Peacocks, Rainbows and Our Next Ride

Paris Days 11-12

After the craziness that was Les Halles disaster I decided we would keep the day simple.  We would shop at our local street market (thanks for finding it Mike) on Rue Poncelet, for our dinner fixings, have lunch at the apartment with the kiddies, and then head to the little park that was 20 minute walk for an afternoon play.

We hit the Rue Poncelet market early and my eyes were bigger than my stomach – the food was so fresh, looked amazing and the atmosphere of walking around was honestly just the best. The kids enjoyed themselves looking at all the food. Brodie wanted the strawberries, and the cherry tomatoes. Now I’m not sure what it is about Europe and tomatoes, but they taste soooooo much better on European soil!  We made our way back to the apartment with everything we needed for dinner (and then some), and made lunch.

The weather was mixed, so after lunch we packed up the stroller (rain cover and all), and made our way to pick up a treat of Pierre Hermes Chocolate Macaroons, and make our way to the kids park. The macaroons didn’t make it as far as the park!

There always seems to be some type of apartment or road construction with every turn you take in Paris. I decided to take a detour to the park which had Brodie quite concerned that we wouldn’t find our way.  I love walking the side streets in Paris…. all the buildings are so AMAZING, with crazy beautiful detail, with gorgeous huge windows with shutters – I love it!

We finally turned the corner to the park where Brodie made fast friends with a boy about his age, with Syd tagging along in stride for stride.  When we first thought of doing this big trip, I pictured myself sitting at the park enjoying my time with the kiddies, meeting new people, and trying to have a conversation with the little french I know. Well, sadly, this was not the case. Each park bench had one woman sitting on it watching the kids play. No adults wanted to talk with each other. This is so different from what I am used to in Vancouver, where I pretty much chit chat with the moms/dads that are at the park  with their kids. I love watching kids hang together and play……. even with a language barrier, they find a way, and its awesome to see.

The kiddies had an amazing couple of hours of tag, spiderman climbing, and tons of sliding, with their new ‘friends’. The rain clouds rolled in, so the kids hopped in the stroller, the rain cover was engaged, and we made the trek back to our apartment.

Friday was our last ‘full day’ in Paris……. (nooooooooo!) So another trip to Jardine d’Acclimatation for the day was planned, and then we were going to go and meet Mike at the SAP office, and head out for dinner.

The weather didn’t look as great as the previous trip, so we decided to pack our jackets and go ‘stroller-less’ for the day, since we didn’t want a repeat of a rush hour train ride with a stroller. We hopped on the metro, but once again, we got turned around at street level.  I don’t think the trains are the hard part of the Metro….. its figuring out where you`re going to pop up once you hit street level and knowing your way from there. That definitely seems to be the hard part.

We did find our way with Brodie asking “Mom do you know where you’re going?”  “maybe we should go this way”, “maybe its over there”.  We took the little train into the park, and immediately hopped on the Enchanted River Ride. Syd was not so impressed, since I think she was a bit scared of the mist, but she got over it once the ride was over and she was looking in all the distortion mirrors. Now, the best ride of all was the horse racing ride. We only got to go on it once since the rain started to fall when we were in line for our second ride, but it was a super cool ride – the kids loved it, and Syd loved that she was chasing Brodie.

The rain in Paris is different than in Vancouver. Since there are no mountains for the clouds to get stuck on and socked in, it generally passes pretty quickly. So when it started to rain, the three of us parked under a tree to let it pass and stay dry. After about 5 minutes the sun was peaking out between the clouds and we were on the hunt for peacocks, rainbows, and our next ride. Brodie wanted to hit the trampolines, so away we went to that part of the park. An interesting thing I am noticing about Paris (and maybe France), is that there are TRAMPOLINES in almost every park we have been in, with kids bouncing away.  There was a lineup, so Brodie decided his last ride would be the horse race ride, if it was back up and running since the rain, or the river ride. With the black clouds building, we ended up back on the river ride, which in turn made us miss the little train out of the park and back to the metro. Now we were running late getting to Mikes office, and the start to our last evening in Paris.

