We had a wonderful, adventurous, exhausting, chilly and challenging four days in Paris. We were on and off busses, in and out of cabs, sprinting for trains and doing our best with our terrible French (Lauren is the only one who actually sounds good). With the exception of a quick trip to Scotland during the Olympics, this was our first trip as a family outside of England (Lance has already ventured far and wide). About eight years ago, Lance and I visited Paris and Natalie visited on the CB international trip, but this was our first European adventure as a family with grandma in tow.
In Paris, most hotel rooms are very small and only sleep two (usually on twin beds!). With this in mind we rented an apartment for our group of six and it was a nice treat to be settled into the Passy neighborhood and not just a busy tourist area. The apartment building was probably close to the century mark with all the interesting charm and character. I loved the thick steel door on the street which hid the apartment from view and opened only when the code was entered into a long courtyard area surrounded by the multi-story building. Ours was on the second floor with a view to the inner courtyard. With three bedrooms, a sitting room, a small bathroom and an itty bitty kitchen, it was on the large size for a Paris apartment. The creaky wood floors and the ornate ceiling gave its age away. The real treat was the neighborhood in the surrounding area. One evening, feeling overloaded on tourist activities, we went for a walk and discovered the little back streets with open air markets, vegetable stands, patisseries, butchers, florists and little cafes. The streets were busy with locals walking their dogs, picking up fresh bread and something for dinner. One thing Parisians don’t pick up is after their dogs. Very odd to us to see people allow their dogs to leave yucky presents all over the sidewalk for their neighbors to step over. I guess it is a Paris thing. Anyhow, I’m off on a tangent… We roamed through these streets every evening and a morning or two to pick up some fresh pastries. I’d say it was the highlight of our trip even though we loved the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. We also attended Mass on Sunday in the neighborhood which I will tell you about in another post.
There is so much to explore in a city like Paris. We visited a few of the well-known attractions, but there are a multitude of museums, more shops that anyone can possibly visit, a ton of cultural activities, scores of beautiful churches and food, food, food. Hopefully we will visit many more times to discover more of its secrets and beauty.