September 18, 2007 at 1:07 pm | Posted in France | 4 Comments

We made it to Paris unscathed and with all of our possessions at 7:30 the next morning. Boys slept on the plane and we were happy that our full backpacks fit comfortably in the overhead compartments. We strolled off the plane to the train station. We had been to Paris before and it was a good thing because the first few days were quite clumsy and we were relieved we didn’t also have to cope with unfamiliar territory. The Paris hotel was one of two hotels that we booked before departure and it was beneficial to stay put for a few nights without having to pack back up again. We needed to get used to where all of our things were within our packs and stuff sacks. Getting out in the morning and getting changed at night took forever. Laura was reeling from the shock of leaving behind some forgotten items. Keeping our liquids separated and remembering what gadgets needed recharging became our new priorities.

Luxembourg Gardens was where we wanted to spend the most time while in Paris and we secured a hotel nearby in Montparnasse. It is a bit tricky finding a room for four. Europe traditionally does not have many rooms with two doubles like in the States. We were lucky to land a cheap (by Paris standards) hotel with a double and a bunk. Last time we visited, we had to reserve two rooms each with two singles. We stayed in a local neighborhood with few tourists and started to live the Parisian lifestyle by going straight to our favorite creperie. Chocolate crepes for the boys and ham and cheese with extra pepper for Mom and Dad. We spent the drizzly morning in Luxembourg Gardens where the children’s activities are quintessential parisian. Unique playground activities, a carousel complete with sticks for snagging the brass rings, pony rides, hot chocolate vendors, and using wooden poles to steer the antique miniture sailboats across the duck pond. We returned later in the day for the daily 4:00 marionnette show – english not required to enjoy the antics performed on stage. Mom snoozed in the back due to jetlag.

When we would finally drag ourselves out of bed and out the door at 11:00am (another jetlag symptom), we walked for miles each day and into the late night since Paris is just as beautiful at night as the day (and we were wide awake). Day 1 we walked to Notre Dame, lit candles and studied the stories told in the stained glass, Day 2 we walked to Notre Dame again, past the Louvre and the Tuilerie gardens where we came upon a small carnival complete with ferris wheel about 8 stories high with endless views in all directions from the top. We continued walking into the night to the illuminated Eiffel Tower which sparkled with strobe lights each hour. Day 3 we walked through the Latin Quarter and the right bank. We didn’t rush to visit museums or stand on long lines to go to the top of the tower – we just wanted to stroll and ease into our new lifestyle. However, it didn’t seem like a new lifestyle, it seemed like we were simply on vacation and we indulged as if it were. We rarely bypassed the carousel seemingly on every block and gelato or hot chocolate sold on every corner. Our thoughts by the end of three days, “This was going to be easy. La! La! La!”

(click picture for slideshow)



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  1. Hello Jalberts!
    We’re so happy to see your pictures and read your posts of the first legs of your wonderful adventure! The slideshows are just great – you all look so happy and the sites you’re seeing are just spectacular (and you’ve only just begun!). The night-time pictures of the Eiffel Tower are very, very cool. I will show Anna the kids slideshows tomorrow and she will post a comment to the boys. Take care, be safe, and continued happy travels….

  2. Sure sounds like a great trip.

  3. hi guys – love the pictures and the updates. keep them coming for all of us armchair travelers who admire your initiative. xxoo from the kennedys.

  4. Sixth graders are really just bigger first and second graders. The class was fascinated by the Paris slide show. They have been working on estimating recently so they tried to estimate the height of Notre Dame based on the height of the people in the picture. More importantly they thought that the playgrounds and chocolate were the best. Consequently they feel that it’s unfair that we can’t take a field trip to Paris (everything is unfair when your in middle school). Thanks for a very interactive way to share your journey!

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