fluffy towes

Carmen Jenner is a copywriter, journalist, travel writer, communications consultant and the founder of travel blog Fluffy Towel. She specialises in many industries including tourism, hospitality, aged care, health, real estate, property, business, charities and not-for-profits. Carmen is also the editor of Menu Magazine, catering to the Western Australian hospitality industry and hungry foodies.


where in the
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Perth, Australia

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Petite Paris

filed10 Jul 2019 from

THERE are few places as lively, vibrant and stimulating as Paris. I’m not entirely referring to the city either as my daughter is named after the City of Light. It seems fitting that the two should meet. But if you shudder at the thought of dragging young children around vast museums, consider these tips on how to toddle around the French capital.

1. Cafe culture: Sip hot chocolate together as you watch people and dogs. Discuss, write, draw and photograph what you see. It’s never too early to cultivate the tradition of travelling with a journal, sketchbook and camera. Keep the results to create an album to cherish. Mind you, a typical Parisian window and lacy balustrade overlooking the street works pretty well too.

2. Water babies: The most popular water park in Paris is Aquaboulevard with its wave pool, water slides and grassy sunning area. There’s a children’s pool at Butte aux Cailles (13th arrondissement) inside a 1920s building with an art deco ceiling. From mid-July to mid-August, the Paris Plage (on the right bank, from the Louvre to Pont de Sully; on the left bank, at Port de la Gare) never fails to excite with its makeshift beach along the Seine. And if the day is too cool to get wet, watch the creatures of the sea in the aquarium at Palais de la Porte Doree Aquarium Tropical.

3. Parks and rides: Paris is full of lovely parks and gardens but my favourite is the Luxembourg (7.30am-9pm in summer; 8.15am-4.30pm in winter). With their pretty, formal gardens, marionette shows, fantastic playground, carousel, outdoor cafe, remote-controlled model boats sailing in the lake, sandpits, ponds and donkey rides, the centrally located Luxembourg Gardens are understandably popular. The Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne is further afield but this cross between zoo and amusement park includes a children’s theatre and circus, pony club, mini railway and boats.

4. Science stuff: Parc de la Villette’s science museum, Cite des Sciences et de l’Industrie, has a section, La Cite des Enfants, which caters well to three to five-year-olds. There are hands-on activities that illuminate many aspects of science and modern technology. With the regularly changing exhibits, little ones won’t mind coming back to play with water, assembling buildings on a miniature construction site, experimenting with sound and light, manipulating robots, racing their own shadow, and superimposing their image on a landscape. There’s also a playground in a maze-like setting in the park.

5. Artists as young boys (and girls): The Pompidou Centre ensures great views from its caterpillar escalators that creep on the outside of this inside-out structure. Downstairs, the Atelier des Enfants interactive children’s gallery gives a taste of modern art as kids touch and play with the exhibits or attend a workshop. There’s also a rooftop cafe with inspiring views. If cabin fever strikes, in front of the gallery is a large plaza with street performers, including musicians, fire-eaters and artists. Nearby is one of Paris’s most beautiful churches, St Eustache. Its soaring vault ceiling is modelled on Notre Dame, and enchanting organ recitals are held at 5.30pm on Sundays. The Louvre also organises special sessions to introduce children to various aspects of art.

6. Theme parks: When your children get a bit older and discover that you didn’t take them to Euro Disney, they may be disappointed. However, I must warn you, this is a big day out. Preparation is the key to success here: head straight for Fantasyland, which caters well to little ones.

Not far from the Charles de Gaulle airport, Parc Asterix, which centres on the world of Asterix the Gaul, includes six themed worlds featuring gladiators and rides.

7. Towering adventure: Everywhere you look in Paris, you are treated to a view of the lacy tower. Even the locals sigh when it sparkles with a thousand fairy lights on summer evenings. The queues are shorter at night but you still need to be prepared for a long wait. Ascent is in three stages and there are some stairs to climb, which is worth bearing in mind if you are wheeling a pram or stroller.

8. Cruising the Seine: Be treated to a tranquil view of Paris on an organised cruise or take the Batobus, a boat shuttle service that stops at eight points along the river (get on and off at leisure).

9. Churches and cones: At the end of the day, a small child’s sightseeing requirements are basic. For instance, many of the smaller churches have playgrounds. I highly recommend Ile St Louis as you stroll beside the Seine, catching the drips from a divine ice cream cone.

10. The simple life: Drop into a toy shop or visit the children’s section in a bookshop for exquisite French pop-up books. Let older children practise their school French by buying fruit at the local market or delicious pastries at the boulangerie. A trip on a bus or a train is always an adventure. A picnic in the park or by the river in summer is a delight. Why not count the gargoyles on Notre Dame or feed croissant crumbs to pigeons in a square? Buy postcards of the places you are visiting and help your children find what’s pictured.

