Right Smack in the Middle of Paris!

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.

Xox

B.

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Orléans…. and the “F” twig

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Mr.Man

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More wind farm awesomeness EnRoute to Paris.

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Hello LAST TOOL BOOTH

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Hey….. Its  the Eiffel Tower…. I dont think we are heading to the airport!

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This is probably not a good sign….

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I adore you…. but we REALLY shouldn’t see you right now!

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Nooooooooo………

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Boo… Tom Tom has brought us where we REALLY dont want to be right now!

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We are finally sorted and where we should be!

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Yay….Champs-Élysées

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Navigating the Paris Metro

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Hello Purple Pizza Restaurant!

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On to train #2 back to the airport.

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Back to the airport

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Mr.Man

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The lIttle Miss

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Kiddies

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View from the room

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Breakfast view!

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Our Luggage for 7 weeks…..

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I think we did pretty well… car seats and all!

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Charles de Gaulle Airport… sooooo crowded!

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Thank you Air Canada…Thank you!

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Airport LOVE!

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Mr. Man

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Anything for Brodie… his Favourite!  😉

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Our Plane

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Waiting

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Canada… here we come

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7 weeks goes …… FAST!

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My Loves!

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Here we go!

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Mr Man and the iPad

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We are completely addicted to our technology!

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You know what?…… Its just not the same…… Missing my french coffee already and we haven’t even hit 33,000 ft!

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Canadian Soil…. here we come!

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More Airport LOVE!

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Yes indeed!

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Our first Canadian sunset in 7 weeks!  We LOVE you Vancouver!

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….. and we were in PARIS!

Paris Days 8-10

With week one and the majority of sights to be seen – seen, week 2 in Paris was about just living day to day in our “regular life“ routine.  There was no real plan of things we had to do or see.

On the Monday we decided to head to the oldest Zoo in Paris at the Jardine des Plantes.  Both Brodie and Sydney have been infatuated with Zoos’ ever since Heidelberg and I thought it would be a great outing for the 3 of us. We made our way to the stop on the metro, but got a bit turned around once we surfaced, however we finally made our way. It was pretty hot and humid that day so Syd fell asleep in the stroller, while Brodie and I toured around looking at all the animals, and since the zoo had Orangutans, Brodie was especially happy!  We made our way to the reptile area of the zoo, Syd woke up and was excited to see the turtles and the crocodiles. When it was time to continue on our way, we made our way to the metro for only 2 stops since the person I asked for walking directions gave me a real funny look and said it was much too far to walk to  Île Saint-Louis and Berthillon Ice cream.

Sooooo …… Berthillon ice cream was closed by the time we got there, however….. all the shops on the Island sell their ice cream, so the kiddies were none the wiser, all while eating their cones of delicious Berthillon ice cream! Syd had her usual daily meltdown over nothing, in the most unusual place, and this one was on the Ponte Marie as we were leaving the island bound for the metro…. sigh!

Tuesday we decided to hop the Metro to Jardin d`Acclamition.  It is a kids amusement park that has been open since October 1860……. craziness, right…. anyway the kids and I had a blast! There are all these different play areas. some with just crazy swings, some with just an entire rope fort, and rope bridges (Brodie got his first rope burn when another little boy “bounced” him off the rope bridge).  Our favourite part of the park was the Enchanted River ride – it is a man made river and big wooden boats, that take you along the cutest little route, with stone crocadiles and alligators. Syd was scared of the “covered mist”, but it sure felt great in the heat! There was also the most awesome horse racing ride with carousel sized horses that went bouncing along a railing. So. Much. Fun. Seriously!

There was also a small train that went through the park and dropped off close to the metro station. The kids and I loved this. We spent longer in the park than I thought we would, so we hit rush hour on the M1 line back to our stop at the Charles de Galle -Etoille. It was crazy busy, we even waited for 2 trains just to see if it was going to get any “less busy”.  On the third train I decided we just needed to squish our way in…… 2 kids, myself and a folded up double Maclaren stroller.  I had 2 guys that were so awesome helping hold the stroller while I held on to Syd, Brodie, and the pole so I didn’t go flying.! It was super stressful but we made it to our stop.

