Discover Ottawa, Canada This Summer!

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

The Maman Sculpture Ottawa Canada ©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

My husband, our kids and I couldn’t wait for summer break. We decided to take a road trip up to Ottawa, Canada’s capital city from Arlington/Washington DC. For those who haven’t considered visiting Ottawa before—now is a good time! There are so many great things to love about Ottawa.

Ottawa is an amazing picturesque city packed with a ton of  on-going festivals and fun stuff to explore with the kids! It’s also a very easy city to drive in and ride bikes. It’s very clean, safe, walkable, bilingual (English and French are spoken here), laid back weekend city with a great dining scene. We spent an entire week in Ottawa this summer and I’d like to share with you some of my favorite places that we explored that I think makes for a fantastic family vacation.

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

The Albert at Bay Suite Hotel ©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

The Albert at Bay Suites Hotel in Ottawa, Canada ©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

STAY: Setting up a home base away from home  is essential to creating a comfortable stay for your family. Albert At Bay is without a doubt, the best place in the entire city of Ottawa to stay with your family. They have bedroom suites hailed as the largest suite sized rooms in Ottawa for the same price as a standard hotel. The suite is complete with a large living room, dining room, a full size kitchen, a full bath and one or two bedrooms, each with two queen sized beds. For all practical purposes, this is a luxury sized apartment rental for the same price as the other hotels that are fancier in name only. They offer free wi-fi for up to 10 devices, free local calls (I don’t know of any other hotel that offers that anywhere), and there’s even a balcony! This place is truly amazing! There’s a full sized Laundromat, full sized fitness center with a gorgeous rooftop and there’s a 24 hour convenient mart right next door. Best of all, it’s tucked away from the hustle and bustle of all things touristy, yet within walking distance of all of the main attractions.

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

Parliament (Ottawa) ©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

EXPLORE

  • The Rideau Canal is a chain of beautiful lakes, rivers and canals winding 202 km from Kingston, at the head of Lake Ontario, to Ottawa, Canada’s capital city. One of Canada’s historic canals, the Rideau is maintained and operated by Parks Canada to preserve and present the canal’s natural and historic features, as well as to provide a navigable channel for boaters. It is absolutely gorgeous and offers so much nature and tranquility.
  • Paul’s Boat Lines for a tour of The Ottawa River or The Rideau Canal Cruise from May to October. Paul’s Boat Lines have been around since 1936 and include:
    • Parliament Buildings • Supreme Court • Museum of Civilization • National Art Gallery • Rideau Falls • Residence of the Prime Minister • and much more.
    • All cruises come with a bilingual and live commentary.
    • The tour duration is approximately 1.5 hours from the Ottawa dock and 2 hours from the Hull dock.
  • Take a Free Tour of Parliament: Discover the history, functions and art of Canada’s Parliament with a guided tour of Centre Block. This iconic building is home to the Senate, House of Commons and Library of Parliament. Free tours are available daily.
  • Changing the Guard: Every morning at 10am, Parliament Hill offers a free Changing the Guard ceremony (similar to the one performed at Buckingham Palace).
  • Yoga on Parliament Hill: Every Wednesday at 12noon (weather permitting), there is a free yoga class on the lawn in front of the Parliament Buildings. This is a fun photo opportunity, as literally hundreds of people show up. Very colorful.
  • Explore the bike pathsRentABike can get you kitted out and provide great suggestions for routes, whether you want to explore the Rideau Canal (Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site) or ride along the Ottawa River or explore some great neighborhoods.
  • Thursday night free museums: Many national museums including the Canadian Museum of History (formerly known as The Museum of Civilization), Canadian War Museum, National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Museum of Nature and more offer free admission on Thursday nights, either as of 4pm or 5pm.
  • Calypso Theme Waterpark: If you have access to a vehicle and your kids like the water, visit Canada’s largest waterpark, Calypso, located just about 25 minutes’ drive east of the downtown
  • Soft-adventure whitewater rafting: Also on the water is a brand new rafting option. You’ll go through three sets of fairly mild rapids, but you’ll have the option to swim in the Ottawa River and hear stories about the logging industry, voyageur fur traders and First Nations people. Minimum weight: 50lbs This trip departs from Britannia Park, about 15 minutes west of downtown (and accessible from public transit)
©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

EAT

Ottawa has a very eclectic dining scene. There is literally something for everyone here.

