{Foreign Service Friday} Double Stroller Drama

Just FYI: We currently have a City Select double stroller. It was a loooong process buying a new double stroller coming to Paris. First we were sold on the Phil n Ted but then we read the weight restrictions and well, we have chunky kids. I toyed with the Bugaboo donkey since it is the smallest side by side but ultimately the fact that the Select could easily become a single and folded up tiny won us over. So far we have been happy with it. Our neighbors also have this stroller but added the rumble board on the back so another child can stand and ride. Our kids loved it so much it will probably be purchased fairly soon. I think we eventually will be purchasing a second stroller (single) because we have the worlds laziest kids and someone is always begging to ride. Finn suggested a quad stroller the other day. Boy would we be a sight to behold ha!

We are very lucky to have Samantha with us (at least for a few more weeks, then she will be leaving to serving a mission for our church) who is as adventurous as I am and always up for anything. So after mentioning that ice cream is by far my favorite food (which is why we generally do not keep it in the house) we decided to hunt down the best ice cream in Paris. After reading several reviews it seemed like everyone had good things to say about Berthillon which is only found in the neighborhood surrounding Notre Dame Cathedral.

This meant a lengthy metro ride with several transfers but we were both up for it. I have had a few people suggest traveling with chloe in a moby wrap or in our ergo, an idea I would generally agree with. Honestly though when you have a baby strapped to you, a large diaper bag and camera bag and one other cutie to look after it gets pretty over whelming. Plus I often get lucky and have one or by some miracle BOTH the girls zonk out on the return trip and I have a blissfully quiet metro ride. I also believe I have gotten down traveling with a stroller and thought I would offer some tips I have learned along the way. First you should know that more likely then not the metro you are going on will NOT have an elevator. Very few metro’s here have elevators and it seems somewhat random when they do. Unfortunately for Samantha and I we had to go to Cite metro stop which I kid you not had three flights of twirling stairs and the elevator was broken ughhhhhhh. But hey, we considered it a work out on our way to stuff ourselves full of ice cream. Why I say this is I feel like if you are mentally prepared before your trip it makes all the difference. Head towards the metro knowing you are going to have to flex some muscles and possibly ask for help though honestly it has ALWAYS been offered before I can even ask. Once you get to the metro I make Evie get out of the stroller because she can easily walk down the stairs. On several occasions a lovely older French women has asked if she could hold her hand for me and prattles off cute compliments to her in French as we descend. I then thank anyone profusely for helping. Then it is ticket time. Children under 4 are free. Children 4-10 have a discounted ticket price though I have yet to see anyone pay for children under I would say 8. Once you have  your ticket you will actually need to go in a locked passageway because strollers cannot fit through the normal turnstyles. There will either be a guard booth next to where you bought your ticket or a button you will need to push to talk to an attendant who will then buzz the gate open. If there is a booth I simply point down to the stroller then they watch as I feed my ticket through the normal machine then head over to the locked door. Now if there is only a buzzer it gets trickier as you will need to speak some French. I usually say something like: J’ai une poussette de bébé s’il vous plaît ouvrir la porte aka I have a baby stroller, please unlock the door. It has happened once that I just could not communicate what I needed. I then folded up the stroller and had to lift it over the turnstyle. Bleh. Once you are in you will surely have to go down another flight of stairs to reach the platform. This is again another reason I like having a stroller. Platforms make me crazy nervous. I like that I can literally strap the girls in and have no worries of anyone going to close to the edge etc. I know, over protective but it gives me piece of mind. Once the train arrives make your way to the BACK of which ever train car comes in front of you. Open the last door on the car and lift the stroller up in. In the back of metro cars the seats stay up unless you push them down and sit on them. Since most people don’t want to be in the back there is usually a nice large space where I can easily fit the stroller and be completely out of everyones way as they get on and off. Once I  discovered this it made traveling via metro so much nicer. I always felt so bad trying to be out of the way and never knowing which side would open etc.

Once the stroller is in position out come the fruit snacks and board books or flash cards. Chloe poor girl remains strapped in but usually I will let Evie out if she feels so inclined. She usually sits on one of the back seats behind the stroller happily munching on fruit snacks.

There is a wonderful metro map by RATP that makes maneuvering Paris extremely easy. It is free and I highly recommend downloading it if you plan on coming to Paris. Now having said all this about the metro I should mention that most (if not all) of my girlfriends take bus’s instead of the metro. Paris’s bus system is crazy awesome. Their bus’s even have an entrance on each bus dedicated to strollers. There are no stairs to go down, no styles to go through easy peasy 123sy. I don’t know why I chose the metro and I am sure I will switch over to bus’s soon but for now we metro it. Now on to the yummy part of the post. The ice cream. Evie devoured her dark dark chocolate and Samantha said her Mango was fantastic. Chloe and I “shared” our dark chocolate though this basically meant I got a few licks mainly to contain the melting.

 Since were were so close, and I had never seen it, we decided to cross the bridge to Notre Dame. In preparation for moving to Paris we had The Hunchback of Notre Dame playing on a loop in the car, so of course the first thing Evie wanted was to meet Esemerelda. Unfortunately she wasn’t home, but the rest of Notre Dame didn’t disappoint. This building is truly awe inspiring.

Next time I will be sure to have my priorities correct and go for the Cathedral and have the ice cream as the bonus ha!




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    It is hard to follow this blog since you have moved to the city where I grew up and moved from only 14 years ago! It is great though to see it through your beautiful pictures.
    If you have any questions about the city please feel free to email me! I would recommend that you visit the Rodin Museum in the spring the garden are wonderful.
    It is true you may not be able to eat Bertillon ice cream somewhere else than on Ile Saint Louis however you may find retailer to buy it by the pint. One of the store is in the 15th arrondissement rue Blomet next to the corner of rue Lecourbe and rue Blomet, I believe if it is still there.

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    Rocio says

    I surprised my oldest son with a trip to Paris for his 18th birthday and high school graduation. At the time, I was 4 months pregnant and of course we stayed in Metro Paris so having to lug the heavy luggage up/down the metro stairs was definitely a workout!!! Same thing happened to us in Florence and Rome so I’m definitely thankful for elevators and escalators!!!

    Notre Dame was definitely a beautiful site!!!

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    Emily says

    I love the pictures.

    I think that it is a good idea to have ice cream before AND after. Or hot chocolate and ice cream. I love hot chocolate. The first time I went to Paris, we had hot chocolate that was made with ice cream. It was so good.

    I think that is one of the things I want to do when Dasha and I come- hot chocolate. I have had some since we have been here, but it is not the same in hot weather. Hot chocolate is best served when it is cold outside.

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    Angela says

    I can barely handle taking my 2 toddlers to the store and I am driving myself there. You are amazing. Norte Dame is one of my favorite Parisan places, do they still allow you to walk around the roof top balcony. The view is beautiful.

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    I love the pictures. I’ve been dreaming of going to Paris. I’ve heard a lot about it and hey say that it’s good to fall in love in Paris. Wow, I’m so excited to feel and experience that :-) Cute and adorable kids you have!

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