Getting off the Metro at our regular stop, the rain started. Big, huge, massive rain drops that started slowly. We made our way to a tree which had about 6 people under it to stay dry and wait out the rain, before continuing on our way.  After about a minute the rain really started to come down. Rain like I haven’t seen in ALONG time! The skies opened and it was dumping buckets of rain. We waited another couple of minutes but by this time Syd was shivering, and we were all starting to get really wet. There was RIVERS of water flowing down the street, and it was raining even harder. I could barely hear Brodie talking over the sound the rain was making. We decided to make a run for it to the apartment. We were gonna get soaked but it was better than shivering under a tree that was no longer keeping us dry. The kiddies seemed scared at first till we started running and laughing through the rain, racing from building to building. We were soaked and people were looking at us like we were crazy….. it was awesome!  We got to the apartment, every inch of us drenched, the kids hopped in a warm shower and we awaited Mike to come home.

Our last night in Paris was not what it should have been. Syd should of had a nap (mistake #1) and we ended up at a restaurant out of our neighborhood (mistake #2).

Syd had a meltdown of EPIC proportions, so we ended up back at the apartment after a rushed meal that wasn’t great. Uuuuggghhhh! I felt bad for Brodie since it was his last night in Paris too, so I sent Mike and Brodie out, while I hung with the crabby little Miss. Brodie ended up taking Mike on his own little tour of the Arc de Triomphe. That was sweet.

It wasn’t really how our last night in Paris was suppose to be, but it looks like we may have a ‘do over’ since we have to return the rental car to our old ‘hood.  This time Syd is gonna have an EPIC nap before we go!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Our market on  Rue Poncelet

Our new Favorite!

M1 Metro line – La Defense

Little train to the park

Enchanted River

the covered mist

funny mirrors

One of the many peacocks walking around the park

 

Awesome horse race ride

 

Giddy up!

Crazy Paris rain storm

Hiding under a tree near our metro stop

The Family in the window

Our fabulous apartment

Our front step

 

Turn Left at the Noodle Panda

Days 1-3 in Paris

On June 24th we left La Defense, drove through the rain, and found our little side street off the Av. Mac-Mahon, in the 17th adr. in Paris.  It is about 3 blocks from the Arc de Triomphe, and the entrance to the Metro.  Our official address in Paris is 04, rue de l’Arc de Triomphe. It is the cutest little apartment on an awesome little street with great shopping and little cafes all around us.  We are so close to everything we need…… and almost everything we need is at the Monoprix.  The Monoprix is a small version of a Superstore, and you can find groceries, wine, clothing, and everything else in between. It has taken me a little bit to get used to shopping everyday for groceries.  Our fridge is so small that we make a trip to the Monoprix almost every morning….. it has become part of our daily ‘Parisien’ routine.

Waking up in our new ‘home’ was amazing. It was my first full day in Paris, with just the kiddies as Mike was off to work.  I decided to keep it low key so I could ease myself into Paris.  First thing – we HAD to hit the Monoprix. Since everything is closed on Sunday (thanks Valeria for the heads up on the crazy shopping hours – though I still wasn’t prepared), we had nothing….. no food, no clothes soap, and NO WINE! Once we got back to our home, and I made the kiddies lunch, we headed out to walk the Av. des Champs Elysees in  search of the ‘Wheel of Paris” .  Both kiddies fell asleep in the stroller and I stopped at a Cafe for some much needed caffeine.  We ended up at an amusement park off the Rue de Rivoli, beside the Jardin des Tuileries.  It was here that I heard someone call out my name.  It’s weird to hear your name called out when you least expect it…… and to say I least expected it in Paris is an understatement!  The person calling out was one of my old chefs from Vancouver…… Mr. Claudio P. It was fitting that it was Claudio, because I ALWAYS seem to run into him in the most unexpected places and times….. Paris so far takes the cake on unexpected places!  The kiddies and I had a great day riding rides and the Wheel of Paris topped the day off!

