Many women dream of taking a babymoon to Paris. Feasting on pastries at a small café. Taking a sunset stroll along the River Seine. Savoring the last drop of culture before the late night feedings and endless diaper changes begin. The thought of sitting on a plane for eight hours, flying across a body of water with no place to make an emergency landing often knocks the City of Lights off the trip list. Enter Quebec City, Canada – A babymoon destination with all the flavor of Paris but no anxiety or swollen legs. Quebec City is a short flight from the East Coast and Midwest. United Airlines and Air Canada offer direct, two-and-a-half hour flights from Chicago, Newark, New York City, and Philadelphia. Many connecting flights are available through international gateways such as Toronto and Montreal. Once you arrive, a taxi cab can whisk you to the historic downtown in less than 30 minutes. A 240-year-old agreement between Britain and France helped preserve French language and culture in the now-Canadian province of Quebec. From its winding cobblestone streets to its elaborate cathedrals, Quebec City, the provincial capital, bursts with European charm. Cafés bustle with French-speaking wait staffs. Quaint hotels provide a romantic ambiance. The sweet of smell of crepes permeates the street. It’s no surprise that Old Quebec City is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. There are no shortages of hop-on, hop-off buses to take you all around the city. Without having to walk, moms-to-be can take in the Place Royale, the Plains of Abraham, and all the other historic sites Quebec City has to offer. With no fixed schedule, you can make your way around town as slow as you want. Pregnant ladies can also take in the sites from the water. Several companies offer guided sightseeing cruises up and down the St. Lawrence River. The best part? A complimentary brunch or dinner buffet is often included. What you can’t drink in wine, Quebec City makes up for in food. From high-end bistros to hole-in-the-wall cafés, Quebec’s cuisine is an expecting mother's delight. The insatiable pregnant appetite will not be disappointed. Sweet and savory crepes. Fresh seafood. Deep dish meat pies. You can even find a simple grilled cheese sandwich made with shredded gruyere and cherry chutney. If the baby is craving something on the not-so-healthy side, many restaurants serve poutine, Quebec’s signature dish made with French fries and cheese curds topped with brown gravy. For dessert, you can treat the baby to Pouding Chomeur, or "Poor Man’s Pudding." It’s a heavenly soft yellow cake, served warm, doused in maple syrup. You can also take a trip out of the city. A popular day-trip offers two key amenities for pregnant women: a bus ride and chocolate. Several tour companies operate four-hour tours along the charming Beaupre Coast. Stops typically include the breathtaking Montmorency Waterfall, the legendary Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, and the historic Albert Gilles Copper Art Museum. Minimal walking is required, and to a pregnant lady’s delight, many tours stop at the Chocolaterie de l'Ile d'Orléans, where you can sample Belgian chocolates, and at the Chez Marie bread oven, which is famous for its homemade bread with maple butter. Perhaps the best reason why Quebec City is a top babymoon destination: Its must-see list isn’t overwhelming. If you’re there for a few days, there’s no reason you can’t justify a late afternoon nap.
Just about all of us had a few wrong ideas about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own wacky ideas of how we would do things differently than everyone else. Other ideas we take for granted as new parents, only to realize later how laughable the idea was.
I understand that for the most part, people mean well. So usually these "let me warn you" statements are intended to either commiserate slightly over the difficulties that all parents go through, or to give you a friendly bit of advice over what you can come to expect. What ever happened to the old adage that if you don’t have anything good to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all?