Restaurants

  • Murray Street: Chef Steve Mitton is a master in all things charcuterie. My husband and I dined at this fine establishment twice while on vacation. The restaurant is romantic, chic and offers some of the freshest farm to table food in all of Ottawa. The staff adds a hip and cool vibe to an already awesome venue. Perfect for a date night or dinner with friends and colleagues. Our absolute favorite restaurant in all of Ottawa.
  • Town: Definitely make a reservation in order to get a good table during prime hours here.
  • The Green Door Restaurant is Ottawa’s oldest and best known vegetarian restaurant, having served many thousands over the last 25 years.  They specialize in high quality foods and baked goods made from ingredients that are organic and locally grown and produced. They are buffet, cafeteria style.
  • Tuckers Marketplace Restaurant offers an award-winning buffet serving unsurpassed quality of food, with almost everything made from scratch using only the finest, freshest and most authentic ingredients possible. Everything from breads warm from the oven, pick-your-own salads and hearty soups to made-to-order pastas, stir fries, hand-carved roast beef and tantalizing desserts. All at one all-inclusive price.
  • Poutine Parlour is located a short drive from Ottawa in a town called Orleans. It is hailed by some locals as the “best poutine in the Ottawa area”. Not having had poutine before, I was thoroughly impressed with this local food truck. I have even considered franchising it and bringing it to the DC area–I like it that much. There is something for everyone here.
  • Dunn’s Market Deli Established in 1927, this restaurant has a huge menu offering dozens of sandwiches, all day breakfast, burgers, steak and the local favorite, poutine.
  • Cora is an amazing place to take the kids for breakfast, lunch, dinner or simply dessert. It’s like IHOP on steroids–bright, fun, energetic and really good comfort food.
  • The Black Thorne Cafe is proudly located in a National Capital Commission building. This was once the home of Albert Thibert and his family. Monsieur Thibert was a nineteenth century carriage master (the mechanic of the day) who lived upstairs and operated his business on the main floor. The menu has a ton of fresh seafood and salads on the menu, including a menu for kids pizza.
  • Black Cat Bistro offers modern French Bistro fare within an awesomely trendy setting. There’s also a prefix menu offered Tuesday thru Thursday that changes weekly.
  • El Camino is the perfect tacos, tequila and raw bar for any night of the week.
©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

SHOP

PLAY

Here’s a list of Ottawa parks and playgrounds

TIPS

Ottawa is one of the most walkable cities in the world. Another good way to get around is to rent a bike.

WHAT TO PACK

Ottawa is a very relaxed, casual and outdoorsy city.  Plan on packing as if you’re going on a backpacking/hiking vacation with perhaps one or two “nicer, upscale outfits” for dinner. Comfortable, outdoor fitness gear with comfortable and water resistant shoes make for an idea “vacation uniform.” Be prepared for all types of weather. Depending on what season you travel, you could experience all four seasons within one trip. I’m not kidding. Be sure to pack sunscreen,insect repellent (in summer), sunglasses, plenty of layers and possibly a small backpack or fanny pack. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you, but a camera is important to capture those awesome landscapes and those precious moments with your family.

Happy Traveling!

If you have any comments, questions or tips about Ottawa that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below! 

 

Review: Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus Saves Me Hours of Precious Time

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Laundry is the bane of my existence! And ironing, forget about it! But, I’m about to let you in on a little secret I discovered. It’s called Downy Wrinkle Releaser and it works! There’s just three steps to using this magical product:

  • spray the garment or fabric
  • tug & smooth the wrinkles out
  • hang to dry

And voila!