To say that Brodie has been an amazing trooper during our sight seeing adventure would be an understatement. On our second day in the neighbourhood we decided to go and see the Arc de Triomphe. We walked all around the bottom, watched the cars drive by, and admired the burial site of the unknown soldier.  Syd was especially interested by the fire that was burning there, and didn’t want to leave the site.  We then bought our tickets to the top and when we went to walk up the 284 stairs to the top, we were offered to take the elevator. Brodie said “no thank you, I want to walk up”….. and with that we were off. Syd got the best end of the deal as I carried her until the last 10 steps, when she said she wanted to walk.  Both kids loved the views….. Syd was most interested in the Eiffel tower view, and Brodie was super interested in the La Defence view, and I was just so happy to be in that exact moment, soaking it all up with my kiddies…..mini Syd meltdown on the top of the Arc and all!

On our third day we decided to buy a 2 day pass on the sight seeing buses ‘Les Cars Rouge’.  The first day was great. We got off at the Palais de Chaillot and the Jardins du Trocadero, to admire the Eiffel Tower and have a quick snack on the lawn under a tree.  We then hopped back on our ‘le cars rouge’ and got off at the stop for the Notre Dame Cathedral.  It was hot, humid and the kiddies were tired.  The lineup to get into the cathedral moved very quickly. We lit a candle for my Oma, walked around and admired the stained glass windows. Syd needed a bathroom break, I needed a coffee and Brodie proclaimed he was hungry, so we left the cathedral, and found a great little pizza place for lunch.  Once we were recharged it was time to hit the cathedral, climb some stairs, and go visit the gargoyles atop the Notre Dame.  I walked around the side and couldnt see a line up for the top. There was a sign that you needed a ticket past that point but couldnt find out where that was.  I asked the guy letting people up the stairs of the proceedure and he informed me it was about an hour wait to get a ticket then about another 45 minutes after that. I said “Oh….. OK”  and while carrying Syd, I looked at Brodie and was going to tell him that we were gonna have to come back another day, when the guy asked if it was just the 3 of us. I said yes and he opened the rope and told us to have a good climb!  It was the nicest thing EVER….. I could have hugged him! He saved us 2 hours in line, and I didn’t have to disappoint Brodie.

The top of the Notre Dame gives some great views of Paris.  Both kiddies loved the gargoyles. Syds favourite was the elephant, when you looked down the centre along the  back side of the Cathedral.  At the very top, it was Brodies turn for a mini meltdown.  All those stairs finally took its toll on the little man, and I wasn’t sure we would ever make our way down.  I am happy to say we eventually did and it didn’t take as long as I thought it would.  After a full day we finally made our way back to the Arc de Triomphe and Av. Mac-Mahon.

On our first day walking down Av. Mac-Mahon from the Metro, I got a bit confused on where we were to turn to get to our street. When we came upon the Noodle Panda I remembered that that was were we were to turn, and proclaimed “oh yeah….. we turn left at the Noodle Panda”. This has now become our catch phrase every day as we head ‘home’ from the Metro. Both kiddes, usually laughing say “there’s the Noodle Panda – turn left”.

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Love our ‘Home’ for 2 weeks.

our awesome red door – love the door handle!

Hallway leading to the street

 

Wheel of Paris

View from the Wheel of Paris

 

view from the Wheel of Paris

Batman car at the amusement park

In the neighborhood at l’Arc de Triomphe

The Princess and her tower (dental floss and all)

I have felt like this on more than one occasion so far in Paris

La Defense and the Grande Arch in the distance

Hopped ‘off’ Les Cars Rouge. Photo compliments of Brodie!

Hopped ‘on’ Les Cars Rouge for a quick drive by.

Remember to turn left at the Noodle Panda

It was my Intent. Never fully trust a Tomtom, and its all about La Defense!

It was my intent to do a post a day.

When I originally thought of the name for the blog I really did picture myself giving a “daily dose” to family, friends, and anyone else that was interested, on all that the Bain Clan was up to in Europe.  I had visions of myself tucking the kiddies in bed, pouring a nice glass of wine, and chilling out on the computer recapping our daily adventure……. that obviously is not happening! So….. so much for the daily dose!

With that said, and after 5 days in Paris, the recap of our drive from Heidelberg to our hotel at La Defense in Paris will begin!

