Sunday, June 25, 2006

The City of Love

I wonder what I'll remember about today 20 years from now. Will it be the look on her face when we bought her first necklace, or watching her mouth contort at lunch as she tried to eat the large penne noodles? Perhaps I will remember watching the ice cream drip down her hand as she gleefully ate a single scoop of real French Vanilla. The thing I know I'll never forget, though, is the sensation of falling in love with her. It was magical- almost palpable. Paris does that to you.

Kate is the second, my baby, though she is quick to remind all she is a "big girl." She is exuberant, beautiful and passionate. When she is happy, her laughter is contagious; when she is not, the world seems to melt with her tears.

Kate and I spent the last few days having a mother-daughter weekend in Paris. It was perfect, if not a bit indulgent. It never occurred to me before, but the City of Love isn't only for lovers; it is truly the perfect place to bring anyone you love. Here are some of our highlights:

Eating perfect, warm croissants and drinking fresh-squeezed orange juice / coffee as we watched the world go by on the famous Champs Elysees. It was a wonderful breakfast accompanied by great, classy service, in an outstanding location.

All mother-daughter weekends simply must include tea—whether the Plaza Hotel’s High Tea in New York or a visit to Angelina’s 19th century tearoom in Paris. At Angelina’s, however, it is the hot chocolate (not the tea) that is the drink of necessity. Picture a melted chocolate bar with whipped cream to lighten it up. Watch out for the hot chocolate “mustache” that can sometimes follow.

Tuileries Gardens
This picture-perfect garden located between the Champs Elysees and the Louvre is a wonderful mid-day break. It has a wonderful children’s area including jumping mats (trampolines for toddlers) and a carrousel, as well as stands with a fantastic assortment of ice cream. We tried—and thoroughly enjoyed—them all.

Pet Stores or Animaleries
I never knew they existed in Paris, but leave it to a toddler to find them. Along the river on the right bank, there is a row of pet stores- five or six of them- featuring everything from traditional kittens and goldfish to more exotic roosters and ferrets.

Luxembourg Gardens
While elegant and open, this garden is also very user-friendly. It is one of the few parks in Paris where you can walk on the grass (if accompanied by a child) and the children’s area is second to none. Take a pony ride and swing in the double swings. Watch your daughter glow with happiness.

The most well known of the mother-daughter pastimes, shopping in Paris just can’t be beat. Kate and I found some pretty (and inexpensive) necklaces in the Latin Quarter, as well as lip glosses at Sephora and a Cinderella doll at the Disney Store. Ooh la la!