Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Fat Paris

One benefit of going to sleep super late on your first night of a long European trip is that sleep felt so good and so necessary that we didn't crack an eyelid (any of us!) until 10:50 the following morning. The downside of this is there was no time for a leisurely walk to a bakery for morning pastries. The upside is that we quickly jumped into European time. Jet lag might already be behind us??

We started off on our car trip into Paris from the delightful Airbnb we are renting in Versailles. We were late enough that there was no traffic to speak of and we were able to stop and grab two baguettes and a couple of chaussons aux pommes for breakfast. Kids were most pleased with this bounty!

We arrived in, parked the car very easily and cheaply (10 Euro...thank you internet!) and walked to the place where our Fat Tire tour started at 2:30. We got our bikes and we were off. 

Getting our bike on...
We braved traffic and all three kids were amazing. There were good routes the whole way, but there was definitely some common sense required. 

Lots of stops along the way, with tons of great Paris info on the background story of some of the major monuments we passed by...Paris is definitely best travelled by bike, as opposed to foot. The distances are large.

Eric and I also both remarked how many landmarks we missed when we lived here...I don't think our 23 year old selves were really focused on extracted the most we could out of our Paris experience. We saw the insides of more bars/restaurants than we did museums and monuments. 

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The bike tour was over three hours long and a really good way to give the kids their Paris bearings. We grabbed some food from dinner and then decided that the very best ways to get the kids to understand the layout of the city was from ABOVE.

We heard tons about line-ups and waiting to go up the Eiffel Tower, but we waited until 8:00, which was perfect. The street parking was free (we got rock star parking right outside the Eiffel gates) and the line ups were gone.

Especially the line ups for the stairs option for the Tower...

I am not a big fan of heights. I don't know what I was thinking. The stairs were scary. The platforms were scary. Eric and the kids walked around on the highest platform, while I darted in and out as my fear permitted. I finally got used to it, but's not easy.

We went through all that we learned in the day, where the landmarks were and what routes we took. The kids had retained quite a lot.

I stayed well back from the edge while we chatted and pointed.

We timed it perfectly. We got to see a nice sunset and the lights on the Tower coming on. It was magical.

We stayed up there for over two hours.

All the Euro Cup concert setting up behind us

Eventually, we got hungry. I think we did pretty well...not arriving back in Versailles until after 11:00.  The kids were such troopers. 

Finally, an Eiffel selfie for Eric and me...when we were on the top of the Eiffel Tower in September 1997 (the same day Diana died), I am not sure we could have pictured this trip back here, with kids in tow. Both tonight and that night in 1997 felt magical...moments in time when you feel like you might be one of the luckiest people in the world, just right then.

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