rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
Last weekend we went to Paris for 4 nights, to kick off our family summer holidays. We managed to coincide with a peak in the local heatwave, in a hotel room without air-conditioning. Ouch. We managed, but it was hard work at times (loud room with windows open or quiet-but-roasting room with windows shut).


We followed a pattern of breakfasting in the hotel, going out to tourist for the morning, finding somewhere for lunch, and then returning to the hotel to doze through the worst of the afternoon heat, before going out again in the evening. We were also very grateful to find that Paris has plenty of public water fountains and taps, especially in public parks.

The main goal was: explore Paris in ways that would interest Charles (we decided N was too small to enjoy this). I forgot to pack cameras, so all I have are a couple of dodgy phone photographs which may or may not be worth uploading. We also forgot to pack any maps or guidebooks from our previous holiday 9 years ago, or remember to book Eiffel Tower tickets in advance, or pack the european adaptors ... in general it was a bit of a badly-planned break but we made it work well enough and money helped fix lots of things.

Saturday:
Morning - metro to Bastille, walk from there down to the Seine, and along to the Ile St Louis, and then to Ile de la Cite and a look at Notre Dame from the outside. There was a nice little park near the bridge from Ile St Louis so we let the children zoom around there for a while before finding lunch and going back for siesta.

Late afternoon - metro to near the Eiffel Tower, wandered away from the river to find a restaurant offering child-friendly food for an early evening meal, then walked back to and along the river to the foot of the Tower, from where we took a boat tour which C seemed to really enjoy. After that we walked past mad fountains through hordes of people to the Trocadero metro stop and back to the hotel.

Sunday:
Morning - metro to the Louvre, to walk around the courtyard with the pyramids and then through the Tuileries (where Charles found sprinklers to dash through to his hearts content). We found a little fairground and indulged on the big wheel and a couple of rides for the children before continuing onward through the gardens. Our planned route onward and up the Champs Elysee ran into barriers which we eventually realised were because the Tour de France was passing through Paris that evening. This acted as a fine incentive to move away from the busy area where people were already staking out waiting areas and going to find lunch.

Late afternoon - metro out to near the Observatoire, found somewhere to eat near there, and then explored the gardens of the Palais du Luxumbourg, and returned home by way of a look at the fountain and church of St Sulplice.

Monday:
Morning - we were first into the hotel breakfast, and got the metro across to the Eiffel Tower for 8:30am to join the not-too-enormous queues for on-the-day tickets. This was the most effort we put into a tourist attraction of the trip, and Charles was very very excited by it all. Due to renovations on the first stage, the lift up took us straight to the second stage, which we spent a fair bit of time exploring (and losing Charles who was so excited he ran off while I was in the loo - and finding him again after just long enough to scare everyone), and then queuing for the summit. I personally felt the summit itself was overrated, being unpleasantly crowded and impossible to move around easily. The lift journey though - crowded but with mostly-glass walls moving fast through the openwork of the tower - that was exciting.

We bought Charles a toy Eiffel tower on the way down and then worked off our "too many people" vibes with a walk through the Champs de Mars before finding somewhere for early lunch. I had developed an unpleasant sore throat so we stopped at a pharmacist for throat sweets, then we had a plat du jour before finding a little supermarket so I could get lots of orange juice and other cool drinks.

This afternoon both Nico and I slept a lot, and the temperature seemed to be staying higher for much longer than the previous two evenings. Between the heat and my sore throat I did not feel up to going anywhere, so Tony & Charles ventured out and returned with sandwiches and cool drinks and we had picnic supper in our room.

Tuesday:

Last day! We breakfasted and packed, and had checked out soon after 9, leaving the bulk of our luggage to collect after lunch. We returned to the Palais du Luxumbourg and the rather excellent playground we'd spotted on Sunday evening. It's open 10am-7pm, and costs a few euros for all-day entry. The children had a lovely time while Tony & I took turns nursing our colds (he'd got ill too) and watching them. We then ambled along in the general direction of Montparnasse looking for somewhere for lunch and ended up in a lovely burger place (US-themed but very French, and a very cheerful server). Then it was back to the hotel, picking up the luggage, and slogging back to the Gare du Nord. I was a bit wobbly by the time we got through to the waiting room and had to sit down for a bit to recover; the airconditioned Eurostar and a lot to drink helped greatly.
We were back home before 7pm, and between us had just enough oomph to get unpacked and everyone fed and into bed. Although it was still warm in Cambridge, it wasn't as fierce as Paris had been, and our house is easier to keep cool than that hotel room.

We then had a couple of days at home before coming out to Wales for a week at Seren Loft. So far we are enjoying it very much - the hot weather was with us on Friday and the first bit of Saturday but we've had lots of rain since. I commented to Tony that my many childhood holidays in Wales have led me to associate "rain falling on wooded hills" with feeling relaxed and happy (so long as I am somewhere safe and warm looking at it). The children like the Loft a lot, and Charles is especially enamoured of the artists studio beneath it. I have brought my OU textbooks and am vaguely thinking of spending a fair bit of time in the studio studying while Charles Does Art, and Tony has lots of baby time.

Date: 2013-07-31 10:44 (UTC)
draigwen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] draigwen
how are you finding studying with a young child? I want to get back to my OU courses but not sure if I can manage work, baby and study.

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rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

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