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thewishingtable

a delicious map of Paris & more or a cultural/culinary travel-concierge

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sightseeing with children

Beautiful Marseille

I love Marseille! Yes, it´s true, no matter what other say about Marseille, I find it stunning beautiful and exciting! Many French will give you surprised look and some might start joking about the city they claim to be so dangerous while most likely they never visited! Absolutely go and visit Marseille! One great things is that it features easy access to nature thus if you love hiking it´s a perfect place. If you love beaches, again it´s a perfect spot cause they are city beaches in Marseille as well as more hidden beaches a long the coast. And the calanques, a must see! (See picture above) Even if you just have one day for Marseille consider taking the bus 21 from subway station Prado to Luminy. Get of at the terminal station of the university and you will find yourself at the entrance to the natural reserve on the top of the cliffs. Calculate about 3-4h for a nice walk. The best thing about Marseille are of course the people. They are so welcoming and  charming. Just to illustrate how nice they are I am going to share a little experience from my first trip. I took the boat to go to the island and when I arrived back after a long and fantastic hike I decided to have a bite cause I still had to wait an hour for the boat to go back. So, I sit down in this little restaurant and order some fresh fish and there is group of women in their 50ties sitting there having a bottle of rosé and smoking. They look at me and say: “Hey girl, why are you alone here? Come sit with us. You know women have to stick together!” We talked about life till I had to take the boat back. We had some good laughs, a few glasses and a great time. The people of Marseille are also super children-friendly. We went with our baby in January, most places where closed for the annual vacations thus we end up having lunch in a pretty fancy  fish restaurant. Of course that´s when I need to do a diaper change, in the middle of lunch. I go to the counter and ask where I can change her diaper and he says talk to the tall one. I go to the tall waiter and ask him and  he says: “Just right here! Wait a second.” He takes of decoration and cutlery of one of the tables and says: “Here you go.” I am a bit ashamed and tell him: “I think she pooped, this is a serious diaper change!” He laughes out loud and says: “But it´s my little princess, look at this beauty. Don´t worry. Just change her. This table the most comfortable option.” Well, alright.  There were a lot of old, posh looking people having their expensive lunch but they all just smiled at us and continued having lunch! One old lady waved and said: “Coucou bébé!” Once her diaper was changed, the tall guy came back, gave the baby a kiss and said: “Ah ma beauté!” (My beauty)! So that´s a new level of child-friendly! You just have to love the people here with their loud laughter and big hearts!

Here a little list of my favourite places in town!

  • Jazz bar with balcony to watch the sunset at Vieux Port :  La Caravelle Hôtel Bellevue, 34 Quai du Port, 13002 Marseille
  • Lunch: Le Cafe des Epices, delicious lunch set menu, no traffic – hidden terrace, 4 Rue du Lacydon, 13002 Marseille
  • Tea Salon: At a Cup of Tea you can enjoy the afternoon sun and delicious homemade cakes. It´s a mix of a litte library and a tea salon. Of course they serve coffee too.  1 Rue Caisserie, 13002
  • Cheese: Fromagerie Kalou – an excellent selection of quality cheese, great service, fair pricing. 24 Avenue de Mazargues, 13008 Marseille
  •  Hiking/ Calanques: Take bus 21 to  Luminy (last stop is the university for architecture which is at the entrance to the natural reserve). It takes abt 20 min from Marseille Metro Prado to go there. You can go for a beautiful walk on the Calanque from here. There are several loops possible. The main one is easy to walk and even possible with a push chair and little kids. Take water and food with you!!!
  •  Anonter option is to take bus 19 from Metro Prado, the bus goes along the coast to the outskirts of Marseille. At the last stop you can change into a minibus taking you to the cap to enjoy a sundowner at terrace of the bar Le 20.000 Lieux  (12 Boulevard Alexandre Delabre, 13008 Marseille). In summer time you can hike to the end of the cap and eat at restaurant there but as you can see on the picture on the left it´s a really narrow walk and no way you can take a stroller with you. 
  • If you follow the street of the village to the end you arrive at another access to go hiking in the calques. We did´t manage to get far with the push chair but I hear there is a restaurant somewhere up there in the forest.
  •  Think bus 56 goes from Vieux port straight up to La Bonne Mère (church). Amazing view over the city and sea. And a lovely church with a very maritime vibe.
  •  Take a boat for a day trip to the island, you will feel a little like on the end of world especially if you are not going in high season.
  •  Lovely art museum just downtown next to the harbour, first choice for a rainy day: Musée Regards de Provence, Avenue Vaudoyer, 13002 Marseille
  •  If you are looking for a quick access to go hiking and you wann be close to the beach, this airbnb is great https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/10098467?eluid=1&euid=8dceee41-92c3-233e-8279-ae3c1d87c022   but it´s 35 min away from Viuex Port (downtown) So those you rather enjoy restaurants, culture life etc. might wanna check for a place closer to Vieux Port. (anywhere , just not next to the central station, that´s really a crappy hood) . I have stayed at the hostel Vertigo Vieux Port which is perfectly located and I know that they have family rooms. But still expect a young crowd hanging out there.
  • My favourite time to go is in February-April and in September/October. It´s just 3h from Paris Gare de Lyon with the TGV and in February it´s often warm enough to have breakfast on a terrace. Fresh baguette, a coffee and sun in your face- heaven! And in September the masses have left but the water is still warm enough to go for a swim. Once, it was a sunny November, I had forgotten my swim suit cause I am sure one could still have gone for a swim.