The weather was mixed on the Wednesday, the kids were tired so I thought it would be good to walk to the Disney store on the Champs de Elysees, and then it would be onwards to Les Halles park which I read was THE MOST AMAZING PARK for kids. The store had the greatest Spiderman display, and it was on Brodies must go and see list, since he saw it from Les Cars Rouge the week before.  We got to the store and it was Spiderman from top to bottom – Brodie was in heaven! “Can I get this….. no…… how about this…… no, no maybe this”. Brodie settled on a set of Spiderman PJ’s and has worn them just about everyday since!

Both kids were tired so I decided I would walk to Les Halles park and let them snooze in the stroller. I knew it would be a long walk and was prepared for it since they both needed sleep.  It really WAS a long walk…… at one point I thought I must have missed the Rue de Louvre. I finally found my way to Les Halles, after an hour and a half, of pushing a double stroller, with 2 kids asleep, and mostly on cobblestones, in the 25+ degree weather – just to find out the park was under a major renovation, and had been since 2010. I now had 2 well rested kiddies that wanted to run and play, and no park to do it in!

All was not lost for me this day…. upon finding Les Halles was closed I found a cafe for an afternoon coffee with the kiddies that was right across the street from the only store I wanted to shop in in Paris……… E. Dehillerin.  A cook shop that 12 years earlier I bought my first and only copper pot.  It is the oldest cook shop in Paris, and it was on my list to add more copper pots to my collection.  We made our way to the store, and I knew the pots I wanted to buy, so that part was pretty easy…… getting our purchases paid for, (wow…… a whole lot of paperwork) and “wrapped” on the “wooden table”, well that was a whole other process.  Now I probably would have loved this whole process if I didn’t have 2 kids that just slept and needed to run!  It was a painful 25 minutes, trying to keep the kids interested (and under control) while we finished the purchase of the pots!

We left the store with the intent of getting on the metro, and going to a little park that was near our apartment. The Les Halles metro station is CRAZY (once you finally make your way through the underground mall). We were going to hop on our regular M1 line but with the experience of  rush hour the day before, fresh in my mind, I decided we would take the RER line. The RER line is only  2 stops to our Charles de Gaulle – Etoile stop, and is less crowded. All was going well…… the train arrived, tons of room, and was super fast being it was only 2 stops. We were making some good time – well that is until we needed to exit! We were doing fine…. following all the Sortie signs, when all the signs just stopped, and there were more pay stations that we needed tickets for. The other problems was having to get the stroller through, all while keeping the kids together and in control.  All that precious time we made up on the train, we lost trying to get out of the station and back to street level.

After all that I was finally at the end…. it was almost 5, the little park that the kids now wanted to go to was another 20 minute walk, and I just didn’t have it in me after trying to get out of the station. The kids were disappointed, but didn’t put up much of a fight, and home we went.

This was probably my only real “off day” in Paris, but looking back on the day, Brodie got to see his Spiderman display and he picked up some pretty awesome PJ’s that he loves.  I bought two new copper pots that I love and cant wait to cook in……. and we were in PARIS! Life is good!

 

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

I would never tire of seeing this every morning!

At La Menagerie at Jardine des Plantes

The kiddies FAVORITE at the zoo!

Second stop for the day.

Someone is enjoying their Berthillon Ice cream!

 

Jardin d`Acclamition

 

Awesome “hammock swing”

 

rides rides …… everywhere we go!

 

Rope Fort for ages 6+….. she must be advanced   😉

 

Spiderman has joined us on our adventure (before the rope burn)

 

Oh yeah….. advanced for sure!  😉

 

the kids parks totally rock in Paris!

 

Look…… its SPIDERMAN!

 

Hello FAVORITE store in Paris!

After the gong show in the underground!