One of my mom’s favorite pregnancy memories while carrying me is sharing that she went to France and Italy while she was three months pregnant. Since she couldn’t partake in drinking and was limited on what she could buy for herself, she spent her time in Paris eating tangerines, drinking mineral water, and buying baby clothes (primarily in all white since it was the days of not knowing the sex of the baby). Her favorite purchase was a YSL onesie with “pockets,” which at the time no baby clothes had pockets — this might explain how I turned out the way I did, le sigh. Regardless, this was my mom’s first and only trip to Paris. When we surprised our families over the holidays that we were expecting, it didn’t take my mom long to suggest taking advantage of the recently reduced airfare rates out of the Bay Area to revisit Paris for us girls. Putting my love for travel on hold is the one thing I know will be hard to give up when the babes arrive, so I couldn’t resist using my passport one last time before my days of travel require a lot more luggage. We coined the trip our Mamamoon, and for anyone that is extra close with their mom and will likely depend on them like life support to help with your kids, I highly suggest doing something special just you two before the arrival.
Like most things in my life right now, I’m behind the eight ball. We are moved into our first HOME this weekend, I’m working as many hours as I physically can before my maternity leave begins, and I am well into my third trimester where it hurts to do just about everything . I’m going to stop complaining because I really have had an amazing pregnancy, and clearly didn’t let my growing bump impact my travel plans for work or pleasure.
I did want to share a few images from our Mamamoon, and fair warning these are all personal photos mainly documented on the iPhone. No, I did not hire a photographer, and while I almost considered it, it was nice to go on vacation and actually unplug. There was little time spent on social media, and I really enjoyed just walking the city streets, indulging in the delicious treats, and having interesting conversations with strangers that we’d meet along the way.
Places Visited: London & Paris
We stayed in the South Kensington neighborhood, and had SO much fun. It definitely gives you a more charming neighborhood feel versus being in the thick of the touristy area. We were around so many amazing restaurants, and a quick walk to the tube station to get to the city center. Our mornings consisted of grabbing a coffee at Illy Café, picking up a bite at Pret A Manger (they have locations all through the city where you can grab healthy food options to-go), taking a stroll in the neighborhood or Hyde Park to then jetting off for whatever adventures were in store for us that day.
Normally, I plan my trips around places I want to eat. As I’ve highlighted in past pregnancy posts, I’ve had more food aversions than expected, so this might have been the first time I didn’t schedule a trip around where we were going to eat. With just a few days in the city, we would spend our time exploring, and then finding something close by that sounded delicious depending on our location. Hands down one of our favorite finds during our trip was walking by Aux Merveilleux de Fred near our hotel and indulging in their incredible meringue and bavarian cream treats. Pregnant or not, that place is my everything. Of all the travel guides you can view for London, I always suggest adding Gordon’s Wine Bar or Peggy Porschen Cakes to your list. For anyone that is visiting London for the first time, I am a huge fan of the Big Red Bus tour — it’s a quick way to get around the city to get a lay of the land, plus digest a quick history lesson. It also makes you feel a little less guilty should you forgo some of the touristy things and then decide to spend your afternoon in Notting Hill or South Kensington. One of the best surprises during our stay in London was the weather. We were welcomed with the most incredible temperatures, which is something I actually have yet to experience when visiting in the past. Similar to San Francisco, London is some kind of magical when the sun comes out to play. London is always one of my favorite cities to visit, and it did not disappoint for my mom’s first time visit.
For anyone looking for a more affordable hotel option in London, we stayed at the DoubleTree in South Kensington and had a very wonderful experience. The staff was lovely, it was less than a 10 minute walk to the tube station to get anywhere you needed, there was a gym on-site (which we didn’t touch), and Aux Merveilleux de Fred was around the corner!
For Paris, we traveled by Eurostar from London which is the only way to travel between the two cities in my opinion (you just can’t beat the 2.5 hour train ride that drops you off right in the city center!). As timing would have it, there was an unfortunate shooting the night before our arrival on the Champs-Élysées, just around the corner from our hotel. I was a little hesitant to make our way to the city, especially being pregnant, but we followed suit from our fellow Parisians, and wouldn’t let the fear restrict us from enjoying our stay.
As I originally mentioned, our whole Europe trip was rooted in the fact that we had to revisit Paris together. We stayed at the lovely Prince de Galles Hotel, and I will say they were one of the most hospitable places I’ve ever stayed. Upon check in, the lovely lady at the front desk who was also pregnant with a little girl, loved hearing our story of how my mom’s last trip to Paris was when she was carrying me in her belly, and now it was my turn to have the same experience. She made sure we were in a room that was in a decent walking distance from the elevator so I was comfortable, loaded us up with mineral water, and that evening when we returned from dinner there were two sweet stuffed animals sitting on our bed — a souvenir for the girls to remember their first trip to Paris.
While I love exploring new places, it’s by no means relaxing. My favorite part of being in Paris with my mama was wandering various neighborhoods, taking a boat cruise along the river, and popping into shops without feeling guilty of visiting endless museums. The weather was also spectacular during our stay, and we were able to see family friends during our visit to have a more local experience in the Monmartre neighborhood (I was on the hunt for some exceptional escargot, which I can confirm was achieved). Naturally, we ended our last evening at the Eiffel Tower to sit and enjoy the iconic landmark twinkle before our eyes — putting on her best face, giving us a wink, and reminding us that we’ll see her again.