Enjoy your trip to the South, soak in the sun and eat lot´s of pizza! This is a great getaway from Paris! 

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City break in Normandy

Situated along the English Channel coast of Northern France between Brittany, to the West and Picardy to the East, Normandy is an ideal holiday location to discover new scenery and superb beaches. Fine parks and chateaux are not to miss. It´s an ideal holiday destination with easy access from Paris. And perfect with children if you like (stoney) beaches (to collect people stones and crabs), luscious scenery for walks and hikes, great food and for rainy days many great backup activities like visiting a snail farm or goat cheese farm. As Normandy is very rural you will find animal farms that are welcoming families for stays or just visits all over. Also carriage rides are available. We personally go to Normandy cause it`s only a 2.5h drive till we are at the beach and the scenery is just beautiful to go for hikes and walks – the perfect city break from Paris. Not to forget that eating out here is easy on your wallet.

(Mesnil Plage, Guernanville, Condé-sur-Iton) (Header pic: Varengville-sur-mer)

 

Fécamp
Le Piano de Jean Noel
Absolutely a place to recommend, it´s a small place with about 6 tables, it´s just 1 chef and 1 waitress thus bring some time. They offer a creative cuisine featuring seasonal products of the region. I had tender porc on jerusalem artichoke , rutabaga and parsnip followed by rice pudding with caramel beurre salé. The others had cod fish on vegetables. Lunch menu is about 20€ for 3 courses, otherwise expect a la carte 24-51€. Nice to know maybe, we have been there with our baby (12 month) and there was another family with a little girl 4/5 years old, the service is kids-friendly.
Le Mêle Anges
Little restaurant tucked away from the main street, very friendly and kids friendly service. Good place to go if you are tired of eating everything drawing in cream and butter as it´s typical for Normandy. They have a spicy african chicken and the St.Pierre fish I had cameo vegetables with kaffir lime and citronella. They don´t use microwaves or frozen food and work with regional farms. We had a fois gras à la Benedictine , St. Pierre fish, yaella chicken, strawberry macaron (perfect) caramel fondant. Seasonal, regional, creative and traditional cuisine, lunch menu 15€, menu for 25€ & 35 € or à la carte 10-37€.
La Marine
Chic restaurant close to the beach featuring fish and seafood. The cooking is in between classic, traditional and creative.Very friendly service, kids are welcome. Usually I am not a fan of oysters but this is the first time in my life I liked them. Quality is a game changer. I had salmon carpaccio as a starter, ray as a main and tiramisu caramel beurre salé to finish off. Lunch set menu is about 22€. Tasting menu : 35 and 45€ and à la carte 20-45€. Good to know: Kids menu available!
Chez Nounoute
Does´t look like much at first but the quality of the food speaks for it self! No bling bling, lots of locals eating here, friendly staff, kids are welcome. I had a sole and one of the best creme brûlée I have ever tasted! Fish and seafood 9-25€. Next time I try the mussels with French fries, I was told they have the top quality here.
La Rouge
at Auberge de la Rouge. I have a very romantic memory of our dinner here. Service was great, very friendly and thoughtful, food was well presented and delicious. A spot for celebrating your anniversary or for a special date. Traditional, Classic French, Moderne, Creative – 15 € à 107 €

