Friday, August 24, 2007

Top 3 Tips for Visiting Paris with Les Enfants

1. Sleep.
Today was much better than yesterday, possibly because after yesterday's debacle, we went home and all fell asleep at 7:30pm and didn't wake up until 10:00am. In retrospect, fighting fierce jet lag and lack of sleep on a 2-day holiday doesn't make much sense. In the future, we'll plan our short sortie on the way home from our longer vacation, once we've already adapted to the time change.

2. Don't plan too much.
Today was a great day, because we simply set out with vague destinations: the Eiffel Tower at some point. We walked the streets (without the stroller, this time) and stopped as the feeling struck: an outdoor cafe where we enjoyed a late breakfast of pain du chocolat and quiche; a few hours later a leisurely lunch at another cafe where the kids enjoyed the French version of chicken nuggets. Since we had no where specific to be at any time, we had time to play in the park and take a carousel ride. We eventually made it to the Eiffel Tower, though Declan was more interested in the dirt underneath it.

3. But plan enough.
After the Eiffel Tower we, well, I, decided that I absolutely positively had to have some macaroons from Laduree, a famous bakery/restaurant/tea cafe on the Champs Elysees. Well, I was pretty sure it was on the Champs Elysees. I justified it by saying that I thought Declan would be impressed by the long display of pastries for sale, and the rainbow of macaroons on offer.

It turned out to be a miserable trip. It was easily 2 or 3 miles, it was raining, and we didn't have a stroller. The kids would only walk for short bits. We stopped in a wine shop and while Matty was browsing, Declan got mad and hit him, which wouldn't have been so bad if not for the strategic location he struck. Needless to say, we didn't get any wine. Declan fell asleep soon after in my arms, so I walked the last mile carrying him and trying to keep him dry. It was close to 7pm, we hadn't eaten dinner, and I was starting to wonder if this was such a good idea.

But it was. We found it, the case just as impressive as I remembered (even though Declan slept through it). Ronan was impressed, though, and even scored a free macaroon (no small feat, since they cost 1.40 euros each). Matty loved the place and we left with a small box of macaroons. We were wet and hungry and tired but we had found what we were looking for. And we were happy.

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