eleanor and i took a mama daughter trip to paris last week! and while i shared a lot on my instagram from our girls weekend while we were there in real time, i wanted to write a little bit more about it here on the blog, plus share a million more photos (i actually had to break this post into two, because i had over 70 pictures in this one and that is some crazy scrolling!)
while this trip fell on her birthday weekend, the main reason we went was because we have two baby girls joining our family in may. since eleanor has been my only baby girl for so long, i wanted one last hurrah with her (not that there can’t be more after the babies arrive), and some one on one time just us davis girls, before there are more davis girls, and our life really changes a bit. (also, deals to europe from nyc this winter have been great!)
i really have no idea what to expect after the new babies arrive, but i know it’s going to take time for all of us to figure out our new family dynamic and make sure everyone is still feeling all the love (it’s my biggest fear right now as a mom). josh and i have always tried to prioritize one on one time with our three kids. you definitely don’t have to take a trip to europe to make that happen, and i realize this was a rather grandiose weekend for us, but even just taking a walk one on one around the neighborhood, grabbing pizza together or just reading books without any other sibling interrupting can feel like the world to them (and to us), and it’s something we have found to be really beneficial for everyone.
i’ve noticed that so many of my conversations or chats with eleanor over the past few months feel like they are rushed or cut short, just because my attention is often split 3 ways, she has a busy schedule with school and activities, and i’ve had this never ending pregnancy sickness sort of hanging over everything i do lately. but as she’s growing older so very quickly, i’ve really craved some alone time with my first baby girl when we aren’t interrupted, when we could really open up and get to know each other better without any distractions or interruptions. it’s fascinating actually, because i was telling josh on the phone while in paris one night after eleanor had fallen asleep how it was maybe 2 days into our trip, that she really opened up one night in a way i hadn’t seen before, sharing so much about her school life and friends and asking so many questions about everything. it wasn’t immediate. it took a couple of days for us to get to that spot where we just opened all the doors and i’m grateful she was willing to let me in like that…
little ones might be little, but they observe so much, and while taking so much in around them, really have a special way of viewing the world and processing it all, too. it was one of those conversations i will hold onto forever, along with several others we had over the weekend, because i felt so incredibly close to her in those moments, as we shared so much together and i learned a lot about her because of it. i’m so thankful we had this time and that we were able to pull this trip off. paris is one of my favorite places in the world and while eleanor was only 2 and a half the last time she was there, she has held onto her love of crepes and the eiffel tower in the sweetest way, so it felt extra special to surprise her with this special weekend just us two in one of our favorite cities.
josh got the tickets several months ago when he heard about a sale going on and ended up getting a pretty good fare. we kept it a surprise from eleanor until a few hours before our flight left on her birthday! i almost accidentally gave away the surprise a few times in the weeks leading up to our trip, since we were reading all about paris each night with eleanor before bed and occasionally i wanted to blurt out, “we’re going to do that!” or “let’s see that when we go!” but we managed to pull it off! she opened the tickets up after she arrived home from school on thursday afternoon and her reaction as she put it together was the sweetest thing as i told her i’d already packed our bags and our plane was leaving in a few hours.
this is getting long, but i have to share one more sweet note about before we arrived in paris. after we got to JFK (the airport) here in new york city, we were grabbing some drinks and snacks at a little airport shop before boarding our flight and i found eleanor frantically trying to find gifts for her two brothers and papa in the tiny airport shop. we hadn’t even gotten to paris yet, but at the forefront of her mind was making sure she found something special to bring home to her favorite people. it was so sweet to see. i realized that the first thing we needed to do once we arrived in france was find some special things for our boys back home, so she could relax and enjoy the trip without being preoccupied with that gesture. i love that about her though. she is always thinking about everyone around her, and seeing that gesture at the airport just an hour into our adventure made me love her even more.
okay, some photos and stories below…
eleanor and i planned out our itinerary in the taxi to the airport together based on some of the books we had read and what she wanted to see or eat or do most in paris. i had made a few reservations to be on the safe side, but wanted her to take the reigns on most of what we did together. first on her list was going to the top of the eiffel tower! we took a red eye flight into paris and fortunately were able to get into our hotel room right away that following morning, so we took a nap for most of the morning, and then went out around lunchtime to the eiffel tower. normally when we travel abroad, we try to hop straight into the new time zone, but i was nervous that if we did that after a rocky night of airplane sleep, she might not remember this part of the trip as well since she’d be a bit groggy, and since it was the most exciting part for her, i wanted her to be well rested before we went. this was one of our favorite afternoons together for sure. by the time we were coming down from the top of the eiffel tower, the sun was setting and it was starting to sparkle! it was pure magic!
the forecast for the weekend included a lot of rain (a perk of traveling during the off season is cheaper tickets but the weather usually isn’t ideal! we don’t mind though because we’re used to trekking everywhere in nyc in any weather condition so we didn’t mind the rain. fortunately, it only rained on saturday for us!)
