be a childless adult for a few days. And now, lo and behold, we’ve received an offer, the type of which is impossible to turn down: Evan’s been asked to moderate a panel at a conference… on his birthday… in Paris!
So we “discussed” it for about two seconds, and after we lined up reliable childcare for the week that we’ll be gone (thanks, Mom & Dad!!), we did a little dance that possibly involved too much butt-wiggling, and bought our tickets. Bonjour, Paris!
I’m beyond excited and also a bit overwhelmed. Evan and I have both been to Paris a few times, but not for over eight years (wow, nothing makes you feel old like counting the years…). That amount of time seems like forever, obviously not in Paris’s history, but definitely in ours — I mean, we can probably afford meals from real restaurants this time! Plus, the internet is such a different place than eight years ago, and as with so many topics, it’s now an overflowing repository of idealized, interesting Paris experiences, which is probably part of what’s overwhelming me.
So, I turn to you: I want to know everything — where should we go, what should we eat, what is a DEFINITE can’t-miss, and how do I avoid getting pickpocketed? Ooh, and what are the books/blogs I should be reading to get in a Paris frame of mind?
Some notes: we’ve been to most of the big tourist attractions on previous trips, but we probably won’t be able to resist at least a quick walk to the Notre Dame and Eiffel Tower anyway. I’m surprisingly feeling a bit “eh” on a Louvre trip, since I’ve visited it at least twice. And I do want to incorporate some sort of very delicious, very fattening food goal, something akin to seeking out the best croissant in Paris — which will obviously take lots of evidence-gathering!
What else, what else, what else? Taking all advice, starting now!
(Photo of the Paris landmark that flashes into my mind’s eye every time I think of the city, the Fontaines de la Concord, courtesy of Inside France Ukraine)