Mombini – what is it?  Shop, café, tea room, a place for children’s workshops?  Combining ‘mom’ and ‘bambini’ (children), Mombini is a little of all of these, and even more.

At this huge space located in the 15th district of Paris, you can find a unique present, have a coffee while your child enjoys themselves in the adjoining playroom, learn all about baby-carrying with the help of an instructor or even discover sign language with your toddler.

We met the two creators of this incredible place.

It was becoming parents that inspired Dac and Elisa to create this wonderful and welcoming place that allows parents to recharge their batteries, catch up, meet other parents, and all whilst offering their children somewhere to relax.  “We realised that despite the high fertility rate in France, few places exist that welcome parents” explained Dac.  “Any outing with a baby becomes complicated: cramped cafés, no changing room, narrow spaces… we were also disappointed by the lack of games and decoration for children: as soon as you look for something slightly out of the ordinary, you have to look on the internet”.  Elisa explained that for her, she felt a real feeling of isolation during maternity leave.  It’s that moment when you suddenly go from having an active life, full of social interaction to days spent only with your baby, your questions and your doubts.  In response to all of these needs, the concept of Mombini was born.

Only a little while after it’s opening, Mombini is now a sacred spot in the neighbourhood.  “That’s what makes us happy…,” continues Dac: “contact with people, relationships with other parents.  We exchange professional details, parental advice, experiences.  That’s what we want, to put a little more human contact into the world of young parents – which is often more medical than anything else”.

Working together – was that an obvious choice or is it a path full of pitfalls?  “Working as a couple doesn’t scare us.  Our tour of the world together has already been a good test.  We were spending all day together, sharing wonderful moments but also mishaps and major blows.  Anyhow, we’ve made a rule: marriage and family come before everything. If something comes along that complicates that, one of us will solve the matter in order to keep the balance right”.

Mia, her little girl, has just celebrated her fifth birthday.  So Elisa, are you more of a ‘maman poule*’ or a ‘maman cool’?  “Without doubt a ‘maman poule’.  I’m Italian. I was brought up with this very strong protective instinct.

“A bit of both for me,” says Dac.  “I want to protect her whilst promoting independence and taking initiative.  I think a child needs to listen but in a structure where they can exercise their freedom, and therefore have a certain authority”.

©Lucille Bureau

Want to know more?  Go to mombini.com or 22 rue gerbert, 75015 Paris for a unique and friendly family experience.

*’Poule’ is French slang for ‘Mother Hen’.  So a ‘Maman Poule’ is the doting Mum that will cut the edges of your sandwiches, bundle you up in a ton of layers and smother you in kisses – whilst a ‘Maman Cool’ is the easygoing Mum that always looks great, let’s you have all your friends over and won’t force feed you your greens!

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