Monday, June 29

Paris, Day 1: Versailles and Getting Settled

Back in early June, we drove our crew the six hours to Paris for an extended weekend to see all the sights we could cram into five days. We left Thursday morning around 9am and walked onto the grounds of Versailles Palace at 4pm. I wish we'd had more time, but we enjoyed what we were able to see. Ah, traveling as a family!

The opulent Versailles Palace with beautiful gardens. The palace's self-guided audio tour worked out great for our crew where you just had to point and click as you went along. It was fun to imagine extravagant pageantry back in it’s hey day with powdered wigs, round rouged cheeks, elaborate corseted gowns and fancy duds. Though I’d have loved to see all that in person, I’m sure glad I’ve never had to wear one of those get ups or give birth in a full room of courtiers like Marie Antionette! YIKES!!!

Easton, Morgan and me in front of the grounds of Marie Antionette's retreats from the palace. This lovely tree lined avenue leads to the Petit Palace and then on back to her hamlet where Marie Antionette liked to "play peasant."

I'm currently enjoying absorbing what I can of European history and what life was like for these ruling families. I finally finished reading "The Life of Elizabeth I" by Alison Weir which took me forever but I really enjoyed it. Now I've just begun an audio book about Maria Therese and her daughter, the infamous Marie Antionette. Ryan enjoys the tidbits I share with him but wants to hear about kings, the MEN! I guess you could say I'm also intruigued by women's roles and influence though out time, so I find this all very fascinating.

The hamlets lie around a lily pad lined pond stocked full of fish and one lone swan, at least while we were wandering back there. I wish we'd brought a picnic to enjoy!

Me and the kids playing some tag back in one of the small gardens behind one of the huts. Hearing my kids' give a real good excited gut laugh is one of my favorite things in life! Games of chase are one way to ensure hearing that fabulous sound!

After Versailles, we headed into Paris to find our apartment on the Champs Elysees. Ryan took this picture of the Arc d' Triumph from the Eiffel Tower the next day, but just wanted to give you an idea of what we were driving into during rush hour. Traffic looks pretty tame in this mid-day shot. When we hit it at 7:30pm, there were at least twelve unmarked “lanes” of traffic, some cars just sitting perpendicular to the flow of traffic as they waited for an opening to cross "lanes." I’m so glad Ryan likes to be our driver! He’s pretty much my road trip hero!

Then you should have seen him load up the stroller with our bags, food, and Morgan’s porta-crib! It was as tall as me, quite the balancing act to say the least, and we had a couple of blocks to walk from where he short-term parked the van! You go, Lover Boy! The Champs Elysees is a famous fashionable shopping and eating street so we were quite the sight on this main thoroughfare! Writing this paragraph reminds me of camera worthy moments I need to keep in mind on our trips! However, when in these "moments" I tend to be trying to keep my cool as a navigator for my driver or keeping an eagle eye on my youngins so as to not lose them in an unfamiliar bustling crowd. I know, sorry - tsch-tsch - priorities, priorities.

Our apartment was located within one of the gallery malls and worked out fabulously! It had a couple couches that converted to real comfy beds in the living room, a small kitchen with a washer/dryer, and a bathroom. We spend so little time in our rooms that to be able to sleep, bathe, prepare breakfast, and pack lunches is all we need. The location of this place was just perfect for us on our trip! Love that site!!!

Once Ryan dropped us at our room, he headed off to find long term parking while I headed out with the kids to find a grocery store even though it was 9pm. Turned out the grocers were closed, but we found where they were. We settled in for a good night’s sleep, eager to take on the Eiffel Tower in the morning!