Ok, I'm launching into my journal/recap of my magical trip to Paris with my 6 year old daughter. I should preface this by saying that it was incredibly hard to leave behind my 8 year old son and overly-attached puppy. I can also say, upon reflection, that this trip would not have been as perfect as it was had it not been just me and Ellie, so it was definitely the right decision to only bring one kid with me, and to bring the one who likes to walk miles on end without complaining.... :)
Seeing as it had been six long years since my last jaunt to my homeland, I had completely forgotten how LONG the travel day is. It's LONG. Between the 1.5 hr drive to the airport, the 3 hrs there before boarding, the first 11 hr flight, then the 3 hr layover, then the NEXT two hour flight, an hour to go through customs and baggage claim and the final hour to get to my friends' house, it was nearly 23 hrs of JUST travel to get there. Of those 23 hrs, Ellie only slept 3. Yeah. But, despite the lack of sleep, she was in an awesome mood the ENTIRE time. I've discovered through this experience that she is an incredible, flexible, adaptable traveler. Which works out well, seeing as I LOVE to travel. My son is more like my husband. Total homebodies who don't do very well outside of their comfort zone and home routine. So, I made the right choice! :)
We were also incredibly fortunate to have my friend Agnes's parents come pick us up at the airport and drive us to her apartment about an hour away from the airport. Traveling with two suitcases and two backpacks through a crowded metro after a full day of flying would have pretty much sucked. So, we were incredibly grateful for that ride!
It was 2 pm Paris time when we arrived (even though it was the middle of the night for our bodies) but the adrenaline took over and after dropping off the suitcases we went for a stroll all around our newly "adopted" neighborhood to check out where the local "Boulangerie" and "Chocolaterie" and "Pharmacie" were. You know, the important stuff, in that order.... Agnes brought us to the local Metro station so we could buy our weekly pass and grab our metro map (all of which were used from morning till night our entire trip as it was our exclusive means of transportation and due to its elaborate and comprehensive layout provided us with the way of getting everywhere we needed to go) . We grabbed some groceries at the local supermarket and headed home for an early dinner (in France 6pm is considered VERY early for dinner, we typically ate between 8 and 9 pm the rest of the week) and a bath and then Ellie and I CRASHED at about 7:30pm. We slept like zombies, having been awake for almost 29 hours, and I would have slept straight through til morning if Ellie had not awoken at 3 am (local time). She stayed awake (but in bed) from 3am to 6 am and then fell back asleep until 9 am. When we woke up, we both were totally on track for local time and did not have any jetlag issues the rest of the week. I cannot say the return was as smooth as we are both still plagued by jetlag issues four days after re-entry.....
When we woke up it was Easter Sunday so all the shops were closed for the day but the outdoor "marche" (food market) was open. I dressed Ellie in the ZOZOBUGBABY outfit and took pictures of her wearing that outfit throughout our morning travels. (Scroll down two previous posts to see the pictures of that shoot). We got the MOST delicious fresh raspberries I have EVER eaten and a few other fruits and veggies. Agnes then took us over to the Champs Elysees so we could bring Ellie to L'arc de Triomphe and go up to see the view. I'd already done it several times in the past but it is definitely worth the stairclimb. Sadly, the line was insane and I just wasn't in the mood for waiting in line 3 hrs. So we took some pictures from below. (Note: if you read my previous post you will remember that, due to a monumental error, I only had my fixed crappy Sigma 50mm lens for this day and that all the other pictures the rest of the trip were taken with either my Canon S95 Point and Shoot or my Iphone.... I know, TRAGIC. Don't remind me....)
Under the Arc de Triomphe and a cool local building close up I liked.
We also picked up some INCREDIBLE pastries at a little Afghan pastry shop in the neighborhood of the old Antique Fair which we went to go visit after grabbing some crepes-to-go for lunch.
Oh, while I'm on the subject of food. The French have *much* respect for my three favorite food groups: bread, chocolate and cheese. Take a look at this window display at a Chocolaterie. Seriously. This isn't just chocolate, this is ART. It's all about priorities....
We then came home, had dinner, enjoyed a gorgeous sunset from my friend's 6th floor apartment and geared up for a very busy Monday! Every night after all the kids went to bed, Agnes and I would pour a glass of wine, grab some chocolate, put on some good music and chat. It was the perfect way to end each evening.
REMINDER: THESE ARE ALL EITHER IPHONE PHOTOS OR POINT AND SHOOT PHOTOS!!! THEY DO NOT REFLECT THE QUALITY OF MY PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY WORK IN ANY WAY!!! PLEASE KEEP THIS IN MIND!!! THESE WERE MERELY SNAPSHOTS!!!!
Rather than narrate after each one, just a quick run down of what I posted today: Ellie in the car on our way to SFO. Heading to our flight. In the plane, studying our Paris book. Writing a letter to Gavin and Kooper. Layover in Germany. Arrival at Agnes's house. View from Agnes's 6th floor apartment. Sunset our first night. Walking around the next morning. PASTRIES!!! More pastries. Ellie's choice of pastry. Chocolate. MORE CHOCOLATE! :)