Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Luxembourg Gardens, Notre Dame, the Metro and Ice Cream! Or, Day 1 in Paris

After getting to celebrate my birthday with Jody, we headed home.  We'd been trying to prepare Stella;  we had a 7:30 flight, which meant getting up and leaving the house around 4:40 to catch the bus to the airport.  (This was a time I was grateful for the long days--it was much more bearable since it was already daylight!)  So we did it, the kids expectedly initially unimpressed at being roused and taken out to the cold, bags in tow.

So Tyler saw me adding this and mentioned he already used it in his previous entry, but I'm using it again, because he looks at this and says "look how much stuff we have!" and I look at this and say, "Look how compactly we packed--we could walk over half a mile with the kids and stuff, no problem!"

And we experienced what felt like our first bad plane ride.  And realistically it wasn't *bad*, though there was a while there that we were "those people" with two crying kids, both insisting on being on my lap simultaneously.  We hadn't been able to take on the carseats for this flight, so the kids were much more fidgety and only Otto slept a little bit.

So we were relieved to land after about three hours. Fortunately for us while waited for baggage and Tyler tried to figure out how to call the company that we rented our apartment from, the kids found this little projected fish thing that they loved, burning off a little energy before we hopped into a cab.

Funny the stuff I'm grateful for in airports now--this captured the kids attention and burned off lots of energy--score!

And we did actually cab it.  We contemplated taking a bus in, but it was going to cost almost the same amount and be a lot more hassle.  We got an awesome woman driver who asked if we wanted the faster direct route or a more scenic route.  The kids had both crashed and we had a little time to kill, so we got to drive past the Arc de Triomphe, Invalides, down St. Germain de Pres and soak in some ambience.  And once we got to our place the rental guy wasn't there and it was a little confusing where it was (the address looked like a restaurant).  The driver asked the restaurant owner about it and confirmed that he was OK with us sitting in his closed restaurant while we waited, which, with two sleeping kids, our carseats and bags, was much appreciated.  Shortly after, the guy arrived with the keys and we got settled in.

The stairs to our apartment.  Not bad a couple times a day, but I wasn't too sad to sit with sleeping kids when all the bags got carried up....

Our home until Sunday--two bedrooms, which we're already thankful for.  It's not quite as well-stocked as our place in Reykjavik, but I think it will be a good home base.

At first I was worried that we would regret being further from the city center.  We're in Montparnasse, which was big with some artists in the early 20th century, but is just off the map that came with our guidebook.  It's in south Paris, just south of the Latin Quarter and St. Germain de Pres.  But so far, we've been pleased.  There's a great market street a few blocks away, a metro stop a few blocks away and I like being in a neighborhood that just feels lived in, not touristic.

We had crepes for dinner but had fruit, cheese and our first bottle of delicious French wine afterwards at home.  Yay for cheap good wine (especially after expensive OK beer in Iceland!).  And happy my rusty French allowed us to buy cheese, fruit, wine, and pasta for another night (though I keep falling back on Spanish, oddly enough)

Stella "reading" her "Paris with Kids" guide before bed.  Glad the kids have beds here and a bedroom.
Breakfast before heading out on our first full day.  Feels Parisian, with the big opening windows, ornate railings and pretty building across the way.

And now that we're here, Tyler and I both agreed that we could have spent our entire three week vacation here.  It is so beautiful and there is so much to do and we're on kid travel pace.  But we'll soak it in while we can.  I won't bore you with the blow by blow--but we've had a big and full first full day:  Luxemburg Gardens, lunch near the Pantheon and an evening jaunt out to the Seine, seeing Notre Dame and getting some Berthillon ice cream.  Stella seems to love it here, and Otto is loving the Metro rides (of which we had nine rides today, if you count all the transfers) and generally being out and about.  We'll see if we regret the pace tomorrow, but so far, c'est magnifique!
Enjoying Luxembourg Garden--we had to pay for the playground, but Stella and Otto were in heaven.

The palace in Luxembourg Gardens.  We even saw a few sailboats in the pond before we left.

How I spend a fair bit of my time, Otto insisting on holding my hand if I give in to Stella's pleas to get a turn with me.  Good times.

Around the corner from the Pantheon, with tired and hungry Stella

I love this about Paris--on a random side street and you see this massive old wall amidst the beautiful buildings.


After being out all late morning/early afternoon, we headed home, expecting the kids to nap (though I ended up being the only one sleeping).  One unexpected pleasure of this trip--watching Stella and Otto play more together!

Love the artsy Metro station entry ways.  And given our reliance on them today (two round trips, nine total trains) it seemed fitting!

Giant Stella conquers Notre Dame!  They had bleachers set up out front and signs up about the 850th anniversary of the church.  She seems to appreciate the sites and scenery--Otto was all about jumping off concrete barrier poles and watching for boats on the Seine.

The reward at the end of a long day--Berthillon ice cream:  pear sorbet for the kids, roasted pineapple and basil for Tyler and honey nougat for me.  Yum.

Last Metro ride for the day, and Otto crashes out (and Tyler can finally carry him)


Anonymous said...

Last picture. Tyler's expression. Priceless! (And Otto looks so cute.)

On a more serious note - everything looks wonderful - travelers and scenery, both!

The General said...

Yeah, there were two versions of that photo: The baggy eyed version and the "Tyler looks like he has a bald spot" version. Sarah chose the baggy eyed version because it better conveyed how exhausted we all were by days end.