Friday, September 16, 2011

France, week 1: Paris

Our first day in Paris was a little rough, I won't lie.  Mainly because we were sooooooo tired.  We took an overnight flight, and got to Paris at about 10:00 am.  Jacob did really well and slept most of the way, but it was still only about 5 hours of sleep.  I think I slept a couple of hours and poor Kevin didn't sleep at all.  But we were determined to stay awake so we wouldn't be completely messed up with time!
So, we took it easy that day.  We took Jacob to the park near our apartment, which was an awesome park in Jardins du Luxembourg.  You actually have to pay to go into the playground in the park, but they had a lot of fun play structures.  Jacob loved it.

Our friends Jon and Julie were also in in Paris at the same time as us, and we were able to meet up with them for dinner the first night at a little cafe.  We all tried frog legs (including Jacob!) and Kevin and Julie tried escargo (snails!) smothered in butter and garlic and had other yummy food.  It was nice to have friends to help us distract Jacob while we ate :)
The first night was kind of rough too.  We were all so exhausted.  Jacob had a meltdown as we were getting him ready for bed, because I think he was just so tired and homesick.  I had a mini meltdown when he went to bed for the same reasons.  Things always seem worse at night though, and the next day I was feeling better and excited for the day.

Jacob has been super clingy to his blanket and stuffed toys since we left NYC.  He is also able to calm down when we read read books to him, so luckily I brought some of his favorites with us.
Our first full day in Paris was nice and relaxing.  We just went with the flow and walked around a lot.  We stopped outside the Louvre (but it was closed so we just took pics outside) and went to Jardin des Tuileries.  We bought a pack of cards called "City walks for Kids: Paris", and they turned out to be awesome!  It had 50 cards with little excursions on them that would be interesting for kids. We basically did those the whole week, and it worked out great for us.

Experimenting with the Nostalgia setting on our camera

The parks here are so fun!  They have a lot of play structures that we used to have in US playgrounds but are mostly gone because they are considered "unsafe" in the US, and they also have carousels everywhere.

Arc de triomphe

Jacob snoozing in front of the Arc de Triomphe

"Bus!!"  He loved pointing out all the buses that drove by, which is what he did back home

That night we got crepes for dinner and ate them in the park (Champs De Mars) right in front of the Eiffel Tower.  It was so pretty at night, and we were there for the twinkling lights which come on every hour.  Jacob thought it was so cool and kept saying "tower!"

"tokkers!"  translation:  Helicopters

The only day I actually did my hair.  I plugged my blow dryer in with my adapter, and without turning it on it blew a fuse.  So my hair went up everyday thereafter.

Crepe complet--delish! (scrambled egg, ham, and cheese)


Whenever we found stairs, we had to stop to let Jacob climb them

We happened to find the LDS church in Paris, which is in a  really cool old building

Centre Pompidou.  This was a really cool museum with a really fun looking escalator.  They also had some interesting fountains right outside.

the escalators at centre pompidou

All the bridges in Paris have locks all over them.  I guess people put them here to "lock their heart" and they write their initials and the date.  I thought it was very cute.
Here is a little glimpse into the apartment we stayed at.  We stayed in someone's rental apartment on Blvd Saint Germain des Pres, which was in a great locations, close to everything.  It was very small, but very efficient!  Everything was from Ikea:)
loft bedroom

the super steep stairs leading to the bathroom

We also found a street just for Jacob.

The Louvre.  I actually found the Louvre to be very overwhelming.  even though it had elevators, you still had to go up stairs everywhere.  And Jacob was not happy unless walking, but of course he was walking all crazy and being loud.  so we didn't last too long. But we did get to see the Mona Lisa and some really neat Italian paintings and Greek sculptures.  And the building itself is gorgeous.

"doggy" makes everything all better

After being inside the museum for so long, we took Jacob to the park to let him burn off some energy.  And yes, we ate McDonalds in Paris.  We needed something quick for him and it was just what he needed:)

Relaxing on the Seine.  This was one of Jacob's favorite things about Paris, sitting on the river and watching all the boats go by.

Another favorite of Jacob--riding the metro.  I guess it reminded him of the subways in New York, and he had a blast.  We took the Metro to Versailles.
The Palace at Versaille was gorgeous, but it was an overwhelming day.  We had to do a lot of walking without our stroller (we had to check our stroller to go into the Palace, and didn't realize we could get it back for walking around the gardens) so we were exhausted by the end.
It is hard to capture how impressive this place is with a camera.

All tuckered-out, looking out onto the gardens.

We loved the Petit Trianon and the Hameau!  This was a little farm area where Marie Antoinette would go to get away.
you can tell how exhausted I am in this picture!

these fish would swarm if you threw in grass!

more fun on the metro

In front of the Pantheon.
For a more relaxing day, we headed to the puppet show in Jardins du Luxembourg.  It was the Three Little Pigs (in French).  Jacob loves going to the marionette theater in NYC, so I thought he would really like this.  And he did!  It was really cute.

The huge gardens were so awesome for Jacob.  We could just let him roam free, which he loved.  It was a nice break for us too!  In many ways we found Paris to be easier with kids than NYC, and one reason was all the great parks and open spaces for kids to play in.

Sainte-Chapelle.  This church had an amazing room full of stained glass windows.  It was gorgeous.

Boat ride on the Seine.  This was a favorite for Jacob too.  He loved going under all of the bridges (he called them "tunnels"), and after coming out from the tunnel, he would say "more!".  It was very entertaining.
saying "more" for more tunnels

Jacob also had crazy hair all week

check out that baby mullet!

This picture just cracks me up.  Jacob couldn't handle the bright sun, so he was making all these weird faces.

We spent a little more time in front of Notre-Dame, because they had a nice big open area for Jacob to run around in.
Paris was a lot of fun.  I have to say though, my favorite part was when we did stuff that the locals would do, just taking Jacob to the park, sitting in the grass eating dinner in front of the Eiffel tower, and walking along the streets to see the cool architecture and shops.  Even though we had Jacob with us, I think it would still take a long time to see everything that Paris has to offer, but I was happy with what we did get to see and experience:) 

Below are a couple of videos--the first one is of Jacob saying "bonjour", the second is the Eiffel Tower at night, and the third is Kevin and Jacob playing in front of Notre Dame.

Now we are in Antibes, in the South of France, so more pics are to come!


eliza said...

way to go, heather! Paris is exhausting, and it looks like Jacob did great. It's one of those things that at the time you think, "why are we here?" But you'll look back and remember all of the great memories! I think Lisa's favourite parts of Europe were just walking around and finding parks too! Also, it must be great that you had so much time there to really experience the city! Have so much fun!

Wiseguys said...

How FUN! Enjoy it! I'm jealous you get to see all those super awesome sights. My international travel record is limited to niagra falls and tijuana Mexico. And now we have WAY too many kids to take with use, even if we wanted to go :)

Sarah said...

SO MUCH FUN! It looks like you guys had a blast in Paris! I'm totally jealous and totally impressed that you did all that with a little guy. Jacob must have been quite the trooper!

Danielle said...

Has Jacob's hair always been that red? I never noticed it was that red before.

So glad you guys had such a good time! You guys are brave to take a big trip like that with Jacob. We want to do a big trip next year, but I think our little guy is staying home.

Michelle said...

What brought you to Paris? I love all of your pictures. Paris is one of my favorite places. That's great that you are there!