Friday, July 31, 2009

Last Night In Paris

Our last night in Paris turned out to be a magical night. Our first attempt to go up in the Eiffel Tower earlier in the trip was unsuccessful because the lines were so long. We had heard that the lines were not so long at night so we decided to give it another try. Unfortunately the lines were as long as they had been during the day plus it was really cold. I wanted K to see the Eiffel Tower light up but it was only 8 o'clock so we had to figure out how to kill a couple of hours and keep two little girls awake. K had a barbe a papa and Olivia wanted ice cream so we headed to Ile de la Cite. As we were walking around there was no line for Notre Dame so we convinced the girls to go in. To our surprise there was an incredible concert underway. There was a soft glow in the cathedral because the only light was candlelight and the music was lovely, almost ethereal. The cathedral was breath takingly beautiful. After the concert we headed to Place de la Concorde because it is a wonderful place to view the Eiffel Tower when it lights up. Just as we got out of our cab the Eiffel Tower started it's show. It never fails to take my breath away. K let out a gasp when she saw it. After a strategic trip to the bathroom at the Hotel de Crillon we piled into a cab to head home. I commented that the Place de la Concorde looks so pretty at night when it is lit up and just at that moment the lights came on! We all gasped. A perfect ending to a magical evening and a magical trip.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

In Search of Swings

Our search for swings landed us at the Tuileries again. No swings to be found but a lot of fun, dangerous looking playground equipment! This played perfectly into our pots de vin (bribe) scheme which became more elaborate as the trip progressed. We planned our days so that mid day we would end up on the metro and the Georges Cinq stop. As we ascended the steps we would be right in front of McDonald's. Yes, on this trip I became one of those Americans I swore I would never become! Frequent stops at McDonald's. We perfected out routine. After lunch we would stroll down Avenue Georges Cing. Catherine and I would get a chance to look in the windows of Armani, Louis Vuitton, etc... and we would end up at the Four Seasons for a bathroom break. Much better than McDonald's bathrooms. Catherine and I loved the flowers and the people watching and the girls LOVED the bathrooms. It was hard to drag them out, they couldn't get enough of the great smelling soap and lotion. I am glad that K did not find out that there is an indoor pool and 2 stations of cartoons at the hotel. That made for a whole different system of pots de vin when I stayed at the Four Seasons with my nephews a few years ago. Pre recession-those were the days!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

French Fountains

Love the architecture, love the fountains!

Monday, July 20, 2009


One of my favorite places in Paris is Deyrolle,the 170 year old taxidermy store on Rue du Bac. Unfortunately they had a terrible fire last year and much of the first floor was destroyed. They have restored the damage from the fire but sad to say many things have not yet been replaced. We took the girls but there was a sign that said no photography. These pictures are from when I took my nephews a few years ago.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Lube

Four years ago when I took my brother's boys to Paris, Harrison, who was nine at the time thought that the Louvre was called the Lube. I took them to the Lube and we saw the Big 3 (Mona Lisa, Winged Victory and Venus de Milo). Harrison's favorite part was the sortie (exit)sign and I have a picture of him pointing at the sortie sign with a big smile on his face. On this trip we did not make it to Venus de Milo but we did see the mummy this time.

K and the Mona Lisa

K and Winged Victory

The mummy with Catherine, K and Olivia in the background

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Batobus. What a great way to get around Paris! Buy a ticket for the day and ride as often as you like. The boat makes eight stops and it is a great way to see the city. Very relaxing and gives a totally different perspective than driving or walking. I tried to take this one time with my brother's boys but I couldn't figure out where to get on and it was very hot and the boys were tired of walking. Thanks to Catherine, she figured out that they boat stopped right by our apartment in front of Notre Dame. We took the boat to the Eiffel Tower and then back to the Musee D'Orsay. K didn't like it so much-I think he felt like she was going to be sick. Olivia was expecting it to be more like Disney World. But Catherine and I enjoyed it!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pots de Vin

Are you wondering if this post is about Catherine and me drinking large vats of wine? I wish! Pot de vin means bribe. Yes, there was a lot of bribing going on during this trip. Were we bribing maitre d's for great tables? Bribing front desk clerks for the perfect room? No! We were bribing the girls to walk. On this particular day we took a nice stroll (death march as Catherine refers to my walks) up Rue du Bac to La Grand Epicerie, the gorgeous food hall that is part of Bon Marche. I promised the girls ice cream at Le Bac a Glaces. I assured Olivia that she would recognize the ice cream store by the giant ice cream cone out in front. She was a little skeptical with every block that we traveled. But finally, in the distance the girls spotted the giant ice cream cone. After we got our ice cream we went to the darling park down the street. After a little play, it was back to our little walk.
Usually I can get K to smile because she is afraid of a picture like this appearing on her blog!

Love the look on K's face!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Les Chiens

One of K's favorite things about Paris was all of the opportunities to pet dogs. She loved being able to pet dogs while we walked around the city and she is always so good about asking if she could pet the dogs first. More scary than being bitten a dog is stumbling into a steaming pile of dog poop. K and Oliva became very adept at navigating piles of dog poop! Here the girls are in a store being entertained by a sweet dog while Catherine and I got a few moments to shop.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Luxembourg Gardens

One of Paris's loveliest parks, the Jardin du Luxembourg with over 60 acres was packed with activities for K and Olivia. The playground has an entrance fee but is filled with all sorts of adventerous slides and climbing structures. All much more dangerous (translate-fun in the girl's opinion) than anything you would encounter on a public playground in America. The area is fenced off so once you pay the admission fee the kids are safe-except for the dangerous slides. The parents all sit around the outside of the fence and talk and read. And the best part? They sell beer and wine so if it is late in the afternoon you can get a little mini happy hour going!

Funniest line?
Olivia-Mom, I made a friend.
Catherine-Oh, does she speak any English?
Olivia-Yep, she is from Kansas.

Swings are not popular in Paris. We couldn't find any at the many parks we visited. But Luxembourg Gardens has those old fashioned swing boats. You pay admission for 5 minutes of swinging. The girl who runs the Barbe a Papa and beer and wine concession also runs the swings.

Olivia enjoying the swing boats

The cute little Barbe a Papa stand