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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OPV-8

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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Wow – I Actually Just Typed That

Paris days 4-7

So after over a month of hyping up the Egypitian artifacts at the Musse de Louve, I had to dissapoint my little man.  We woke up on Thusday SUPER excited to see all that the egyptian artifacts, but by the time we arrived at the museum the line was HUGE! I honestly didnt think it was worth a 2+hour wait for both kids, in 25 degree C (plus humidity),  just for what could actually be a big only 5 minutes of fun for the little man! I talked with Brodie, and he didnt seem to mind too much, so off to the fountain to float boats we went. I had heard that this was SO MUCH FUN for kids….. well maybe for all of 5 minutes. I totally understood when he said he wanted to return his “pushing the boat stick“. Upon returning the stick the guy said we could come back, free of charge, since we didnt use our full time. This was a really nice gesture on his part…….but the whole ‘boat in the fountain thing’… well……. it was REALLY  boring.  We ended up back at the amusement park with the Wheel of Paris off the Rue de Rivoli and had a great day, naps in the double stroller were involved, and we caught the metro (M1 La Defense) home.

On Friday morning I woke up to receive some sad news about my Oma…… but also to the event that the little lady was turning 3 in Paris. Seriously…… who is lucky enough to turn 3 in Paris! Mike says  ‘all the kids that live here’ (sometimes…… seriously…… he is just too damn logical). Syd REALLY wanted McDonalds for her birthday, so I thought a trip on the Metro to La Defense was in order.  The McDonalds in France is CRAZY.  Not only is it super busy but it is SUPER AWESOME…… Wow….. I cant actually believe I just typed those words. Chef friends…… go easy on me for this one…. remember I have two kids under the age of 6 with me!

Yes…. it was CRAZY busy, but, they had automated machines that you could ‘pre-order and pay for’ (which we did) and then hit a totally differnt line up to pick up your food. Now this is not where the awesomeness ends (still cant believe I am saying this), but they have a ‘salad bar’ which you can order from and build your own salad.  The McCafe, which I am sure equals most places on a quick coffee also offered pain au chocolate, macaroons, and other pastry sweets – seriously….. they looked great!  I ordered a McWrap that was lettuce tomatoes and goat cheese. When I opened the package I was seroiusly happy with what I saw….. the tortilla wasnt this pasty white crap they serve in Canada. There was some real substance, with the nice green leaf lettuce and tomato slices…… hahahahaha…… I  still cant believe I’m writing this about McDonalds – seriously ……. shoot me now!  The little lady turned 3 and was most happy with her birthday lunch……hahahahaha……as was I!

Syd has been so excited by the Eiffel Tower ever since I received a tiny photo magnet  in my stocking from Santa at Christmas. She would randomly talk about the tower and climbing it, going to the center, and to the top. Well we took her to the tower on Friday night to continue celebrating her 3rd birthday.  It was a beautiful warm night in Paris…. and it was a perfect night to climb the tower! We couldnt actually go all the way to the top since one of the elevators was broken and you needed to make a reservation months and months in advance just to get a ticket, so we walked up to the first and second levels, and admired all the views.  We ended up on one of the side streets near the tower for a  birthday celebration dinner and Syd was on cue with her nightly meltdown over absolutely nothing….. sigh!

On Saturday we made our way to Versailles by Metro and RER train.  Me, now being the new“expert“ on navigating the metro and trains, picked our route.  Just when you think you have something down, and you totally understand how it works, you realize that you really are just a visitor to the city and you dont quite know all the ins and outs of the metro system! Well my mistake cost us about 40 EXTRA travel minutes (damn)…. and when they speciffically paint yellow feet  on the pavement saying `shorter trains this way`….. follow those yellow feet… your train is most likely gonna be a `shorter train` and then you wont get caught in the doors are you are lifting the stroller on board (ouch)!

Versailles was so, so busy, but was  breath taking to see in person… unbelieveable actually! I managed to get caught up in another line that I DIDN’T need to be in….. sigh, but thank goodness it was only about 35 min, but unfourtunatlly more time was lost! We finally found our way to the gardens and walked around the whole afternoon admiring the fountains, statues, taking in all the beauty.  We caught a late afternoon snack in the sunshine, before blindly jumping on a train we hoped we were bound for Paris! Our guess paid off and we made it back to our little home in the big city!

The weekend was going to be Mikes only weekend off in Paris with the kiddies so we headed to Trocadero Fountains (euro 2012 fansite – so no fountains for us) for the view of the Eiffel tower. The aquarium is right in the same park so we decided to go as Brodie was super excited to see the sharks swimming around. After the aquarium, Syd finally got her ride on the Carousel of Paris. It is the double decker carousel near the base of the Fountains-Fansite and an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower.  The carousel was so beautiful and every detail was amazing.

We ended our day riding the Batobus floating along the Seine. It is a hop on hop off boat tour along the Seine that stops near 8 major city attractions. We hopped off at the Notre Dame Cathedral for a late afternoon snack, before hopping back on, and finishing our ride past some of the most amazing and iconic architecture and monuments in the world.

It was just another day in Paris…… sigh. I LOVE PARIS!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Outside the Musee de Louve

Happy BIrthday Little Lady

Our favorite metro line….. the M1

The Grand Arch – La Defense

At the Golden Arch for lunch – La Defense

Automated Order lines

Look who is turning 3

The Metor ride `home`

 

 

The Birthday princess walking down `her` tower

Birthday girl with her `macaroon `birthday cake!

 

Train to Versailles

our shorter train

 

 

 

 

 

A nice spot for an afternoon snack

Syd is LOVING her Pomme Frittes

The end of a busy weekend