Paris with a 2 year old

We went to Paris about 3 or 4 weeks ago. Unfortunately our trip to Paris with Taz’s extended family didn’t go to plan from the very beginning: Taz had lost his passport and couldn’t come! I left it to the very last day and finally I decided to take Evelyn on my own anyway. 

A pound shop bucket of playdough was everyone’s best friend on the transport…

So the 3 of us went down to London on the train to meet the Canadians who had arrived 3 days earlier and had been sightseeing in London. Ian, Sam and their kids Jenna 12 and Brianna 9 were in London but Ian’s mum Linda  (who put us up in October in Canada last year and is LOVELY) was already in Preston. We checked into our Wembly hotel and went to meet them. We had pub food and had a wander through some shops. Back at the hotel we all hung out in the Canadians room.

Early start the next day and just as well really, there had been power failure somewhere on the tubes near Kings cross where we were heading so we (and everyone else in london) added at least half an hour to our journey titting around on different tubes to get from a to b.

It was hard work with the pram even with Taz about. I did wonder how I’d manage without Taz getting everything on and off transport. Good job I’m not your average 20 weeks pregnant woman. I ran over a mountain 2 weeks before this trip! I can manage this 🙂 I packed well. Everything I brought fit on or under the pram. 

I said goodbye to Taz at the Eurostar. 

The faffing started when getting on and off the Eurostar because the pram had to be folded. Which meant Evelyn was loose next to train whilst I emptied the pram and folded it down and put my stuff on a seat and came back for Evelyn. She was well behaved on the eurostar and had a little sleep. Whispers about the breastfeeding came. They were expected. But I didn’t care. Ian made jokes about it when Evelyn was just 14 months old when we were in Canada so I expected it this time. Whatever.

At the other side I realised the pram fit through zero barriers or doors from the Eurostar onto the metro which would take us to the airbnb we’d booked. We had to press a buzzer and wait for someone to open a gate that was wide enough. Again I had to take Evelyn out, empty the pram, push all my shit through the door and the folded pram and set it all back up again once through the door. I dragged it up so many steps. I was kind of mortified at the hassle. 

The others said they were buying a prepaid card to use the metro daily. I didn’t because I can’t get around with the pram on it and I’d much rather walk and see the city and not mess about with stairs and gates. Everything was within an hour’s walk of our accommodation, most sights half an hour’s stroll away. There was no way I was getting on the metro again. It was pointless in August especially.

Once at the airbnb which was beautiful, we were shown around. The woman left, leaving just one key (nooooooo) and we went to the supermarket over the road. I bought a few things I thought Evelyn would eat: bread, milk, eggs, pasta, cheese, fruit, noodles, yoghurt etc. I had brought Evelyn some ready brek from home, if she’s had a fussy day she’ll always have a dish of ready brek at night. I didn’t go to the cafe with them that afternoon as Evelyn had been strapped up in her pram on trains and metros all day so I opted to find a park instead, let her play and stretch her legs and meet back in 3 hours, I took the key as the others left before me. 

45 minutes later as I neared the park (I’d got lost) I got messaged to let the Canadians in the apartment. I said it’d take me about 45 mins to get back and i set off 😦 So poor Evelyn who was still in the pram had to sit another half an hour whilst I sped back to let them in. It was all to let one of the kids go to the loo… We agreed to go out together rather than seperate to avoid future key problems and to make an effort as i think they took offense to me not coming to the cafe. So I waited on the grass with Evelyn out front of the apartment. I waited a while and realised they’d left me. I checked out the nearby McDonald’s as they had mentioned it but they weren’t there. So I found a closer play area 10 minutes from the apartment and stayed there til it got dark from black cloud and started to rain. 

We were in the standpit in the rain for about an hour. I’d messaged Sam about getting back in but no response. At 6pm they messaged to say they were back so I came back and got in the bath with Evelyn. She was wet, cold and sandy. When I got out of the bath Ian and Sam declared that they were going to the pub and left me to babysit. It would have been nice to socialise after a long tough day.

