Petit Pan

Wandering the streets of Paris, on my never ending quest to find fun and stylish kids’ clothes, accessories and furniture, I stumbled across Petit Pan. Petit Pan specializes in vintage furniture and old-style fabrics which have been out of print for generations. Their articles are produced in China by ethical companies using traditional methods, so there is a very strong Asian influence on their products. My daughter absolutely loves the animal kites, and I absolutely love the bed linen and bedroom bits and bobs.

I have also fallen for their new shop which sells sheets of delicately printed paper and fabric (all in their unique, colorful style). I want to buy all of it and just have it in case I may need it sometime in the far away future…..

The Petit Pan shops are in the centre of Paris, but their products are stocked all over the world and you can also browse their online boutique!

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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!

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Le Loir dans la Théière

loir.jpgI had a coffee with the lovely Kirby from Petite Alma this morning in one of my favourite cafés and I suddenly realised that I have never written a post about it! It is called Le Loir dans la Théière on 3 rue des Rosiers in the Marais (Tel : 01 42 72 90 61).

We go there with friends and family for the fabulous brunch on the weekends (get there early, or risk waiting in a huge queue), we also go for lunch and we especially go there to have a big piece of cake in the afternoons. The lemon pie has a meringue crust that is at least 10 centimetres high! I have had friends refuse to leave town before having a slice of this pie! I am also very partial to their Tarte Tatin — it’s really incredible.

The thing I like almost as much as the food is the atmosphere and decor; it hasn’t changed a bit in all the years the café has been around. You will find mismatched, big leather armchairs and old tables. Laptops are not allowed, and even when there is a huge queue snaking out of the café onto the road, every customer is allowed to take as much time as he needs.

There is no special kid-friendly equipment but the staff are really nice and try to accommodate you as much as possible, though it is best to avoid turning up with a big pushchair during the peak hours.

- Emilie

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COS

cos.jpgH&M was one of my favorites shops for years and years. On the money, on style and on trend. I didn’t really care that everything fell apart after a few washes.

Over the last few years I have been buying less and less stuff from there. Try as I might, I could rarely find things I wanted. Maybe I have started outgrowing H&M? I must not be the only one, as H&M themselves spotted a gap in the market: a higher end, though still affordable clothing label. And so COS was born.

I love their designs, classic pieces with a modern twist. They are well made and infinitely wearable.

Now, though you cannot find it yet on their website, COS has also brought out a children’s line, reflecting the style of their adult clothes. Cute designs, made out of good quality materials and strong colours and without any logos or fluff you often find on kids clothes… (more…)

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Le Pain Quotidien

pain.jpgLe Pain Quotidien now has branches in 15 different countries and long may it continue expanding.

We are loyal customers at our nearest branch in the Marais. There are several reasons for our frequent visits: the food is healthy, fresh and simple and my whole family, young and old, loves going there. They serve great grilled sandwiches and salads, which are a little bit different from the usual bistro fair.

But the great food is not my main reason for recommending the Pain Quotidien. It is one of the rare places you can find a changing table in the toilets… and high chairs! I know that for most countries this is so normal it is not worth mentioning, but in Paris this a phenomenon!

So to paraphrase: it’s a cafe that serves great food and is child friendly. It doesn’t have much going against it, does it?

- Emilie

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Niou

niou.jpgI love, love, love the Villlage St. Paul, which is a great place to know about if you are in Paris for the weekend, as it is one of the few areas open on a Sunday. Sandwiched between the rue St Antoine and the Seine in the 4th, The Village consists of several little courtyards which are all interlinked and filled with little shops. Most of them are antique dealers, but you can also find Niou there, a lovely little toy shop.

It is the best place for me to go if I am looking for a present and want to find something unique and fun.

Niou stocks the Wheely Bugs , PlaySam, Automoblox and lots of other toys we have reviewed here on Babyccino.

The other day I was having a browse around the shop and I was listening to the owner show a friend of his the new stock he had received. He was excited like a kid to have all these great new things in his shop. For me that was the best advertisement for Niou; it is the kind of place in which you feel that the shopkeeper has hand-picked every single item and loves what he does.

-Emilie

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Tags for School

labels.jpgHaving a child at the Maternelle means that I have been spending my precious evenings occupying myself with a generation-old task. Like my grandmother and I am sure my great-grandmother before me, I have been sewing name tags into every jumper, coat, bag, spare pair of trousers etc. that might be taken to school and then lost! NOT my idea of a fun-filled evening!

Since starting this labourious task I have found that my favourite haberdashery shop Entree Des Fournisseurs has solved my problem! They sell beautiful cotton woven etiquettes that can be ironed on!

entree.jpgEntree Des Fournisseurs actually merits its own post, but for now I am just going to sing the praises of its online shop and name tags. The iron-on function is just an added bonus; I would have gotten my name tags there anyway, as the ribbons and colours to choose from are really nice, or at least as nice as name tags can humanly possibly get…

The website is in English and in French and they do deliver internationally!

-Emilie

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Ice Cream Island

dsc_0850.JPGIn our family the Ile St Louis is known as ‘ice cream island’. Nestled between the Ile de la Cite and the right and left bank of the Seine, the Ile St Louis has none of the famous buildings that inhabit its bigger brother but instead has a definite attraction for kids and grown ups alike: it is covered in ice cream shops!

The most famous is Berthillon, with its main café on rue Saint Louis en l’Ile. (The photo above is actually of Courtney’s son enjoying a Berthillon ice cream when they came to visit us! How happy does he look!?!?!)

The Berthillon ice creams are sold in lots of other venues, one of which is the Brasserie de l’Ile Saint Louis a cafe right by the pont Saint Louis, which has a terrace overlooking Notre Dame and the Seine. The terrace is usually packed to the brim but you can always pick up an ice cream and sit on the bank of the river and enjoy the view. If the queue is too long, don’t fret – there are lots of ice cream shops all over the island, mostly on the rue Saint Louis en Ile.

Now, I would never try to compare french ice cream to the Italian cream, but a stop on the island for a treat is a great way to take a breather from site sighting in the centre of the city!

- Emilie

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Paris Plage

paris-plage.jpgThere is no way the Parisians are going to be outdone by the Dutch. Amsterdam might have Strand Zuid, but we have Paris Plage — at least 2km of golden sand and palm trees all along the right bank of the Seine with scantly clad Parisians and Parisiennes sunning themselves. There are bars, there’s music, an exercise area and lots of other entertainment. It is great fun, but really hectic and so packed that it is difficult to relax there with kids in case they might mistake the Seine for the Ocean and decide to go take a dip….

This year the city council here in Paris has cleverly put up an outpost of Paris Plage off the beaten track on the basin de la Villette in the 19th (metro Jaures) which is hugely kid-friendly and a huge amount of fun. The ubiquitous manege, big trampolines, a waterplay area and a little beachy sand area all geared toward kids. You can even rent pedalos! It is incredibly clean (even the toilets), relatively empty and what impressed me the most are the organizers (or animateurs as they are called over here), who are incredibly good with kids and make sure that the kids know how to use the facilities and are properly supervised.

So why go to the beach if the beach comes to Paris?

- Emilie

P.S.: all of the facilities are free and the beach is around until the 21st of August

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