Our visit to Paris – Day 4

After a very late night due to the noise of all of the Halloween revelers partying late into the early hours of the morning, we had a leisurely breakfast of croissants and headed out to see a couple more of the big sites, exploring the area along the Left Bank not far from where Maman and Papa used to live. This is a part of Paris that we know well and have many memories.

We jumped on the bus, a rare opportunity to escape the Metro and see life at street level, and headed down to Notre Dame, where we snapped a few of the mandatory tourist pictures for our album. The kids weren’t much interested in the cathedral (beyond recognizing it from several of their films), but they were impressed by the many pigeons. We wandered from Notre Dame to the Left Bank and ended up having lunch at Godjo, an old haunt from when we lived in Paris. We sat at traditional low tables in the basement, and the kids were really excited at the prospect of being able to eat with their hands.

From there, we battled rainy weather to make our way to the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle to see some of the exhibits and stay dry.

From there, it was back towards our apartment, where we decided to celebrate our final night by having another Indian at Dishny, where we had eaten on the first night we arrived. It was pretty amazing to watch our Indian waiter single-handedly manage a full 30-seat restaurant through two seatings flawlessly. Took our order by memory, served three other tables before putting in the order, got every detail right. Still had time to smile at the kids. That guy earned his tip.

Mandatory Parisian tourist snap

Juliette in front of Notre Dame

Exploring the streets near our old neighborhood in Paris

The culinary adventure continues with Ethiopian food. Rave reviews because the kids could eat with their hands!

Measuring up with the giraffes at the Muséum d’Histoire naturelle

Don’t let Alexandre’s face fool you. The kids loved our Indian dinner, and devoured their tandoori prawns in seconds.

Our visit to Paris – Day 3

Day three started out dry and sunny, if not particularly warm. On the schedule for today was a canal cruise through Paris, finally ending up at the Cite des Sciences et de L’lndustrie where we had some lunch and then visited the museum. The kids had a wonderful time, their only complaint being that the visit was too short. Tickets were strictly limited to 90 minutes, then we were unceremoniously herded out.

Dinner was at a tiny but fantastic Korean restaurant called Sobane, where the food really punched above its weight. We had a delicious meal and the kids absolutely loved the food, not only cleaning off their plates, but helping themselves to much of what was on Maman and Papa’s plates as well.

It was Halloween night, and the big excitement happened as we were leaving the restaurant the restaurant. Juliette spotted someone driving down the street in a mask, and she smiled and waved at him. He waved back… and ran right into the car in front of him. A man in a suit jumped out of the car in front, and proceeded to yell at the guy who had just run into him (still wearing his mask) while we did our best not to look like “contributing factors.” In the end, no damage was done and everyone drove off — but we had witnessed a real ‘Paris moment’ and had a good story for later!

When we got home, I asked Alexandre whether he liked Paris. His response: “J’aime Paris, mais je veux retourner à Ferrette.” (“I like Paris, but I want to go home to Ferrette.”)

Getting ready for our canal cruise

Maman and Juliette have gone full-on hipster, drinking out of mason jars

Discovering careers, and perhaps saving Papa a fortune in university tuition along the way

Alexandre takes charge of the blocks

There was a fantastic computer program where the kids could design artwork and it was then projected on the big screen. This was Juliette’s creation.

Korean food for dinner. The kids ate so much that Maman and Papa left hungry.

Our visit to Paris – Day 2

Day two of our visit to Paris kicked off with a visit to the Musee des Arts Forains where we got to see lots of old fairground attractions and even ride on a few. Despite the cold, rainy weather, we were able to enjoy a lot of the exhibits inside and had a couple of carousel rides.

Having eaten Indian food the night before, we stumbled upon a Five Guys burger restaurant outside the museum, and for the first time in his life, Papa got to try the famous Five Guys burger. Verdict? A little greasy, but not a bad burger, and the fries were out-of-this-world. Which, at €7 a portion, they should be.

Papa doesn’t get a chance to eat much ethnic food in Alsace, so when he was in Paris, he was determined to introduce the kids to as many different cultures and flavors as he could find. Tonight, it was time to try a Lebanese feast at Aux Cedres du Nord. The kids approved!

At the Musee des Arts Forains

At the Musee des Arts Forains

Lebanese food was a big hit. Not sure that we ordered enough!

Our visit to Paris – Day 1

The kids are finally old enough for their first visit to Paris, a city that they know from many films but have never experienced themselves. The first stop, without doubt, had to be the most famous site of them all — the Eiffel tower. And across from the Eiffel tower, there was a carousel — irresistible to any kid.

Unfortunately the weather was grey and very cold, so the afternoon called for an indoor activity — luckily, the Paris Aquarium was just a short walk from the Eiffel tower. A good start to our visit to Paris!

Riding the carousel in front of the Eiffel tower

Riding the carousel in front of the Eiffel tower

Our two little Eiffel towers

Alex is owning it!

Family portrait in front of the Eiffel tower. Minus the photographer, of course!

Found Nemo.

Juliette petting the fish

Happy birthday, Papa!

After celebrating Alexandre’s birthday, it was very shortly time to celebrate Papa’s birthday. The kids made some wonderful presents and we celebrated with a piece of cake!

Happy birthday!

Luckily they only put one candle on the cake, or we’d have to have the fire crew on hand…

Papa celebrates his birthday with the kids

Happy 4th birthday, Alex!

Time to celebrate Alexandre’s fourth birthday. Nothing like a dozen four-year olds, loaded to the gills with sugar, running around the place like madmen to give Maman and Papa the nice, relaxing Sunday afternoon they deserve after a hard week at work, right?

Actually, credit to the kids. They mostly burned off their energy playing outside, and when the cake came out, they sat around the table quietly, waiting to be served. Papa even remarked at the time that he was astonished how well-behaved this group of kids was. Certainly less rowdy than some of the dinner parties we’ve thrown for grown-ups at our place.

Presents, presents galore. The next few days will require extra vigilance to avoid stepping on one of the million pieces of Lego scattered around the house.

All of Alexandre’s favorite characters were here — PJ Masks and Spiderman on the table

Comic-book themed popcorn

Samsam was the birthday-cake hero this year

The birthday boy tucks into some popcorn

That’s one heck of a candle! Hope you brought your super-powers to blow it out!

This much sugar + this many small children = this won’t end well

14 Juillet

14 Juillet (14 July) is Bastille Day in France, our equivalent of the 4th of July. Old men put on their military uniforms, the fire brigade turns out to orchestrate events, and the whole town throws an enormous barbecue in the town square. Apparently there were more than 200 people this year, which is almost a quarter of the village! The weather was beautiful and we had a great evening with friends and neighbors.

Ready for the celebrations

The whole town turned out

A lego breakthrough

Lego has always played an important role in Papa’s childhood, and we’ve always had them around the house for the kids to play with. Only recently, though, did the kids really start to enjoy playing with them. And then today, a breakthrough: Juliette learned how to follow the instructions and make something out of the book of ideas. A fish!

She was pleased as punch with her creation.

Juliette’s first Lego creation

A visit from Gratiane and Ines

We were treated to a weekend of beautiful, warm, sunny weather and a visit from Juliette’s godmother, Gratiane and her daughter Ines. It was a busy weekend with dance recitals (and a very, very late night for Juliette) and the annual medieval festival in the village. Great to see old friends after so long!

The three stooges

Maman enjoying the summer sunshine

Gratiane came to visit

Playing it up for the camera