Playtime Paris

I am so excited, this weekend I’ll be heading to one of my favourite children’s events in Paris. Playtime Paris is a bi-yearly children’s trade fair in the lovely Bois de Vincennes on the outskirts of Paris.  A lot of my favourite children’s companies come together to display their new collections… There’s Lili and the Funky Boys, Antik Batik, Moon Kids, Petite by Sophie Schnoor, Soeur and many, many more.

While moms can browse the stands, there will be lots kids entertainment. Check out the So Chic Kids disco on Saturday night — I went with my children to one of their last events and it was a huge success. During the day there will be ateliers and entertainment. And for you “gourmand” out there you can discover my new favourite Parisian cupcakes made by Cakes by Cloe.  I reckon this is going to be a fun day out!

- Emilie

Things to do with BOYS in Paris

I have been discovering lots of BOY friendly activities here in Paris — a far cry away from the usual shopping and coffee-drinking that you normally associate with this city. I reckon our Babyccino Boys Theme week is the perfect opportunity to share them with you…

The Argonaute at the Parc de la Villette: The Argonaute is a 1950’s submarine that was taken out of commission in the ’80s and is now moored in the Parc de la Villette, right beside the Cité des Sciences, Paris’ science museum. It is fascinating. The submarine has been kept exactly the way it was and you get a real feeling of what it was like to live and work in such a confined space. The motors are completely exposed and the audio tour (available in several different languages), describes the life on a submarine really well.

Dinosaur exhibition at the Grand Palais: All the boys I know are going wild about the Dinosaur exhibition at the Grand Palais. The exhibition is not too big to be overwhelming but it is a great way to get to know this species that fascinates so many boys. The animated models are VERY realistic, so small children might be slightly scared. Children discover how dinosaurs lived and ate and there is even a replica of a dinosaur poo (somehow poo never fails to get a rise out of the under-18 crowd).

Play area at the Parc de Belleville: This play area is our favourite place to go at the moment. It has been built specifically for city kids to get them to use their imagination and get to know their physical capabilities better. It is such an unsual structure that every kid interprets differently: for some it is a boat, for some a village, for some a jungle and for some just a great place to let go of some steam.

- Emilie

Bonbons au Palais

bonbon-du-palaisI am one of those rare people who doesn’t like sweets and chocolate (unlike Courtney, who has a chocolate box full of fabulous looking chocolates which comes out after every dinner).  It has never occurred to me to wander down the sweet aisle in a supermarket… but my daughters are very, very different from me!

Nowadays when I am in a supermarket I am actively circumventing the bonbon aisle, because if I I don’t I will be stuck there for hours explaining that I really don’t think it is a great idea to buy a cartload of sweets every time we shop.

But, there is a place that I do like to take them to every once in a while. It is a little sweet shop called “Bonbon au Palais” in the 5th arrondissement. The owner has travelled the whole of France to find the best bonbons from every region. The collection is pretty impressive. (more…)

New Bonton Store

bonton1It is hard to believe but Merci, one of Paris’ most fashionable concept stores has been out-trumped by a kid’s store.  Just a stone’s throw away from Merci on the corner where the boulevard Beaumarchais turns into the boulevard Filles du Calvaire, Bonton has opened up a 800 M² new flagship shop. It is absolutely fabulous! On over 3 floors you can find clothes, clothes and even more clothes, a book shop (with a GREAT selection of books), a bakery, a sweets bar, a hair dresser, a deco area and I don’t even remember what else.

Rebecca (who used to write for us from Washington and who has, luckily for me, moved back to Paris) and I went to the opening and had a blast. The Prosecco was flowing, there was a huge counter full of hams and cheeses and little sandwiches. It was a great way of discovering the shop and the new Bonton summer collection. (more…)

Balzac Cinema

doggoneTiredTitleMy kids love going to the cinema. The crowd, the sounds, the visual experience — a  promise to go to the cinema makes them get so excited they have difficulty sleeping the night before!

Luckily enough, here in Paris, the children’s cinema scene is huge, between the Forum des Images and several yearly children’s film festivals. Cinema is so much a part of the culture over here that the city organises screenings for school classes at least once a semester.

A great cinema event here on a Sunday is the monthly ‘Pochette Surprise’ event at the Balzac, an art house cinema off the Champs Elysees.  On show are a series of short classic films, some of them over 100 years old, mixed in with some classic Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy and some old-school Tex Avery animation shorts. Every short is silent and the whole programme is  accompanied by a musician, so even if you are completely anglophone, you will not miss out on anything… and to make it even better everyone gets a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream!

- Emilie

So Chic Kidz

46521528_pMy children hit the Parisian nightclub scene for the first time yesterday — and had a blast. I took them to a kids party at a nightclub, organised by the Kids event organisers So Chic Kidz. It was called “Every Child is a Superhero”.

About 100 Superheros all got together to party the afternoon away, have their face painted, eat loads of bonbons and play games. It looked a little bit like a small people’s comic book convention considering 80% of the children were dressed up as Spiderman (or Speederman as he is known as over here) but it was a lot of fun, and there are many worse things to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon than teach my kids some moves on the dance floor…

Check out the website for updates on upcoming events!

- Emilie

Antoine et Lili

quai-de-valmy_3The Antoine and Lili flagship stores must be some of the cutest rows of shops I have ever seen. I was walking past them today and they were so bright and cheerful on a grey winter’s day!

They can be found along the canal St Martin, an area which, for a long time now, has been attracting lots of little shops and restaurants.  If the rumours are to be believed the Antoine et Lili shops were actually the first independent shops to open up in this area,  turning the area into a trendy little spot.

Anyway, if you are in Paris and like kitsch and bright colours, Antoine et Lili is a must. The kid’s store especially is a bright, bright space with great toys, presents and clothes from the world over. It is definitely not minimalist, but colourful and loud! I also love the homewares shop were you can find great Mexican waxcloths and fabulous melamine plates for the whole family. (more…)

Kids clothes in France… don’t have to break the bank

thumb-258_XMASDRESS_720_A I  know Paris is well-known for being an expensive city, especially when it come to clothes. However, it is possible to find some bargains, especially come the new year: the winter sales start on the today!!

But it isn’t only during the sales time that you can find bargains. We also have a few local high street shops that have a great selection! Here is a list of a few places to visit next time you are here in Paris or in other French cities:

•It may sound strange to buy your kids clothes at a supermarket, but the Monoprix supermarket chain has a great range of baby clothes called Bout’Chou and CFK for older kids that seriously can rival any design brand. (Unfortunately their website is terrible, so you need to go in person to see what is available.)  A lot of my kids’ clothes are from here. Super cute tunics, trousers, dresses and knitwear makes these a hit with a lot of Parisian mothers.

Du Pareil Au Meme, otherwise known as DPAM, has now become an international brand, but if you cannot find it in your country of origin, do check it out! It has a great range of clothes,  from newborn to pre-teenagers. The shops are often grouped by three, one catering only for newborns (clothes and all equipment), one for all age ranges and one specializing in shoes… (more…)

Oona L’ourse

_DSC0242I was recently in a shop and saw a little girl wearing a fabulous dress. It was one of these little dresses that looked comfy and yet chic, could be worn at any occasion and was special without being showy… I had to ask her mom where she got it. She told me about this little children’s clothing label called Oona L’Ourse.

Oona L’Ourse has been around for almost 20 years and has managed to stay small and personable! Why? Because of the beautiful, great quality timeless products they’re known for. Oona L’Ourse really is a great example of European style. It is a bit exclusive but the team strives to make all their clothes locally here in France.

The collections are not sold anywhere else than in the atelier and on the website. If you spot anything on the website that tickles your fancy just send an email with your request. Alternatively, the atelier in the 16th arrondissement in Paris is open every Tuesday and Thursday for you to go and have a browse. (more…)

Coqueliquot et Paprika

There are so many things I would like to write about for Babyccino and just don’t find the time! I have been wanting to write about the great children’s clothes shop Coqueliquot et Paprika for ages and ages.

