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happy friday + french adventures await…




Earlier this week, we made a visit to the post office to apply for Ruby's first passport. There's nothing like waiting in long lines during lunch hour at the post office with a ready-to-nap toddler to make your day even better. 😉 Luckily, Ruby loved the scale, and that kept her entertained while we waited and waited.

Ruby's first international trip awaits as we head to France this September for two weeks! We'll be going to Paris and Lyon and finally taking a long overdue family vacation. The last time we traveled abroad was to Japan a few years ago right before we tried to get pregnant. Now, with Ruby in tow, we're ready for our next adventure. So, all you traveling folks, I would love to hear your favorites spots to eat, shop, and play in Paris and Lyon. I am overwhelmed with the options and know you guys have some awesome suggestions up your sleeves…


(And, Ruby would like to know where all the best ice cream shops are…pretty please…)

Have a great weekend, all!

P.S. Here's a special 25% off discount on the Dancing Dot dress that Ruby is wearing, just for Oh Joy readers. Simply enter OHJOY25 at checkout. Offer valid from Friday, July 26 to on Friday, August 2 at 11:59p.m. Discount valid only for U.S. residents and the code cannot be combined with any other promotion.


  1. OMG I’m from Paris and you have to try Berthillon ice cream on Ile Saint Louis in Paris center… chocolate sherbet, wild strawberries and grapefruit.

  2. How exciting! I will be following your french adventures closely…it will be interesting to see how Ruby likes it! 😉 Berthillon, berthillon, berthillon!

  3. enjoy france! take that cutie to the ice cream cart at the entrance to luxembourg gardens on boulevard saint michel. it’s the best!

  4. So excited to see photos of Ruby in France! We loved the ice cream at Berthillon and had one of the best meals at Candelaria! It’s probably on your radar, but Hither & Thither just posted a wonderful recap of their family trip to Paris this week. If you haven’t seen it, I’m sure it would be a great resource –

  5. I was just in Paris recently and had the best time. I would definitely recommend the cafe from Amelie and Le Refuge De Fondues, both in Montmarte. There are tons of lovely little boutiques and vintage shops in that area as well. Here are some more recommendations and photos from my trip! We went to so many amazing places 🙂
    Oh and DEFINITELY get a nutella crepe on the street. You won’t regret it.

  6. if you’re into visiting churches sainte chapelle has the most amazing stained glass I have ever seen – and it’s a really quick activity! (it’s also near the famed ice cream berthillon which is SO WORTH the line! just make sure to google their hours cause they can be strange times)
    street food – falafel or crepes (nutella or savory) so yummy!!
    luxembourg gardens cannot be missed – such a great place to sit on a bench and people watch, let ruby run around, and have a picnic lunch!
    shakespeare and company is a great little bookstore to stop in – not only do they have the greatest books but they have a borrowing section upstairs.
    and save the best for last marche aux puces is the best antique/flea market i have ever been to in my life. great finds – vendors willing to ship larger items home to you, etc. even if you don’t buy anything there’s great photo opportunities, interesting things to see, and yummy food along the way. it is hard to find so make sure you have good directions and a cab lined up to take you there and back.

  7. If I remember correctly, there are beautiful shops everywhere in Paris. And what you will love even more, is the care they put into packaging up your purchases! Some places even sprinkled potpourri in bags. The only other place I’ve been to that puts that much care into retail purchases is in Kyoto. Also, eat a chocolate crepe from a street car. And the Musee d’Orsay is just beautiful. Have fun, I’m super jealous!

  8. Ruby is just the cutest! <3 And how lovely you have a family holiday planned to France! Paris is just beautiful, I love every single bit of it! I think Ruby would love the beautiful jardins and parcs, where she can run around freely and splash around the fountains! ;D

  9. Besides Berthillon, definitely try the flower shaped cornettos at Amorino (they are everywhere: near the Pantheon, Centre Pompidou, on the Mouffetard), and the macaron ice cream sandwiches at Pierre Herme!
    Also the winner of the best baguette in Paris 2013 is Ridha Khadher of Au Paradis du Gourmand, the first time in several years a bakery from outside Montmartre has won.

  10. Just a tip for traveling with little one’s. Book aisle and window seats, leaving the middle open. If it pans out then you’ve got a whole row to yourself and if not you can always trade 🙂
    Happy Travels!

  11. Yay! We took our first international flight to Brazil when my daughter was 18 months old. I just stumbled across her passport the other day, and I forgot how tiny she was when we did that adventure. I don’t know if this will be the case in France, but we ran into a lot of hotels that didn’t have a crib, or didn’t have a crib that I felt was safe for her. We bought something like this, just in case and were SO glad we had it:
    We set it up in our living room and played on there before we left, so it wasn’t a traumatic experience when we tried to stick her in there on the other side of the world. She went in happily after long days of sightseeing.

  12. September is one of my favorite months in Paris! We took our daughter to Paris at about Ruby’s age and had a blast! When all else fails, merry-go-rounds abound in Paris (including one conveniently situated by Bon Marche!). And, pack a picnic and go to Jardin de Luxembourg on Sunday, it is filled with families and really is the quintessential Parisian experience.

