Take a bathroom break. Pregnant women have to pee, a lot. But it’s important to note that the bathroom situation in France is a little different than it is in North America. A small fee is usually required to use washrooms located in more touristy areas, such as popular parks, museums, even restaurants. I personally just can’t wrap my head around this “pay-to-pee” scheme so I searched for free facilities. Cafés won’t usually allow people off the street to use their restroom, but you’re free to do so if you sit down and order something. Department stores such as BHV, Printemps, and Galeries Lafayette have very nice, public bathrooms (tip: women’s washrooms located on men’s fashion floors are usually empty and spotless). And finally, if all else fails, look for one of these. Most are, surprisingly, much cleaner than you’d think.
Take a nap. You may think you need to hit the ground running when you get to Paris, but let’s face it, you’re pregnant…and tired. According to Babycentre.ca, women usually experience fatigue during the first and third trimesters of pregnancy. Don’t feel bad if you need to sleep in or take a nap, you are on vacation after all. During my month in Paris, I slept for 12 hours practically every night, and sometimes I didn’t wake up before 11 a.m. I awoke feeling rested and relaxed, and I still had plenty of time to see Paris.
Visit a café. Every day at 4 p.m., the hustle and bustle of Parisian life comes to a halt. Children and adults pause to enjoy le goûter, otherwise known as the afternoon snack. Cafés become packed with families and friends savouring a pain au chocolat or café allongée. Take a break and partake in this time-honoured tradition. Sarah Schenker, dietician and expert panelist on Babycentre.ca, recommends limiting your caffeine intake to 200 mg per day during pregnancy, which is one cup of brewed coffee. So you can either get your coffee fix during le goûter or order my personal caffeine-free favourite, chocolat viennois, a hot chocolate topped with sweetened whipped cream.
Eat something. It’s important to make sure you’re eating enough, especially when visiting a city like Paris, where you’re bound to do a lot of walking. According to Babycenter.ca, you’ll need to eat an extra 300-500 calories per day during pregnancy. Five hours of walking at a slow pace can burn nearly 900 calories. So you’ll want to eat lots of calorie-rich foods to keep your growing baby healthy. Croissants, pastries, and crêpes are just some of the delicious French foods that are safe during pregnancy. For more ideas on what to eat during your pregnancy, check out my blog post on Foods You Can Actually Eat When You’re Pregnant in Paris.
Tell people you’re pregnant. Parisians have a reputation for being snooty and unapproachable. However, I was very surprised at how well I was treated when I told people I was pregnant. Passengers clamoured to give up their seats for me on the metro. Waiters were more mindful to make sure my hamburger was well cooked. Attendants at the Eiffel Tower allowed me take a special elevator up to the top so I wouldn’t have to wait in the long line for the stairs. And a group of rowdy Italian school boys formed a protective ring around me to prevent people from bumping into me in a crowded space. So say it loud and say it proud, “Je suis enceinte!” People will surprise you for the better, if given the chance.
See the sights. There is so much to see and do in Paris that your sight-seeing list can get quite long quite fast. Pick your favourites and group your activities by neighbourhood to save time and energy. If you are visiting a museum or art gallery, focus on the highlights. You’ll tire yourself out if you try to see everything in one go. The Musée d’Orsay, home to the world’s greatest collection of Impressionist paintings, was at the top of my list. By planning my visit, I was able to see the works of my two favourite artists, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Edgar Degas, without feeling completely exhausted.
Relax in a park. This is something I did almost every day while in Paris. There was nothing more relaxing than sitting in a park with a sandwich and pastry purchased at a nearby boulangerie. Most Parisian parks are lined with hundreds of chairs and loungers (see the photo of my husband below), for optimal people-watching pleasure. The Jardin du Luxembourg, located in the 6th arrondissement, is one of my favourite parks in Paris. For more suggestions on which parks to visit in Paris, read my blog post on The Best Parks to Relax in When Pregnant in Paris.
Let me know what you thought of my tips on How to Enjoy Paris When you’re Pregnant. Leave me a comment, share this article, or connect with me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube.