Monday, May 7, 2012

Paris 4/28-4/30

Paris, to me, always feels like a city you never want to leave.  There is just something about the city I find so magical.  The beautiful architecture, bridges, Eiffel Tower, cafes, and museums that I just fall in love with.  Each corner you turn is a beautiful monument and even the apartment building are beautiful.  We drove in on Saturday morning and what should have been a 4.5 hour drive turned into an over 6 hour drive due to the traffic getting thru the 2 tolls into Paris.  First stop was to pick up your toll ticket and the 2nd was to pay.  We were shocked to pay 16 euro in toll one way (equivalent to about $21!!).  Anything the Europeans can do to promote not driving they will do!  Our hotel was in the more business area called Montparnasse.  It was a nice hotel with lots of restaurants right outside and it was only about a 10 minute subway ride to the Eiffel tower.  An added bonus to the trip was getting to see some great friends, Kim and Dan, that I use to work with that we hadn't seen in about 5 years.  Dan has been working a little bit in London and Kim decided to come over this trip and left their 2 daughters at home with family.  It felt like we had seen each other yesterday and picked up right where we left off.  We spent Saturday afternoon and evening with them walking around the Louvre and the surrounding cafes and restaurants.  It was drizzling on Saturday, so walking around we were a bit wet.  The kids managed to find every puddle to try and walk thru.  They were soaked! 

Of course, traveling with kids definitely changes your priorities to a trip (aka no museums, quiet churches, or leisurely strolls/relaxing at a cafe), so we spent quite a bit of our weekend at the playground outside of the Louvre. :)  We'd walk somewhere and then try to make our way back to the playground at the Louvre because it was fenced and the kids could get some energy out.  On Sunday, we started at the Eiffel Tower, walked to the Champs L'Eysee, and then up it back to the Louvre.  Ryan, Abby, and Troy rode the carousel outside of the Eiffel tower.  Abby and Ryan were all smiles on it.  We did luck out and have beautiful weather the rest of the weekend.  Ryan fell in love with the Eiffel Tower and the subway trains.  The line was very long to go up the Eiffel tower, so the kids played at the park right outside of it for a bit before we walked to the Champs L'Eysee.  We ate at a great Italian restaurant off the Champs L'Eysee, which Abby slept thru.  We also found a Gap to get Ryan another pair of pants since luck would have it, the one time I didn't overpack he had an accident and also soaked the other pair running thru the rain puddles.  We ended the day at the Louvre playground and then just had a quick bite at a Lebanese restaurant by our hotel because we were all pretty tired.

On Monday, we took the subway to Notre Dame before heading home.  There was a Starbucks right outside the subway stop, so of course we had to go. :)  Notre Dame was beautiful, but we didn't go in because the line was really long and we didn't think the kids would last waiting.  Abby and Ryan ran after the birds in front of the church for awhile.  We were pretty surprised at how many tourists were at all of these attractions.  I think peak tourist season is starting!  Our drive home was easy and no traffic at the toll stops.  I think we just hit everyone trying to come into Paris for the holiday break.  On our drive out of Paris, Ryan asked us "When are we going back to Paris?"  I asked him what he really liked about Paris and he said the subways and that he wants to ride them again.

Also, Monday was a Dutch holiday, so Troy had the day off.  It's called Queens Day to celebrate one of the Queen's birthday.  It's a big celebration in the Netherlands and everyone wears orange (Dutch color) and parties out at the parks, etc.  People get quite crazily dressed with boas, big sunglasses, socks, etc.  It's also the only day of the year that you can have a garage sale, so lots of people are out trying to sell their things.  We saw lots of pictures, but we weren't super interested in going into Eindhoven after our long drive home.  Maybe next year. 

Lots of pictures in this post!
Ryan riding the carousel
 Abby and Daddy on the carousel

 This picture pretty much sums up why I can not get a picture of them together! :)

 Ryan drawing the Eiffel Tower
 This is Abby upset because she can't walk in the giant puddle.  
 Arc de Triumphe
 #1 reason not to have a Bentley in Paris!
 Our 2nd home on this trip - the playground outside the Louvre
 Abby in front of Notre Dame

 Notre Dame

 This picture sums up our trip as well.  Abby running for the puddles and Ryan and I running after her. :)