  13. Oh you’ll have such a great time!
    In Paris the best ice cream is Berthillon (grapefruit and lime sorbets are to die for), although I could kill from an espresso ice cream + whipped cream (or “panna montata”) at GROM (on Rue de Seine).
    You have to walk along the Canal St Martin, and while you’re there, find the bakery “DU PAIN ET DES IDÉES”. It’s the most beautiful and delicious and very French place.
    PAIN DE SUCRE (on Rue Rambuteau, near the Pompidou Center) is a must for pastries, and I love their homemade marshmallows with flavours like saffron and black sesame, yum. Their bakery next door is amazing for savoury stuff too!
    See the little covered market LE MARCHÉ DES ENFANTS ROUGES… The japanese spot “Taeko” is delicious, and I hear the crepes spot is amazing. Lovely place.
    For scrumptious crepes and cider, CAFÉ BREIZH.
    I love the CAFÉ SUÉDOIS, to seat in the cobbled courtyard and enjoy cake and whipped cream in the sun.
    And non-food-related, the RODIN Museum is breathtaking, with a beautiful garden.
    And the Musée de l’ORANGERIE, to see Monet’s Mymphéas.
    I’ll stop, or I’ll get carried away. Enjoy your trip!

  14. I love Ruby’s Dancing Dot Dress! I like when baby girl clothes have hints of pink rather than pink overload. So cute how much she’s lovin that ice cream!
    xo kristen genevieve

  15. berthillon for sure!
    one of my favorite bakeries we visited was le patisserie des reves on rue de bac. it is super cute and everything is so tasty. be sure to try some kouign amann somewhere, as well as st. honore and paris-brest pastries.

  16. Coucou Joy!
    I’m sure you’re going to get loads of suggestions for Paris, so here ar some for Lyon:
    + Just as in the capital, there’s a funiculaire that takes you to/from the Basilica on Fourvière Hill.
    + La boite à café/Café Mokxa is usually crowded (with beautiful students), because the coffee is that good. The Croix-Rousse distict, where this district is located, has a hip(ster) vibe.
    + When I’m not super picky about my beans, I go to Café Cousu instead. They also offer a weekend brunch (with a kid-friendly menu, too).
    + Tête d’Or Park is nice for lollygagging. There’s a small lake, botanical gardens, as well as free zoo with a surprisingly diverse array of animals.
    + Nardone is, I guess, is like the Berthillon of Lyon.
    Finally, at restaurants, you can ask for a “haute chaise” should you need one. Not always guaranteed, though.
    Have a great time!

  17. Ruby needs to go to Amorino for ice cream in Paris. I went there every day while I was there. Also, Ruby would enjoy Eric Kayser for Almond Croissants in Paris!

  18. amorino gelato for flower-shaped cones (i think they have a location in ny though) & musee de l’orangerie to see monet’s water lilies. saint chapelle to see the beautiful stained glass windows and shakespeare & co for a magical book adventure. there’s also a lot of great street art in the belleville and menilmontant neighborhoods. always keep a look out for the Space Invaders which are on nearly every street sign.

  19. Oh, you all are going to have the loveliest time! I’ve been to Paris a couple times (actually I’m about to embark on my third visit) and it is just the the most fun! I’ll warn you though- the plane ride is not the most fun, but it’s all worth it once you get there! Bon Voyage!

  20. Hi!
    The blog Hither and Thither did two fabulous, detailed posts this week about their recent trip to Paris with a toddler.
    Your next stop should be Montreal – I’ll show you around!
    Love your blog, have a wonderful trip!

  21. So fun you’re heading to France this fall! Perfect family vacation spot. In Paris, L’as du Fallafel in the Marais is a MUST! The best falafel in the world – I fantasize about it, and their hot sauce, weekly. All the little boutiques in the Marais are fab, too. Poilâne for the most amazing levain bread and other little pastries. Alain Ducasse’s new chocolate factory, which is another place I fantasize about. And for a candy adventure, though it’s out of the way from most things, A l’Etoile d’Or. It’s kooky, fabulous and magical. It’s the only place outside of Lyon that carries Bernachon chocolate, but since you’re going to Lyon you should hit it up there! But A l’Etoile d’Or is a wonderful candy shop with old timey candies produced in little cities all over France (cassis pâte de fruit filled with liqueur, bergamot candies, salted butter caramel spread) – it’s candy heaven and the shop owner is a hoot. Jacques Genin for some of the best pastries and chocolates, Maison Kayser for excellent chocolate financiers (and ice cream) and Blé Sucré for heavenly croissants. I echo others with Berthillon, but David Lebovitz has a great post on the best ice cream spots in Paris I could go on forever but those are the places I would say you shouldn’t miss. Can’t wait to see the post that follows your trip! xo

  22. Hi Joy,
    I agree with Charisma, Nardone in the “Vieux Lyon” is the best ice cream place in town.
    You should also check Bouillet for their cakes and chocolates, Les Halles de Lyon for a good overview of the local food and the Confluence area for the surprising architecture.
    And be prepared to bring back a lot of french fashion for Ruby!
    I hope you’ll have a fantastic time in my home town, Lyon!

