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Paris, France: Days 28 – 30 on the Big Family European Expedition

    Day 28 -PARIS!!!

    We had a long drive day. I finished my 3rd book ( Magnolia Story) and started my 4th ( Number the Stars).

    The kids have been troopers in the car- though to be fair European countries are much closer than some of the states we drove through. We were talking about it as we left Switzerland – which has FOUR official languages. I was happy to switch to French! I’m
    not fluent but can still pick up some things from my high school and college classes!

    The obvious highlight was our arrival in Paris. The kids screamed a good amount when we saw the Eiffel Tower and a fair bit more when they saw our apartment! I would do dishes all day….views from kitchen and the bedroom—we never wanted to leave.

    This rental was actually an apartment in a residential building normally occupied by another large family.  The family of six rents out their residence for just a few weeks in the summer – and it was quite a different experience very much enjoyed by my kids.  The apartment had a full kitchen with dining area, a living area, and balcony.  There were 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, and a laundry.  Two of the bedrooms and the kitchen and dining area directly overlooked the Eiffel Tower.  The place was everyone’s favorite of the entire trip – I’d even venture to say of anywhere that we have ever stayed ever.  The hosts were helpful and kind and we couldn’t get enough of that view!! 

    This one was pricier than we had spent on previous rentals and more than we have ever spent on a hotel or rental (and it has increased since our time there).  That said, it was totally worth it – the space was perfect for our family and as we reserved this one with knowledge that we had a budget – we were able to choose more affordable places in some of the other countries.

    We walked to a restaurant to eat (delicious!!!) and then back to the apartment where the kids used the scooters at the apartment to walk (scooter) down the Champ de Mars to see the tower up close.

    Funny as the scooters made me feel less touristy but then we got to the street vendor and bought 47 Eiffel towers including 2 that light up., which put me back to huge tourist status.

    We saw the tower.  Every hour on the hour it twinkles.  We saw that.  At 1 AM they turn the tower lights off and it only twinkles.  We stayed up to watch that from our bedroom window.

    Kids LOVED it.

    Not a bad way to end the day

    Day 29 – Paris Day 2

    We stopped at a souvenir shop right after leaving our house. Three kids got berets so we didn’t look touristy and we blended right in –lol.

    We walked a path the hosts recommended to the Louvre.

    Along the way, we passed several of the cities monuments – gorgeous…

    and decided to do our own foodie tour stopping along the way at different shops and restaurants to try lots of yummy food Paris has to offer.

    So we tasted chocolate eclairs (sooo good), a croque monsieur, salty crepes (our fave), sweet crepes (chocolate, cinnamon, and sugar), and of course macaroons (coconut, coffee, chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, lemon)!!! Eating some as a picnic in the Jardin des Tuileries.

    We got to the Louvre where the kids were excited to see the Mona Lisa but not too much else.

    We made a game of it and had much fun- first, kids had to pick a favorite piece of art in each room and that morphed into recreate a piece of art in each room. Hilarious.

    The Little’s asked why there was so much nakedness in the art (awesome! – but there really is!).

    The big kids thought it funny that we had to come to Paris to see many of the statues that were supposed to be at all the places we visited in Greece, and we made sure to see Winged Victory and the Venus de Milo before walking home.

    We ate dinner out talking about our favorite rentals and our favorite spots from the trip. Germany won hands down for everything as we got to see my sister and stay in her beautiful house (!?) and the cruise was also a clear winner (easy, great ports, unlimited food- lol). But aside from that – Paris and Austria were our fave rentals and Paris, Austria, and Prague were winners for the locale. Some of which I think had to do with the weather as a couple spots might have placed higher but that it rained a lot in Switzerland and Venice was very hot and some had to do with activities involved; Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Austria we went on the alpine coaster, and in Prague we zorbed.

    We watched the sparkly Eiffel Tower again before bed!

    One other thing I smiled about – I ordered food in French and the cashier responded in French!!! And we conducted the whole thing without any English! It wasn’t a huge conversation: hello, I’ll have this please, the cost, and thank you, goodbye BUT this was the first time in any country on any of the 30 days that our hello or whatever we tried to say in whatever language we tried to use (Icelandic, German, Czech, Italian) was not responded to with English!

    Day 30 

    We started off eating the most delicious croissants and an eclair ( they are just scrumptious!). We walked past the Eiffel Tower and took a carousel ride,

    We thought we’d take a boat ride on the Seine but the kids didn’t love it as the information was hard to hear and first given in French and then repeated in about 6 languages, so they didn’t follow along very well.

    We came home to pack up and I tried some senior pics with the oldest and a few of the others thought French photos would be fun.

    Later, we ended with a climb up the tower. We couldn’t decide for sure and so we hadn’t booked tickets… so we got to climb!! Somewhere near 700 steps!

    We celebrated with a champagne toast (so we crossed off croissants and champagne – I think we’ve sampled some good choices this trip!).

    We came home and snuggled in for the last sparkle show of our trip.

    We stayed in 6 rentals this trip and 2 others in the past. The apartment in Paris is the only home we stayed in. This family lives here, it’s their residence… they have 4 kids aged 7-15. They travel in the summer (probably afford it easily with renting their apt).

    Scott and I talked about the logistics of living in a city (let alone a city such as Paris!!) in an apartment with such a big family! It was 4 BR, 4 baths… kitchen, dining and living area at 1400 sq ft.

    We also talked about renting the actual home you live in. The hosts wrote that the kids could play with any toys, use art supplies etc. but they also had all their clothes, personal items, perfumes, photo books; everything you’d have in your home with your family there.

    Also on an oddly personal note- I feel like I know the host people now…as I lived in their home… is that weird? I think my kids would have a fun time with their kids… they were the nicest and most accommodating people… it was truly an amazing experience.

    Terri L

    Terri L

    Terri has been married to her best friend, Scott, for 20 years and together they have 5 children. She has been blessed to be able to be a SAHM since her first was born over 14 years ago. In addition to finding new and creative ways to entertain 5 children, she enjoys date nights with her husband, photography, reading, and traveling with her crew.