I took a bottle of Downy Wrinkle Releaser with me on our two week summer vacation and used it on just about every outfit I packed for myself, my husband and our two kids. We even used it on our beach towels and beach blanket–just to test it out. It worked. I found that Downy Wrinkle Releaser worked best on 100% cotton clothes and fabrics–which is fantastic because I try to buy clothes that are mostly cotton. There is a warning on the label that says that it’s prone to leave “water spots” on fabrics that are silk and rayon. The bad news: I neglected to take a read the label until after I had sprayed the product on my white silk summer dress.  The good news: I’m happy and relieved to share the great news that the spray did not damage my silk sun dress or leave any type of stains on my dress. It worked very well on my favorite white silk summer sun dress, which was moderately creased and wrinkled in at least a dozen other areas. Downy Wrinkle Releaser even worked on my husband’s work trousers (a polyester, rayon and nylon blend) and on all of his cotton business button down shirts. My husband was surprised when he noticed all of his clothes hanging in our hotel closet were wrinkle free the following morning after unpacking our tightly packed luggage. He asked me if I had ironed everything or if I had taken everything to the dry cleaners. I laughed and reminded him he should know better than that. Then, I showed him the Downy Wrinkle Releaser spray bottle and he couldn’t believe it! It’s so easy that now my own husband is even using the product! This product has not only saved me hours of my precious time, but my husband is in on the fun of spraying our family’s clothes with the Downy Wrinkle Releaser. Up next, teaching the kid how to help Mommy with the de-wrinkling game.

Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus is sold at Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Kroger, Publix and many other grocery, drug, and mass retailers.

Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus is sold in a 1-liter bottle for $6.99 and a 500 mL bottle for $4.19. It is also available in a travel-friendly 3-ounce size for $1.99. For more information, click here

{Disclosure: I received samples of this product to review. All opinions are authentic and are my own.}

Smashbox Cosmetics Party

 

ana in style and angelica talan at nordstrom smashbox event
Authored and photography by Ana of AnaInStyle
Last week, my friend Angelica of Clarendon Moms and I partnered with Smashbox for an exciting event at the Pentagon City Nordstrom, where our invited guests learned how to make the perfect cat-eye. We had such a fun time and we even got the chance to play along and test out all of the great Smashbox make-up. I have to say a super thank you to Rene, the head Smashbox make-up artist, who did an awesome job of explaining how to use all of the different products. It was a great night and the event was a super success!!
I want to say a big thanks to all of our readers and friends who came out to support us!! It really means a lot to us…and thank you to Smashbox and Nordstrom for giving us the opportunity to give our readers a chance to learn a little more about the Smashbox brand!! Thanks guys and have a wonderful weekend!!***   ***
our readers having fun at the nordstrom smashbox event
Baroque Embossed Sleeveless Dress c/o Chicwish, Cobalt Blue Pumps from Schutz, Color Blocking Clutch (similar here and here), Miu Miu Sunglasses via Sunglass Hut, Neckalce from TJ Maxx.
making the perfect cat-eye with smashbox make-up

6 Ways To Protect Your Eyes This Summer – eye2eye Optometry Corner in Del Ray/Alexandria

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Summer is the season for fun in the sun – we all know to wear sunscreen and hats to protect our skin, but what about our eyes? Protecting eyes from UV radiation is essential to life long healthy vision. Because ultraviolet radiation from the sun can cause age-related eye problems like cataracts and macular degeneration, protecting your children’s eyes is vital to their long-term eye health (and yours too!). The more exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays during your lifetime, the more at risk you are to develop sight-threatening conditions.Children tend to spend lots of time outdoors in the summer sun. Because of that, some experts say nearly half of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV radiation can take place by age 18. Fortunately kid’s exposure to UV can be limited with comfortable and durable sunglasses – and Mom’s exposure can be limited with a pair of stylish summer shades. At eye2eye Optometry Corner in Del Ray Alexandria – we offer a wide selection of the best brands for kids and adults. Here are Dr. Adamopoulos’s six tips for summer sun protection:

  • For kids, be sure the lenses are impact resistant & the frames made of a durable material.
  •  Pick a large, close-fitting frame. These are best to help protect children’s eyes during play.
  •  The most important time of day to make sure you wearing sunglasses is between 10am-2pm, when the suns rays are the strongest.
  • Beware of cheap sunglasses. They can pose safety hazards when made of cheap materials and low quality paints. Always purchase high quality acetate frames.
  • Know the percentage of UVA & UVB rays being block by the sun – be wary of the phrase “blocks UV rays”. You want a lens that blocks out 100% of UVA & UVB rays.
  • Wear sunscreen around the eye area to protect your eyelids from burning.