  23. I was going to recommend the same thing. Plus the carousel in Montmartre is near the cafe. Paris is so charming.

  24. I’m also going to Paris in September and I’m counting the days! I’ve already got Berthillon, Grom, and Pozzetto on my list for ice cream shops. I highly recommend the blog Paris By Mouth for your food research. As for shopping, I’m going to check out the store Merci because I keep reading about it everywhere!

  25. How fun!! We took our then 2 year old to Paris last October for 3 weeks. We rented an apartment in the Marais across the street from Place des Vosges. Previously we stayed in the 7the. Apartment are great. You feel like a parisian. Go grocery shopping, go to markets. He loved it and even learned some French. Locals were enchanted by him saying Bonjour, Au Revoir, Enchanté. The locals were very nice, make sure you use these greetings as well, think of is as if you are going into someones home.
    Go to the bathroom whenever you get a chance! There is one behind Notre Dame and a playground. There are playgrounds everywhere. They are good spots to give Ruby some time to get out her jiggles. Its fun to see them interact with locals. Also its amazing to see your little one playing and have the eiffel tower in the background. In the Marais, Musée Carnavalet, is free and has a bathroom, nice garden for Ruby to run around. We changed him in the parks on benches in discrete places. Had no issues. Brought diapers and wipes for the first couple days and then bought them at Monoprix, french target.
    Take the Batobus at least the first or second day you are there. Helps to get you orientated and see the main sites. Can hop on and off. Ruby will love the boat, and at night can see the Eiffel Tower Twinkle. We mostly walked and used a Maclaren stroller (he took naps in the stroller-nice to relax at a cafe or do some adult sightseeing). Our son loved the bus. #69 #42
    We would go to nice restaurants for lunch, people are more patient or have crepes, picnics. Bring a bottle of water, you will look like a tourist but you need water! Cafes/ restaurants are skimpy on giving out water. Get her used to sitting in your lap or sitting in a chair. Bring some small toys. At night we eat stuff from the markets and shops, Poulet and potatoes were our sons favorite, cheese, Falafels etc. In the morning we would get stuff from the patisseries, we did get chocolate croissants from 4 different places to compare and find our favorite. We did go back to the same local restaurant, the food was good, they got to know us and they were patient and loved our little guy. Don’t feel you have to do too much. Part of falling in love with Paris is feeling like a parisian, cafes, shopping, exploring and getting lost and discovering things. I can make more recommendations based on which Arrondissement you are staying in.
    We went to jardin d acclimatation. Which is an amusement park. We loved it as much as our son. A little out of the way. But my husband and I still talk about the horse ride. We will go back next time. In Paris there is a zoo, many playgrounds, gardens, carousels, rides… so many things to do with little ones. Berthillon! Go when you get a chance it may be closed the next day you go by. Same with lots of the shops people take days off… read, The Sweet Life in Paris, David Lebovitz.
    So excited for you!! In the fall we are going to start planning our trip back to Paris for the following year. You can’t do and see everything but if you fall in love with Paris, know that you will be back.
    Les Marionnettes du Marais- they have hand crafted finger puppets and mittens with a finger puppet attached. These were my favorite purchases we made this last visit. I wanted every puppet!

  26. Paris is dessert heaven! You have to go to Angelina at Rue de Rivoli for the best hot chocolate and their famous The Mont-Blanc. And for ice cream, Berthillon.

  27. Ice cream – Grom, Pozetto, Berthillon, and the cart outside the luxemburg gardens (corner of Gay Lusuc and Saint Michel streets).
    The are parcs and playgrounds anywhere, so you can take several breaks. Caroussels, including the one across from the Eiffel Tower (such a classic). Little ones can also take pony rides at the Champ de Mars and Luxembourg gardens. Feed the ducks in the fountains (less gross than pigeons) and rent a tiny sailboat (again, Luxembourg gardens – I grew up next to it and it was my favorite area as a kid.
    For eating, I would recommend picnics. Places with outdoor terasses are usually more relaxed about kids running around, unless they are super crowded.
    There is stroller rental company in Paris – I can’t remember what its called, but a number of my friends have used it when they didn’t feel like lugging their strollers in the plane.

  28. My son’s first overseas trip was Dubai at 7 months. I actually used your guide for travelling with a baby to help me out, so I’m hoping you will do another one for travelling with a toddler.
    Have fun in Paris!

