Monday, October 3, 2011

Parisian Boutiques for Children

The section I'm writing on the Marais goes on and on and on and on....I've given myself two more days to finish it. I may just delete the addresses that don't fit into my self-imposed deadline. Those unlucky boutiques will never know the difference.

I've been admiring the wares from a shop called Petit Pan. I'm a sucker for Asian-inspired children's wear. This one features clothes and accessories that are especially cute and colorful!

Petit Pan, 39 and 76, rue François Miron, 75004,,

What happens when a Chinese kite designer meets a Belgian artist and they settle in Paris? Petit Pan. The concept was inspired by a newborn’s ensemble, handmade by Pan Gang's mother in China, for the birth of the couple’s first son. Artist Myriam de Loor recalls her first reaction, “I loved the richness of the print: small, sparkling, bold patterns and bright colors, just the way I like them. I was amazed by this comfortable and cozy outfit worn by children in faraway lands.”

I love the mobiles made with bamboo and hand-painted silk.

Friday, September 23, 2011 Paris

September 24th and it's 107 degrees in Phoenix. The girls ask every other day if we can go back to the park in Paris 'really fast' (whine more than ask). We've been home 2 months now and already we are wistful--remembering those daily trips to Luxembourg garden, the Tuileries and the Bon Marché park. A few pictures...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

When in Paris...a book update

Suckers, not Cigarettes
Rodin Museum Garden
(photo by Becky Murphy)

Sunday, September 11, 2011, 12:43am.

I'm working on the third main section of my new book, "The Little Bookroom Guide to Paris with Children,"–the Marais/Bastille/Pompidou districts of Paris. I just calculated that at a lightning-speed 15 minutes per listing, it will take me 22 hours to complete it. At an average 3.5 hours of work-time available per day (squeezed between 3 children, new-home renovations and life stuff: transport, emotional and physical care of said 3 children, bills, business) we are talking 6.3 days (September 17, donc). My manuscript deadline is (was) September 30th. With 6 remaining areas (after the Marais), I don't even have to do the math; should I cry now or later?

Time is...precious...irreplaceable–and the future is unpredictable (thinking of health mostly); the good news (for me) is that I'm squeezing my work in between my three beautiful girls.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Paris 2011: Food

I should be entirely devoted to writing this book (The Little Bookroom Guide to Paris with Children) right now, which I's yet another midnight however; I'm tired and I need some inspiration.

Here are a few of my favorite photos of food! from the trip. I'll probably be posting pictures more than writing in the coming months as my deadline looms. By the way, I can't wait to make my first stateside-batch of macarons (see last pics)! Anyone up for a tasting?

Boulangerie, corner of Rue Vaugirard & Rue Madame, 75006

Amorino, Buci, 75006 (for you–Cheers, Kristyn)

Macarons, Boulangerie Guerineau, 75006

les frites

Tartine, Bistro des Amis, 75006

Tarte au Citron Meringuée, Le Loir dans la Théière, 75004

Macaron class #1 at La Cuisine Paris, a gift from my dear friend, Becky 'your macarons are so round!' Murphy –we studied (and met) in Paris in 1995)

Macaron class #2 at l'Atelier des Gâteaux, 75006

l'Atelier des Gâteaux, 75006

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Traveling with Children

One of the best things about traveling with children is that they force you to do things you wouldn't have done otherwise–cheesy things–like having a portrait painted at Place du Tertre, in Montmartre.

I guess I’ve fancied myself too sophisticated a traveler...a quasi-local...I always thought of it as embarrassingly touristy. Enter my 6-year-old daughter. Within 45 seconds Madeleine had talked me into a portrait and was seated before an artist. Five minutes later I found myself overcome with an acute sense of joy, understanding that we were indelibly recording the memory of this extraordinary day that we had shared in chalk. Madeleine had taken me off-checklist and on-detour to what she wanted to see: an obscure park, a children's boutique, a crêpe stand.

Photos end up piled in drawers, at least mine do. Paintings, especially one of your child, are framed and hung. I had gone to Paris to share my favorite city with my daughters, to take them down discreet, off-path streets that have always enchanted me. This day I had planned to show ‘my’ Paris to Madeleine–instead she shared hers with me.

Be open to the Paris your child wants to see.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Le Jour du Macaron

What?! You didn't know that March 20, 2011, was Macaron Day? The celebration of Paris' quintessential cookie, Le Jour du Macaron, is now in its 6th year. It's a day to indulge in colorful treats created by France's top pastry chefs, to welcome Spring and raise money for charity.