Schedule a an eye exam for you or your little one at eye2eye this summer, they’ll establish your existing vision health as well as get you and your little one fitted for new sunglasses.

About Dr. Adamopoulos:
Dr. Adamopoulos, OD owns eye2eye Optometry Corner in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria. Dr. A is a wife and mother and knows first hand the sometimes crazy balancing act of raising little ones and being a full time business owner. Dr. A has been practicing optometry since 1998 and opened eye2eye Optometry Corner in 2008. She’s an avid supporter of small business and loves her community of Northern Virginia.

For more information about eye2eye Optometry and to schedule an appointment, click here. To follow them on Facebook, click here.

{Disclosure: All content in this post is sponsored by eye2eye Optometry Corner.}

Father’s Day Gift Spotlight: Seaplane Shirts for Men & Young Boys

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©ClarendonMoms/AngelicaTalan

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

 

©ClarendonMoms/AngelicaTalan

©ClarendonMoms/AngelicaTalan

It’s time to celebrate the dads in your life: your husband, your father, your brother…FATHER’S DAY.

Buying a gift is easy! Why not purchase a soft, fun, fashionable, comfortable shirt for the fathers in your life and maybe even the sons in your life?

Seaplane Shirts are the perfect gift for the men in your life, especially for Father’s Day.

  • Made in the USA
  • 100% Cotton
  • Short & Long Sleeve Collared Shirts perfect for Dressy and Casual Occasions
  • Pre-shrunk and pre-laundered
  • Machine washable

{Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Seaplane Shirts, but the love of this shirt is all our own!}

{Photography courtesy of Kathryn Wirtz}

Xtend Barre Grand Opening Tomorrow, June 14th in Old Town Alexandria

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10338585_902823073076882_4089953379944242946_o xtend-barre-pilates-and-dance-old-town-alexandria.jpg Photo Credit: Maria Jose Ovalle (VeryBusyMamaBlog.com)

Photo Credit: Maria Jose Ovalle (VeryBusyMamaBlog.com)

“Meet Us At the Barre, We Will Be Waiting For You”. Xtend Barre is Pilates and Dance…Amplified!

Featured in FITNESS, SHAPE and SELF magazines, Xtend Barre is a high-energy total body workout that combines serious sculpting exercises done at the ballet barre with lively music and cardio where clients can have fun while achieving very serious results in under an hour. Created by former dancer/choreographer and Pilates expert Andrea Rogers, Xtend Barre workout doesn’t stop at pirouettes. Its’a dynamic, no-holds barre (get it?), low-impact/high performance workout packed with isometric exercises that make your guns, buns, abs – and everything else – scream with delight. Exercises at a professional ballet barre with precise concentrated movements and light weight training target small muscle groups while wide reaching motion is designed to lengthen your physique. An array of props like resistance balls, weights, stretch bands and more also keep you on your toes. The result? A strong, sculpted, coveted “dancer-like body” without the unwanted bulk, and increased stamina and flexibility.

I had the most amazing opportunity to attend the fun (yet challenging) sneak preview of Xtend Barre Studio earlier this week where I  met the beautifully sculpted mother of two, my new fitness icon Andrea Rogers and studio owner Natalie Strahorn, who is also beautifully sculpted and inspiring. The Barre workout is phenomenal! I loved everything about it: the stretching, the sculpting, the breathing, the weights, the band, the barre… I especially enjoyed how I felt hours following the workout. I literally glowed and could feel my body improving.  It was so much fun.

