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  • Welcome to Our Journal

    Keith is a photographer who believes that kids are nearly perfect and that great images capture a bit of that perfection for all eternity. He loves that children don’t filter their emotions. Living loud is their power. And his job is to capture a moment of their uncontained imaginations: your children, unscripted.

    Melissa is the studio manager, adoring wife, busy mom and occasional writer that believes she is living the most beautiful life in the whole world.

    Keith and Melissa have two amazing daughters, Isabella and Gabriella and a little Jack Russell named Pooch.

    This journal is our personal blog about our family, photography, travel and how we are inspired by children in all their authenticity, one beautiful photograph at a time.

the gardens at Versailles | children’s photographers paris france

I just love this shot that Keith took of Gabby. There is such a natural beauty to this photograph. I look at it and my heart melts a little bit. This picture just sums her up: her innocence, her curiosity, her beauty. I love this kid!

The gardens of Versailles are just the perfect backdrop for a children’s portrait session. We are working on a series of photography tips about taking photographs of your children while on vacation. Sometimes the most beautiful photographs are right in front of us, we just need to see.

So glad we decided to relax for a few minutes while walking around the grounds of the chateau. I now have gorgeous photographs of both girls – a treasure from this trip to Paris that I will have forever.

chateau de versailles | things to do in paris with kids

Talk about impressive! The palace at Versailles is just amazing. And I have to say – the kids loved it!

The day started with an RER train ride from Paris to Versailles. The kids were thrilled when a double decker train pulled up and they were able to sit on the second floor of the train. The ride was short – maybe 20 minutes. A 5 minute walk from the train station and before you know it you are standing in front of the most gold you have ever seen in your life.

Versailles is very ornate and very, very beautiful! We took a long walk through the gardens to the Petit Trianon. Along the way, we stopped for lunch at a sweet little pizza stand tucked into a row of perfectly manicured trees. The grounds are quite extensive so we took another rest at a gorgeous open field lined with really tall trees. The perfect spot to kick back and relax. AND the perfect spot for Keith to photograph the kids (more to come – my favorite pictures of the kids so far on this trip!) the light was amazing.

We passed a delightful little spot where you could row boats. From there we kept forging ahead until we arrived at Petit Trianon. Marie Antoinette’s home – apparently her refuge from the crowd at Versailles. After a tour of the house – we started our walk back to the palace choosing a different route through the gardens.

The palace is just overwhelmingly large. Such a long illustrious history. The kids were getting a little bit tired – but a quick promise to visit the gift shop on our way out gave them the fortitude to keep going. We had the audio sets around our necks which was a great benefit – since each room is so unique. The Hall of Mirrors is amazing. I can just imagine a formal function with all the ladies dressed in their gorgeous dresses and everyone dancing and laughing. Isabella asked if you can rent the room for a wedding. Not sure. But if you could – the photographs would be gorgeous.

Our final stop was the private apartments of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette. Very, very ornate. The fabrics, the size of the beds, the set up of the rooms – all seemed to capture the kid’s attention.

Pleasantly surprised how the kids happily sat through the 2 short documentaries of the history of Versailles and really seemed to embrace listening to their headsets. Just like Les Invalides, the kids enjoyed Versailles far greater than my expectations. Not sure if anything is sinking in, but at least they are having a good time!

And so are we!

strolling for the best ice cream in paris | things to do in paris with kids


We have taken many a stroll since coming to Paris nearly 4 weeks ago. Our evening walks can easily involve a stop for ice cream. Since we have now tried our fair share of ice cream/glaces/gelato/sorbet across Paris, it i time for us to share with you another of our favorites: Amorino.

Amorino is a small chain of gelato shops around Paris that offer really tasty flavors. July’s flavor of the month is: Pompelmo Rosa (Pink Grapefruit). They use organic eggs, no coloring or artificial flavors. Their flavors are rich and colorful and are presented like a little flower. Something unique: they offer a kids size (similar to their small for 2 Euro – a bargain! the kids can choose up to 2 flavors) The adult cones (3 sizes up to 3 flavors) are perfectly placed on the cone to form a beautiful flower. The colors just pop – the presentation, while time consuming to create, is beautiful.

So far, Amorino is the most unique for presentation and the flavors were delicious.

These lovely photographs are courtesy of the Studio of Bradford Jones. Thanks Brad for coming along for one of our evening walks and documenting it for us! Greatly appreciated.

Restaurant Chartier | where to eat in paris with kids

Right in the neighborhood where we are staying there is a huge assortment of cafes, brasseries, American restaurants (yes, Chipotle and Hard Rock Cafe to name a couple) and English pubs. We noticed on one of our walks a restaurant set back in a courtyard just off of Blvd Montmartre. Every time we walk by in the evening – there is a really long line. We took a look at the very extensive menu full of reasonably priced French dishes and understood why Restaurant Chartier was definitely a restaurant we needed to try.

The night we decided to go we were really lucky. We walked in with no wait. Going out to dinner with small children can be an adventure. But the ambiance in this restaurant was incredible. The kids eyes were everywhere – so much to take in. The maitre d’ that looked like he may have been there for a few generations pointed us to our table. Lots of waiters in traditional garb, a bit surly and hurried. Lots of chatter. Lots of great looking food that smelled delicious. Lots and lots of noise. The perfect place for dinner with the kids!

Restaurant Chartier has been in continuous operation since 1896 claiming to have served billions of dishes and I actually believe this claim. Wow, this place was jammed full of people and character. I loved that there was a healthy mix of tourists as well as French families. The menu is extensive yet simple. Something for everyone. Desserts kept going by our table making it a necessity to order something at the end of our meal.

There are no checks. The waiter takes your order directly on the paper table cloth cover. I’m not sure how he conveys the order to the kitchen – a good memory I assume! When you ask for the check, he tallies the items on the table cloth and writes a number in Euro. Love it!

When we walked out of the restaurant there was a line that wrapped down the street. Not sure how we lucked out on our timing. If you are near Grand Boulevards and are looking for a great place to eat with the family – do not miss Restaurant Chartier! Oh and they don’t take reservations!

Restaurant Chartier
7 RUE DU FAUBOURG MONTMARTRE 75009 PARIS
01 47 70 86 29
email : restaurant@bouillon-chartier.com

De 11h30 à 22h sans réservation
www.bouillon-chartier.com

Les Invalides, Napoleon’s Tomb and The French Army Museum | Things to do in Paris with kids

I studied abroad in Paris and have visited Paris on vacation but never found the opportunity to visit Les Invalides. What an oversight. This place is great!

If I had to rank at this point what the kids (and Keith and I) have enjoyed most in Paris, Les Invalides and the French Army Museum is right at the top.

We started our walk to Invalides from Pont Alexandre III. The old army hospital buildings and glittering gold dome is very impressive from that distance. As you get closer and pass through the huge iron gates, it gets even more impressive. From the manicured trees to the cobblestone entry (that I can just envision horse drawn carriages transporting injured soldiers to the hospital) to the display of canons in the courtyard – this place is just awesome. Couple that with Napoleon’s tomb and the army museum and you have a perfect sightseeing day.

My first thought about Napoleon’s tomb was – “Wow that guy had a big ego”. While he certainly did think highly of himself – it was actually not his doing that he ended up with this monster tomb. Napoleon died in exile on the island of St Helena in 1821. For nearly 20 years his remains were buried near a spring under some trees. Very simple and plain. In 1840, it was King Louis Phillipe who had Napoleon moved back to Paris. The tomb was ready in 1861 and Napoleon has been there ever since.

After the visit to Napoleon’s tomb – we stopped into the very well appointed coffee shop before entering the French Army Museum. They have traditional french sandwiches, an espresso bar and a great selection of desserts. Never a bad idea to give the kids a rest and fill them up before the next leg of our tour.

We started our tour of the museum in the antique armors and arms area. The kids just loved the decorated swords, medieval weapons and suits of arms (for man and horse). We practically had to tear them away to continue the tour. From there we toured the area dedicated to wars from Louis XIV to Napoleon. The kids loved listening on headsets as battles were played out in front of them on a display. The uniforms and artillery were eye catching. Everything is so amazingly displayed. Gabby took a stack of pictures of Napoleon’s stuffed horse – she couldn’t get enough of the museum. From there onto WWI and WWII and a special area about Charles de Gaulle. The current temporary exhibition is the French – Algerian War.

This museum was a huge hit. There is a lot to cover in this museum but because each area is completely different than the one previously visited, the kids did not get bored at all. This is museum is a must if you are visiting Paris with kids!

{As with most Paris museums, adults pay full price and children are free. The one ticket gives you access to both Napoleon’s tomb and the museum.}