Monday, November 29, 2010
There's not much better than exploring Paris on a crisp winter day with no plan or agenda. That seemed to be the tone of the holiday for us. We had plenty of time and no where to be so that is what we did. Since Finn has been around, we have become early risers but it was so dark in the mornings that we didn't venture outside until at least 9am. We opted for an apartment in the city rather than a hotel so we were lucky to have the extra space and in particular, the kitchen for breakfast.
Holden and Finnley both were enthralled with all things outdoors. The cafes, the parks, the street mimes as well as all the other street performers, the pigeons and Holden in particular the beggars. He has such an empathetic little soul and I am quite sure we spent most money on our trip on the street. Especially if someone was cold or had an animal, his coins went straight into their cup. One night we had walked past someone with a puppy. Holden asked for some coins but we told him if he wanted to use his, it was fine but we were done financing his goodwill for the day. He took his coin out of his coat pocket, looked at it and then followed us down the street. Halfway down the block he yelled out for us to wait and ran back to the man with the puppy and deposited his 2 euros. I never want to forget that moment. A few other things he noticed about Paris included how dirty it was, there was a lot of litter and graffiti and oh the leaves (he thought that was trash as well) and I suppose that along with the old buildings equals dirty in his mind. Once again bringing out his delusional enchantment with the Philippines where he goes from one manicured lawn to the next. He is completely unaware of the poverty where he lives. We also noticed we have a little Marxist on our hands. "One day, when I am President of Paris, I will put cameras everywhere to catch people drawing graffiti and littering and then I will throw them in jail."
Paris is truly gorgeous at night. It's alive, and you can feel it. I like that. A lot.
Nate stayed with us a few days then left us to our own devices as he headed up to Dublin for work. I opted for a few extra days in the City of Lights with the boys. Wow, that was exhausting. Single parenting in a foreign city. I don't remember the last time I was on my own with the kids but I guarantee I won't forget THIS time. Finnley managed to find his way to my bed after Nate left and also managed to tumble out of said bed during the night. Not uncommon, but it was a high bed and the floor, well it was rough red patio tile. I didn't think much of it, I picked him up, cuddled him and he fell back asleep all without any lights on. The next morning as he stumbled out into the living room I noticed he serious road rash upside his face. My first thought was Disneyland or hospital. Anyone, knowing our past travel sagas wouldn't even flinch. I chose Disneyland. No photos you ask? Nope, with the chaos of the morning getting to the station in time, etc I managed to leave all cameras and video cameras behind. Nice going! I had my iPhone for a few shots until the battery died. In a way it was nice though to just enjoy the day without worrying about capturing it. It was a LONG COLD day, but the boys were in heaven and in return, so was I. The happiest place on earth was magical as ever, maybe even more so in French. Have you heard a Disney princess speaking French, it's much more princess-like. Add to that the Christmas feel and voila, there you have it; Magical!
Getting to Dublin the next day seemed like an easy enough feat. Except that we didn't leave until that night and the airport that we had to fly out of was an hour and half out of the city and we had to check out of our apartment by noon. I had some options laid out on how to entertain two boys for eight hours outside of a hotel but it turns out I only needed one: Jardin du Luxembourg. Hours upon hours of entertainment and another mom with two boys (Hi Dawn!)it was an epic win for all of us. Sure, I had to catch Finn as he was falling off the kiddie playground but you know, that's par for the course these days.
Paris was amazing yes, even more amazing seeing it through the eyes of our children. The Eiffel tower at night, the parks, the pigeons at Notre Dame, the artists at Mont Marte, the chasing of bubbles at the Sacre Coeur, the copious amounts of cheese and wine and baguettes, the art, the architecture. I am not sure why anyone would move away from this place. Paris is more child friendly than most places we have travelled. There is something for everyone here.