Yport

Le P`tit Jean
Little restaurant (abt 8 tables) 50m from the beach with a friendly service offering a very good mix of fish & seafood and classic French cooking. We will be back. Kids are welcome. Lunch menu 15-25€.
Tréport 
La Pile d’Assiettes
Slow food  in Treport. Nice little restaurant with great quality food in the slow food spirit. The owner is just a bit difficult with babies and pets are not allowed.  But the food was really good thus I recommend it anyway.
La Veille Ferme
Kid-friendly service, yummy fish soup. Chic setting in a 18th century farmhouse. Tasting menu starts at 28€ or a la carte 10-30€.
Dieppe
A la marmite dieppoise
Traditional Nornand cusine , think sauerkraut in creme with fish or fish and sea food in butter and cream.  It´s on the more expensive end of restaurants in Dieppe but worth it. We had really trouble to find good food in Dieppe and after one other restaurant we even fell sick. So a la marmite is worth it.
Café des Tribunaux
The famous one where Oscar Wilde got kicked out, today packed with tourists on the terrace. The waffles are great and we came here for breakfast twice.
La Maison de Jules
Nice little tea room with good coffee and homemade cake.
Merville-Franceville-sur-plage
Chez Marion
We had a fabulous dinner here with fish 6 seafood. The atmosphere is nice and they bring the cheese and the dessert later on a silvern serving trolley! But be aware that in the Normandy if you ask for calvados you will get a calvados menu- in this case from a glass starting at 12€ up to a bottle for more than a 1000€.

One day in Paris with little children

This is a one-day-tour we have done with a 9 month baby and an almost 4 year old toddler. We had beautiful day with the kids soaking up the beauty of Paris by strolling through the Marais and taking a boat trip on the Seine. If it´s the first time you are visiting Paris this tour gives you a pretty good overview and orientation of the city.

We started 10ish at Bastille and were back home for a nap around 5pm. The walking distance were just fine for a 3 years old child. (The baby was carried or in the stroller.) We took a hot chocolate break at Le Voltigeur and lunch at Bistro Beaubourg after checking out the street artists at Centre Pompidou and the fountain by Jean Tinguely. And with the Paris St.Germain shirt we bought for the little one he was a big hit in the bistro later.

There are way too many great places and buildings to see in the Marais, same goes for shops and bars thus just stroll around, get lost in the streets and discover your own little Paris. ( Or check out https://thewishingtable.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/a-very-hungry-caterpillar-in-the-city-of-light/ )

The boat tour will take you along of pretty much all major sights : Louvre, Tulleries Garden, Grand Palais, Eifel Tower, beautiful bridges, Musee d`Orsay, Notre Dame, Concergierie etc.

For us it was a perfect day, all parents and children were happy!

Baby-friendly restaurants in Paris

This map features baby-friendly restaurants (some with changing table or high chairs) as well as some ideas what to do with children in Paris. We never had any problem dining out with our baby, the French are very baby friendly, actually a baby is the perfect icebreaker here. Also breastfeeding was never a problem, I never had any bad reactions in public or in a restaurant, quite the opposite, some people encourage you and tell you how beautiful it is that some Mums still decide to breastfeed. And even most places have no changing table or high chair people were relaxed about the baby and we always found a solution for the nappy change.

Red markers: baby friendly restaurant / bistro (no changing table/ no high chair)

Blue markers: restaurant with changing table available

Yellow markers: restaurant with high chairs available

Green markers: things to do or see with kids

Lemon green markers: playgrounds

 

 

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