Friday, 7 December 2012

Stay Awake

After an unbroken stretch of sleep, we awoke at 0600 to see snow falling. After that, there was no going back to sleep for the children. They wanted to go outside. I had forgotten how time consuming it was to make sure the kids were dressed to go out in the cold. At 745, we finally made it out the door to visit the bakery across the road. It was still pitch black and by this time, the snow had turned into miserable rain and grey skies.

We brought our loot of an assortment of croissants and pastries back home and demolished it very quickly! We then made use of the apartments included free calls to Australian landlines to call as many people as we could! We only made it through to both parents before we had to leave again to buy provisions, as well as to meet up with Alex, our previous au pair. First stop was the tourist information office where we collected our pre-purchased Museum Pass and Paris Visite Card. Then it was into Monoprix next door to get supplies. The 1L of milk purchased earlier in the morning would not last long in a family who goes through 10L per week. Trying to buy conditioner and sorbolene took longer than expected! And the biggest bottle of milk was only 1.5L...As we walked out the door, who should we see but Alex coming out of the metro. Talk about good timing! Her train from Germany had been delayed because of the snow early in the morning. She had never been to Paris and will spend the weekend with us. I would like to report that the TravelSim that we bought worked perfectly both in Dubai and here in France. So far, we have successfully sent and received text messages as well as making and receiving phone calls. We walked back to the apartment to dump our stuff and start some serious sightseeing.

Snowing on our fist morning in Paris

The children ready to go out!

The entry of our apartment building

The views from our apartment

Jonah enjoying his croissant

Yay we're in Paris!

Alex baked us some vanillekrupferl

The mission today was simple. Stay active, stay outdoors as much as possible and do as much as we could that did not involve too much thinking or concentration, so as to get over any possible jetlag quickly. The weather though, was not on our side. It rained almost continuously. We were prepared for this and soldiered on. Our plan to walk through the Tuileries Garden had to be modified somewhat. We walked under the shelter of Rue de Rivoli instead admiring the wet and soggy gardens from afar until we arrived at the Champs-ÉlyséesThere was a Christmas market lining the avenue all the way from the Place de la Concorde to where the cinemas, luxury shops and theatres began. The rain couldn't dampen the joy of listening to Bing Crosby styled Christmas carols sung in french whilst perusing the goodies. We bought ourselves crepes, gluhwein (which was an absolute must whilst one was a Christmas market never mind that we were in France and not Germany), and had soup and corn for lunch. What more could a family ask for?

Beautiful architecture everywhere

Christmas market in the rain. Fun!

Gluhwein to warm the insides

The most delicious corn ever says the children

He was not giving up that piece of corn for anyone

A very chunky mushroom soup

Well, seeing as the question was asked...The Disney Store of course! We walked in and proudly used our shareholders card to get a 10% discount on our fridge magnet and carry bag. No shame here. Any discount, however we can get it, is a good discount! We pulled the reluctant children out as we had to keep moving to get to our target which was the Arc de triomphe. We climbed all 284 steps to the top of the landmark commissioned by Napolean in the early 1800s. My state of fitness was questionable, lagging behind all three children rather significantly. Luckily Alex was young and fit and could keep up with them...When we arrived at the top, we had a fortunate break in the weather to enjoy the views of the twelve radiating avenues. We may have even had a brief glimpse of a patch of blue skies.

The famous avenue of Paris

We are a rainbow of colour in the sea of trendy Parisians mostly in black or navy.

A most treasured shopping bag

The arc de troiomphe

Oh those painful steps to go up

The monument serves as a tribute to soldiers who served France 

Looking back at the avenue which we walked on. It was a long walk!

Is that...sun?!?!?

What goes up must come down. Legs felt like jello...

A few more shots before moving on

We pressed on and caught the RER to Auber so we could visit the Palais Garnier, the magnificent Opera House of Paris. Even the children could appreciate the grandeur and opulence. All three stood and looked at the auditorium for a long time with Jonah finally asking if we could stay and watch "a show". Unfortunately, there was none scheduled at that particular auditorium during our stay in Paris. We have found our first reason to come back! By now, the rain had returned with a vengeance and so we retreated into the nearby Galaries Lafayette. We briefly admired the huge department store before buying ourselves some food at the food court on the 6th floor. With a view of the Paris skyline, we enjoyed an interesting array of food. One was poached eggs on a bed of green lentils served with a mustard sauce. Sounds odd but tastes good! By this stage, the children were worn out. Something is definitely not right when Jonah looks at ice-cream and doesn't move. He became comatose 5 seconds later and that was cue for us to end the day. He couldn't be roused even with an unceremonious dumping on the couch back at the apartment. An hour and a half later at 5:30pm we lost Lara and shortly after Elliot!

Palais Garnier

Famous composers everywhere

The grand marble staircase

Ornately detailed ceilings

The ceiling inside the auditorium

The crystal chandelier that weighs 8 tonnes!

The velvet lined boxes within the auditorium


Admiring the building

Alex hit it off with the children, it was almost as if she had never left

Glorious costumes. So many I would like to wear...

A Disney promotion at the Galeries Lafayette. Lara was happy

Yet another impressive dome, this time within a department store

A huge Christmas tree

Eggs and lentils anyone?!?!?

The comatose Jonah who stayed asleep even after being dumped on the couch!

Whilst we are on the topic of getting back to the apartment, I still can't get over the ridiculousness of the lift. It was advertised to fit three adults. What?!?!? Our record with that particular lift consisted of Malcolm, myself and Elliot hugging each other with great vigour with NO space to spare. It was bad enough with wet coats on. I would not want to share that much love with a stranger, nor in hot weather with someone who is stinky or sweaty. Perhaps this why Parisians stay skinny...

Unfortunately, the rain made it difficult to take photos as I had to protect the camera. It was literally flash it out and shoot before retreating it back to its protective waterproof case.The photos taken today really didn't do any justice to the beautiful architecture we saw today. I fear that this would be the case for most of the trip. Its too hard to see the quality of my photos on my little notebook so they are all being uploaded straight out of the camera. I would like to apologise in advance for quality...

As we retreat for the day, we noticed something that was rather sweet. Our soon to be 23 year old aupair still sleeps with her teddy bear!

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