PARIS WITH KIDS PART 2By Angelique Villaraza Dominici
Frustrated that your stroller cannot squeeze through all those cramped cafés ? Head over to Le Poussette Café, a concept shop that includes a parking area specially for strollers. There’s a play space, art space, a healthy children’s menu with high chairs, a boutique and restrooms equipped with diaper changing stations and 50cm toilets built for small people. It’s located by Square Montholon which is a meeting point for new parents.
*The workshops listed below are in French. They’re a good way to polish your own language skills ; and an opportunity to expose your kids to a new language. I gave birth in a hospital where no one spoke English, and took all their birth classes in French. We all somehow understood each other.
*Le Poussette Café offers workshops for new moms such as Prenatal Music, How To Tie Baby Slings, seminars on New Mom, New Life and Everything About Babies, Baby Massage, Breastfeeding and Relaxation Therapy for Pregnant Women.
*For children there’s a magician with balloons, music and movement sessions, and birthday party packages.
For the Sunday brunch service, children are asked to bring their favorite doll or soft toy. It becomes an instant party that boosts children’s confidence and imagination because their well-loved toy companions are given importance. Expect magic shows, storytelling and more creative workshops.
*Le Petit Bazar is a kids’ tea salon with creative workshops. There’s a boutique that sells fair trade fashion or clothing from organic materials.
Les 400 Coups is a family café with a playspace for children and WIFI for working parents. It’s possible to work on that deadline while the kids play to their heart’s content.
After looking at the Moulin Rouge, lunch at No Stress Café which is very laid back and a good point from which to visit this area inhabited by 19th-century artists.
Indulge your child’s sweet tooth at Chez Bogato, a pâtisserie that specializes in kid’s cakes. There’s also Cupcake & Co., the famed Ladurée for their mini macarons and hot chocolate … all sure to impress not just on taste but on beauty. After a full day of walking, playing and touring … everyone in the family deserves a small treat.
If your children are tired of French food and simply want to dig into a good old pizza, then bring them to any of Paris’ many parks and order from Pink-Nik, a pizza service by Pink Flamingo delivered with a pink balloon.
Go luxe and load up at upscale food shops Maison de la Truffe, Hédiard and Fauchon. Store these at the hotel / apartment for peaceful consumption in the bedroom or pack into picnic baskets for when on-the-go. A long trek to the Versailles or Giverny for Monet’s garden requires packed picnic meals for emergency hunger pangs.
While shopping on rue Saint-Honoré, stop by Scoop for homemade ice cream and thick milkshakes.
Shop for food at the Marché des Enfants Rouges, a covered market that is an eye-opener to local culture. Enjoy your meal at the Square du Temple which is a pretty garden with a small lake.
Which leads me to the subject of … what to feed your kids while in France. This a whole other spin-off article altogether. French children are exposed to the highest quality food; locally produced, hand prepared preferably with old-fashioned techniques.
Ask for frozen yoghurt and the French will give you a blank stare. What you’ll be served is yaourt au lait du jour or yoghurt made from that day’s milk. They frown at pre-sliced bread from the supermarket … which is industrial. Instead, you’ll find bakeries in every corner that offer artisanal bread made that morning.
Want to feed your child à la française? Don’t buy packaged factory-made supermarket food. Every street and neighborhood has a resident baker, cheesemonger, greengrocer, butcher and pâtisserie where food is fresh, made daily in small batches by hand using local ingredients. Avoid canned goods. Your kid loves canned tuna? Tuna fishing is banned in France, because they’re getting extinct. Craving for polvoron ? You won’t find powdered milk, but instead, rows and rows of milk bottles labelled ‘from the French countryside’.
French mothers acquire the day’s needs at the nearest independent food shops or open markets. Menus are cooked by day, not in weekly frozen quantities.
French schools publish a copy of the daily kids’ menu, so parents are reassured that their child receives equal parts carbohydrates, protein, salad, cheese and fruit. Since they do not eat generic food with preservatives, young French children acquire a palette sensitive to nuance. They can tell you if the Camembert served is still unripe.
September 7, 2011 by Guest Writer