Yes, we did visit Paris about two months ago, and have been to The States since, but no time like the present to catch up, yes? (By the way, we did manage to return safely to Germany this past weekend, and I'll post pics of our trip..um...later. Right.)
Note: all collages are clickable and will take you to their respective albums.
Paris. This was one of the coolest places we've been yet, I think. The top two pictures in the collage below are from a stop we took at the side of the road for the little guys to stretch their legs and Lavella to eat. Greg always knows how to make things fun for everyone, no matter where we are. (The boys are actually running on a deserted farm road that ran parallel to the road we were driving on, which was on the other side of the hedge.)
Bottom left, you can see the "roller cops". Would be interesting to be accosted by one of these dudes.
At bottom right, Andrew looks over the whole of Paris from the grounds of the Sacre Coeur.
The science museum was great! For the children, we had to buy a ticket for a 90-minute session of age-appropriate play and discovery. It was so cool. There's way too much to point out things in each shot, so here's an overview:
The food. As expected, food in Paris is great. We weren't looking for the fancy super high-end places that give you "bites" of food in little towers on gold-edged plates. Instead we wanted the people's food, things we could sink our teeth into, get our hands dirty.
Bottom row: a diaper incident led to Elijah eating his dinner pants-less and proud.
Top row (of collage below) is from an open-air market we came across. The breads, cheeses and cured meats were uncovered and just out there on the displays. So unsanitary! So utterly delectable!
Second and third rows are of a place called Fauchon. Now, I did just say that we were not in search of high end food. I must admit, however, that we were in search of high end chocolate. Fauchon is also a patisserie. It was an incredible place, and is recognized as one of the finest of chocolatiers. We were prohibited from taking pictures inside, so instead I went all around the outside and took shots of each of their display windows (!). (Really though, click on the Fauchon link -- you can buy their chocolates online too!!)
Bottom row is some souvenirs. I don't think I have to specify who got what of those last two. Not included in these pictures is a watercolor print of the Awful Tower (as the boys called it), which we hung in their room, and they love.
Here are some shots from just general sightseeing. The top left corner was of a random bronze statue of a man coming out of a wall. No explanation to it's significance, and the boys were a bit disturbed by it, but we thought that it was pretty cool. The picture immediately below it is of the Cartier flagship store, located on the broad, beautiful "avenue des Champs-Elysees", lined with other flagship stores like Gucci, Vuitton and Cavalli (just to name a few).
Third and most of fourth row are, of course, the Eiffel Tower. I never knew why it was there or what it was for. Now I do, but if you want to know, you'll have to read about it for yourself. It's pretty interesting, and not at all what I thought. (Well, actually, I don't know that I thought anything about it 'till I saw it in real life.) The image copyright portion of the Wikipedia article, however, just completely make me see red (if you click on that link above, click on number 7 in the contents box).
Bottom row: Moulin Rouge, Sacre Coeur, and a view of Paris from the Sacre Coeur grounds.
We didn't go up into the Eiffel Tower, and we didn't plan to. There's no way that I'm going to wake up early to stand in line for hours to go up to the top of a tower -- especially when I can see it some other way. Through the use of a great guide book and some direction from a message board I'm part of, we felt like we got a great slice of the essence of Paris, and someday hope to return after Greg retires (from the military) to explore it fully.
One of my favorite things about traveling with Greg is that he makes it a point to take time to make sure each person has fun, from the smallest to the tallest. When we're plotting our journies, he always researches things that will be interesting to each one of us, not just things that he thinks would be cool. Because of that style of planning, the trip to Paris was a great success for all of us, and even the boys have great memories that they still talk about.