this cute girl wanted to try all the macaron flavors, but the raspberry ones really stole her heart. anywhere we could find raspberry flavored, we snag a few. it’s now on our bucket list to learn to make them at some point in the future.
moments before i took this photo of her as we walked across the bridge together, she mentioned to me, “mom, some of my friends don’t know who michael jackson is! i mean, their parents should have told them the minute they were born!” i was dying. she is wise beyond her years.
i shared this story on my instagram, but our experience with the louvre was so-so. we did this on sunday afternoon after church in the morning so we’d already had a bit of a long day. by the time we arrived inside, eleanor was fading fast. it’s funny, because sometimes you envision these moments for your children and they go nothing like you’d expect. i’ve learned it’s most important to just try my best to go with the flow and not expect too much, but it felt slightly hard considering i really wanted her to love seeing the mona lisa for the first time. anyway, as i saw she was over it by the time we got inside, we made our way straight to the mona lisa and pretty much skipped everything else. it wasn’t anything magical, and so we peaced out straight away in search of some food to help get our energy up. we got lucky and happened upon a great little bistro called cafe ruc right by the louvre, and as i got food into her, her spirits really perked up and we ended up having one of our favorite meals together here. we ended up sitting at our table for almost two hours! we were having so much fun playing some silly word games and also just ordering all the food and talking lots. it was another favorite moment for me of the trip. so much for the louvre, but dinner after?! really special.
just two girls taking a selfie with the mona lisa!!!!
a few iPhone photos from the special dinner i mentioned above. also should note, panda loved this trip. ;)
eleanor took these photos on my phone of me and the bumpin’ babies on sunday after we went to church and were walking around le marais. i fortunately was only super sick and nauseous during one meal over the weekend and was able to hold everything else down and enjoy it! so funny how much these baby girls loves their carbs. proud of them. :)
on our last morning in paris, i made a reservation for breakfast at angelina’s. the spread was insane and i felt full until i got home to nyc later that evening!
i booked a room at the westin vendome which is where i stayed last spring on my girls trip to paris with friends. (you can see part I and part II of that trip here if you’d like!) i feel the need to share that this is not sponsored in any way (i happily love to share when things are sponsored because i am proud of my partnerships and am always excited to share and always always disclose). while i paid for this hotel, i just wanted to share that the location is super central so you can walk to many great spots and when you book, you can request an eiffel tower view which is absolutely magical.
when eleanor and i checked in, there was a birthday cake and balloons waiting for us in our room, which her sweet papa had coordinated. i think it was one of her favorite moments of the trip! that papa is so good to us.
also never wanna forget what a little home body i am raising. haha! this girl loves getting into her pj’s around 5 in the evening and calling it a night! we did room service our first night in and watched the eiffel tower sparkle on the hour every hour until around 10PM when i convinced her to get a jacket on over her jammies so we could go ride the ferris wheel by the eiffel tower. (i have lots of great photos from that in my next post!)
always a bit intimidating going to church in a foreign country where i don’t speak the language, but also one of my favorite things to do! i just love singing all the church hymns i know and love so well in a different language. it is such an incredible feeling to be surrounded by others on the opposite side of the world who also are just wanting to do better and live better and center their lives around Christ. anyway, i’m just a big fan of experiencing church in different places.
had to stop by bonton kids (and merci briefly) because both those stores are magic! we picked up some things here for the boys and also the baby girls and eleanor picked out some nail polish for herself in a vending machine!
i also had to share that this photo of eleanor in a dressing room in this outfit is so great, because she hadn’t been interested in shopping at several stores i like in paris. i love that she isn’t really into it and could care less when i sometimes point things out and am like, “do you like this?” “wanna try this on?” i’ve learned to just let her do her thing though, because she loves to be comfortable and isn’t big on clothes or accessories or anything of the sort. it’s why we didn’t really hit any of the clothing shops on this trip even though secretly i wouldn’t have minded! but we were trying to kill about ten minutes before a particular creperie opened that we wanted to go to, so we popped into a little shop to keep warm while we waited. she saw this entire outfit on a mannequin in the front and while i wasn’t about to push anything on her or even say we should browse, she got so excited when she saw this entire ensemble and asked if she could try it on. in the dressing room, she asked if she could wear it out of the store! haha! the sweetest. anyway, we bought the outfit and i’m excited to see how many days a week she rocks it this year!
just a few days away, but some of my favorite days ever. i hope she remembers and holds onto them forever. stay tuned for one more post with a bunch of other pictures from our trip. we also took some silly videos together and i’m excited to compile it all and make a little video just for her of our time there together. i won’t share it here, but it’s been fun to share some of the photos we took on our trip with you all! looking forward to many more mama daughter outings, both near and far, with my baby girl in the years to come.