Sunday, October 19, 2014

Paris Part Two

Did I say 36 hours in Paris? Because it was actually only 29! So fast I thought at times we might be auditioning for The Amazing Race as we carted backpacks through parks and dashed down metro platforms to avoid missing a train. 

Nonetheless, we hit the major high points on our list and enjoyed ourselves in the process.

Being too young for coffee has definitely been a disadvantage for these little travellers. Mornings are groggy!
 Today's cafe stop for 'real' hot chocolate quickly perked them up.
Honestly, I cannot say enough good things about what troopers they have been this week--rolling with the punches, trying new things and really embracing the experience! (and mostly carrying their own stuff ;-)

Our first tour stop this morning was the Catacombs. I confess, my first impression of this activity was to be pretty creeped out. After all, it is a set of tunnels deep under Paris where remains of 6 million Parisian bodies were laid to rest in the 1800s. But after reading the Lonely Planet book about Paris and discussing our trip with a travel agent friend, my children were insistent. The tour was quite interesting--and this was a situation where I am glad we booked a guide and skipped the very lengthy line. 

After the Catacombs we went directly to the Notre Dame. It was a glorious Sunday and the line was very long. We decided our limited time was better spent exploring than standing in line, so we took a lap around the outside and admired the grounds and exterior along the River Seine without going in.

This walk allowed us to see the "Love Lock Bridge" and enjoy a true Parisian experience with the musical accompaniment of street performers.  
We ended this walk with a quirky little find our friend Jennifer, suggested to the kids...a pet/bird/flower market tucked along a small city street only a block away from Notre Dame. Of course, the kids asked to take home a bird or bunny. Can you imagine Customs' response?

 After this we had a cafe lunch before a short Metro ride to Luxembourg Gardens.
 It was a sunny, warm day so the park was very busy! We enjoyed some wooden sailboat racing around the pond.
 These boats are powered only by the wind and a long stick, so it really is a unique and fun activity!
The plan was to then watch a real French marionnette show in the gardens. We got there early, stood in line for a spot, and my children stared so longingly at the children running and laughing on the playground that we gave them a choice.

A French Marionette version of Pinocchio or stretching, climbing and enjoying other kids...guess what they chose?

Ryland & I kicked up our feet (backpack free) and enjoyed nutella crepes and passion fruit sorbet while they played. Everybody was happy!

In the "I wish I would have known" column: Admittance to the park is free, but you have to pay to use the playground AND you have to pay to use the toilet! (half a Euro each to potty)
We left the Garden with just enough time to spare to stop by the highly recommended Pierre Herme for macaroons. The line stretched down the block...and they did not disappoint. That made three stops for macaroons in 29 hours if anyone is counting! It's a good thing we've walked an average of 9 miles a day this week. (Seriously, my people are troopers!)

We took the RER train from Luxembourg back to Gare du Nord for the 5pm return train to London...resting our travel weary bones tonight for one last day tomorrow!


LeighAnn said...

OMGoodness....I am enjoying this part of your trip so much....brings back so many wonderful memories of our time in Paris. We are looking so forward to taking our granddaughter to Paris for her tenth the grace of God. Thank you for sharing your trip!

Denise Ross said...

Such a an amazing trip. Yes your kids are certainly troopers. I don't know whether my 9 year old would do that amount of walking. Always wonderful to work up an appetite for the yummi ess of food, I always seems to enjoy it so much better. If I ever get to France I'll be coming back here to look up your posts on how you've done it. So ull of great ideas and wonderful places to see.