We've traveled as two, we've traveled as three, now we travel as four...
  • Day12

    Notre Dame Cathedral Paris

    November 13, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    Today was a short day. We moved to the hotel....Hotel Les Rives Des Notre Dame. Wow! The staff are great, very helpful, very friendly, and very informative. We settled in very nicely....it's luxury compared to the apartment we were staying at! And what a view!! We even have wine glasses!

    The hotel is in a fantastic location with an abundance of restaurants, cafes, and bakeries all around. We tried one for lunch....and Jay had his favourite....French Onion soup! I had a Croque Madame...which was not good. Morgan had a house vegetable soup...and Aston...well...she just made a mess!

    Today we braved the towers of the Notre Dame! We first had to get a time ticket, so we had about an hour and a half to wait before our 30 minute arrival window. We ventured through the gardens and found a couple of springy bouncy cars and a great big sandbox for the girls to play in. As we continued to explore, we ventured past multiple military men carrying rather large guns. Morgan had a few questions...she was very curious as to why men with guns need to patrol the streets....it's a different world at home. I'm assuming security has been increased because it's the second anniversary of the 2015 terror attacks. We feel safe here...but I guess everyone does....until something happens.

    Away we went....387 steps up a narrow, winding staircase...and our 5 year old climbed them all, with no complaints! The views were worth every step! There are so many gargoyles too...each one different. We were able to climb right up the bell tower. Some spots were very tight to squeeze through....there's only one way up and one way down. What an adventure! This is definitely a must-do when travelling in Paris!
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  • Day11

    National Museum of Natural History Paris

    November 12, 2017 in France ⋅ 🌧 8 °C

    We're moving out! I've contacted our booking company and they have frozen the landlords account. He's agreed to let us leave 4 days early without a fee. This morning we managed to find a cute little hotel, with 10 rooms, overlooking the Seine River. We move in tomorrow!

    Today was a big day! We walked over to the Jardin Des Plantes and the National Museum of Natural History. It's another cold, rainy day! They say it's unusually cold...we have amazing luck with odd weather...haha. This place is fantastic! It is mostly taxidermy displays on multiple levels with the ceiling full of lights and a storm simulation that plays every so often. It's amazing! There is also a Children's Museum with so many interactive and fun displays. We had a wonderful time exploring the museum inside and out!

    We ran into a rain storm as we were leaving...it was SO cold! We weaved through the streets of Paris, coming across some very neat areas...unfortunately, the weather didn't want us exploring too much outside today. We walked over to the Pantheon. The history here is incredible. It was neat to see the Foucault Pendulum and the girls really enjoyed exploring the tunnels (mausoleum) where many are laid to rest....including the very famous Marie Curie.

    The rain let up a bit as we were leaving the Pantheon, allowing for a pretty spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. We were water logged and exhausted, so we made our way back to the apartment to pack up....and have our wine of course...once the kids were sleeping! We need to buy screw top wine and drink straight from the bottles as our apartment doesn't even have a corkscrew or wine glasses....go figure....in Paris...no wine glasses??? It's much cheaper than buying soda...which only comes in a couple options....basically Orange or Peach Iced Tea...ugh. Even at the grocery stores, the options are limited! Good night!
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  • Day10

    Choco Story Paris!!

    November 11, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

    What??!! A Chocolate Museum??!! And who said Paris isn't for kids??!! Today we visited Choco Story Paris! A chocolate museum with All You Can Eat Chocolate! That's right....All You Can Eat....dark, milk, white...you choose....you eat! This place was fantastic.

    Our morning started with some strange communication with our landlord. Yesterday he contacted us with a request to enter the apartment...he needed to grab something. He visited while we weren't there. He contacted us again this morning with another request to enter the apartment for some maintenance issues. We ran into him as we were leaving this morning and I had an interesting conversation. It turns out that he is selling the apartment and is showing it to potential buyers!! We aren't comfortable with this arrangement as he has now requested that we leave the apartment during certain hours....in 5 hour durations! This is our first apartment rental and it is not going well. There are no garbage bags, no dish towels, no dish detergent for the dishwasher, no toilet paper...and the list goes on. I don't know about you, but when I travel overseas, I don't pack a weeks worth of toilet paper and garbage bags! And if I'm paying for use of a place....I want full access to it....any day.....any time. The washing machine apparently is broken and needs to be fixed. I'm not comfortable with this. We'll see what he says when he gets back to us.

