Orléans was the perfect stop before Paris. We kinda felt like we were coming home….. it was a nice familiar feeling driving up to the hotel. This was to be a night of organizing our luggage after 7 weeks on the road. We needed to look through EVERYTHING (especially the kids luggage) and quietly remove some of the toys that the kiddies had accumulated over the duration of the trip. We honestly did not want to bring some of the stuff back with us (really….. who needs a huge foamy hand from Le Tour de France) 😉 Mike also needed to figure out away to “attach” the drivers side bumper of the car…. back ONTO the car. It was something that happened while the car was “parked” for the week in Barcelona. We honestly didn’t know what happened and we certianly weren’t going to be the people paying for something we didnt do (for all we know this could have been something form the previous driver… the problem just wasn’t from us!). This brings me back to the point I have made earlier in the blog…. the point that Mike can rig just about anything to make it work…kinda like MacGyver. He managed to attach it, and it was all good!
After we woke up and played in the huge back yard over looking the Loire River, we packed up the car for what would be THE LAST TIME. We programmed the Tom Tom for the Charles de Gaulle Hilton Airport hotel and with Darth directing us through roundabouts and exits, we were off!
The plan for the day was to drive around Paris early enough to miss Friday rush hour traffic, get to the hotel at the airport, drop our belongings in the room, all with enough time for Mike and Brodie to drive to our old neighbourhood in Paris, and drop off the car. Syd and I would make our way to our favourite metro stop and hook up with the boys there. We would then continue on our afternoon of exploring, have dinner, all before heading back to the airport of our last sleep in Paris.
Looks like our Tom Tom had other plans for us this day!
On our drive we seemed to be closing in on Paris instead of going around it. The Tom Tom said we were 15 km from our destination when all of a sudden, in the distance we could see the Eiffle Tower. I thought how curious this was because I was pretty sure the airport was MUCH further from the Eiffel tower than that. I mentioned it to Mike, but he said that no, the Tom Tom was programmed to the correct address…. uuummmmm……this feels familiar but……ok! We kept getting closer and closer to that iconic tower when we finally pulled over, litteraly across the Seine from it, all while the Tom Tom was saying we were 3 KM from our destination. It honestly felt like we were back to our first day driving in Paris and making our way to La Defense and the crazy nightmare that that was. We we knew our plans for the day were quickly going down the tubes!
We were in the EXACT place we didnt want to be during RUSH hour….. Right smack in the middle of Paris! Uuuugghhhh! It took us quite a bit of time to make our way onto a main road towards the airport. We were quickly running out of time….. to the point where we didn’t think we would get the car back to the rental company in time before they closed for the night. After what seemed like an eternity in Paris rush hour traffic, we were almost at the airport and our hotel, we were so close we could see the damn hotel, but we just couldnt find the exit to get us there. Oh my…. here we go again! After a couple attempts and going around in circles at the airport we finally found the route ot take us to our hotel.
Time was definitely of the essence as we unpacked the car like mad. We checked into the room, and in a blink of an eye, Mike and Brodie jumped right back into the car to get it back to the rental agency in our old neighbourhood of 17th arrondissement and the Arc de Triomphe. Sydney and I were to meet the boys at our old stop on the M1 – Charles de Gaulle Étoile
I thought Syd and I had a ton of time to get there since the boys would be fighting traffic on the roads, but much to my surprise (and 2 trains later), we hooked up with Mike and Brodie at the EXACT same time. AWESOME! It was pretty cool that, this part of the day turned out to be seemless. Now it was time to get on with our “last day in Paris!”
The first stop was to a pharmacy. We needed to get Syd a French version of “Gravol”. I DIDN’T take all the advice I was given on this 7 weeks earlier, and was not going to make that same mistake. I needed to have this on hand incase Syd needed help during the flight. I was NOT going to go through the same HELL that we did on the plane 7 weeks earlier…. it was just too crazy and stressful for EVERYONE involved. We then hit up a couple of stores on the Champs-Élysées before making our way back to our old neighbourhood and the “purple” restaurant for dinner. Sydney, it turns out, was just happy to be eating pizza and sitting in a purple chair. Mike and I were so thrilled to be back in the ‘hood, eating some yummy food, with a happy little Sydney, all while Brodie , Mike and I were catching the London Olympics on the big screen TV’s. Life was GOOD… eating pizza, in a purple restaurant, in the middle of Paris!
