Saturday, February 23, 2013

Taking the Family to Paris

The children had discovered these fish when we had flown through Charles De Gaulle Airport previously.  They swim around your feet when you walk across their 'pond'.  The kids LOVED these fish.
Getting from CDG to Paris was not hard, but moving all of the kids and luggage is a challenge.  We got quite good at going up and down escalators with all of our gear.  Elevators are not always available in this area.  Jon was great carrying the suitcases up and down stairs and the kids all did great climbing up and down the stairs.  We rode the train from CDG into St. Michel and changed trains.  As we were riding around Paris trying to get to our hotel we had this sight of the Eiffel Tower.  Unfortunately our train that we needed was having work done on the track.  We got on a different train and got as close as we could.  I will say that finding a taxi on a Sunday night was a challenge as well.  Finally we found a taxi and got to our hotel.  
The next challenge was dinner.  We were out in a small town, Bois-d'arcy.  In Paris things either close early on Sunday or they don't open at all.  I speak some French, but not enough.  Thankfully the woman working at the hotel spoke Spanish so we were able to communicate pretty well.  We ended up having to wait until after 6:30 when the pizza places started delivering.  It was a learning experience all the way around.  

Monday morning we were up and ready to take the hotel shuttle.  The shuttle got us to Gare Saint Quentin.  From there we took the train to the Eiffel Tower.  The sun was rising and there were not that many people out yet.  It was so neat.
It is such a neat experience to see a landmark like this.

From the Eiffel Tower we walked toward L'Ecole Militaire.  It was a fantastic morning with the sun shining and very few other people.  This little guy was unimpressed and proceeded to fall asleep in the stroller.  

I just love this picture!  We are such a lucky family.
Next we went to Les Invalides, particularly to see Napoleons Tomb.
The minister of the Interior of France was making a visit while we were there.  We saw everyone dressed in their best uniforms and putting on quite a show.
Jon and his boys in front of Napoleon's Tomb.  The kids were really interested in the whole thing.  Before the tomb we were able to see displays of knight's armor and weapons from France's history.  Garrett was amazed at the guns.  I wasn't allowed to take pictures in that portion of the music, but hearing Garrett say 'Whoa, guns!" was hilarious.
At this point it was lunch time and we decided to just try out the cafeteria right on the grounds.  The kids all opted for hot dogs.  Gotta love our little American kiddos.  
This was my meal, and it was delicious.  I am not sure what exactly it was, besides being chicken and potatoes, but I was thoroughly impressed.  
Jon was excited they had Cherry Coke in a bottle.  It is the little things when we travel now.   

After lunch it was back to the Metro for our next stop.

This is a little gas station in the middle of the city.  I love how things are different in big cities, they have figured out how to get the job done.  
At our next stop, the Champs-Élysées.  Bennett had fun chasing the birds.
You can see the Arc de Triomphe in the far right hand side.  We were on our way to the Tuilleries and more specifically cotton candy and a merry go round.
 Cotton Candy!

The kids had talked about cotton candy since we set foot in Paris.

 I ordered them each a small and I couldn't believe how big they came out.  I felt like a terrible mother because I let them eat as much as they wanted.  Addie and Ben both finished theirs.  Garrett slowed down on his, but he ate a fair amount.  
 Next stop was the merry go round in the middle of the Tuilleries Gardens.  
Things started out well, Addie was so happy.
Unfortunately Addie started to get upset with me.

Things kept deteriorating through the ride.

 Until this happened, the poor thing just can't help getting herself in trouble sometimes.

 Next stop was the Louvre.  We didn't go in, but walked around outside.  You can see here how impressed Ben was, he fell sound asleep in the stroller while we walked around.  

Garrett thought the pyramid was very interesting.

And we just kept walking, here we are on Pont Neuf.  That is the Eiffel Tower that looks like it is sticking out of my head.
 I thought berets would be fun for the kids, but I wasn't sure if they would wear them.  Turns out, they LOVED them.
 Addie, of course, chose bright pink for herself, but it works.
 This may be my favorite picture from the trip.  Ben doesn't always pose for the camera, but when we does it is awesome!
 Notre Dame was our next stop.  This is the line to get in.  It took us a little while to figure out where the end was.  Unfortunately not everyone took the time to find the end of the line and decided they would just get in line in front of us.  We bonded with those around us as we told the intruders to move to the back.  
 It really is a beautiful church.
 The stained glass inside was beautiful.
For some reason this Tuesday night all of the taxis in our area were booked.  The person at the hotel found the local bus times for us and we had a great walk through Bois-d'arcy.  There was a very old looking church in the middle of the town.  I can't believe I didn't get a photo.  The bus came right on schedule and we were able to ride into Gare St. Quentin.  
Garrett was playing peek a boo with me on the bus.

 Here is how Addie and Ben spent a good deal of our travel time.  They are both getting very good at Angry Birds.
At the end of a long day we got the kiddos cleaned up and in their matching pajamas.  Amazingly all 3 children slept in this one bed.  
We had so much fun on our first day in Paris, but if we had to do over again we would not have tried to skip naps for everyone.  We were all so worn out after a full day in town, but it was such a neat experience it was worth it.

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