    Back to the Chocolate Museum! First, we stopped for crepes...everyone else had nutella banana crepes....I tried the savoury one....the salad one...low and behold...a salad with french fries in it! A nice healthy breakfast for a nice healthy food day! HA! We took the subway this morning as part of our adventure. The girls loved the train. Traveling with kids is challenging....travelling with kids in Paris is even more challenging! Aside from no change tables, there aren't many public washrooms either....and none in the subway area! We were looking around...obviously looking lost, trying to find a washroom for Morgan. A couple of people stopped to ask if we needed assistance (something we were told would never happen in Paris), directed us to a street where we were directed to a cafe, where someone finally welcomed us, for free, gave us a token, sent us to the basement where we deposited the token into a slot (similar to an arcade game) to unlock the stall door, and voila!!...finally....une toilette! A slight delay....but we were soon on track again....back to the subway....lets find the Chocolate Museum!

    We arrived and were greeted with free chocolate before even paying admission, handed a children's Playmobil scavenger hunt, and were guided into the land of tummy aches! It was a great day....I'm not sure who ate the most...Aston or me! We had limited Aston's intake, but it seemed like every time we turned around, someone....yes, random people....were offering more chocolate to our toddler. It was an interesting day, learning about chocolate, seeing the old containers and labels, finishing off with amazing works of art...all made out of chocolate....and making chocolate stars with a ganache center! By the end, not even Morgan wanted another bite of chocolate...and none of us could finish the delicious Mexican hot chocolate on the way out. A fun way to spend a rainy day!!

    We rode the subway back, but not without adventure...of course! As we were looking at the map, trying to determine the best way to get back to the apartment, without hesitation....Aston exploded! Yes...exploded!...all over the subway floor! We looked around for something to clean it up with...but unfortunately, no public washrooms also means no paper towels. I guess she reached her chocolate limit!! Parenting fail #157...too much chocolate!

    The crazy amount of second hand smoke in the air has been taking a toll on Morgan's asthma. She's had a couple of attacks, so we're taking it easy tonight....relaxing in the apartment. But don't worry....we found some more treats to eat (none for the sleeping baby!)!! Looking forward to what tomorrow will bring!
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  • Day9

    Rue Frederic Sauton

    November 10, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

    When we booked our rental apartment, the owner said we could book his driver as well....so we took our chances, and did that....65 euros vs 150 for a taxi. He actually brought a car seat with him for Aston and everything turned out well. He was familiar with the apartment, so knew exactly where to go...thankfully. We are about a block from the Seine river and just across from the Notre Dame Cathedral. We were left on the street front, as there is no parking, and as we surveyed our surroundings, we knew we were in for an interesting stay! Thankfully, our girls LOVE exploring and LOVE adventures. They aren't afraid of change, they adapt well to knew environments, and they do not need much for comfort! haha. The pictures say it all.

    Our first day was spent exploring around the apartment. We found a nice bakery just down the street....our first true French bakery. We were surprised to learn that the prices are quite different if you are sitting in to eat, or taking it to go. We decided to sit in to eat, and quickly realized our mistake...haha. The glass tables were all cracked, and with a toddler, not the safest. Then came the diaper issue....no worries, we'll just use the washroom (for a fee)....except its just a toilet...no change table. Change tables are everywhere in Canada....it's surprising if you find a place without one. In France....apparently not the same! We asked where we could change the baby...no one knew....thankfully the apartment was close! The bakery was small, so we left our strollers outside, even though they are the cheap, small, umbrella strollers, we were soon advised that we should keep them with us all the time....as they may get taken. We were aware of the risks, and not too concerned, but the bakery staff seemed quite concerned, so we folded them up and squeezed them in with us. If the locals are concerned, we should be too! We learned a few lessons that day...you'd think we've never traveled before!! I guess we're out of practice!