Andrea Rogers is full of exhilarating high energy motivating everyone to do their best. The studio itself is brand new, bright, fresh, clean and minimalistic zen. Studio owner Natalie Strahorn discovered Barre while working in Fashion in New York City and decided to bring it to Old Town. I’m so happy she did! The class left me so invigorated I felt like picking up Andrea Rogers after the class. I was pumped up and feeling great! Xtend Barre is the perfect place to get in shape for the summer!

What makes them even more unique is that they offer more than just barre class! Beginning next month, they will be introducing Barrecamp, a hybrid of barre class with added cardio sequences and HIIT (high intensity interval training), which helps to get your heart rate up for extra calorie burning. For all the fabulous mamas out there, they also will be offering Babies on Board, where moms can wear their babies in their carrier while working out at the barre. Share the excitement!

Xtend Barre Old Town Grand Opening is Saturday, June 14th. Classes are at: 8:30 AM, 10 AM and 11:30 AM. Open House from 12:30 PM to 2 PM.Enjoy healthy bites and drinks courtesy of Whole Foods, Flat Iron Steak & Saloon, Barre Protein Bars, Yogurtini and South Block Juice Company. 

 

Sign up for an MVP Card & Enter To Win a $25 Food Lion Gift Card

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Shop, Swipe and Save using your Food Lion MVP Card. Clarendon Moms has partnered up with Food Lion to offer four lucky readers an opportunity to win a $25 Gift Card between June 5th and June 15th. SIGN UP NOW for your free MVP Card and save even more each time you visit Food Lion. When you register for an MVP Card you immediately gain valuable access to: Low MVP pricess on an ever-changing array of products, special promotions only available to MVP card holders, an online tally of how much you’ve saved with your MVP card, automatic savings every time you swipe your MVP card and personalized coupons generated just for you based on your preferences and past purchases. Become an MVP Card Holder by clicking here.

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Paris With Kids (A Parents Guide to a Parisian Family Vacation)

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Visiting Paris With Kids

When my husband invited me eight years ago to accompany him on a business trip to Paris, I was over the moon. We had just gotten engaged and while he had been to Paris before, this was my first time traveling to Europe. Like most people, I fell in love with Paris. I fell in love with the opulent architecture, the monuments, the statues, the world class museums and the authentic live music (which ubiquitously consisted of an accordion, a violin or a harp). I fell in love with the iconic buildings (i.e. Eiffel Tower, The Louvre…), the painters selling their art on the streets, the history and culture of Paris, the romantic Seine River, the patisseries, the food and the fashion! Can we talk about the fashion for a moment? Paris has the most world-class high-end boutiques, the most luxurious, yet affordable boutiques as well. And the more “commercial stores” like Zara and H&M are far more glamorous than their American sisters because they have different items in stock that are only available in Europe. To say I was in heaven is a very serious understatement.

Over the last three years, we’ve taken the kids to Paris for a week vacation. I’ve researched the best places to create a family friendly vacation and I’d like to share my favorite picks.

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The kids at The Fountain of Warsaw/Jardins du Trocadero during our family’s first trip to Paris. Summer 211. © ClarendonMoms

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The kids at our hotel (Passy Eiffel) during our first trip to Paris. 2011. ©ClarendonMoms

STAY

Apartment Rentals are a fantastic option. Here are my top two websites to find a nice family friendly apartment.

© ClarendonMoms Dave and Ella peering into the window of Breakfast In America (Marais/Paris)

Dave and Ella peering into the window of Breakfast In America (Marais/Paris) Winter 2012. © ClarendonMoms

EAT

My husband and I consider ourselves foodies. We enjoy dining out at laid-back establishments as well as formal establishments—even with our kids. We enjoy trying a variety of different cuisines, especially while on vacation. However, French food is our absolute favorite. And although we appreciate experimenting with our palate, our kids tend to want a slice of home. So we do make it a point to treat the kids to a couple of American meals every time we travel overseas.  We’ve found a couple good restaurants that are sure to make you feel like you’re back at home as well as a couple places to find items for a picnic.

