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The Expat Mom Experience: To Paris and Back with Bébé

HiP Paris Blog explores the expat mom experienceLisa Czarina Michaud

My family and I got back from our annual summer visit to New York. And if that wasn’t action-packed enough, we threw in an oh-so-out-of-the-way trip to Los Angeles. And as the cliché goes, we need a vacation from our vacation. Sure, it was a good time with memories to go around, but between the jet lag and the door-to-door travel time, which clocks in at about twelve hours, we’re wiped out. Raising a child, whose American roots are just as important as his French ones, pushes us to visit more often than we did when it was just the two of us. It just takes the wind out of us more now than it did then. Quelle surprise?

In our son Georges’ almost two-year life, he has crossed the Atlantic twelve times. And you would think after ten times, mom would have the system down like a pro. But no. Each time, I’m that mom. I’m the mom that scares girls in their early 20s, making me an involuntary PSA for birth control. Why? Because I make it look hard. Dressed in leggings encrusted with applesauce stains, stressed out hair that needs something —a relaxer, maybe? Do they still do that? — And frenzied attempts to keep my son off the moving walkway and to not touch the other passengers, I am not exactly the portrait of motherhood made easy.

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Posted in Parisian Living | 3 Comments »

Living, Loving, Learning: An American Photographer on Starting a New Life in Paris

HiP Paris blog. Living, Learning, Loving. A bride viewed from the top of a Parisian spiral staircase. Photo by Marjorie Preval.

I don’t come from a family of explorers, travelers, or adventurers. My wanderlust has definitely been a learned trait, something that I’ve discovered after spending countless hours Google searching destinations I wished to visit. Needless to say, my parents were a bit shocked when I told them that I had bought tickets for my daughter Kailin and me to move to Paris the winter of 2011. My mother’s concern was that I “didn’t know a soul in all of France,” my dad’s was that I wouldn’t survive without knowing the language.

Armed with their endless words of advice and a handful of helpful phrases, such as “s’il vous plait, aidez-moi trouver les toilettes”(thanks dad !), my then four year-old and I boarded our very first trans-Atlantic flight to the City of Light. I wasn’t prepared for the anxiety attack I would have midway through our redeye, or how much I would fall head over heels once I’d arrived. In a penthouse apartment situated right across from Sacré-Cœur, how could I not fall in love with all that Paris had to offer me?

HiP Paris blog. Living, loving, learning in Paris. One of Paris' most distinctive features: its rooftops. Photo by Marjorie Preval.

HiP Paris blog. Living, loving, learning in Paris. Take a seat and have a moment with Lady Eiffel. Photos by Marjorie Preval.

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Posted in Parisian Living | 8 Comments »

Kid-Friendly Travel: An American Family Visits the City of Lights

After half a day in the airport, a canceled flight and a sleepless passage over the ocean, I expected my children to nap away our first day in the City of Lights. But the magic of Paris revived us and it was 11 p.m., admiring the fire dancers at the Sacré-Coeur when my son said, “Mom, can I get an ‘I love Paris’ t-shirt? ‘Cause I really love Paris.”

A dream destination for every traveler, Paris is rarely considered a haven for families. I’d like to challenge that assumption. The first concern is usually cost. While not cheap, Parisian retreats are about the same price as a trip to Disney World. Most people think Disney World is a reasonable goal, but why visit Epcot when you can indulge in the real locale?

Deals on flights are everywhere; all museums in France are free for those 18 and under; public transportation is inexpensive and most importantly, an apartment rental saves a fortune over hotel accommodations.

Ahem, this is the moment I need to make a disclaimer that Haven in Paris isn’t compensating me in any way. I begged them to let me write about our incredible experience with HIP.

My family spent a marvelous week in HIP’s gorgeous Champs Elysées; everything from the darling girl who met us at the apartment to the plush bedding, was perfect. We gazed at the Arc de Triomphe from our window and the Metro stop was literally right outside the front door. The location made transportation easy and delightful. Adults might find subways tedious, but for kids riding the Metro is part of the adventure. My boys loved navigating the family throughout the city and the 5-day Visite pass is a steal. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Travel | 15 Comments »