I love traveling with our children. Yes, I’ve frequently outlined all the challenges of family travel, but there is nothing more amazing than seeing the world through the eyes of your children. I know that all of my parent readers will agree with this sentiment. And it is particularly gratifying to experience a place that you love with your child–such is what happened in Paris.
When Soup-er Boy was two years old we took him to Paris and the French Open. (Note to self: add tennis addict to my profile.) Back then, I delighted in seeing him play in the Jardin du Luxembourg and watch tennis at Roland Garros. But despite traipsing through 10 days in the City of Lights on buses, metros, and foot, he doesn’t recall any memories from that trip. He doesn’t remember our apartment in the 6th arr. He doesn’t remember visiting the Musee Rodin or the stained glass of Saint Chapelle. He doesn’t remember all the delicious pastries and delicacies that he refused to eat. And he doesn’t remember the red clay of Roland Garros. But I remember his joy at running through parks, peering at statues, and especially his fascination with the Parisian public works vehicles.
This time, he was a more conscious seven-year old, with desires to see the la Tour Eiffel and play with the boats in the Jardin du Luxembourg. Now a tennis buff in his own right, he would’ve wanted to see tennis too had our trip coincided with the French Open. (FYI, I’ve taught him well: allez Roger!) Such as it was, the boats were mysteriously missing and we had to nix a trip to go op the Tower as the lines were 3+ hours long. Disappointment aside, and believe me there was disappointment, he seemed to enjoy being in the city. He didn’t complain (too much) about the long meandering walks, the endless shopping, or even the food. In fact, he memorized the location of our apartment, learned how to order his own pain au chocolat, and eagerly conducted a chocolate macaron taste test (I think Laduree won).
While Soup-er Girl won’t have any memories of this trip, it warms my heart to know that her brother will. He’ll have lots of fond memories of family strolls, scenic bus rides, Berthillon’s ice cream, macarons, and the numerous doors and coded entryways that led to our apartment in the Marais. He’ll remember the mornings that he and his sister rolled around under the covers while his parents tried in vain to ignore them and catch a few more minutes of sleep. And he’ll remember that there’s unfinished business. He’s already thinking about planning ahead for the next trip so he can get advance tickets for la Tour Eiffel and play with the boats in the Jardin du Luxembourg. Hopefully, that’ll also be the trip when his sister falls in love with this magical city. And I’ll be right there with them.