The way it is for little girls in Paris


DP and I were seated near this little princess at the Café du Marché in Paris. She was at the cafe with three women, all of whom doted on her. This tiny Parisian princess was included in the womens’ conversation and also amused herself, for long intervals, with the drinking of her hot chocolate and by talking on her pink cell phone which, when opened, doubled as a mirror and palette of eye shadows for little girls.

This our third year in Europe and I still feel moved by how demonstrative European parents are towards their children and those of their friends and family members. There is an abundance of kisses and hugs and licorice in pink and white striped paper bags and big steaming cups of chocolate. Parents and grandparents routinely take their children to museums and bookstores; they bundle them up for rides on carousels and ponies at the Tuileries Gardens. The flourishing of small, independent toy stores is another testament to the careful cultivation of childhood. These tiny toy stores are exquisitely cramped and magical, filled with wooden toys and hand puppets from the past.

Being a kid in Europe seems like a pretty good gig. Especially for this little girl in Paris.

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9 comments

  1. I think the culture does play a big role here. It seems that in Paris, people tend to enjoy the little moment than zip through them like in the US. That's an eye opening for me and thanks for sharing. It will help remind me to take it slow and enjoy small moment with my kids.-Amy @ The Q Family

  2. You're right, it does seem good to be a kid in Europe.Although my mom did routinely take me to the library and museums here in the Detroit area when I was young…I remember visiting the historical museum, the art institute, the zoo, the planetarium..all when I was quite young. And the highlight of the weekly grocery shopping trip was a stop by the Little Golden Book rack, where I usually scored a book to take home!Loved the photos. This little girl really does seem to enjoy the attention 🙂

  3. What great shots! We've always been delighted by how welcomed our kids are when we travel to Europe. In many ways it's easier to travel in Europe than here because everyone wants to take a part in entertaining the kids (instead of watching us and judging whether the kids are behaving in that restaurant)

  4. I'm curious that you see a difference between the way children are treated in Europe, and how they're treated in Canada.I love the photo in your banner, by the way 🙂

  5. This post reminded me of an experience that I had three years ago while traveling with my family in Europe. I blogged about it on my travel site. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. @Amy at The Q FamilyI think you've said it perfectly with, "people tend to enjoy the little moment than zip through them." It's a nice reminder to slow down and enjoy!@DominiqueI agree… lots of North Americans parent in this lovely, intentional was way but somehow it just seems more the norm in Europe. This girl was absolutely loving every moment of her afternoon among the grown-ups!@Deb at Delicious BabyI'm not surprised that people have been welcoming towards your kids in Europe. My experience in Spain, Italy and France is that people aren't quite as concerned with how children behave in public which is both charming and, sometimes, a little challenging!@Heather on Her TravelsOysters and champagne as a school girl! You lucky thing! I was 23 before I tried champagne for the first time.@Shelly RivoliWell said! European parents lavish their children with love. There is nothing stingy about it.@K.A.T. CalvinThis little girl was glowing with happiness. I was particularly touched when her mom would caress her face or run her fingers through her hair. Theirs was a really intimate connection.@SuseI think Canadian parents are still greatly influenced by our British roots. We tend to be a bit more conservative and "proper" with our kids. When I grew up, the slogan was that "children were to be seen and not heard." I think that is beginning to change.The header is actually three photographs I took in Barcelona. DP, my partner, used Photoshop to create one image for me. I like it too!@JenThanks for the comment… and you are most welcome for the inspiration!

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