Should we all go to Paris?
All of us went to Paris last weekend.
We left Freiburg Saturday morning for a brief tour of Paris--very brief, 27 hours. The weather cooperated, and we had quite a bit of sun.
When I was there in September, Lauren suggested the restaurant Hippopotamus as a family-friendly option. The food was good, and it was our first time in Europe to be served by someone with no English. Lee wasn’t bothered by the language barrier and begged to return.
From lunch, we took a city bus to the Eiffel Tower. We didn’t make it to our desired stop because of a protest, but it was a nice walk. Mom and Dad decided against the lines and the climb to the top. We took the mandatory photos and then rode another bus to Notre Dame.
We were pleasantly surprised on how much longer Parisian days are. Despite having a wait for the bus, we made it to Notre Dame before sunset. Mom, Errol, and Thom went into nearby Shakespeare and Company. Meanwhile, Lee gave me the difficult mission of finding a toilet quickly. I failed and persuaded him to take another option.
After regrouping, we walked down Rue Saint-Louis for crepes and delicious Berthillon ice cream. A positive of a late fall family trip to Paris is the opportunity for kids to see the city sparkle without staying out late. It’s a beautiful place anytime, but it seems extra special under darkness.
We only took the Metro once. It was very crowded, but it got us back to our hotel. We stayed the one night across the street from Gare du Nord. The kids were thrilled the hotel TV offered their favorite German channels.
Errol escaped German kid TV and our tiny room to find wine and cheese. He was very successful. When the kids fell asleep, we dined on our balcony and watched the scenes below. Errol educated me on the new eco-friendly urinals that are supposed to civilize street peeing. Who knew this subject would come up again!
Sunday morning we walked to the Louvre with a breakfast stop at a Pret A Manger. Like Hippopotamus, it wasn’t the most authentically Parisian choice, but it was perfect for our crowd. The twins and I headed to the Tuileries Garden while the rest of group explored the Louvre for a few hours. We met up at the carousel and started back toward the train station. I had hoped to eat at a nearby diner, but a tardy bus dashed those hopes. Instead, we had a Marks & Spencer picnic on the station floor.
Both ways, we took Deutsche Bahn instead of the more convenient French-operated direct train from Freiburg. Children travel free on Deutsche Bahn! Taking Deutsche Bahn meant a transfer in Karlsruhe, and they were easy.
On Sunday, Errol and my parents went to the Frankfurt airport from Karlsruhe while the kids and I went back to Freiburg. Our train had no open seats, and we camped out on the floor in front of a door. I’m glad we did the work to take this trip, but it sure felt great to walk into the Freiburg flat.
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Anne Thomsen lord
Writings on our year abroad.