Grocery stores to pick up items for cooking at home away from home or to pack for a picnic:

  • Monoprix: Comparable to a Big K-mart in the US, Monoprix doubles as a very unique grocery store with fresh produce, freshly baked goods, basic dairy products, French bottled water, pre-packaged sandwiches, inexpensive wine, standard groceries while offering knock-off gourmet snacks and very interesting knick-knacks that can be purchased as souvenirs or as toys for your children. Every arrondissement has at least one large Monoprix store in addition to smaller shops, called Daily Monop’.
  • Picard: The store’s modern ice-blue colored Snowflake is powerful enough to catch your eye as you’re perusing the shops on every street. Opening the doors, you are immediately impressed with the frigid, minimalistic white ambience, as staff stroll the corridors in white lab coats, pushing silver insulated shopping carts. You have entered Picard, a grocery chain in Paris selling only frozen foods. These are not your standard American tv dinners. These are the type of gourmet meals that are made in Italy, Spain and various parts of France and flash frozen so the consumer can whip up a delectable meal in two shakes of a lobster tail. It kind of reminds me of Trader Joe’s, but dare I say it: even fancier and more delicious!

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Restaurants

  • Le Relais de l’Entrecôte: A fantastic family restaurant suited for casual tourists offering impeccable service and steak grilled to perfection. Serving only steak and fries, this is the perfect place for omnivores.
  • Drouant: Facing a very pretty city square, the restaurant has been around since 1880. Managed by Antoine Westermann, the menu offers elegantly updated classics with an emphasis on seafood.
  • Chez Georges: A popular, old school bistro serving classics like frisée au lardons, jambon persillée, escargot, and tarte tatin.
  • Le Petit Vendôme If you really want to lunch as the locals do, visit this old fashioned Auvergnate casse-croute.
  • Benoît: Opened in 1912, Benoit celebrated its 100 years anniversary. It’s a venerable age for the only one Parisian Bistro to get starred by the prestigious Michelin Guide. The restaurant has still a lot of vitality and remains the traditional Bistro cuisine in the heart of Paris.
  • Le Grand Colbert: Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves and Jack Nicolson made this historic brasserie made (more) famous in the movie Something’s Gotta Give. And if you know anything about me–I’m a sucker for a Hollywood staples.
  • Ma Bourgogne: Serving humble French fare in a location that is anything but, Ma Bourgogne brings hearty classics to the Place des Vosges.
  • Korcarz: A kosher Jewish deli on Rue des Rosiers offering an epicerie full of nosh and a lovely terrace
  • Chardenoux: This is a 100-year-old belle époque bistro with your classic French bistro menu. It’s a quiet neighborhood restaurant, not cheap but worth it, for the food is a cut above. Charming service.
  • Le Tournesol: a modern French bistro that serves delicious, light meals at the foot of the Radio France building in the 16th Arrondissement.  The crowd is 90% locals with a few tourists lucky enough to find this trendy and chic restaurant.
  • Breakfast in America: The owner, Craig Carlson is from Connecticut with quite an interesting story. This is our “go-to” place for breakfast at least once or twice during every trip to Paris. Our kids are reminded that eggs, bacon, sausage, oatmeal, toast and pancakes can be served anywhere in the world and yes, even in Paris.
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Ella & Logan checking out the macarons. ©ClarendonMoms

Patisseries

Patisseries are like 7 Elevens in America. They’re just about on every single corner. It’s almost impossible to find a bad one. But, these two in particular have been around forever and are two of the most popular patisseries in all of France.

