our big trip - Day 12: Paris

Friday, 8 March 2013

Our first full day in Paris, we were out bright and early. Freezing, overcast, foggy weather didn't stop us. We walked to Bd Saint-Germain {and along the way, espied this rather interesting figure - above} to Les Deux Magots, which, along with Cafe de Flore, was THE place to be seen when I lived in Paris.

It has changed! They've now got an enclosed area au Terrasse, but it's still as beautiful as ever and the service utter delight. Our waiter was like someone out of a Jacques Tati film - it was just wonderful.

We, of course, ordered coffee and croissants, and hot chocolate for the kids, which was so rich, you could have satisfied four people with one little jug.

This treat was truly heavenly, and very affordable.

We then began walking along B Saint-Germain, then south along Bd Raspail and west along Rue Varenne, admiring the sights along the way.

Nearing the end of Rue Varenne, we came to the gardens of Musée Rodin {one of my favourite places in the world} and - above the museum walls - glimpse the gilded dome of Les Invalides.

Les Invalides through the gardens of the Musée Rodin {above}. Les Burghers de Calais {below}.

Such an incredibly beautiful site - its buildings, gardens, history, beauty - utterly drenched.

Leaving Les Invalides for the Eiffel Tower, we passed a gorgeous café with iconic outdoor seating, and couldn't resist another coffee.

As we rounded Place Joffre for the Champs de Mars gardens - there she was - that most famous of landmarks, shrouded in morning mist. It's such a delight to watch children when they espy something they've known life-long - to see it in real life. It's so special.

When I lived in Paris, I never once scaled the Eiffel Tower, so this was long over due. We took the lift to the very tippety-top {there are options to go to the first level only}. Now, I'm not overly fearful of heights, but I tell you what - the Eiffel Tower is high! and it was a little unnerving taking that lift to the top.

We were, of course, greeted to a white sheet of fog, upon arrival. The kids loved it.

Below - 281m from the ground - and the photo on the right shows the view from the much clearer platform on the first level.

We decided to walk back down to the ground from the first level. It's a fairly long way down but much easier than walking up, trust me! The kids absolutely loved it, and it's fun taking photos along the way, and watching the elevator zip up and down.

From La Tour, we walked up to Trocadéro for iconic views back to the Tower.

We then continued down Ave Kléber, stopping at a local boulangerie for some divine baguette sandwiches {avec fromage et jambon}, the most divine Croque Monsieur we've ever tasted . . .

. . . and a whopping great macaroon the colour of pistachios. It was sensational, and this 'street' meal was truly one of our most favourite food experiences.

Continuing down Ave Kléber . . .

. . . we soon reached L'Arc de Triomphe - this stunning shrine at Etoile, where 12 main roads meet - and of course, where you can gaze down the Champs Elysées towards Les Jardins Tuilleries and Place de la Concorde.

From L'Arc, we took the métro to Les Grands Magazins on Bd Haussman - you know, Galleries Lafayette, Printemps, etc - just so we could find FNAC, a store I fell in love with back in the 90s.

Another of my very favourite experiences on this trip, I was agog at the children's book section in FNAC, and snaffled several amazing copies. We then walked south from the Grands Magazins, with Riley satisfying his pigeon fetish along Rue du Havre . . .

. . . and stopped for a much-needed coffee and crêpes au sucre at a little café on Rue Tronchet.

We then headed south to Rue de Sèze near Place de la Madeleine. Why? Fauchon, of course! We, alas, missed Ladurée, but we more than made up for it at Fauchon.

Jumping on le Métro once again, we hopped off on the Left Bank, at the Quartier Latin, and walked on through, admiring the glorious shops and buildings.

Changing at our apartment, we gobbled down some dinner then took the kids back to Hôtel de Ville for some ice skating, and it was yet another of our favourite moments ever.

The kids haven't skated since Beijing. Ella took to it like a duck to water - and with a little bit of help . . .

. . . Riley was soon off and flying. They had SO much fun. We stayed hours - froze our butts off waiting for them! But they just had a ball.

Ella even took off into the Grown Up section for some speed skating. Such a joy to see her whizzing around beneath the spectacular sparkling lights of the historic Hôtel de Ville.

Walking back to our apartment, we once again wandered through the truly irresistable Latin Quarter where I espied a Greek restaurant I went to with my then boyfriend back in 1993. So amazing to see it had hardly changed.

How can you visit Paris without trying a Nutella and banana crêpe? A perfect way to end the most amazing day.

our big trip - days 1 + 2: Melbourne
our big trip - day 3: Flying to Europe
our big trip - day 4: London
our big trip - day 5: London
our big trip - day 6: London
our big trip - day 7: London
our big trip - day 8: London
our big trip - day 9: Leyland
our big trip - day 10: London
our big trip - day 11: Paris
our big trip - day 13: Paris
our big trip - day 14: Bruges
our big trip - day 15: Bruges 
our big trip - day 16: Bruges and The Hague
our big trip - day 17: The Hague
our big trip - day 18: Amsterdam
our big trip - day 19: Amsterdam
our big trip - day 20: The Hague
our big trip - days 21 + 22: Brussels
Two days lost with travel and travelling east
our big trip - days 25 + 26: Bangkok
our big trip - day 27: Kanchanaburi
our big trip - days 28 - 32: Cha Am Resort
our big trip - day 33: Hua Hin
our big trip - days 34 + 35: Coming Home


Dani said...

Ohhhh.......just ohhhhhhh. That looks like the best day ever!

tiarastantrums said...

the kiddos look so happy!

Janice said...

Dear Tania, thank you so much for sharing your experiences of Ian, Ella, Riley and yourself of your wonderful journey through your family trip in Europe. It is truly uplifting. Thank you, thank you, thank you! A much needed tonic!

Tania McCartney said...

Aw, Janice - it's a pleasure! T - they want to go back!

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