So we left Belgium at about 7:30 am. We had to take several trains which were all slow, because we had to get off and switch trains a couple times. So what takes about 2 1/2- 3 hrs on the fast train, took us about 6 hours. Reservations for the fast train has to be made a couple of days in advance- our group was too large for there to be space on the fast train the day of. I was so glad that our friends had packed us so much food. I had been relying on the good little shops and stores, but there was not much to buy on this trip– there just wasn’t enough time between stops to go look. I had not counted on that. But we were fine, thanks to our friends!
This little guy was excited about having a map– I’m sure I said something wrong, so he is correcting me. We actually had a good time riding all the different trains, and I think it gave the kids a good sense of the area.
This is one of the train stations where we switched trains– I actually ran while we were waiting for the next train to see if I could find some fruit and other things. I found some, but not much.
In a compartment on a train, the kids’ very favorite!!
Finally to the Paris train station!!:
Now to figure out how to get to our hotel so we can drop off our backpacks and see the City of Love (these little boys were tired- so they took a nap while we waited for my husband to figure it all our for us):
Our first view of Paris outside the train station:
We rode the bus to our hotel, dropped off our stuff and then rode another bus on over to the Pace du la Bastille (sorry if I spelled that wrong, I don’t feel like looking it up) :
Then we headed over walking towards Notre Dame:
I have noticed since we have been in Europe that few people wear bike helmets when riding bikes around the cities:
The architecture in Paris is unmatched– so beautiful– everywhere you look!!:
We did not stop at this park this time, but I thought it was nice that there is a little park here, perfect for little ones:
The Seine River and Notre Dame down there:
I think we’ll try to do a boat tour next time!:
We crossed a bridge to the island where Notre Dame is. There were a lot of military with guns patrolling outside. The grounds were beautiful:
There were some playthings for the kids outside– my kids are almost too big! It’s weird no longer needing a stroller!
Loved the sunflowers:
The plaza in front of the church:
Inside Notre Dame– we did have to wait in a quick moving line. There were a lot of people. It was quiet and peaceful inside. There was a service going on, and some beautiful singing. I could have stayed there all day, or at least longer than we did– one little boy really needed to go to the bathroom. I made him wait as long as possible and then when I thought he could wait no longer, we hurried out to find one:
We walked all over the plaza looking and looking for a bathroom– could not find it!! Finally asked a cop, and he pointed us back towards the church — we finally found it by the horse statue– so if you are ever there, now you know where it is!! And it costs 80 European cents, just FYI. ( I don’t mind paying for clean and available bathrooms!)
The kids enjoyed watching the pigeons:
Then we walked back across another bridge to another part of Paris.
We determined it was probably too far for the little ones to walk all the way over to the Eiffel Tower, so we rode the metro. We missed a lot that way, but this short day trip was just to get a feel for the city.
The Eiffel Tower was pretty cool! Unfortunately, the park surrounding the tower was closed off for a soccer tournament Euro2016. So there wasn’t really anywhere to just sit and watch people. I was also surprised at how few restaurants and cafes there were around the area that was closed off. We probably should have crossed the street to some other cool looking buildings and where the ferris wheel was, but we didn’t.
We stop at this restaurant and everybody picked out a sandwich on a baguette. It was very nice, most all the French have been very helpful, lots of people spoke English.
Then we made our way back to our hotel. It was nice that with summer we had plenty of light! And I found lots of good fruit to buy and eat on our way back!
This is our hotel. We got 2 rooms, one of them had a shower, the other had no private shower, but of course we shared the one. It was not the nicest or best place in Paris, but for about $100/ room/ night, it worked fine for us!!
The next morning, we headed back to the metro and we got a few final glimpses of Paris:
And then on to the train headed to our new home for the upcoming year in Brittany!! What an adventure, the kids did great. I am very proud of them all. I think they enjoyed it and they internalized a lot, more than they realize!