  • Ladurée:  One of the top premier sellers of the double-decker macarons. 15,000 are sold every day. They are one of the oldest and most reputable makers of macarons in the world.
  • LeNotre: This is our absolute favorite patisserie in all of Paris. The pastries are very fresh and it offers a very family friendly atmosphere.
  • PAUL: is a French chain of Bakery/Café style restaurants established in 1889 in the city of Croix, in Northern France. It specializes in serving French products including breads, crêpes, and sandwiches, macarons, soups, cakes, pastries, coffee, wine, and beer.
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@ClarendonMoms

Our favorite little tot playground (suitable for 1-5 year olds) near The Fountain of Warsaw/Jardins du Trocadero/Eiffel Tower    ©ClarendonMoms

Our favorite little tot playground (suitable for 1-5 year olds) near The Fountain of Warsaw/Jardins du Trocadero/Eiffel Tower ©ClarendonMoms

PLAY

There isn’t a shortage of beautiful, elegantly landscaped and solidly built playgrounds in Paris.

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©ClarendonMoms

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Cultural Enrichment (thru Sight Seeing)

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Shopping

Rue Vavin is the shopping mecca for stylish moms. Near the Luxembourg Gardens, this quarter mile long narrow street has more than a dozen children’s clothing boutiques, including Catimini, Jacadi, Petit Bateau, Froment LeRoyer (kids’ shoes) and Marese. At the top of the street is a FNAC Junior, packed with French educational toys, books and DVD’s. Make sure to stop in for a gelato at Amorino, 4, rue Vavin (our absolute favorite gelato place in all of Paris).

Rue Cler, a cobbled pedestrian street in the seventh arrondissement, is packed with small shops for the perfect picnic (wine, cheese, bread, olives and French specialties), is truly a sensory experience for the entire family. Children will be drawn to the colorful macaroons in the windows of LeNôtre, as well as the sweet-smelling crêpe stand, where a Nutella and banana crêpe is only 3.50 euros.

Children’s Boutiques

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Women’s Fashion

 Men’s Fashion

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©ClarendonMoms

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©ClarendonMoms

TIPS

Getting Around

Getting around Paris is very easy! The best way is to walk. Paris is surprisingly easy to navigate on foot and it is only in the Montmartre district that there are any hills. Walking is the best way to see the city as you go from arrondissement to arrondissement. Paris is a compact city, no more than six kilometers at its widest point. However, when the kids begin to get tired, there are several transportation options including: Metro, Buses and Taxis. The Paris metro is one of the oldest in the world which also means that only very few of the stations have lifts or escalators for strollers. Buses are easy to access with a stroller but much slower depending on traffic and you are above ground and can really get an awesome tour of the city without the stress of driving. After living in the DC area for the last decade, we’re quite spoiled with the modern escalator and elevators. The Paris metro system is just as nice, but prepare to lift the scrollers. I recommend baby carriers if you can get away with that. The final option is to hire a taxi. The prices are very comparable to those in any major U.S. city and quite worth it.

What to Pack

Paris may be considered the fashion capital of the world. But, it’s certainly nothing to get anxious over when packing. I’ve noticed that most Parisians have a kind of “uniform” formula that they use to get dressed every morning creating a very polished, chic and classic look. It consists of: 1. A Blazer 2. a Button Down, Turtleneck or Classic T-shirt 3. A Scarf 4. Jeans 5. Flats This look is standard for both men and women throughout almost all four seasons.  For Summer: Dresses, dresses and dresses with very pretty feminine flat sandals is the perfect go-to outfit for women as well as little girls. A neutral colored tee and black or colored shorts with masculine sandals is the best go-to outfit for men as well as little boys. Here are a couple more tips:

