I'm a miserable pregnant lady -- I've overshared that information with the world already. But being a mother brings me great joy, so being pregnant is a prerequisite, and there's no place I would rather be preggers than in Paris. The French, including the French government, love children, and there are many financial, medical, and administrative benefits to take advantage of throughout 9 months, as well as once the baby arrives. We actually get a check from France and our insurance just to say thank you for having a baby! How crazy is that? Official stuff aside, Paris has continued to inspire me and feed my cravings during this difficult time of food no-nos, weight gain and fatigue.
For those who find themselves pregnant in Paris for a babymoon or a family trip, I wanted to share my Parisian pregnancy tour. Here are 10 tips, along with the best spots to check out when pregnant in Paris.
1. Feed your sweet tooth at goûter. Paris is a dessert and pastry paradise. If you have a sweet tooth, save the buttery croissants and pains au chocolat for breakfast and try something different for your afternoon goûter around 4:30 -- the official snack time here. Visit Aux Merveilleux de Fred and order L'Incroyable or Le Merveilleux. I also cannot resist Pierre Hermé and his Miss Gla'Gla ice cream sandwich, which I inhale as I head to the Tuileries. Not your average ice cream sandwich, the Miss Gla'Gla is an unusual combo of ice cream and sorbet beautifully mixed together and sandwiched between two macarons. All the flavors are seasonal and just insane!
2. Indulge in bump-friendly Asian food. Asian restaurants (aside from the sushi joints) usually offer pregnant-friendly meals: fully cooked food, with no raw veggies or cheese. You can't go wrong heading to Rue Saint Anne and choosing a restaurant on the spot, but save your precious legs the walk and bee line to Kunitoraya for Udon noodle heaven! There is always a line, but it moves pretty fast. If you can't deal with the line try Aki Restaurant (no relation!) for an Okonomiyaki, a Japanese omelette, or cold soba noodles. Yum Yum Yum!
3. Enjoy your carb cravings. It's hard to dine out without coming across a tray of unpasteurized cheese and charcuterie (a big no-no for fear of listeria). But a beautiful plate of pasta can make me forget about that platter and gets me excited about ingesting comforting carbs. Italy is next door, so you can expect to find authentic Italian food all over the city. My current fave is Ober Mamma, where all the pasta is homemade, the mocktails are tasty, and the Italian staff is always in a surprisingly good mood and very helpful. One bite of their truffle pasta, and I swear all your charcuterie coveting will just... wash away.
4. Do the tourist thing. You can't come to Paris and not do the “tourist thing" for at least a day or a few hours. But since you are carrying another human being in your belly, I recommend taking a boat cruise, which is one of the best ways to see the city. The Batobus is a great option to stop at a few monuments and museums. But I usually take the Vedettes du Pont Neuf when I have friends in town because it's only about an hour -- the perfect amount of time to see the most iconic monuments. The Vedettes also offer dinner and lunch cruises, which I have been dying to try as an alternative romantic way to enjoy Paris.
5. Don't wait in line. If you are feeling fit and want to walk around to visit museums and the Eiffel Tower, just flash that bump and skip straight to the front of the line. Most places in Paris have a “caisse priorité" for handicapped visitors, pregnant women, and sometimes mothers with small babies. There is no better time to visit the Eiffel Tower, The Grand Palais, the Picasso Museum, The Arc de Triomphe, and even Versailles without dealing with the epic lines.
6. Do a little shopping for yourself. I'm not a huge shopper, but when I am strolling in the Marais, one of my favorite non-preggers preggo places to pop into is Cos. I love their simple monochromatic looks in pregnant-friendly silhouettes. Something to keep in mind when shopping, and even packing for Paris, is that no one in this city cares if you wear the same thing two days in a row or twice in one week. This is perfect for a pregnant woman because it's one less thing to think about. Once you are done shopping at Cos, head to Miznon and enjoy their ratatouille and amazing baked veggies. I know this tip is about shopping but i am always thinking about food.
7. Pick up a few things for bébé. You will find lots of local children's clothing and toy stores in the Marais if you are up for wandering around. Make sure to stop into Bonton for uber chic choices and Petit Bateau for a few front snap onesies and stripes for the new babe.
8. Try the Babymoon package at Villa Madame. I tend to spend a lot of time on the Right Bank of Paris, but the Left Bank is such a beautiful area with the Jardin du Luxembourg and all the shops on Saint Germain. Left Bank lovers should check out the Villa Madame next to the gardens. It's a cute boutique hotel with a Babymoon Package for approximately €190-290 a night, which includes breakfast, a special gift, 2 complimentary cocktails (mocktail for mama), and 2 tickets for a Bateaux Mouches cruise on the Seine.
9. Make time for prenatal pampering. if you stay at a hotel with a spa, call or double check in advance to make sure they have a prenatal massage or special care for pregnant women. If these services are not available, check out L'Échappée in the 11th arrondissement. They offer several different treatments for moms-to-be, a relaxing indoor pool area and a restaurant. The spa is quite close to Ober Mamma, so you can get a morning massage before loading on carbs.
10. Cafe life doesn't have to include caffeine. You can't come to Paris without being a flâneuse, people watching and resting those legs in a cafe. If you didn't give up coffee then thanks to the cafe culture brewing in this city, you will find lots of cute cafes in the Marais or near the Canal. Order un déca (pronounced day-Ka and short for décaféiné) or un décaf crème at Le Progrès in the Marais or Café de Flore in St Germain, where you might get lucky and spot Karl Lagerfeld.
Ajiri A. Aki is a mother of two and founder of Manna Paris. An author and video producer who grew up in Austin, Texas, Ajiri lived in New York City for 10 years working in the fashion and museum worlds as an editor, a stylist, a research assistant and an associate curator for several magazines, The Costume Institute of The Met and the Museum of the City of New York. She currently lives in Paris and works with fashion and luxury companies producing short videos through her company A. Spectrum Projects. She is co-author of the New York Times Best Seller, Where's Karl? (Clarkson Potter), an illustrated fashion parody of Where's Waldo featuring Karl Lagerfeld.