This is Clem as a newborn, before evolving into a hair-raising, hell-bent-for-election toddler.
Babies seem to be abounding at the moment. Not only are all of us Bradbury / Germain / Beaudry’s enthralled about the arrival of Mademoiselle Anna Sophia, but one of my favorite readers softinthehead also welcomed a gorgeous petite-fille, Annika.
So I will not even attempt to fight the baby theme for this week’s “Authentic France Travel Tip“. If your life (lucky you!) includes a new baby, this does not, as many people believe, preclude adventures in France.
I travelled back and forth between France and Canada with all my girls as babies, and I personally think the 0-10 month stage is a great time for family travel, especially to France.
1. The French LOVE babies. If you travel with a baby you will instantly become the most popular person in the room (well, second to your baby, that is). You will make friends and experience extraordinary gestures of hospitality that are truly very touching and special.
2. If you stay in a vacation rental you can accommodate baby’s sleep and eating schedules just as if you were at home. Also, if baby has a little or big cry, you are not bothering anyone like you would be in a hotel.
3. Babies are generally great companions on flights. You feed them a bottle (or boob), pop them in the travel cot on the airplane, and then go on to enjoy your movie and meal. Caveat – the same CANNOT be said for toddlers!!! Clem’s 7 hour trans-Atlantic scream-a-thon is seared in my memory.
4. Babies force you to go at a slower pace, which we often otherwise don’t allow ourselves to do – even on vacation. The entire family might find that by travelling at baby’s pace, going home to have afternoon “naps”, etc. they are enjoying themselves and relaxing far more than if they were racing around trying to see every chateaux listed in the Eyewitness Guide. Babies force you to slow down and enjoy the little, humble pleasures in life, which is really what France is all about.
Please note that I cannot dispense the same advice in regards to toddlers. My girls were (and are) all particularly independent, obstreperous, danger seeking toddlers. I found travelling with them during the learning-to-walk to comprehension period (which runs roughly, in my experience, between 10 months to 2 and a a half) really, REALLY hard.
Other people may have had very different experiences travelling with their toddlers, but I think it is wise to cram in any trips when the babies are still in that lovely “potted plant” stage of life.
So to all you babies out there – bienvenu en France!