This is the final installment on our Paris trip. Phew!
We started off this day with a visit to a Tabac where Paul purchased a folding knife. While it’s not a true Laguiole knife like the ones he’d been looking at all week, it is a serviceable knife that makes a nice souvenir.
While we walked the streets of Paris this week, Paul and the boys came up with a few “good” jokes. Want to hear them?
What does our family have in common with exterminators?
We are both looking for Paris-sites.
Boys, make sure you don’t fall into the river.
Because that would be in-Seine.
Pretty lame, but yet hilariously funny when you are ages 8, 5, and 3!
From the tabac, we meandered towards Ile de la Cite. We passed the famous bookshop Shakespeare and Company.
As we crossed the Seine, we checked out the “love padlocks” that couples attach to Parisian bridges to represent their eternal love.
As we crossed onto Ile de la Cite we saw Notre Dame from a different angle.
Since we never pass up a playground, we spent a few minutes at the little park in the shadow of Notre Dame.
As we walked through Ile de la Cite we saw the Paris Flower Market (which is also the bird market on Sundays) and La Conciergerie.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t great on this day. We had hoped to take a ride on one of the sight-seeing boats on the Seine, but the cold and gray weather stopped us. We’ll just have to save that for our next Paris trip!
We crossed back over the Seine to explore the Marais District.
We passed by Rue Nicholas Flamel which Joey and Tommy thought was great because they were familiar with Flamel from Harry Potter. We also passed by the Hotel de Ville and Place de la Bastille.
We enjoyed window shopping as we wandered through the little streets in the Marais. For a snack, we stopped at L’As du Fallafel and shared what has to be the best falafel sandwich I have ever eaten. Amazingly good.
Because of the weather, we decided to make a short day of it and headed back to our apartment (with a little detour to our local playground).
On our final day in Paris, we took a long stroll on the Champs Elysees. We started at Place de la Concorde and walked all the way to Place de la Porte Maillot near Bois de Boulogne.
We were all impressed with the Arc de Triomphe.
From Porte Maillot, we took the little train that brought us through Bois de Boulogne to the Jardin d’Acclimatation.
The Jardin d’Acclimatation is a great little amusement park, although when we were there it was clearly just waking up from the winter. It was easy to imagine that it would be a really fun place in the heat of summer.
And that was it! The next day we drove back to Calais and took the return ferry to England. We all loved Paris and had a fantastic time.
Some tips for anyone considering a vacation trip like ours:
- Rent an apartment rather than stay at a hotel. Having a place to go back to that was spacious and comfortable was a vacation-saver. We liked to be able to eat some of our meals at the apartment, have a place to do laundry, and generally have a more home-like base. It also allowed us to get more of a feel for what it might be like to live in Paris. The cost can be quite reasonable when you compare to booking a hotel with enough bed space for a family for a week. Try VRBO or HomeAway to find a rental.
- Be realistic about what you can see and do. We didn’t do a lot of museums or dining out in restaurants. It would have been a different vacation entirely if it had been just Paul and me! As a family, we did a lot of walking and contented ourselves with seeing the outside of many of the iconic Parisian landmarks. We tried to mix adult agenda items with kid agenda items. We sometimes armed ourselves with candies to dole out judiciously when we were doing something particularly “boring” (e.g. browsing cooking shops). Every day we built in a stop at a playground. It was fun for the boys and relaxing for everyone. Thankfully, Paris has some lovely parks and playgrounds that we would have wanted to visit anyway.
- Get children’s books about your destination and read them prior to the trip. The boys were really familiar with many of the sights from their books and this made the trip so much more meaningful for them. We were quite impressed with the number of places that they could identify on sight just from having read about them!
- Build in fun vacation routines. For our family, it was Nutella sandwiches and stories on the Metro, baguette sandwiches for lunch, making up silly jokes and songs, and going to a playground every day.
You should write tourist brochures or travel books!!
Thanks, Ann! I think this blog is enough for me. : )