Thursday, July 13, 2017

Making an 11 Year Old's Dream Come True

Genevieve wanted a trip to Paris for her birthday.  It's a four and a half hour drive away.  Kein problem, meine Liebe.  No problem, my dear.  She has always held Paris dear to her heart because St. Genevieve is the patron saint of Paris.  The only time I've ever been to Paris was with only Brian and baby Isaac before his year that he had to go to work in another country.  

We drove and found a place that would hold us all and had a parking spot right outside of Paris.  It was a 16 minute walk to the metro and about a 20 minute ride into most places we went in Paris.  Not as close as I would have preferred, but we had the parking to think of and we were going during a peak travel season as well.

Friday night we drove in and were settled in our place pretty late.  The first full day was a long one, and we got started pretty early to make it to Mass at Sacre Cour.  

Sacre Cour is in the distance right between the trees and the carousel.  
It was raining and although I had brought rain coats for all the kids, I don't really have a raincoat with a hood and I hadn't planned well for my shoes.  I had soft loafer type shoes that were soaked through pretty much as soon as we got off the metro.  I bought a cheap raincoat with a hood for myself, but the shoes just had to be dealt with.

This is some stranger who got in the way of my photo.  Umbrellas are not really our thing.  It's too much to carry, let alone hold while holding hands with kids.

Poor Isaac couldn't fit his cast through his sweater or rain jacket.  He looked like he only had one arm.  We had to zip his sweater up so it wouldn't fall off of him.  

The church is on a big hill which means many stairs to walk up.  We were fresh, so it was no big deal.  We had some time before Mass to look around the church.  This is a fairly new church as far as European churches go.  The mosaic behind the altar was beautiful, but the rest was just so so.  The crypt was closed due to the recent terrorist attacks.

Somebody was happy to be out of the Ergo and walk around the church before Mass.

You can kind of see the mosaic on the arched ceiling.
We were all starving for lunch by the time we got out of the church and back down all the stairs.  The original plan was to go to this old fresh air market to grab food for a quick lunch, in order to get over to the Eiffel Tower as early as possible.  However, the street was empty.  I guess my intel was incorrect about the market being every day.  We found this small waffle place instead.

It was amazing...Belgian waffles, crispy on the outside and stuffed with thin chocolate bars on the soft inside.  Some had whipped cream and Speculoos sprinkled on top.  Speculoos is like gingerbread, but in this case all crumbled up into a powder.

A couple of short metro rides away and we were at the Eiffel Tower.  Judah called it the Awful Tire for a good while, but by the end of the trip was pronouncing it the correct way.  Bobby now thinks every metal tower we pass, be it a phone tower or and electric pole, is another Eiffel Tower and he asks to go up it.

Drew had brought our mini Eiffel Tower from our Wonders of the World tube.  He carried it all over and I was so surprised to see that he still had it by the time we came down from the Eiffel Tower and told him how impressed I was that he kept up with it all that time.  Moments later he couldn't find it.  That is what he is holding in the following picture.  We bought 5 Eiffel Tower key chains for 1 Euro anyway for the kids.  Cheapest souvenir ever!

My Genevieve was happy!

Yep, Daddio walked the steps to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower with that heavy hunk of cuteness on his back.

Genna is marveling before we approach the tower.

I got the easy end of the deal and carried this lighter hunk of cuteness up the tower steps.
I was a little nervous about walking up the 704 steps to the second floor thinking we wouldn't all make it up and you can't just stop in the middle forever.  The line to get tickets up the elevator though was quite lengthy.  Then you had to wait in another line at the second floor for the tickets to go to the top of the tower.  It made more sense to walk the steps, not even mentioning how much cheaper it was for us.
First Floor View

The first floor had bathrooms and a weird set of toys for the kids to play on.  These two love to make silly faces for the camera.
After our pit stop we got back to work on the steps.  Bob and I stopped for an attempt at a selfie in front of the Seine River.

Second Floor View

Hannah ended up staying with me and Bob while the rest of the crew went up to the very top of the tower.  She had been planning to go, but she changed her mind.  We got snacks and a drink from the second floor coffee shop while we waited for the rest to return.

The kids thought these glass floor spots were super cool.  We got the best pictures of the trip on them because the kids were so deliriously happy.  Most of our group pics end up with at least one person not looking or frowning because they are pouting about something.

I guess the eye closing during pictures is just a fact of life.
Heading back down.  Down was worse, long term, on my legs.  My calves were sore and I felt like I had shin splints for about a week after this.

Last thing on the list for the day, besides dinner, was a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe.  This arch was started by Napoleon and finished after his death.  He promised his troops they would march back into France under a triumphal arch after a big victory.  Since passing Napoleon's remains under this arch when they moved him to his current resting place in the Hotel des Invalides, the Arc has been a place for funerals and eventually an unknown soldier was buried there.  The tomb of the unknown soldier is the reason for the daily ceremony of the lighting of the eternal flame each evening.

Another group picture fail. :(

As it sometimes goes with small children on a long day of a trip, we didn't get to finish watching the ceremony due to nature calling for a certain curly headed boy.  The Arc de Triomphe is in the middle of a traffic circle and you have to go underground to get to it, so it was too long of a walk to go back and forth as this point in the day.  We abandoned ship and went to take him potty and find a restaurant for dinner.  The restaurant was a bit of a failure, but we were tired and hungry and didn't care much by that time.  It was another late night with kids all in bed around 10pm again with an even earlier start for the next day ahead of us.

No comments: