One of our favorite day trips from Antibes was to Monaco! It was extra fun because one of our good friends had joined up for the last week of our holiday. I had been to Monaco before, when I was in high school, but it was on a tour so had a bit of a different vibe to it. I loved arriving into the train station and then having to go up numerous escalators and elavators to finally pop out at the top! It was amazing to look down and see all these tunnels and levels… they really have made the best of a very awkward piece of land!
The city is just beautiful! We arrived a week before the Grand Prix was happening, so a ton of the fences and seating were already assembled. I didn’t think I would care but it was actually really neat to see! I can only imagine how nutty it gets when the race is actually on! We had a lovely stroll to the casino, through shopping area where we could maybe afford a paper clip (probably not), and then to the castle and some of the gardens. I remember as a teen loving walking through the immaculate gardens with views of the sea, and my memory certainly didn’t fail me! A leisurely lunch was consumed and gelato… so a good day in my books! I must say I wasn’t sure how it was going to be with a stroller and being so very hilly, but there were numerous public elevators everywhere!
I am still not entirely clear how it works, but for some reason having a baby and traveling during non peak times often means cheap train tickets! We somehow managed to use this to our advantage when we headed to Cannes for a tiny day trip. We happened to be there during the film festival so I was excited to go and check it out. I am not sure exactly what I was expecting, but I have to say I was a tad bit disappointed.
It was interesting to see the famous stairs where you see all the celebrities photographed. Unfortunately being “normal people” we were unable to go into anything. There were a few groups of people and photographers hanging outside some hotels waiting for famous folk to walk out, but I am the impatient sort and didn’t really feel like waiting.
We strolled along the “beach” which was less a beach and more restaurants. Some of the restaurants have docks sticking out into the water with deluxe looking loungers… to be seen no doubt. It was neat to see how some of the hotels were set up for specific movies. The Trolls and new Star Trek movies were being heavily hyped! One of the more interesting sights we saw was on one of the docks on the beach. A very large group of individuals were practicing yoga… while all dressed in white… with a violinist playing… hmmm??
After Paris for four days we headed south and spent an amazing week in a town called Antibes. We absolutely loved Antibes and would highly recommend this as a destination to anyone heading to this part of France! It was such a charming town with everything you could want, including a great location! We easily took a few day trips to Cannes, Nice and Monaco. Antibes had a couple amazing sand beaches, which are not always the easiest thing to find in Europe!
We loved strolling along the old wall that runs along the sea or through the tiny streets to the market.
One of my favourite places was inside the “Nomade”. This impressive sculpture was created by Jaume Plensa. It is designed to welcome people to Port Vauban… one of the largest yachting harbour in Europe (some of the biggest boats I have ever seen were here!)
When travelling with a little one I really found it nice to have a solid home base! This has been a shift for me as before I would often think “who cares where I stay… that’s not where I will be!”
Looking out onto the street
What H was looking at!
If you would like more information on where I stayed or anything please don’t hesitate to ask!
One of the days we were in Paris N took a tour up to Vimy Ridge. So it was H and I exploring Paris! I love trying to do the local thing, getting away from the tourist areas… but I also love a good hop-on hop-off tour! For my birthday my mom gave us a 3 day one so we ended up using this as a bit of a shuttle service. Paris does not have the most stroller friendly metro, which wasn’t an issue with two people; one person would have presented more challenges! So for our day together I put H in her carrier and set off on the bus!
H loved sitting on top of the bus… the wind in her hair… there was some serious baby-giggle action going down! I felt a bit better with her in a carrier than just holding her, as she can be so wiggly and surprisingly strong! Eventually she fell asleep in the carrier and I got to continue doing a bit of sight seeing.
We got off at Notre Dame and wandered up to the Centre Pompidou (the modern art museum). Before we reached the museum we stopped at a beautiful park where I changed and fed H. I have considered numerous times trying to record some of the places we have changed her… the things you make work! Haha! We grabbed some lunch and we had a little picnic at another square. Finally it was to the Pompidou!