As we got in the car at Heidelberg to drive to Paris, Mike plugged our destination into the tomtom app on his iPhone, and with Darth Vaders voice directing us we were off to start our adventure in the City of Light. I did think it was strange that the drive back to Paris was going to take us almost 2 hours longer than it did to get to Heidelberg, so Mike reprogrammed the tomtom, told it we wanted to take toll roads and we were once again on our way.  After about an hour and not having taken a ticket to pay a toll I wasnt convinced that we were on the quickest road.  My suspision was confirmed while listening to the tomtoms’ directions we turned away from the only sign for Paris that I saw and we were headed to Luxembourg. After a quick stop in Luxembourg, and a couple more hours on the road, we eventually found a toll road, and, disobeying Darths warning we FINALLY took a toll ticket.

In Vancouver I registered online to run a 10km running race on June 24th, so as we were driving through Paris we decided to pick up my race pack….. located on the round about at the Bastille.  Darth directed us there perfectly so my faith was restored in the awesome navigation app on Mikes iPhone. We managed to find “parking” on the round about, I found my ID and had Mike forge my doctors certificate saying I was fit to run the race, and with fingers crossed that all would run smoothly, I was off to get my race package.  It all went well, (although I think they suspected the Doctors certificate was bogus), and I was back in the car with race package in hand in about 15 minutes. We were now off to the hotel at La Defense, in rush hour, in the middle of Paris. Over 6 hours in the car, with a couple of key stops and the kiddies were holding up quite well.  The traffic was crazy…… it was Saturday night, and everyone was out and about on the Avenue des Champs Elysees.

Driving under l’Arc de Triomphe, we actually made it to La Defense in good time and with out any navigation problems – that is until we were “actually in” La Defense!  To say that we drove in a circle for 90 minutes would not be an understatement, it may have even been longer. With Darth telling us to ‘turn left’ when either the road was blocked, or where there was no road, we just kept ending up on this crazy circle, that would either take us back to Paris, or one of the out lying areas.  There are no signs to any hotels….. ANYWHERE!  We finally saw a Pullman hotel, pulled in, and asked directions.  They told Mike that the hotel was ‘right up those stairs’, and gave us directions once again…. ‘its simple, just go back out to the circle, exit right and it cant be missed!’.

……. we still couldn’t find it, and after all those hours in the car, little Syd had, finally had it as well!  Tempers were short, and I could no longer see the humour in the craziness we were in. I was ready to throw Darth and the Tomtom out the window.  I had had enough of “you have reached your destiantion…. the Emperor awaits”.  We FINALLY found the Pullman hotel agian and decided to park the car and walk up the stairs to find our hotel.  It was a bit of a hike to get to the Hilton (it wasn’t just up those stairs), but once there, Mike had the bellman walk back to the car with him and had the bellman drive our car to the hotel. And just so you know how hard it is to find your way in La Defense….. the bellman got lost driving ‘our car’, to ‘his hotel’ as well!

I had my race on Sunday morning, 10am. I’m pretty sure Le Equipe 10km is the Paris version of the Vancouver Sun Run.  I got directions to the start line from the hotel. I was to take the RER A train to the Gare de Lyon stop which I was told was a shot walk to the Bastille.  On the train I saw another person with a race number and I am so glad I did!  Once I got off the train it was a maze of exits, that would take you to all different points on street level. I followed my “guide” in “stealth mode”. It was a good thing he was wearing a red race shirt or I would have lost him a number of times!

It was great race weather, overcast with a breeze.  The rain started about 5km in, but I didn’t care as I was running on the streets of PARIS!  I think I finished in 1:03, which is no PB, but since I was stopping to take photos with my iPhone I’m pretty happy with the result!  Nothing beats running on the streets of Paris!

La Defense….. a beautiful, and Uber modern area of Paris.  The kids and I are heading there today….. by the METRO!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Paris here we come!

Race package pickup

The Bastille – race start

Entrance to the train/metro station at La Defense

On the RER A Line

The guy in red….. my unknowing “guide” to the race start. Thanks guy in red!

Not a bad place to start a race!

Start line street

Along the race route….. some random building……love it!

The result of so many racers!

Beauty at a street market

Our neighborhood for the 2 weeks in Paris

Hallway out of the building

4 rue l’Arc de Triomphe 75017 Paris

Love living in Paris!