  29. I just went to Paris in mid-June, so here’s what I found: As for ice cream (my favorite!), it is pretty much always good wherever you find it.
    Now for some tips for museums. Since, of course, I don’t know how much time you’ll spend museum-hopping (especially since kids + museums does not always equal a good time), I’ll just give you some tips to maximize the enjoyment for everyone if you decide to go to a few musees 🙂
    1) I found Orangerie far more “approachable” and enjoyable than the Louvre. The Louvre was absolutely packed to the rafters with people. People who were just taking pictures and video instead of enjoying the art; that’s sad, at least to me 🙁 Not to mention that The Louvre is just so massive it can get to be overwhelming. I felt more at home in Orangerie.
    2) I bet Rodin would be good for the little Miss Ruby, since it’s outdoors and you can run around and get close to stuff!
    3) The Paris Museum Pass is a little pricy but you can skip the line for entrance, which might be nice if Ruby isn’t feeling the whole “wait in line for up to an hour” thing. I was there in mid-June, though, so perhaps line jumping won’t be necessary in September.

  30. We’ve used Paris Perfect and Haven in Paris. Can’t say enough good things about both places. Especially if new to Paris. Depends on where you want to stay. Lots of nice places on AirBnb too. Just check out what’s in your price range, what’s available, and area you are interested in staying.

  31. Amorino for shaped-roses gelatos, Ladureé and Pierre Hermés for macarons and Au P’tit Grec for big fat delicious crepes! <3

  32. The one thing I still crave from Paris is a strawberry pistachio jam I found at Pierre Herme. Go for the macarons – but stock up on that jam!

  33. I thought you traveled out of the country recently–Japan? I thought you posted about your travels on here. Enjoy France! Eat lots of truffle-infused meals.

  34. Les Halle is a cool place to visit! Paris’ very first market was located there, now there are a bunch of restaurants; the Pompidou Center is close by. ENJOY!!!

  35. The Petit Trianon on Versailles is also beautiful!!! It was Marie Antoinette’s refuge;D Little Ruby will enjoy the grounds–loads to see and experience! It is very charming. As an homage to the orange trees on the property, a vendor right outside the doors sell freshly squeezed OJ–squeezed with an antique juicer! FUN!
    It is close to Jouy en Josas where Marie Antoinette used to purchase her textiles!!! I think they still sell textiles there. My biggest regret was not seeking and purchasing fabric–if you go I would love to hear about it! 😀 HAPPY TRAVELS!!!!

  36. Non, non, non!! Not Berthillon or the other ice cream/gelato spots. It’s Pozzetto you must visit!!! It’s at 39 Rue du Roi de Sicile. You won’t regret it and neither will Ruby!!!!!

  37. ‘Paul’s’ is a bakery chain in Patis and I love it! They have great macarons and eclairs and they’re not expensive! Enjoy the beautiful city! Love, a dutch girl who loves visiting Paris!
    And PS. If you have the time and money, Disneyland is a must! Get your tickets in the little green information-house in front of the parc. Each morning they have a certain amount of tickets with a great discout, up to 50% off!

  38. Agree with Rebecca for food. One of the best chocolate croissants at “Du pain et des idees” at republique and best crepes at Breizh cafe in Le Marais. For kids, you should go to Petit Pan ( and Bonton!

  39. Paris’s list is indefinite and I’m sure more people will give tips on your visit here, so I’ll share my favorite spot in Lyon….! It’s called Crock ‘N Roll, and it’s a fantastic croque monsieur place, that is not only delicious but has wonderful déco. DEFINITELY WORTH A WHIRL, and in central Lyon. Basically French extravagant grilled cheese… just too good to be true!
    Crock ‘n Roll link on Yelp:
    Bon voyage!

  40. Paris is my favorite city! I’ve been several times but spent 3 weeks there for our babymoon a few years ago. Staying in an apartment and living like a local is the best way to experience Paris, IMO. Here are some tips:
    1) Paris is best seen on foot. Some of my favorite experiences were discovering the non-touristy areas just outside the touristy areas such as Montmartre, Le Marais, and Canal St. Martin. Super cute shops, especially kids clothing stores. Let’s just say that I had to buy another suitcase. Rick Steves has some good free self-guided tours to navigate the more touristy areas.
    2) Ethnic food in Paris is quite good, which makes sense since there are so many immigrant communities. I had the best Middle Eastern food there, including the falafel at L’as Du Fallafel, which is probably the most accessible. (Since we had so much time there, we would plan an entire day around eating some obscure Algerian food in some Muslim suburb)
    3) Restaurants: We were on a budget and so we cooked most dinners at home. Lunch is a lot cheaper than dinner, so that’s where we splurged. I remember Le Reminet and L’Agrume being particularly good. A lot of people, including Anthony Bourdain, recommended Robert et Louise, but I thought it was whatevers. If I had more money, I would have checked out Frenchie and Mama Shelter.
    4) Bakeries: Here’s where I went crazy. My husband was a trooper following me to over 20 bakeries. Rose Bakery and Secco are adorable and delicious. Pain et Chocolat is super cute for breakfast. Hugo et Victor is the most beautiful chocolate shop in the world. Eric Kayser is a chain but I thought their pastries were the BEST, especially their chocolate almond croissant, OMG. Of course you have to get macarons at Laduree or Pierre Herme and tea at Mariage Freres. Oh, and Aoki Sadaharu for amazing Japanese French desserts.
    5) Shopping: Le Printemps and Galarie Lafayette are right next to each other and are the 2 big department stores in Paris. Beautiful architecture and very Parisian. My favorite store, however, is Monoprix which is like the Target of Paris. No guidebook will tell you to go there but it is an affordable chain. Their kids clothes are adorable and for whatever reason, each Monoprix is different. The most overrated thing of all was definitely the big flea market. The Pasadena Rose Bowl flea market is a gazillion times better, so maybe I’m spoiled.
    6) If you’re planning on cooking, Picard, which is basically just a frozen food store, is surprisingly amazing and delicious. At least check it out to see how the French do frozen food– super gourmet and beautiful. We had these amazing French dinners at home but we would have never had guessed it was frozen.
    Woah, I really did not mean to write this much. Have fun!

