Thursday, 3 March 2016

Road Tripping With Baby! Shopping, Skiing, and Eating Out in The Vosges and the Swiss Alps

Our first road trip with the little one didn't start well, but don't let the fact that she was 3 months old seem like the problem... in fact, we can quite firmly blame the Christmas traffic! After a 6 hour journey to Dover which should have taken no more than 3, we arrived and got our ferry to France.

We chose a short road trip for our first one with our baby daughter, just so we weren't in the car for too long (it's 3 hours at a time in the carseat - maximum, otherwise you risk hurting their little backs).

Our route down to Switzerland took in the Vosges mountains and Alsace - a beautiful and unique region bordering Germany. We stopped for two nights there and made the most of the area despite there being no snow at our favourite little ski resort! I took the opportunity to enjoy a little shopping in beautiful Colmar - making sure to visit my favourite French home interiors shop, Maisons Du Monde, and Sephora the US make-up store. The Colmar Christmas market was still on, and full of unique and pretty gifts.

colmar christmas market

We found a restaurant which had space for us - the town seemed to be a very popular destination what with the Christmas market being so good, and the absence of snow on the pistes - but we enjoyed a traditional Tarte Flambee and crepes nevertheless.

Most restaurants were extremely helpful and happy in view of us having a pram and baby, the only issue was space for the pram, so in smaller restaurants we just took her in the car seat or sat her on our laps. This worked well until I knocked over an ornamental ski which nearly fell on my head because of shuffling about with a flailing baby! This was at our favourite restaurant 'Au Chant Du Bois.' It is a wonderful chalet restaurant in Le Tholy near the ski resort of Gerardmer which is loved by locals, and despite the falling ski, we had a superb evening.

Once in the Swiss Alps, we made the most of the fairy-tale Swiss charm and stayed in beautiful Thun - situated on the turquoise Lake Thunersee. Chalet-style Hotel Chartreuse was classy and immaculate. (rooms cost around 120CHF - 140CHF).

thun swiss alps
Thun Castle

We made use of the snow and went skiing at lovely high-up Meiringen. We got the little one in the pram and up in the cable cars (which no one even batted an eyelid over and which was free). We took it in turns to sit with the bubba in the cafĂ© while the other skied. This worked well as despite not being able to ski together we were able to save money and share a ski pass.

Our first road trip with our baby daughter really did reassure me that traveling with children shouldn't be a hassle as long as you don't have too many strict plans and are prepared to take it a bit more slowly due to feedings and nappies. The biggest bonus of road tripping in Europe with children is of course that Europeans love children and almost any activity and establishment is very family friendly. Where else other than France do you see dogs warmly greeted in restaurants?

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