The lovely boutique is nestled between the gorgeous shops on the rue du Bac in the 7th arrondissement in Pars. It was founded by Olivia Farkas when she first had children and realised how much she enjoyed making clothes for her little ones.

Her style is contemporary and simple with a few classic touches. I love the fact that the clothes are infinitely wearable for all occasions. Apart from her own collection the shop also stocks little toys and accessories which have been chosen to fit in with the Coqueliquot et Paprika style. In French we would say this boutique is “incontournable” (no idea on how to translate that)… (more…)

Les 400 Coups

400coups_5There has been a revolution in the Parisien café scene! Les 400 Coups, a family café, has recently opened its doors!  When I heard about this phenomenon I just had to pack up my kids, jump on the metro and experience this place in person. Here in Paris, cafés with play areas are virtually nonexistent — my kids have gotten used to sitting at a table and amusing themselves with a silver spoon and a sugar packet; though after a while they do get a wee bit bored.

So off we went to Les 400 Coups and it was fantastic. The food might not be haute cuisine but the coffee was great and the moment we got to the café, the kids started playing in the play area and I did not hear from them for a good hour. And for you moms who cannot be separated from your laptop there is even wifi. (more…)

Chez Bogato, a patisserie just for kids

gateau-fort-300x226You would think that in a city like Paris the patisserie market would be saturated. But there was one thing missing — a patisserie specializing in kid’s cakes! Now we have Chez Bogato, a fabulous kids bakery that makes the best birthday cakes ever! Castles, crowns, tigers and shoes…there is nothing they cannot make into a cake.

If your little one is such a cooking enthusiast that only a cake he has made himself will do, you can throw the birthday party at the Bogato atelier where the kids get to decorate their own cakes. Another option is to have the team come to you with all the equipment needed and throw a party in the comfort of your own home. (more…)

Firmaman

bismodeI have been trying to travel a bit further a field, leaving my usual habitat of North-Eastern Paris, to try and discover new places for Babyccino. On one of my trips I met up with Estelle from the lovely e-shop Nordinary and she took me on a whistle-stop tour of the 17th arrondissement.

One particular shop deserves its very own Babyccino post: the fabulous maternity shop Firmaman, Paris’ first concept store for pregnant ladies.

I had been looking for a place just like this during my pregnancy in Paris and never found one. It is a lovely boutique, full of great clothes — some of which are maternity clothes, some of which are not, but all of which will look great on a pregnant woman. You can find great coats, jeans and dresses. There is also a great newborn baby section, a gift section and a lingerie section with some beautiful nursing bras. (more…)

Neuilly Swimming Pool

Bassin ludique exterieurThe summer is almost over, and we are trying to use every available ray of sunshine before the leaves start falling off the trees and the cool weather starts creeping up on us. Last weekend we headed off to the swimming pool and the aim was to go swimming outside and nothing was going to stop us!

Turns out swimming outside in Paris is actually not that difficult. All we had to do is jump on the line 1 metro (the fastest metro in Paris) and jump out in the very chic Parisian suburb of Neuilly. The public pool there has an outdoor area, a sun lawn, a toddler paddling pool and, to everyone’s great excitement: a big waterslide. It is great to go with kids — enough to keep them entertained for a few hours and not too much to bring on a sensory overload. The swimming pool does tend to get a bit crowed so I would recommend going earlier rather than later in the day. (more…)

Eating out in France

cafe-lindustrieMichela and I are often asked about family-friendly restaurants in our respective cities. Try as we might, we are hard pressed to come up with good suggestions. There is a huge North/South divide in Europe regarding the obvious signs of child friendliness in restaurants.

In Northern Europe you will more often than not be offered a highchair when you enter a restaurant with your kids. Often you find changing tables in the bathrooms and kids menus, and many places even have special toys they bring out. In Southern Europe it is rare to find this kind of service, BUT this does not mean that children are not welcome. In fact, they are almost always welcome, but are expected to fit around the adults. (more…)

Native Kingdom

native-kingdom-royaume-petits-L-2I have fallen back in love with second-hand clothes, a passion I had when I was a poor student. Now a mother of two growing girls, I have decided that second-hand is back in vogue. There is so much stuff out there at a fraction of the original price.

Second-hand can mean a lot of things and often you need to sort through a lot of stuff before you find a little gem…. This is where Native Kingdom comes in: a new second-hand (otherwise known as vintage) children’s boutique here in Paris.

The clothes rock: vintage printed T-shirts, printed skirts, little leather jackets and jeans, mostly from the ‘70-80s era… The clothes are reasonably priced and absolutely fabulous. Unfortunately there is no website, but once there is I will add it on to the post.  In the meantime, here are the details…

Native Kingdom
24 rue du Poitou
75003 Paris
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 11.30-19.30

- Emilie

Paris Plage

paris plageIt is that time of year again here in Paris: the right bank of the Seine has been taken over by lounge chairs, palm trees, sun and sand.

If you happen to be in Paris for the month of August (most Parisians have left for the country and the city is spookily quiet) Paris Plage is the place to be. It has something for everyone: bars, a swimming pool and a great play area.

If you go in the mornings the “beach” is relatively quiet, even on the weekends, and it is a perfect place for kids to get rid of some excess energy. This year the place to be for kids is the area around the pont de Sully at the eastern edge of the beach.

The other area of Paris Plage around the basin de la Villette is great too, there is even a sailboat you can rent! I loved the idea of sailing around a canal in the middle of Paris, but so apparently do a lot of people so it is completely overbooked. If you have kids from 6 years upwards, there are some fantastic little pedalos that they can peddle around in, in a supervised area of the canal.

All of this has been sponsored by the Mairie of Paris so almost all the attractions are free!

- Emilie

Marché des Enfants Rouge

1Courtney and her family were over in Paris visiting from London and we wandered around the North Marais, doing a bit of shopping, people watching and coffee drinking. It really reminded me about how much I love this little area. I want to write a thousand and one posts on all the lovely little places you can find around here…

I cannot believe I have not written a post about the Marché des Enfants Rouge yet. It is one of the oldest markets of Paris, founded in 1647 and has been converted into a fabulous market/food hall.

Food from all over the world is available… from Morocco, the Caribbean and Japan and it all gets consumed on big communal tables outside the food stalls. There is also a great organic fruit and vegetable stall and a beautiful flower stall. (more…)

L’Isle-Adam

affiche-publicitaire-l-isle-adam I have always wanted to live by the beach but have actually never succeeded. I think I am destined to beach holiday destinations as opposed to being able to live close to it.

My kids seem to love the beach as much as I do, so we were all very, very excited to discover a beach about one hour away from Paris in the middle of the country!

The river beach in the picturesque little town of Ville d’Adam actually doubles up as the local community pool and is a perfect escape from a hot and sticky day in Paris. You can jump on a direct train from the gare du Nord and be in the water approx. 50 mins later, as the beach is about a 5 minute walk from the station.

The girls had a ball — there is a pretty big sandy area, and we put our towels down by a massive kid’s paddling pool. There is a huge Olympic sized swimming pool built in the ’20s for more ambitious parents, but, for my part, I was very happy building sand castles and splashing around in the shallow pool. If your kids do get bored of playing in the sand, there is a huge bouncy castle area for all ages and two big water slides. (more…)

Chouquette

chouquettes.jpgSince we have been living in Paris I have discovered a new addiction to baked goods. Obviously I the love croissants, the tarts and the bread, but my ultimate favourite are these little puff balls called choquettes. They are light and fluffy as they are filled with pure, sugar scented air and they are so completely moreish that it is easy to devour a whole bag of them in a couple of minutes. You find them in most bakeries but real chouquette connaisseurs will each have a favourite bakery that they will swear makes the best chouquettes. It’s interesting that these little puff balls have not reached the international recognition of their fellow baked goods, but if I had anything to do with it they would become a staple snack in every country.

As you might not be able to find chouqettes at your  local bakery, here is a recipe for them. It is from one of my favourite food blogs: Chocolate and Zucchini.

There should be a warning on this recipe: Seriously Addictive.

- Emilie

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