Friday, February 24, 2012

au revoir par-ree: day 4

on our last day in the city of lights we woke up early, packed up the car and checked out of our room, the place we were staying was kind enough to let us keep our car parked for the day. 

we stopped a bakery on the way to the metro and asked for "one of each", not really, but almost. i got beingets, shane got a l'eclair, the kids got do-nuts and candy necklaces. we stopped in the city center of vincennes to enjoy our freshly baked breakfast. it truly was as delightful as it sounds.

we metroed in, back to the Tour Eiffel. this time we were going up. thankfully the sun was out, unfortunately the line was long. very long. i knew that if we waited in line, that would consume our last day, which meant no time for shopping.

we tried to explain to ryli what would happen if we waited, but she stuck to her guns. she also assured everyone that it would be worth it, very matter of factly. she was serious. so we waited in line for two long hours...
waiting on the lift...almost there!
and she was right. it was extraordinary. my adrenaline was pumping because of the height, but the sentiment brought tears to my eyes.
it was one of those "we have arrived" moments. we took several pictures, visited the souvenir shop, and then caught the next elevator down. i think we were up there for about 20 minutes.

we grabbed a bite to eat, then headed over to the "tissue" district, or fabric district - 18th arrondissement. located at the foot of the Montmartre Basilique and the Sacre-Coeur were streets lined with fabric, and one place in particular called Marche Saint-Pierre. it was 6 floors of bolts of fabric, mostly upholstery and home dec weight, with the fashion fabric mixed in. there was one sad little shelf of cotton, which they called patchwork sad. it had so much potential!
the boys ventured to a local park, while ryli and i explored. it was fun to look around, but by this time the sun was starting to set. we still had a metro ride, and then another walk to get back to our car- then a 4.5 hour drive home. we found the boys, and let kids play for another 15 minutes then headed back. our time in Paris had come to an end, for now.
and that was the best part, the "for now". i was disappointed with the little shopping that i did, and the food that we didn't get to try (escargot), and the museums we didn't make it to, namely the fashion and military history. but we'll be back soon, for sure. and maybe the temps will be a bit warmer...and we'll buy our Eiffel Tower tickets in advance.
au revoir, paris.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

in Paris with 4 kids: day 3

we started out Sunday morning on the metro headed to a french flea market.
it was very cool, and very pricey. not what you would expect from a flea market. but, i had to go. and i would go again, perhaps without the offspring.

i found a neat vintage wooden toy for Theo, but it was 30 euro (about $40)...i passed.

as with most of Paris, it was very smokey and the kids were reprimanded for touching things. they didn't last long. i don't blame them. in fact, Ryli commented, "what's the point of going to a flea market if you can't touch anything? it's supposed to be a treasure hunt!" love that girl.

Shane pulled them off to the side for a snack break, and let me explore a little longer...such a great guy.
we strolled back to the metro en route to Jardin de Luxembourg. we heard it was kid friendly, and were ready for open fields and a bite to eat.

we found both. the park located behind the Palais de Luxembourg, was perfect. the kids harassed more pigeons and ducks. we found sandwiches and crepes and soaked up a little sunshine. a success for sure!
even Theo was a tourist attraction. he got lots of looks, and even video-ed. he tripped once and all of these people came running to his rescue....

Notre Dame was next on the agenda. we walked a few blocks after another metro ride. we discovered a wonderful bakery--i loaded up on the goods of course!

(pan au chocolat- Jen, that's for you!)

we passed a street band, and this time Ty made friends with pigeons by offering bites of his pretzel.

then, suddenly, Notre Dame was right there! what a beautiful place.

my thoughts went to my grandfather. we lit candles for he and Truman and said a little prayer. i could feel my grandfather's presence.
i think the kids enjoyed it as much as we did. the stained glass was impeccable, enough to cover a football field, we were told.
i admired the architecture, archways and carvings. i appreciate the history, labor, and creativity that went into these works- all thanks to Ken Follett and his book The Pillars of the Earth. seriously.

after the Notre Dame tour, we hopped on the red bus for a little break.
we visited the Arc de Triomphe, the French Opera, checked out the Champs Elysees, shot more pics of the Eiffel Tower and hopped off at the Pont des Arts.

the Pont des Arts is a pedestrian bridge where couples attach a padlock to the rail and throw the key into the Seine below. i forgot a padlock, but will have one for sure next time.
then, it was back to the Louvre for yet another bathroom break. 

then, we took the metro back to our stop. on the walk home we stopped at a pizzeria to pick up dinner.

the french do a lot of things is not one of them. the desserts were scrumptious, however. tiramisu and more chocolate mousse.

there is definitely a theme here.

we were so exhausted every night we were there. i crashed hard as soon as my head it the pillow. i'm pretty sure Theo outlasted me at least two of the nights. it was good though, to walk off all of those decadent french treats...