Friday, July 29, 2022

Oui, Oui, Nous Sommes En Paris!!!

Well, after three full days in Paris, everyone is exhausted so we are having down time at our hostel this afternoon. It's Thursday afternoon as I write this and tomorrow, if all goes according to plan, we're headed to another country! One of my favourite parts of this trip, thus far, is seeing Europe through Sam and Rachel's eyes.

Anyways, I did write a bit about Paris in my last post (which you can read here) but I wanted to tell some stories in chronological order too.

So exciting seeing our flight up on the board and watching planes taking off, 
knowing our turn was coming!!!

We caught a plane on Sunday night and we were so excited to be at the airport. We had an overnight flight and the kids did fairly well. We all caught a few hours of sleep and landed in Paris on Monday morning. All our checked luggage arrived (WHOOO HOOOO!!!) and we caught a train, and then a metro to our hostel. Unfortunately, we couldn't check in until 3pm but we could leave our luggage at the hostel. 

First food in Paris -- a delicious grilled cheese with green onions in it. Also, that salad was so delicious!!!

We found a cafe just down the street and it was delightful!

Finally, we were able to check into our room, change out of our travel clothes, and hit the streets of Paris! We stopped at a bakery and I got my first pain au chocolat.


I had hoped we could beat jet lag by walking to The Eiffel Tower but everyone was just too tired so after about 45 minutes, we jumped on the metro and took it the rest of the way. I hope I never forget Rachel's gasps of joy as she saw The Eiffel Tower for the first time!


We walked along The Seine for a a bit and then took the metro home. We were too exhausted for supper so we shared two bags of chips and went to bed. By the end of the day, I had walked 16,104 steps.

The next day we found a place which served crepes for breakfast! YUM!!!


I had one with lemon, sugar, and butter and it was soooo good!

Then we walked for a bit and found a playground for the kids to play at. We also walked up to the Moulin Rouge because Dave really wanted to see it.


We kept walking and I enjoyed seeing sights like all the mini motorcycles and this QR code made of mosaic. At least, that's what we think it was. We don't have data on our phones so we had to guess.

Rachel was thrilled we found "her" street! 

Eventually we caught a metro to near Notre Dame. We wanted to visit Shakespeare & Co, a famous Parisian bookstore. We loved our visit there and came away with a bunch of books for everyone! (You can't take pictures inside the bookstore but it was a maze in the best of ways and I loved it!)


We walked over to Notre Dame but, unfortunately, they are still working on restoring it, so we couldn't go inside at all. Bummer.


We had lunch at that amazing Italian place I wrote about on Wednesday. We had thought we would do touring that afternoon through a 'hop on, hop off' bus which drives you around the city to different sites and you can get off wherever you want. We decided to buy tickets for the "batobus" instead which was a boat on The Seine. My only disappointment was that there was no tour included. It was kind of like taking the metro or a bus, except it was a boat. However, I loved being on the river so that was worth it.

We ended up getting off at the Jardin des Plantes, eating ice cream (mine was made with violet flowers), and wandering around the gardens. We also ate supper somewhere in here, and true statement, we just grabbed McDonald's. Sad, but true.

Then we headed back to our hostel for the night. By the end of this day, I had walked 15,267 steps. I just LOVE walking around cities in Europe and discovering new places, eating good food, and having fun adventures!

To read about Days 3 & 4, go here.

For a more general Paris post, go here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

What's Up Wednesday: July 2022

It's a "What's Up Wednesday" from Paris, France, where we're currently on vacation!!! Whoooo hoooo!!! Unlike my normal "What's Up Wednesday" posts, this won't be a summary of our month, but it will give you a good idea of what we've been up to for the past few days at least.

As always with this post, I'm linking up with Shay at Mix and Match Mama and Sheaffer at Sheaffer Told Me To.

image from here

What we're eating this week... Do you know how AMAZING French food is?!?!?! We're eating crepes, baguettes, pain au chocolat, and gelato and I can't get enough of any of it! And I am loving the French salads too!