  41. Oh forgot La Grande Epicerie which is THE most amazing grocery store EVER. Gorgeous, gourmet, and they have an amazing deli where you can pick up food for picnics. I like this place better than the Louvre, no joke.

  42. We went to Paris last year in June when our daughter was 22 months for my sister’s wedding and had a wonderful time. We stayed in an apartment in the Marais, which was a fun location, there are lots of amazing boutiques and it was easy to get everywhere. Some of our favorites were:
    1) The Jardin des Plantes, which has beautiful gardens perfect for a toddler to run around in and also an incredible old carousel with animals from Madagascar (Lucy still talks about riding in the tortoise). The Natural History Museum is here, too, but we didn’t visit it.
    2) The Place des Vosges is a beautiful, smaller park with a gorgeous sunken sand box for little ones and playgrounds scattered around in the shade. We spent a lot of time there and it’s a perfect spot for a picnic!
    3) A sunset boat ride on the Seine. I was reluctant to go on the boat ride because I thought it seemed “too touristy,” but it ended up being our favorite thing we did. You get to see so much of the city from a different perspective and Lucy really loved being on the boat and going under the bridges. We took a boat that left from the Pont Neuf but there are a lot of choices, depending on where you’re staying.
    We loved having our lightweight stroller with us for when Lucy got tired of walking or was napping and it was fairly easy to tote up and down the stairs to the metro, too. And I definitely agree that l’As du Fallafel is delicious, we tried all the spots on Rue des Rosiers and thought it was the best. Have fun!

  43. Hi Joy,
    Do you remember me, I won -thanks to you- a lovely round pink pillow et a lovely dotted pillowcase since a while now, but they are still my faves =)
    I am Parisian.
    Unfortunately I can’t have kids, but I think Paris is Ok with them, even with the tiny ones as Ruby.
    I think, Le Parc de La Villette may be a nice place to hang around with her. There is a huge science museum (great for older kids) and a huge park. It can be nice to take a little rest there.
    We don’t have these amazing museum think for kids in Paris like in the US, but you can go everywhere in my town.
    You just need to be really careful in the subway and in touristic places, as Les Champs Elysées, as there is some bad people who love tourists’ bags if you see what I mean.
    Anyway, Paris is safe, by day and by night, and a beautiful town to visit.
    You should try the double decker bus which are crossing the town through every places of interest, then choose a spot to stop.
    I think the tickets are available during two days, and you can go down and stop you would like to.
    My favourite place in Paris is Le Marais, the Gay area. It is full of lovely buildings, restaurants & stores.
    You know, don’t hesitate to contact me by email, if you have any question before and during you trip. It would be a pleasure to help.
    But I am sure you will love it =)

  44. I forgot a lovely park named Le Parc Floral.
    You can reach it by subway. Their site is in French…
    It is full of flowers and areas for kids (with swings & slides). You can rent a bike there (it is not a bike, but two or four bikes stuck together, with a front seat for the tiny ones) to make the tour by yourself.
    About the subway, you can buy a special card/ticket for a week, it will cost less than buying a ticket for each journey.
    It is called “Navigo Hebdomadaire”.
    You can find information about subway and buses on (top right you will find informations in English).
    But you know Joy, if you send me your address I can find some documentation to send you before you leave. So don’t hesitate to contact me =) I will be really pleased to help.

  45. I’m so envious of your trip!
    My husband and I booked an apartment through lodgis and stayed in Montmatre. It was absolutely perfect and we loved being able to do some cooking. We used Clotildes Edible Adventures in Paris to find some sweet little spots around the city.
    My own recommendation is to try the Rose Bakery. It will be ought up your alley, I promise.

  46. You probably already know that blog, but in case you don’t, you should go check on
    She and her family did spend a year in Paris and she did some posts on “Paris with kids”.
    Have a great trip!!!

  47. That’s great! I lived in Lyon for 5 months. The Parc de la Tête d’Or is great on a lazy afternoon. It’s a huge urban park with a free zoo, ponds, gardens. I would highly recommend it.

  48. I’ve just returned from a weeklong trip to Paris! My posts are on my blog,, but one quick ice cream related suggestion is Berthillon on the Ile St. Louis. You can find the brand at cafes all around paris. The salted caramel option was a major hit (we may have visited twice in one day).

