This is a guest post from Camille Spanjaard, founder of baby’tems, a baby equipment rental and supply company in Paris, France. Camille is a French mom with two small children who has lived in Paris for more than 10 years. She decided to start baby’tems after traveling with her children and realizing that baby equipment rental and supply services existed in many cities, but not in Paris! Odd for one of the most visited cities in the world …
Ciao Bambino has many articles offering information about Paris with children, but babies and toddlers require extra attention. We asked Camille to give us 10 insider tips for getting around Paris with babies and toddlers.
Baby and Toddler Vacations in Paris
1.Arrival: Paris CDG airport is 40km away from Paris. There are many transportation options to reach Paris, however, most of them are not easy to manage with young children. I recommend that you book a car prior to arrival. You can request a car seat with many companies. Be sure to tell the driving service the age, weight, and size of your baby to get the appropriate one.
2.Diapers and baby food: You’ll find international diaper brands easily (Huggies and Pampers). Baby food is available in all (even small) supermarkets in Paris. You can also now find organic options in almost any shop selling baby food. Formulas are different than those you can find at home. For questions, simply go to a pharmacy and bring your formula label with you.
3.Stroller: You will need a lightweight stroller as sidewalks can be narrow on some streets. Note, you might need to carry the stroller and baby a few steps to get into museums and restaurants.
4.Public transportation: If you plan to take public transportation (bus or metro), you’ll have to carry your baby and stroller to get up and down the stairs. The metro is definitively not a stroller-friendly place! Only about half of the stations are equipped with escalators and a few have elevators. Buses tend to become more and more accessible (you can get into the bus through the rear door with a stroller—sign the driver and there’s usually a dedicated location inside just for strollers).
Children under 4 don’t pay for metro/bus/train in the Paris area.
5.Public gardens: There are at least 100 parks and public gardens in Paris. You’ll certainly find one close to your hotel. Some are large (and famous) like Jardin du Luxembourg and some are local ones (and can be very tiny). Many parks offer playgrounds for children 18 months to 2 years old.
6.Restaurants: Few Paris restaurants are 100% baby-friendly (with high-chairs, changing table, specific baby food), however, most restaurants will welcome and accommodate you and your baby (leaving space for your stroller, warming up your baby-food etc).
The French usually start having dinner around 8:00p. If you go to restaurant before that time, you’ll be in a quiet place (restaurants usually open between 7:00-7:30p).
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7. Accommodations: Hotels usually offer travel cots for babies. This can be suitable with one child. With two kids, it may be less expensive and easier to rent an apartment or to find an apart-hotel with kitchenette facilities.
8.Museums: Museum policies vary on accepting strollers inside the exhibits. You’ll need to check in advance or at the entrance. In museums where strollers are not allowed, you can usually borrow (for free) a baby carrier. In any case, I recommend that you bring a baby carrier with you so you always have one on hand.
9.Public toilets/changing baby: Paris has free and clean public toilets that are easy to use with potty-trained toddlers. For children in diapers, toilets with changing facilities are still quite rare; bring a light portable changing mat, it will allow you to change your baby almost anywhere. Don’t worry, Parisians won’t be bothered by this.
10.Breastfeeding: Even if public breastfeeding is still quite rare, you can feed your baby anywhere.
Baby’tems delivers rental equipment right to your doorstep in Paris. Our products are all recognized brands kept in perfect condition. We also can provide nappies/diapers, milk, baby food, and a range of other childcare accessories. We make it easy to travel to Paris with babies and toddlers!
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