What I'm reminiscing about... I'm reminiscing about the last time I was in Europe, when Sam was fourteen months old and we went to Vienna. You can read all about that trip here. I'm hopeful Sam will actually have some memories of this trip though!!!

What I'm loving... I'm loving how much French Sam and Rachel are speaking and how Parisians are responding to it. We actually have entire conversations in French and it's so fun to know we can navigate in another language! Also, Sam is figuring out the metro (subway) for us and I love seeing his independence blossom. I also love how excited Rachel was when she saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time. She was literally laughing with joy and it was amazing!!!

I also listened in as a tour guide was giving his spiel and the fountains below are called Wallace Fountains. They provide free, clean, drinking water everywhere in Paris. We filled our water bottles a few times at this one. I love that there are drinking fountains throughout Paris and I hope we find more of them!

What we've been up to... We've walked a ton and we found a Parisian playground. Rachel commented that "Paris' playgrounds are so fun!!!" and Sam's comment was, "I feel like there should be foam pits under these because they're kind of dangerous." And thus, our two children are defined :)
We also found Notre Dame. Unfortunately, they're still working on restoring it after the fire so we couldn't go in.
We decided to do a "hop on, hop off" boat instead of the bus. While we enjoyed cruising up and down The Seine, I was a little sad that there was no tour commentary, so we didn't learn anything about Paris.
We got off the boat at the Jardin des Plantes and I loved all the flowerbeds. I could have spent hours here but the rest of my family did not have the energy for that :)
What I'm dreading... We got to Europe with all our luggage which was amazing, but we have one more flight within Europe and I'm dreading if any of our luggage gets lost on that leg of the journey. I've heard horror stories about luggage getting lost, as is understandable given the shortage of workers in every industry these days, but I'd really like it to all arrive at our destination...
What I'm working on... My French accent! Hahaha! Parisians seem to understand me well enough but Sam laughs at me every time I speak!
What I'm excited about... Exploring Paris! It's been so much fun to walk around and discover hidden places.
Also, I was ridiculously excited to eat a pizza lunch in this Italian restaurant which was completely decorated with fake flowers. It was so beautiful and I just smiled so huge the whole time we were in there. Plus, the pizza was delicious!

What I'm watching/reading... We visited Shakespeare and Co and I picked up a book called The Paris Bookseller. It's a book which takes place in 1919 at Shakespeare and Co and I couldn't resist. I can't wait to dive into it.

As for watching, I'm watching the Seine float by! Hahaha!!! I'm also watching my kids as they explore Paris. That's been pretty entertaining. Oh, and I'm watching out for pigeons because they are everywhere. 

What I'm listening to... Well, my writing of this blog post was interrupted because a guest accidentally confused the light switch with the fire alarm. Ooops. It was pretty loud and our entire hostel emptied out onto the street until the alarm was turned off. Other than that, I'm listening to a lot of French :) I even understand some of it!
What I'm wearing... Good walking shoes. I hit over 16,000 steps on my FitBit yesterday and over 15,000 today. We've been doing a lot of walking!

What I'm doing this weekend... Our vacation is about to get even more magical as we head to another country (or two) and explore even more of Europe!!!

What I'm looking forward to next month... A few days of rest and relaxation, some biking, a special tea time, and a visit to the home of a favourite childhood toy! Yes, our vacation continues and these are all hints of things and experiences to come :)

What else is new... Everything! Actually, navigating Europe with kids is pretty new to me. I was able to travel here a few times in my 20s and 30s but I've never traveled as a family before and it's a different style of traveling. In some ways, it's even more fun!!!

So that gives you a quick taste of our vacation thus far. I'll try and pop in with another post in the next day or so, but it will depend on how full our next couple of days are. I hope you all have a great Wednesday. Our plan for today is to visit a museum and eat some more French food. It's going to be a great day!