Although France is widely considered to be one of the most developed countries in the world, visiting the country with a baby or toddler can be quite frustrating given that it is not the most baby friendly destination. Problems such as accessibility and finding much needed baby and toddler supplies can be difficult with the language barrier added to the equation. With the proper preparation you can soften the difficulties you will encounter while on holiday here.
Accessibility with Strollers
By no means is France stroller or wheelchair friendly. Some cities in the country are slightly better than others such as Montpellier but otherwise you are going to encounter some problems. If you are planning on travelling by rail you will have to expect that there will be times when there is no other way to get up or down onto the train carriage other than carrying toddler and stroller together. If you are carrying luggage then you will have to factor this into the problem as well.
Before you travel to France try practising by carrying the same things you will need to on holiday on some stairs. This will get you accustomed to what you might be facing when you get there and it’s better to attempt this in your home environment rather than a foreign one. Buying a lightweight stroller can also help you deal with this problem as it will be easier to lift and carry.
If you are taking taxis or thinking of hiring a car at all ensure you have brought your own car seat for your baby. French drivers are comfortable with having toddlers sit in laps while they are travelling around and it is rare for taxi companies to supply their own car seats for you to use. Do not be rushed by impatient taxi drivers either, if they are trying to hurry you up simply inform them that you will get the next taxi and walk away. You can rent a car in France as there are some great deals to be had should you shop around.
If you can get baby supplies back in your home country then there is no problem in locating it in France. Be sure to pack lots of the more crucial items but if you start to run low then extras can be found in the supermarkets. Some of the baby food and formula here is actually better than most other countries and some of the older toddler food has a nice variety of options such as duck dishes and paella.
The baby formula in France sometimes has allergens such as seafood so ensure you have a good French to English dictionary handy so you don’t buy anything potentially dangerous to your baby. If you are unsure then go to the local pharmacist where the chances of them speaking English will be greater and ask there instead.
Nappies are easily found in the supermarkets as well and you can find plenty of Pampers and Huggies. Ensure you know your baby’s weight in the metric systems as the sizing system in France is not the same as some other countries.