We called it an early evening as we knew we had an EXTRA long day ahead of us the following morning. Taking the train to the airport, and watching the Eiffel Tower disappear on the horizon, was just so “bitter sweet”. It was so incredibly “sweet” to have spent the past 7 weeks with the family in Europe, but so “bitter” that 7 weeks ended up going so damn FAST! Wow…. hard to believe we were heading back to Canada in the morning!
We woke up packed and ready to go and made our way to the hotel lounge for breakfast. It was cool to be looking out at the airport runways (and a Concord airplane), as we ate our last breakfast in France.
We caught the hotel shuttle to our terminal, got a luggage cart and packed it full. The airport was so CRAZY busy I almost couldn’t believe it! Walking through to get to the Air Canada check-in was almost close to impossible. The lineups to check in were beyond anything I had ever seen, and thinking to myself I thought we would never be on time for our flight. When we arrived at the Air Canada check-in it was CRAZY! One thing that I can say is that membership “has its privileges”! With the amount that Mike travels through out the year, and the “status” he gains at Air Canada for all that travel…… well we were put through the Super Elite check-in line. Thank you Air Canada….. Thank you! The amount of time it would have taken to get through the other lineup…. it was mind boggling. We made our way to the Air Canada lounge, where the kiddies made themselves quite at home before we needed to go and board our flight for Canada!
It was a full flight back to Canada. The little Miss made it perfectly through the leg from Paris to Toronto with a “GREAT” sleep mid way through the flight, waking up refreshed for the layover in Toronto. I was able to get caught up on a couple of movies during that flight, as well as a bit of a catnap.
Getting through customs was quick and easy. We had a few hours before the flight to Vancouver so we stopped for lunch and I was just so happy to be hooked in to Canadian WiFi with no connection issues!
The flight from YYZ >YVR was painfully long. Not because the kids were tired or cranky (Syd slept again… through the landing into Vancouver, with a seatbelt on and everything!), but because I really now, just wanted to get HOME!
Arriving at YVR, Brodie got THE BEST SURPRISE when his best bud was there to greet him after 7 weeks away! It was so awesome to see these 2 little buddies so excited to see one another… it was AMAZING!
Air Canada lost our car seats (but thank you so much for giving us brand new ones to use!) so it took an extra 45 minutes to get out of the airport and into a cab. Once we were on our way back home, and driving down Granville Street towards Yaletown, I found myself excited to get back to our Vancouver life. I was excited to see our Condo. Excited to look out over the water towards the North Shore mountains. Excited to get back to all that Vancouver had to offer.
We had an AMAZING 7 week family adventure.
There were “amazing times”, and “bad times”. There were “fun times, and “crazy times”. There were, “take your breath away moments”, and there were “I think we should end the trip now and fly back home” moments.
I am so thankful that we got to spend all the amazing, fun, crazy, take your breath away, moments together… as a family. Traveling and exeperiencing Europe for 7 weeks.
We seriously cant wait to do it all again.
Look out Europe….. the Bain Clan will be back….. Summer 2014. Hold on to your hats, because it’s gonna be another EPIC ADVENTURE!
Enjoy your (not so) Daily Dose.
Orléans…. and the “F” twig
More wind farm awesomeness EnRoute to Paris.
Hello LAST TOOL BOOTH
Hey….. Its the Eiffel Tower…. I dont think we are heading to the airport!
This is probably not a good sign….
I adore you…. but we REALLY shouldn’t see you right now!
Boo… Tom Tom has brought us where we REALLY dont want to be right now!
We are finally sorted and where we should be!
Navigating the Paris Metro
Hello Purple Pizza Restaurant!
On to train #2 back to the airport.
Back to the airport
The lIttle Miss
View from the room
Our Luggage for 7 weeks…..
I think we did pretty well… car seats and all!
Charles de Gaulle Airport… sooooo crowded!
Thank you Air Canada…Thank you!
Anything for Brodie… his Favourite! 😉
Canada… here we come
7 weeks goes …… FAST!
Here we go!
Mr Man and the iPad
We are completely addicted to our technology!
You know what?…… Its just not the same…… Missing my french coffee already and we haven’t even hit 33,000 ft!
Canadian Soil…. here we come!
More Airport LOVE!
Our first Canadian sunset in 7 weeks! We LOVE you Vancouver!