  • Black is The New Black: It doesn’t matter what season it is, black is always in style in Paris. Black is awesome because almost everything looks dressier in this color. The kids spills and dirt don’t show up as easily and black goes with everything.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: Parisians do a lot of walking. Contrary to American culture, the fashion set in Paris wear flats over heels, especially during daylight hours. Ballet Slippers, Gladiator sandals, and dressy shoes with a low heel are great. The kids can wear absolutely any footwear and get away with it.
  • Think layers.  The weather in Paris is fickle; temperatures can swing wildly during the day, particularly in spring and fall, while the sun plays peekaboo.  Blazers, light cardigans, sweaters and hoodies are great items to pack for the whole family. And bring socks and a light anorak.
  • Jeans: Yes! Skinny jeans are very popular, especially in colors. Cherry and mustard are especially popular. And yes, even the men wear jeans in skinny cut and in colors.
  • Dress Up A Little: What’s considered dressy in the states could be considered casual in Paris.
  • Carry a Cross Body Bag with Zipper: There are tons of signs around touristy sections of Paris warning you to be aware of pick-pockets. Wearing a small cross body bag with a zipper closure is one of the best ways to ward off these petty criminals.  Men and women would do better only carrying one credit card, just the necessary amount of cash for the day and only one form of identification. Leave all the extraneous credit cards and passports in the hotel safe.
  • What Not to Wear: Workout Clothes or Yoga/Pilates GearParisians never go out in workout clothes or yoga wear. I don’t even think Parisians even know what Lululemon is. And white sneakers just screams “frumpy Americans”.

Happy Traveling!

If you have any questions or tips about Paris that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give Mom Some Peace at Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel For Mother’s Day & Enter To Win

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Whether mom wants to sleep in, sneak off and read stacks of magazines, have drinks with the gals, or binge watch Scandal, Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel is giving her the freedom to do as she pleases for Mother’s Day. The Leave Mom in Peace Package lets dad take the kids on a fun overnight stay in DC so mom can truly relax.  See the city and even engage in a day of espionage at the Spy Museum (tickets included in package) while you’re at it!  Dad can even enjoy a little cozy retreat with room service, while the kids take full advantage of the complimentary Wi-Fi for all their devices.  Sleep in (if the kids let you), then check out late the next day, just in time to surprise mom with beautiful bouquet compliments of Renaissance Dupont Circle.

Rates include valet parking, breakfast at M Brasserie for 1 adult and up to 3 children, up to 4 tickets to the spy museum, complimentary Wi-Fi, 3pmnext day check out and flowers upon departure. With a package like this, dad may just want to stay an extra night.

Rates are per room, per night based on availability and exclude tax and gratuities.  Offer does not apply to groups of 10 or more, other terms and conditions apply.  For more information or reservations, please call (888)-686-5214 or visit www.renaissancedupontcircle.com. Refer to promotional code: P51

Follow Renaissance Dupont Circle on Facebook.com/RenaissanceDupontCircle to learn how you can win a Leave Mom in Peace Package.

ABOUT RENAISSANCE DUPONT CIRCLE HOTEL:

Renaissance Washington DC, Dupont Circle Hotel is a distinctive hotel located in south of end of Washington, DC’s Dupont Circle neighborhood at 1143 New Hampshire Avenue and M Street, NW. Situated blocks from Dupont Circle’s restaurants and energetic nightlife and close to historic Georgetown, the hotel is minutes from the metro and legendary city sites.  The stylish hotel flaunts a cosmopolitan lobby bar featuring a rotating exhibit of contemporary art from local arts organizations, conveying class and provoking guests’ sense of discovery, while 10,800 square feet of event space appeals to business travelers with state-of-the-art meeting facilities.  Discover a city favorite, the Renaissance Washington, DC Dupont Circle Hotel.  For more information or to make a reservation, call (888)-686-5214, or visit www.renaissancedupontcircle.com

About Renaissance Hotels

Renaissance Hotels encourages guests to Live Life to DiscoverSM  at more than 155 hotels in 35 countries around the world.  Expecting to open at least one hotel per month this year, the brand should reach nearly near 170 hotels in 40 countries by the end of 2014.  Each hotel is unique and every stay offers an opportunity to explore local discoveries exclusive to the destination.  At every hotel, Renaissance Navigators are local experts ready to assist guests in discovering local flavors and activities.  Signature live entertainment events are designed to showcase emerging talent in music, the arts, culinary and more to inspire discovery. R.E.N. Meetings offers groups an experience beyond a traditional meeting rooted in creative sensory meeting design, RLife LIVE networking events and custom curated local Navigator excursions.   At Renaissance Hotels, we work to ensure that every trip is transformed into an eye-opening, unforgettable journey. You spend your life working; you should discover the world as you go. To discover more visit www.renhotels.com