A week into the trip we took the Eurostar train through the Chunnel to Paris. It was such a fun experience, and a much better way to travel than by plane. We were able to spread out, enjoy the scenery, and face each other to enjoy some lovely conversations. Plus, the never-ending supply of provided food and beverages (wine) were a great benefit. You slept most of the way there.
When we arrived we went out for dinner then settled in for the night. There was no pack-n-play in this apartment, and I was delighted to find a rolled up bedroll in nana and papa’s room. I folded that in half, put a sheet on it and pillows around the perimeter, and we placed it in one of the corners in our bedroom. We were wondering if you’d sleep soundly on it, and thank goodness, you slept great the entire week.
We spent our first morning at Jardin des Tuileries, a beautiful park to the south of the Louvre, trying to let you play so that we could go to the museum and you’d hopefully nap. It was such a picture perfect Parisian morning. The leaves were changing, you were in a happy mood, we snacked on baguettes and coffee and relaxed in the park chairs. We found a carousel and you rode it, then you found a spinning piece of playground equipment that you loved. A sign stated it was for kids three or older, and when I looked over and saw that your dad had put you on it I think my heart stopped for a second as I thought you’d go flying off. But over and over, around and around you went, and you kept asking for more and more time on it. I couldn’t believe how you never tired of it.
Your dad was so excited to get a picture of you ‘photo bombing’ Mona Lisa in the Louvre, but amazingly, you feel asleep literally as we walked up to the painting and so, alas, your first Mona Lisa viewing (and accompanying photo bomb) will have to wait for another visit.
We visited the Arc de Triomphe, where you quickly made a new, older friend. You pulled her all around the viewing platform, around and around, and it was interesting to see you take the lead and guide such an older child around unhesitatingly. You had fun exploring and playing with your little friend, and we were happy to have you entertained while we enjoyed the view a bit.
I did capture the sweetest picture of you and your dad up there, one that I can’t wait to frame and have next to my desk at work.
We also took the train out to Versailles for the day, where strollers are not allowed and you fell asleep in my arms, where you slept as I enjoyed the tour of the palace. Outside we enjoyed a picnic with everyone by the water of the Grand Canal, where your dad paddled me around five years ago when we were here on our anniversary.
Aunt Jen spotted ponies in the distance, and I knew immediately that we’d take you to ride one, and knew almost as surely that you’d love it. We sat you on the pony and you immediately had a huge grin on your face, no hesitation or fear at all. We walked along the path and you just took it all in, happily looking around as we walked but mostly just staring at the horse. At one point the horse got spooked and lurched a bit then neighed, and you immediately signed and said ‘all done’ and wanted off; I held you for a minute or two and then you wanted right back on. When the ride ended you signed for more. I hope you don’t someday ask for a pony.
We celebrated Halloween in Paris by donning Halloween-themed temporary tattoos, every single one of us.
The apartment in Paris had no bathtub, a logistical challenge thankfully easily overcome by the presence of a large kitchen sink. And thus, you had your first sink bath! We never bathed you in a sink when you were teeny as many people often do; we had a baby bath that we used from day one. So when we plunked you into the sink, it was quite the novelty. And of course now you’re big enough to realize that it was a bit odd. But, you had lots of fun, and especially liked playing with the colander that we’d improvised as a toy for you.
On this trip we struggled more than we ever have with keeping track of your shoes and socks on this trip, probably because you were in the stroller so much, and because taking them off provided you a source of amusement apparently. But we were constantly realizing you’d taken one or the other of these items off and dropped it, and we’d immediately stop and hunt down the missing item. Unfortunately towards the end of our trip the hunt was unsuccessful, and we left Paris minus one tiny Nike tennis shoe.
We ate a lot of french fries, in London on account of the copious amounts of fish and chips we were ordering, and in Paris because they seem to come with almost every meal. You have long been a fan of french fries, but just on this trip started enjoying them with ketchup. Or, to be more exact, I should say you started enjoying ketchup, because you’d just dip the same french fry into the ketchup, over and over, never actually eating the fry…
Our last day in Paris we visited the Eiffel Tower, where we were sad to encounter a huge line, and where we instead decided to focus our energies on the carousel, which I’m sure made you much happier than traipsing up a bunch of steps. The one at the Eiffel Tower is two stories, and you had fun on both the bottom and the top, though seemed to most like a stationary car, which didn’t go up and down, but which had steering wheels that turned and kept you happily entertained.