So day 2, Friday, I thought it’d be better if we all went out together so no-one ended up stranded outside the apartment or having to come back in the middle of something to let the others in. And they wanted to use Taz’s spare ticket for le louvre. But it was bus tour day so I couldn’t really take the pram. I could if Taz had been with me but there was no way I wanted to try manage that on my own. So we walked to the bus tour start with everyone which took about an hour, later realising there was a stop 10 minutes away we could have used instead. I had to carry Evelyn for most of the way as she’s obviously slow and nobody would wait for us. She cried as I pulled her away from water fountains as nobody would wait for us whilst she had a look. Cities with a toddler… maybe people with 9 and 12 year old have just forgotten what it’s like. We got on the bus (pram would defo not have fit) and Evelyn went to sleep. We got off shortly after so I broke my back carrying her asleep for the next hour round gift shops and sights.

Evelyn woke up. We got back on the bus and got off at an Eiffle Tower view point which was lovely. I got everyone a nutella and banana crepe from the street vendor and we sat down for a little while which was seriously welcomed by me. I was in the bad books though as Ian wanted a cafe, not street food and he got a sulk on. Oops. 

Sam got an email saying the louvre tickets could be cancelled and refunded which was ideal for me as I’ve been before and was only going this time because I knew Taz would love it. At £50pp it was good news although I never actually received the refund from Sam. Never mind.

Then the walk to find the next bus back to the notre dam for the tour inside began… There was just absolutely no way in hell that I could keep up this time as the rest of the group were power walking, panicking about missing their notre dam tour slot. So I told them I’d leave them to it and meet them later. We were next to a large grassy area and Evelyn was desperate to run all over it and I couldn’t drag her around all day. I didn’t want to. It wasnt fun.

I took Evelyn in a play area and onto a merry go round that was right by where we’d left everyone, all with Eiffel Tower backdrops and atmosphere. It was a genuinely lovely afternoon. More relaxed and toddler pace. We really enjoyed ourselves. It was great. 

I saw on the bus tour map that I could get on about half a mile away, ride 2 stops and then get on another that stopped somewhere near the aprtment. I got on the first bus and because it didn’t stop at the first stop because no-one was waiting I got off in the wrong spot. Tired and fed up I googled the metro and it was 15 mins walk away. So off we set… with no pram it was a little easier getting on and off although inside the metro station it was bizarrely another 15 minutes walk underground just to get on. More carrying as Evelyn was tired at this point too. I was exhausted. The metro exit is right by our apartment. I was glad to be back close by. But as I couldn’t get in (no key) and it was tea time I went to the mcdonalds a few doors down for a rest with Evelyn. My appreciation for the familiarity of having a mcdonalds nearby since having a toddler has grown immensely!! She likes the yoghurts and drinks that you get in European mcdonalds that you don’t get at home! But Evelyn felt hot and fussy like she was coming down with something.

It was around 6pm and we were back on the very nearby park. I messaged to see when they would be back. I got “we are still on the bus tour”. I took her on this carousel thing that she saw that was near the park, 5 or 6 times! We got pain au chocolate from a bakery and sat outside the apartment as it got late.

I messaged a few more times and to cut a long story short Evelyn was crying “bedtime bedtime” on the grass outside the apartment so when they rocked up at 9.15pm to let me in I was crying on the stairs in the hallway to our apartment and Evelyn was asleep on me, roasting hot. Obviously ill. Probably from the day before where we’d been locked out in the rain. And I was sore all over from the full day of carrying.

I’m pregnant. I’m on my own with a 2 year old. I’m independent and quite capable but this thoughtlessness just tipped me right over the edge and I did have a wobble for a moment. It’d have been better to deal with if we weren’t locked out.

Evelyn woke as we went inside and she became hysterical and refused calpol. She didn’t sleep well all night and wanted to be attached and cuddled all night which I did. Poor Ev. She was so hot. 

Day 3, Saturday. We’d missed parkrun Paris but it was no big deal. Evelyn didn’t fully wake until 8am as she’d slept badly so we wouldn’t have made it for 9 or wanted to, to be frank!

