Monday, July 25, 2011

European Vacation....Fourth Stop...Paris

Paris was our longest stop, so be prepared...5 nights and we had a great time! On Friday we left Caen and arrived in Paris. This was our latest train ride and our earliest check-ins so we headed right to the apartment. It was awesome! We we close to a HUGE grocery store, not as common in Europe, and we made full use of it! There was a bottle of wine to enjoy as we arrived and unpacked, little man took a nap, Kristi, Rick, Bryan, and Skylar went to the Carrefour, while Jordyn and I held down the fort! As soon as we were settled, we decided to set our for the Eiffel Tower. Skylar needed to see this to believe we were in Paris! It was huge and beautiful...we were here! We waited in a line to go to the first deck and a line to go to the top and a line to come down...absolutely beautiful sights and absolutely worth it! We found a great restaurant and some souvenir shops nearby before heading back late enough to see the Eiffel Tower lit up! Again, it does not get dark very early in Paris so this would be our only view of the city with lights.

On Saturday, day 2 in Paris, we set out to find the bus tour! We decided to catch it near the Notre Dame (the famous one this time!) When we arrived, the cathedral had just opened and the line was forever! We were anxious to start our day and decided to skip the inside for now. We jumped on the bus and were a bit disappointed with the tour, it was recorded and a little off in timing so we weren't really sure what we were seeing but we saw lots! As we got to the Arc d' Triumph, we were all a little cold, hungry and stir crazy so we decided we would get off here and take a break! It was also a little chilly in Caen and we all discovered there were going to be lots of pictures in the few warm things each of us if it seems like we are wearing all the same clothes in Caen, Paris, and Amsterdam...we did, at least on the cold rainy days! After lunch we walked to the Arc d' Triumph and took the stairs up...285 stairs to be exact! Bryan did them with Zander in the backpack and caused many people to do a double take...Beautiful views and 285 stairs down! After the Arc, we walked over toward the Louvre, we planned to go the next day and wanted to check it out! We took some pictures by the fountains and found another cafe for some wine and cheese...ok, Kristi and I had wine and cheese, the girls dessert, and the guys enjoyed some beer! We then headed back to our place and made a delicious dinner!

Sunday, Day 3 in Paris, started a bit earlier and we headed to the Louvre! Kristi was our tour guide for the day and we hit all the famous pieces of art per her book. The sculpture gardens were my favorite and we stopped there to feed Zander. We continued on through Napoleon's Apartments and made our way to the Mona Lisa. I couldn't believe how many people were in the room to see it! CRAZY! After the Louvre, the girls did a little shopping and Zander had his first melt down of the trip...poor little man was so tired! He took a nap in the mall while we continued to shop then we all headed to the wax museum. Bryan took us on the scenic route to get to the wax museum but we made it eventually and the girls loved it! They took tons of pictures! Afterward we had a drink at Hard Rock Cafe and headed to the boat tour of the Seine. We had dinner close to our apartment, delicious pizza!

On Monday, our 4th day in Paris, we headed to the sewers. We had done an underground tour that was awesome in Edinborough and Bryan wanted to try it out in Paris. Not quite the was a working sewer, with smells and all! Afterward, we walked along the Seine and were slowly headed to the Opera House. The outside of the Opera was beautiful and we missed the only English tour of the day inside so we couldn't go through. We then thought we would head to one more museum, the Museum d'Orsee but on our way discovered it was closed on Mondays. We ended in Concorde Park at an outdoor cafe enjoying some wine, beer, and ice cream. We headed back to the apartment for some tacos and to relax a bit.

Our last day in Paris we planned to take a day trip to Versailles. I had been when I was in high school and remembered the beautiful gardens and palace. Our day started off a little rough...a train had derailed earlier in the morning and all the trains to Versailles were delayed. After a couple of hours of delays we finally got a train with EVERYONE else who was also delayed. I have never been so smooshed in a train! This was Zander's second meltdown but since I was also near tears, I couldn't blame him! Eventually, a family realized I had a baby and gave their seat up to us, Zander got some water, and all was good. We started with the gardens and they were as beautiful as I remembered! Then we decided to brave the crowds and head inside the palace. In the first few minutes, I realized there was no crowd control and no strollers were allowed so I opted out. I had been before and was not up for the mass amount of people! I went to a cafe with Zander while everyone else went through and from the pictures of the people, I think it was a wise decision! After Versailles we headed back to town to finish shopping and pack for our next big travel day. Bryan found a great little neighborhood near the Notre Dame with tons of restaurants and shops! We found lots of souvenirs and fondue for dinner, a great end to a rough day!

On Wednesday we were up early to head to Amsterdam!

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