Have child, will travel

filed27 Jul 2017 from



As soon as my daughter was born, I knew her arrival would alter the shape of my life for all eternity. Determined to continue travelling amid the routine, tantrums, sickness and fatigue, I figured the sooner I introduced her to the joys of travel the easier it would become. But no amount of planning can prepare you for the inevitable stance a young feisty lady can take. Little Miss Manhattan, indeed!

While there is plenty of information available …

Housing Plight in the City of Light

filed15 Aug 2012 from

THE computer screen taunts me with photos of charming Parisian apartments with minuscule dimensions. My two-year-old is dancing to The Wiggles, having given up on the promised trip to the park. Finding a flat for our six-week stay in the French capital has become my latest obsession.

Our requirements consist of a two-bedroom apartment easily accessible to the Latin Quarter, where I will be studying in July. My research has been enlightening as I learn not to take anything for …

The Not-so Amazing Race

filed23 Mar 2011 from


WELCOME to The Not So Amazing Race. The first part of the Joneses’ challenge is to gain access to an apartment for their stay in Paris. The Jones family comprises of husband and wife, Jason and Simone, and three-year-old Jessica.*

None of the Jones family will speak French on this leg of the race. The final challenge is teamwork. Will Jason and Simone make it to the end as a married couple? Their prize is a month’s use of …

Gotan Project = tango

filed13 Dec 2010 from


paris heels1

Just as the letters of the word ‘tango’ scramble into ‘gotan’, your perception of the Argentinean art form will morph into the sublime with a Gotan Project concert. My rendezvous with the Parisian electro-tango band began with La Revancha Del Tango. With every beat evocative of an elegant bouncing acrobat on a trampoline, each instrument and member of the group was introduced individually building to a delicate crescendo. From there your climax is held at a heightened state for …

A Voyeur’s French Feast

filed07 Dec 2010 from


I Love Paris in the Summer Time

apartment view

It’s 4.46 a.m. and a woman’s scream cuts through the thick air surging up into the apartment’s open bedroom window.

I suddenly sit upright in bed. The scream was cut short and I envisage she suddenly woke up, imagining her husband to be an intruder before realising her error. Maybe she saw a mouse. Perhaps it was a nightmare? I know she wasn’t murdered because she did it …

Walk on the Tame Side in Paris’ Montmartre

filed17 Sep 2010 from

Made famous by the Moulin Rouge and its hedonistic revellers, Montmartre is well worth a wander during the day.

As you alight the Metro stop Abbesses, check out the Paris cityscape mural, and its unusual green wrought-iron arches and amber lights, which are one of the few original Art Nouveau stations in Paris.

After savouring the seediness of Montmarte’s adult outlets, browse the electic range of shops while heading up to the heavens of Basilique du Sacre Coeur either by …

Roxanne’s Can-Can: A Heady Night of Moulin Rouge

filed16 Sep 2010 from

Shrouded in shadows the curtains rise. At long last, I fulfill my lifelong obsession with the Moulin Rouge. The entire cast appears sequined, feathered, buffed, toned, and breathtaking. White sequined tuxedos are ripped off to reveal jewelled g-strings adorning airbrushed legs. Despite their nudity, they remain elegant and ethereal.

One flamboyant scene after another makes it impossible to take it all in: a pirate show, a circus, the obligatory Can-can and the grand finale, a showcase of the history of …

This Parisian Life

filed20 Sep 2009 from


French Beauty

 “One is not born a woman; rather one becomes a woman.”  – Simone De Beauvoir

The French model wears a petticoat crafted from balloons. The model behind her flaps wings styled like a bird of paradise. Men sit rigid in their seats during this Parisian couture fashion parade, admiring these heavenly beauties.

Cameras flash, flattering some of the models and insulting others, who sneer at the audience. We are engulfed in wall-to-wall …

Le Cafe de la Paix

filed20 May 2009 from

Paintings and music, street noises, shops, flower markets, modes, fabrics, poems, ideas, everything seemed to lead toward a half-sensual, half-intellectual swoon. Inside the cafes, colour, perfume, taste and delirium could be poured together from one bottle or many bottles – from square, cylindrical, conical, tall, squat, brown, green or crimson bottles – but you drank black coffee by choicse, believing that Paris itself was sufficient alcohol.

– Malcolm Cowley, Exile’s Return: A Literary Odyssy of the 1920’s

French Beauty

filed30 Apr 2009 from

As Simone de Beauvoir put it: “One is not born a woman; rather one becomes a woman.”

The French model wears a petticoat crafted from balloons. The model behind her flaps wings styled like a bird of paradise.

Men sit rigid in their seats during this Parisian couture fashion parade, admiring these heavenly beauties.

Cameras flash, flattering some of the models and insulting others, who sneer at the audience. We are engulfed in wall-to-wall white balloons, as if we are …