It was Eiffel Tower tour day. So I said goodbye to everyone as they left and arranged to meet near the tower at 2.30pm for a 3pm tour. If I did, I did, if not I wasn’t bothered anymore. Once everyone had gone Evelyn had a long bath and lots of toast for breakfast which I was happy about after such a rough night. It was bright and dry so I hid the key in an electric cubbard and went out walking with the pram. We managed to find the big fancy park called Jardins de Luxembourg that I was looking for on day 1. Evelyn spent many happy hours playing here before drifting off to sleep at about 2 so I text to say I wouldn’t be coming to the tour. There’s no way I was taking that pram in the tower and I wasn’t prepared to carry her as my arms and back were throbbing sore from the day before. I was happy doing what I was doing and so was Evelyn. So we stayed on the park. 

Taz had arranged for me to have tea with a family we’d met in Spain and he had kept in touch with. They had a kid called Andrew who is 2 months older than Evelyn. So as Evelyn slept I grabbed an ice cream and I walked across the city to our district, when she was up we went in a few shops and got her some new playdough.

I met Charbel and Hiba around 6pm in a nice kid friendly place for some food. They also insisted on paying which was nice but they didn’t have to!! 

It was nice to have company. It had been quite lonely so far. They dropped me off at the apartment and when I got back no-one was in but the key was in the cubbard. So I got Evelyn ready for bed and we went to sleep. It had been a nice day.

At midnight the noise began as the Canadians returned. It was sad that they didn’t consider that we were in bed. It seemed irrelevant 😦 The kids were talking full volume right outside my door and woke Evelyn twice. Note to self: never let my kids be so rude. I’d personally be embarrassed.

I laid out my unused running kit ready to go in the morning and packed up everything else.

Day 4, Sunday. Time to go home! I was a bit pissed off about the noise the night before so I got dressed, brushed my teeth and carted all my bags downstairs and stuffed them under and onto the pram all for about 7.30am. I scooped up Evelyn from the bed and carried her downstairs to the exit. That was me officially checked out, eye bags and all! It was the most beautiful quiet morning in Paris. A real autumn day. Determined to make the most of it despite another crap sleep.

She woke up immediately but was happy. First stop McDonald’s! Just a few doors down and it was deserted at that time on a Sunday morning! We spent an hour in there. Drinking coffee, eating and getting her dressed 🙂 I was absolutely shattered but excited about the jogging and exploring we’d do today. We hadn’t seen Le Louvre yet and that was on our to do list. The Eurostar was the opposit side of the city but we had all day to get there.

We continued on in the pram at jogging pace back towards the river and the sights but our first destination was actually to find a duck pond 🙂 We had bread and all the time in the world. Evelyn could stop and get out of the pram and pick up however many leaves she wanted to. It’s so much easier when it’s just us doing our own thing.

Evelyn asked for a cuddle at Le Louvre. I love it when she wants cuddles. It was getting warm so I suncreamed her up and switched her into a short sleeve top.

This, our final day, was by far my favourite day 🙂 It was lovely.

Ev had a sleep at about 2pm in a friendly cafe opposite the station where we’d catch the eurostar. I asked if I could get on an earlier train but it’d cost me over £100 so i waited. It was quiet, relaxing and I was ready to go home. I had walked/jogged all the way with all of our stuff. 5 or 6 scenic miles I think. I just changed my bra and top at the station 😉

On the Eurostar I sat myself a few rows back for our 4pm departure for some peace on an empty table for 4 lots of room to play. Evelyn did really well on the 2.5 hour journey. 

Back in England we parted ways. I had a train in 50 minutes from Euston and they were waiting 5 hours for a bus. I made the train with half an hour to spare! Plenty.

We arrived home after 2 hours on the train from London to Preston at about 8.45pm just as Evelyn was coming to the end of her tether. So good timing! A homemade bowl of noodles by Taz and a good sleep in peace in my own bed was much appreicated 🙂  Evelyn slept much better too.

Home is where Taz is, these days.

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