For all the times I have been to Paris I have never made it to the Pompidou so I was very excited to check it out. I loved that there were so many people relaxing outside admiring the very cool building… and the school groups (tiny kiddos to teenagers) made my teacher heart smile! I must say I wasn’t completely blown away with the collection, but I was still very happy that I visited! Besides the collection there are also some great views of Paris! Going to museums with a baby is actually great for the simple reason that they have baby changing facilities… not always the easiest thing to find!
I loved wandering the collections with H swinging her legs in her carrier. At one point we entered a very busy, but quiet room and as usual guess who stole the show! Everyone was admiring the art when all of a sudden Harper let out a huge giggle! Everyone then started smiling and laughing… it was actually really nice! We had a snack in front of one very large painting and I noticed many people trying to take pictures of us… we were darn cute if I do say so myself 😉
We stopped by the Luxembourg gardens next and had a lovely stroll. I think that Paris would be such a great destination for older kids… there are so many playgrounds and carousels everywhere!
It was a great day, but having a second set of hands with a wiggly little one makes things so much easier! I was so glad that N had an amazing day… but glad it was only a day!
Paris is always a good idea… am I right? The only thing that makes it not a great idea is the fact that we live in Alberta and Europe is very far away! To get to France we took an 8-hour flight to London Heathrow had a fairly short transfer and then had an hour flight to Paris.
We flew British Airways and in terms of their baby options we were very impressed! I loved that we had the option between a more traditional bassinette and a little chair that attaches to the bulkhead. We tried to the bassinette heading over there, but H was far too big. She ended up falling asleep on me so we didn’t bother to try the little seat out. On the way back however, we had them set it up right away and it was wonderful! I could get up and pee whenever I wanted, I ate dinner, I had feeling in all my limbs!! We reclined the chair and bam… she was out! It was awesome!
I found it interesting that in Calgary and Paris the moment anyone saw H we were immediately escorted to the front of the line, but in London they couldn’t have cared less. I found it really nice that we didn’t have to wait in the customs or security lineups! To be fair in London everything moved rather quickly, I was just a bit surprised!
We had 3 carry-on bags, one for us, a diaper bag and a little backpack with extra baby stuff.
Here is what we brought for H:
A pillow (this was awesome for when she feel asleep on me as she is basically a heater)
A few, relatively quiet, toys… mostly chewing ones
Her diaper bag with the usual fixings and a few extra diapers
Food, snacks, dinner, baby cereal, water and formula (bottles as well)
Baby carrier (often European transfers don’t allow you to pick up your stroller!)
Baby blanket for the chilly plane
A couple changes of clothing… because you never know!
Her toiletry kit… including Benadryl just in case things got rough…. Also we tested it prior to the flight to ensure it wouldn’t result in a hyperactive reaction!
I brought extra of everything, even though we didn’t even use half the stuff we brought… I swear the moment you don’t have it you need it!
So far I have thanked many people in my “village”. I have acknowledge people that have left, those that have come back, family, and friends that have always been there. Today I want to talk about a new special group of friends that I have affectionately termed my “baby mommas” and “the baby momma dads”. I met these couples (and their babies) in a “birth and babies” class N and I took pre and post baby! We were all due within a week and now have about a month spread between our babies birthdates.
Sometimes I see some of these amazing mommas and their little ones 5 times a week! Some of them I see once every month or so and other will touch base through funny posts in our Facebook group. We are all first time parents, and just trying to figure things out as best we can… and I cannot tell you how much I adore these people! Having people going through the same thing you are makes those days when you just “can’t even”, a little bit more manageable!
I think back to a time when I didn’t know these people and I have a very hard time picturing it! Currently one of our core group is off in Europe, and then it is my turn and I can’t believe we are going to go for so long without seeing each other! After a week I miss these ladies and their munchkins. I can’t wait till our girls are bigger girls and can roll their eyes as the parents dig out photos of when they were so tiny playing together. Often at lunch a few of us imagine what type of girls they will be like… we have the adventurous one, always on the move, always trying something new. There is the serious one, calm and just taking it all in as the others get into trouble. The silly one, making faces, giving toothy smiles, exploring and sometimes giving her mom a little bit of attitude! I love these ladies and their babies!
So thank you baby mommas for your understanding, for the laughs and for the future!