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.