Acclaimed pastry chef, Pierre Hermé, launched the event in 2005. He joins with fellow pâtissiers, members of the
Relais Desserts organization, to offer visitors a chance to sample these irresistible cookies without charge.

Here is a selection of macaron flavors from what is probably Paris' most famous macaron shop, Ladurée:

Le Jour du Macaron has crossed the Atlantic with Macaron Day New York 2011. The NYC site explains:

"The famous French macaron is a delicate round pastry with a crunchy outside and soft inside, made with ground almonds, sugar and egg whites. Found in a wide variety of colors and flavors, from the traditional to the exotic, the crunchy outside is sandwiched together with a soft creamy center.

If you don't have a French bakery nearby, Trader Joe's has them in their frozen dessert section and they're good! These little treasures are addictive--not to be missed on a visit to Paris.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Trip Shopping

The apartment is secured. Apartment searching is unquestionably the most time-consuming part of trip preparations. We are staying in the 6th arrondissement, not too far from Luxembourg Gardens for the kids, not too far from my favorite dumpy café, Le Fleurus.

I'm taking two things I've never brought along. Black-out fabric for the window in baby/kids' rooms and night lights. I tried to find a nightlight on our last trip for Juliette, but I couldn't find anything for less than 20E-25E--that's around $30-$35--ridiculous, but not surprising. I couldn't bring myself to buy one while I was there. Juliette ended up sleeping in my bed anyway.

Adequate sleep changes everything. I'm taking steps to make that possible this go-around.

Here is what I'm taking:

54'' Wide Black Out Drapery Fabric Ivory By The Yard
(thinking about bringing clips to be able to secure the fabric)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Starting the Book

I've just 'officially' begun research on my book, The Little Bookroom's Guide to Paris with Children. I'm very excited!

First order of business is joining a bilingual playgroup in the city. I connected with one a few trips ago and several members were so helpful. I wanted to avoid traveling with a bulky and cumbersome travel crib in 2007, so emailed the group to see if they had any ideas about where to locate an inexpensive one once I arrived. I was pleasantly surprised when three members offered to let me borrow their own pack and plays/cribs during my stay.

I think the members will be an amazing resource. The group is called, 'Goodnight Moon: An Angl0/American playgroup in Paris.'

Here is the group's blog:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Traveling with Small Children

What a coincidence! I'm supposed to author a book on this very subject...unfortunately, I can't say I'm very successful at it (photo: johnbardwell).

We returned late last week from a family vacation in Carlsbad, California. I had booked a one-bedroom condo (2 bedrooms were unavailable) in December 2009, so we knew this trip was coming. We didn't make the decision to go, however, until 12 hours before our departure. Our recent trip to Disneyland in October, characterized by total sleep deprivation, was fresh in mind.

I spoke with a friend, Kathryn Koenig, who had offered some helpful advice on how to sleep in a hotel room with a crib-trained infant so i was optimistic that it could work. Co-sleeping babies seem to adapt better to hotel-room life in my experience, than crib-sleeping kids. I had one of the former and two of the latter. Babies who sleep in their own bed and room find it difficult to fall and stay asleep with the noise of one-room accommodation. Snoring, coughing, TVs, waking kids and nighttime potty trips always wake up my now one-year-old daughter.

Kathryn opened up two possibilities to me: get two adjoining hotel rooms; put the baby or children in one and parents in the other. This is a great option for people who travel frequently for work and have accrued oodles of loyalty points--priceline rates can also make this an affordable option. A second choice was to put the baby's crib/pack and play in the bathroom (or a large closet for that matter) and use the lobby toilet if you have any middle-of-the-night needs. The latter is tough if you've got other small kids in the room who need to use the bathroom during the night--i know my 3-year old would be too hysterical to walk to the lobby. We technically had two rooms in this condo, so in the worst case scenario i figured the baby would get the bedroom and the 4 of us would sleep in the room with the pull-out couch--but we hoped it wouldn't come to that.

Of course it did come to that. By the second night, we were ready to cut short the trip and fly home. Instead we moved the king-sized mattress to the living room and joined the other two girls. In short, this became another sleepless trip with the baby (even given her own room) and our last voluntary jaunt until the big trip to France in May!

How do you sleep with an infant in a hotel or single room and manage to get any sleep?? I would love to hear!