  49. Hi Joy,
    This book may be helpful for your excursion:
    The Little Bookroom Guide to Paris with Children: Play, Eat, Shop, Stay
    by Kim Horton Levesque
    Besides, the cover is fantastic!

  50. we used vrbo for an apt in paris in the latin quarter. It was up the street from the stairs owen wilson sat on in “midnight in paris.” we even took a picture on the steps at night 🙂 no car came to pick us up though. It was on the top floor of a building. It did get kind of noisy though because it was right by the university, but it was convenient to get to alot of places.

  51. That is so nice that we could share some great places with you!!
    I live in LYON perhaps I can give you some hidden places to go.
    I will also recommend the Parc de la tête d’or as the other personns did.
    For icecream, I will not go for NARDONE wich is too crowded and near a really busy street. Not so nice with a kid. I will rather recommend LES ENFANTS GATES (3 Place Sathonay 69001 Lyon)it is in the main part of the city but spotted near a small area with trees (nearly no car) and as incredible flavours (I do recommend the vanilla with caramel and nuts)
    You also have a ramen restaurant on the same spot which is incredible.
    Then I will say that you must go to the old LYON on the Saone banks because you will see the part of the city constructed in the French Renaissance. Do not hesitate to enter in teh buildings when they are opened as you will find passages going through building from one street to another.
    If you would enjoy a french restaurant with typical food from Lyon I will recommend CHEZ MOUNIER (3 Rue des Marronniers 69002 Lyon
    04 78 37 79 26) It is not in the touristic part with all restaurants, small place with the whole family working there. Everyone seats near the other but food and atmosphere are really typical.
    A nice place in the center of Lyon to rest with a small one is the inside garden of the MUSEE DES BEAUX ARTS. Just near the City Hall you get in the museum and you will find a small garden with no noise from the city, trees…
    Hope you will enjoy your stay in Lyon and if you need other advices in more subject just le me know 😉

  52. Oh that’s sound good ! Almost everything is already said, but in Lyon, you have to try the organic icecream Terre Adélice in Vieux Lyon too. I’m sure Ruby will love the théâtre de marionnettes, (Les guignols)…
    If you are in Croix-Rousse (my place, yay!!), you definitly have to eat at the Bistrot du Boulevard, everything come from the market and the kids are welcomed !
    You can find a lot of things to do on the website :
    And, you will see, the Rhône bank are really kidfriendly with a lot of kid area !
    Hope you will enjoy your trip in France and particulary in Lyon.

  53. Two of my favorite restaurants in Paris: Pramil (so delicious, try the young calvados that they also sell in their shop across the street!) and playtime (inventive kitchen and great design).
    also check out the merci concept store.
    have a great time!

  54. you have to go see the animals at deyrolle! its like a natural history museum but a shop (think zebras, monkeys etc)!
    and if you go to Versailles make sure to check out Le Hameau by the Petit Trianon…

  55. hi joy!
    my husband and i are lucky enough to visit paris every year. berthillon does indeed have lovely icecream, and it is also sold by lots of vendors around the city but the original shop is on the ile saint louis.
    our favourite restaurant (which we notice is also frequented by lots of families with kiddies) is Cafe Constant near the eiffel tower. it is one of alain ducasse’s favourites too, however the prices are very reasonable. they don’t take bookings, however if you go before 7 you shouldn’t run into many problems with a table (most of the parisians don’t eat dinner till about 9)/ another one that is a bit harder to get into is Frenchie, near Les Halles (although they do have a little casual cafe-type establishment offshoot now called Frenchie to Go, which is right next door).
    one of my favourite resources for paris is Carin Olsson’s blog (Paris in Four Months).
    i’m sure you have lots of plans for other sweeties, but do give Laduree a miss (I knew something was afoot when their stores started popping everywhere likes daisies, but last year they actually sold their recipe to Mcdonalds!!). Instead, Patrick Roger (in Saint Germain) and Jacques Genin (Marais) are a much better bet, though they specialist in chocolates and confectionary. Sadaharu Aoki combines the best of french patisserie with japanese flavours and innovation, and is recommended too. My favourite is La Maison du Choux (also in Saint Germain), which specialises in the most sublime choux cream puffs.
    Place des Vosges is a favourite spot to sip cafe and people watch amongst the Parisians i know, and is surprisingly devoid of tourists whilst being central.
    hope you have a wonderful time!!! x

  56. Joy, you will all love France.
    You definitely want to not miss Chateau Versailles — I went for a whole day on my last trip to Paris in November and even in the winter it was simply beautiful. There is a ton of ground for Ruby to run around and there is even this little tram/train that can take you around…once you get tired of walking. They have nice cafes to eat at — and the food was amazing. You can also enjoy the cats that reside in the palace’s grounds…that was such a quirky surprise…they’re all pretty friendly…but just wash your hands after :).