    So far, we've visited a couple different bakeries, the Notre Dame, walked along the Seine, and explored the many walking streets just outside of the apartment. We were lucky enough to catch the Dame de Coeur show (commemorating WWI) at the Notre Dame Cathedral tonight! It was brilliant...amazing! Unfortunately, we had one sleeping and one really tired (aka miserable) kid, so somehow managed to not get any photos! It's been great so far! The locals are so friendly and it's obvious that they love kids!
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  • Day5

    Disneyland Paris

    November 6, 2017 in France ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C

    Four more days at Disney, two asthma attacks (from all the second hand smoke), lots of Nutella croissants, and tons of fun!! Not much sleep, very strange milk (and extremely hard to find), and only an hour in the pool and it was time to move on! The play place, theatre and playground were more appealing than the pool to our little ones....and to Jay, since speedos are a requirement in France swimming pools! We were surprised that milk was hard to come by...Aston is a milk lover and still requires a nightly dose before going to sleep. The milk at the hotel, when we could get it, was unrefrigerated, sugary, and just plain tasted funny.....so Starbucks became a nightly stop for us after leaving Disney. Anywhere in the world, and we can still get our Starbucks!....and McDonalds. We've made it a mission to stop at a McDonalds in every country....more out of curiosity than anything else. France has a few different menu items. We tried the 280 burger....it was honestly quite boring. Morgan's meal came with an ice cream in a tube....which was fun!...but she didn't like it...haha.

    Canada is a multicultural society, so we hear different languages spoken on a daily basis, many of our friends, and Morgan's friends have different cultural backgrounds....but it still amazes me to see the innocence in children....to see how non-judgemental they are....and how accepting of each other they can be. They don't judge, they do get curious of differences, but they don't judge. A child is a child...a playmate is a playmate...and language is not important. We can learn a lot from children....even though they can't communicate through verbal language, they still become friends....they still play....they still laugh...they still hug....and most importantly, they are kind, compassionate, and caring. They help each other without being asked, they share without being told to, and they smile without fear. Both girls made friends, Morgan speaking English, the friends speaking French, and Aston...well, she speaks her own language...lol. We're excited to move on and experience Paris!
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  • Day3

    Disneyland Paris

    November 4, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    It doesn't matter what Disney you are at, in what country, or what language they speak....it's still Disney!! And we love everything about it!!

    After a short bus ride, an extra day of tickets, and some extreme confusion as to how, when, and the cost to purchase the multi-day tickets, we managed to make it to the park! Through all of our travels, Jay, Morgan, and I have never had to deal with jet lag...but Aston...oh boy...Aston was up for the first three nights....ALL night!! So our first couple of days were slow going, but we had accounted for that in the plans, just in case!

    Our hotel and Disney are still decorated with Halloween decor, but are starting the transformation to Christmas...so it's a bit of both right now! Pumpkins and Christmas trees! Disney is AWESOME! We've already visited both parks. Many of the rides and attractions are different than any others we have seen. So far, our favourites are Ratatouille (well, Aston doesn't really like this one as it feels like you are falling off of a building at one point.), and Crush's Coaster. I'm amazed at the size of rides that Morgan wants to go on!
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  • Day1

    Disneyland Paris

    November 2, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    We did it! We boarded the plane with two children, 5 and 1, to fly across the Atlantic Ocean to....yup...you got it!...Disneyland Paris!! Having been to Disneyland and Disneyworld, we are trying a new one...Disney Paris for their 25th Anniversary year. The flight went well, with a free and unexpected seat upgrade, amazing staff, and our new favourite airline...KLM! The flight attendant made Aston a special bed on the floor, gave the girls activity packages, and provided awesome snacks!!...even ice cream! Our girls are super travellers....Morgan entertains herself with books, cartoons. and colouring....Aston was happy flirting and peeking at the other passengers. About 20 hours of travelling later, we finally arrived to our hotel...The Explorers Hotel~~~ and the adventures begin!! This is the BEST hotel we have ever stayed at with the kids...a pirate ship play area inside, a pirate ship playground outside, an indoor climbing play structure, and an amazing swimming pool (also pirate theme)....it's built for kids! We love it. Oh, I almost forgot the fire breathing dragon near the lobby and the cinema too! There is also an arcade and a kids fitness centre! The rooms are themed....ours was a ship theme with bunkbeds and even treasure map carpet! We are very excited for our stay!Read more

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