  57. LOVE Paris and Lyon. You are going to have the best time!!! My parents go every spring and we are thinking about going in April… You have plenty of suggestions above but let me know if you need any more. 😉 xo

  58. Hello Joy,
    Parisian girl speaking here.
    Everybody says Berthillon is the best but it’s not true. Jadi wrote it before and I agree, Pozetto is the best. There are less flavors and only one location (in Le Marais) but it’s reaaallllyyy good !
    In Lyon, I recommend you “Les enfants gâtés” (it means the spoiled children) on place Sathonay (1st). They make very good and beautiful “coupes glacées”.
    Have fun !

  59. Hello Joy,
    there are a couple of amazing places in the area around Lyon that I think you might like (if you have the time and the transport)…
    Firstly, in a little village called Hauterives is the Palais Ideal. It is quite hard to describe: it was built by a postman, Ferdinand Cheval, who collected stones while he delivered letters in the village, and used them to construct his own little palace. (Also in this village is a lovely small art gallery in the chateau near the Palais)
    And secondly, the stunning town of Le Puy…a volcanic landscape with churches balancing on towers of rock, and a beautiful cathedral that you enter by walking up through a staircase in the floor.
    Also, in Paris the Natural History Museum is breath-taking…a procession of animals through the main gallery, with monkeys clambering up the walls and a giraffe peeking over the balcony.
    Have a wonderful trip! xx

  60. Lyon is known for its puppet shows. In Parc de la Tête d’Or there are (I think free? I was there in 2000!) shows. And the park itself is huge and beautiful – but don’t forget it’s a park in France. We got in trouble (okay, just gently nudged) for sitting on the grass in the area that wasn’t for sitting… But especially with a little kid, the puppets could be a big hit. We loved ’em as young adults.

  61. the best thing we did when traveling in europe with little ones is to keep to their schedule. we had nap time every day at the usual time. we would take turns and the other could go out, child free, for an hour. the funny thing is that we both wanted to take a nap, too. we also kept to our eating schedule which is harder with the late european dinner time.
    and we always looked for a park to let our kids run around each day. never be in a hurry.

  62. Hi!
    a nive and cool place to eat:
    47 rue de l’abbé Grégoire
    6ème arrondissement
    And, always and forever, to have a walk and chill out, streets of the “quartier Saint Michel”.
    And for delicious pastry, just go to “Un dimanche à Paris”,
    Cour du Commerce Saint André
    6ème arrondissement
    enjoy, love from France!

  63. Hi Joy !
    it makes me kind of proud to know that you’ll visit my city, Lyon… 😉
    so here a few suggestions (I hope) you may like :
    – for family and kids, LE PARC DE LA TETE D’OR and its free zoo is indeed really great, but you were already told about that. The RHONE riverbanks are also a nice family walk (you can watch at the ducks and swans and at the canalboats where people live or where you can have a drink). The CROIX-ROUSSE district (on the hill at the north of the city) is very family-friendly, as a lot of young families live there. There is an adorable shop where you’ll find cute stuff for Ruby and you : L’INSTANT POETIQUE (129 Boulevard de la Croix-Rousse).
    – between the Croix-Rousse hill and the city center, there is LES PENTES (slopes?) DE LA CROIX-ROUSSE. The district is very festive and creative. A lot of artists and students live there, and let’s say it, hipsters, so you find a lot of wifi cafés and little creator’s boutiques. MOKXA (rue des capucins) makes indeed really good coffee and pastries too, LE CAFE COUSU (rue leynaud) is also nice and kid-friendly. The district is also full of vintage shops, especially on Rue des Capucins and Place des Capucins (in front of the scientology church, yep!). There is also an amazing thaï restaurant : BANGKOK ROYAL (rue Sergent Blandan). Pace Sathonay is a really nice spot with a lot of terraces (I recommend LE TASSE-LIVRE which makes delicious sandwiches and is also a bookstore) and of course the best ice-cream shop : LES ENFANTS GATES.
    – about ice-cream, there are 2 other recommendable shops : NARDONE which is the oldest in the city, and TERRE ADELICE which makes organic ice-cream with really (but really) amazing flavors. Both of them are in the VIEUX LYON (old town) which deserves a walk because it is beautiful, but don’t eat there, usually restaurants are not that good (it’s a very touristy area). The FOURVIERE basilica and the Roman amphiteaters, both on the hill, are also a must-see. (the city has two hills, as you’ll see).
    – back to the city center (Presqu’ile), there is a very lovely square in the Fine Arts Museum (but you don’t have to pay the museum to enter), a haven of peace in the middle of the city. you can access it from the Place des Terreaux. There is a great japanese restaurant, which makes traditional food (ie not sushi) : DOMA (rue Lanterne). Later in the same street there is a great burger restaurant : BUTCHER. in this district you find the greatest concentration of bars and restaurants so you’ll always find something. there is also a lot of shops but a more common kind (chains).
    – at the south of the city center (Presqu’ile), there are some recommendable shops : NYACK (rue Auguste Comte) has gorgeous clothes for women, along with Bensimon Home Autour du Monde, Cotélac, Agnès b. which are in the same street. There is an adorable tea house wich makes amazing cakes : CHEZ GUILLEMETTE (rue François Dauphin). There is also the CONFLUENCE district, completely new and even still unfinished, interesting for its very modern and original architecture but that’s all I would say…
    – If you still have time, don’t hesitate to cross the RHONE to visit the GUILLOTIERE district : its a popular and multicultural district with a lot of african and asiatic shops and restaurants. It’s also where the public Universities are located.
    I realize I didn’t recommend any typical restaurant, I have to admit I don’t really love local food which is a lot about pork (all parts of the pork). but you have to taste the cheese and the wine from the area ! 😉 open-air markets are a great place to buy fresh food, usually they are every morning except monday.
    well, I could go on and on, but that’s probably enough 😉 have a great time in France !

  64. Ruby has to rent and float a toy boat in the little pond in Jardin des Tuileries! It would be an amazing photo op!

  65. Hi Joy!
    I see you’ve gotten a ton of recommendations so I thought I’d throw one more in the mix. 🙂
    I’ve had George + Co recommended to me. Apparently it’s an amazing stationery store for people who love all things ink and paper. It sounds like it has a kids corner too. Might be worth and try…
    George & Co 
90 rue du Bac – 75008 Paris
    Have so much fun! France is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve visited.

  66. Hi Joy,
    I just discovered your site, an found out you’re leaving to France very soon.
    I am French, grew up in North of France then leaved few years in Paris before moving in the San Francisco area for work, then staying for Love (how French!)
    I have 3 girls. my youngest one is 5; and we have brought them to France at least once a year. So a lot of the 11 hours flights. The craziest I have done is traveling by myself being 6 months pregnant, with my then 14 months old toddler on my laps. I survived ;-). The worse experience on plane is when I gave Benadryl to my 19 months old. She screamed and cried for 9 hours out of the 11 hours flight.
    Today is much better, especially on direct flight. Your little Ruby will have a screen with plenty of cartoons to entertain her. Bring few toys, coloring books and snack along the way. If you fly on AirFrance, make sure you specify few days before you leave you request a kid meal. It would seem obvious but I guess it is not for the Airline…
    I was in Paris in July for the Who’s Next fashion show and to discover more talented French designers. I went to the trendy concept Store Merci (between Bastille and Republique) and picked up a book for my little one “Paris Mon Imagier” by Parigramme. You can find it on Amazon Market, if you still have time for shipment ( That would be a great intro to Paris to read in the plane, with cute images and words in both French and English.
    You already had many recommendations in Paris. You’ll be busy!
    Just let yourself immerse in the French culture and TAKE YOUR TIME! It is better to do less but really enjoy it than run all over the place.
    Of course you can shop very cute (and very expensive) children clothes at Bonpoint, Catimini or Jacadi. My favorite is IKKS. If you find a store that carry Floriane, stock up! I learned this summer the brand is disappearing. You may find good discount. They make the best quality T-Shirt EVER, especially the winter ones! My 5 years old still wear T shirts which went to her cousin and 2 sisters before.
    But really, you don’t have to spend much to find cute kids clothes, try those stores (in many locations): Du Pareil au Meme, Okaidi, Tout compte fait, Monoprix (chic supermarket).
    I guess this is typically French, but I love sipping a glass of Champagne at a Terrace outdoors. My favorite one is at “Cafe Marly”. It is by the Louvre looking over the pyramid and the amazing architecture of the Louvre building. If you consider going to the museum, make sure you go the cafe after and just watch. There is a big space around the Pyramid where cars are not allowed so this give you peace of mind. You can enjoy a romantic time with your husband.
    Le jardin des Tuileries, right next to Le Louvre is a nice Park to stroll around.
    If you decide to visit the department stores in the 9th Arrdt, right by Opera, (Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps), make sure to stop by the restaurant on Top of le Printemps. They serve lunch (not the best French food though) and they have an amazing outdoor terrace where you can enjoy 360 view of Paris, great for pictures. Be aware Restrooms at Le Printemps cost 2 euros per visit!
    Department stores are wonderful for Children in December with all the decorations, maybe not so much in September.
    Also, last little tip, even though smoking is now forbidden in public places indoor (restaurants, cafes…), many people smoke outside: in the street, at cafe’s terraces…And they are not as conscientious about kids around as people in the US. I would advice you to just accept that, and not focus on it to much; otherwise it will bother you the whole trip. It is not because they are rude, French just don’t think about it.
    Have fun!

  67. Hi Joy !
    I’m an art student living in Paris (so excuse my awful english). If you want to have a good time away from the very touristy places, I would definitely recommend you the 14th arrondissement, more specificly the Denfert-Rochereau station and the Rue Daguerre, where you can buy excellent wine, eating ice cream on the street at Amorino, take a drink “en terrasse” in a quiet and very friendly atmosphere. There are also small clothes shops very sympatiques like Emarobe, and a discrete but nice restaurant called Midi Trente, where you can enjoy homemade pies. There are plenty of other things to do all around Denfert Rochereau, but this street is worth the trip. (There is also a nice restaurant not far away from la rue Daguerre, called Rubis – is it a sign? 🙂 -, avenue du Maine, with very sympathic people)
    Passez un bon voyage !


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