We've traveled as two, we've traveled as three, now we travel as four...
  • Day18

    Paris Airport

    November 19, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    So...we realized late last night that the "return" ticket we purchased for the Disney bus to the airport isn't going to work for us!! Ugh...another amateur travel mistake! Being used to Disney World transportation, we didn't even think about the time of our flight! Even though we don't have a super early flight....there is no way we can catch the Disney bus and be there early enough. Oops. So we had to book a taxi to the airport....100 Euros!!!! ...because it's a weekend, the price is increased! SO expensive!

    We arrived at the airport and tried to pay....umm...oops again!!! The taxi doesn't take credit card??!! geez...another assumption on our part....luckily we had some American cash...since we didn't have any Euros left!! He took the American...he didn't seem too excited about it...but we gave him a small premium on the exchange...lol. UGH!!

    Well, this is it!! We've concluded our first overseas trip with kids....aside from 2 asthma attacks, three puking episodes, mystery rashes, a visit to a pharmacist (which is almost like a visit to a doctor at home), 3 wasted tickets to the Eiffel Tower, wasted tickets for the Disney bus, potential bed bugs, and no money to pay the taxi....all in all...it went quite well! We had an amazing trip and the girls have grown and learned so much in such a short time...thankful for this opportunity...and we are already planning our next adventure!!

    Update: We made it home, cutting it VERY close with our connection in Amsterdam...running through the airport, each of us pushing a stroller at top speed while carrying 3 carry on bags....I'm sure we made a few people smile...lol. Jay's mom met us at the airport with a clean change of clothes for each of us, multiple large garbage bags and duct tape! Everything got sealed shut before we put it in the car....in case we had bed bugs....and it was all heat treated and/or left in the garage for freeze treatment! I've never before been happier to come home to a week of -30C weather! haha. I went to the doctor....two different doctors actually....both of whom guaranteed that my bites weren't from bed bugs. Morgan's vanished within two days...I wasn't so lucky. I ended up with swollen hands and feet...VERY painful. Both doctors are 100% sure it's not bed bug bites...one thought maybe scabies!!...but it wasn't...thankfully. The other is sure it was an allergic reaction...perhaps to something used to prevent bed bugs.
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  • Day17

    Disneyland Paris!

    November 18, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 6 °C

    Another day at Disney!! This time to take in all of the wonderful, amazing, fantastic Christmas decorations and shows! What a magical place!! Unfortunately for us....we didn't realize that it is also Mickey's birthday today!! The park was SO busy....almost 2 hour waits for most of the good rides!! Of course, we couldn't justify waiting since we were just here a week ago and were able to go on all of the rides then. So we spent our day watching shows and enjoying the atmosphere!

    It was about an hour wait just to get into the park if you have a bag...we always have a bag with us! So I stood in the mob of people, supposedly in a line, waiting to go through the security bag check while Jay and the girls went in through the "no bag" line...I didn't see a point in all of us wasting an hour just to get in! They went straight to "It's a Small World", since it wasn't open last week when we were here. By the time I got in, the Christmas parade was starting...and they got held up on the ride for one of those mysterious Disney moments where the rides just randomly stop for awhile....if you've ever been to Disney, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about! Anyway...I ended up watching the parade...alone!! I had a perfect spot and the parade was amazing...even alone, I couldn't stop smiling! They even made it snow!! I have no idea how or where the "snow" came from...it was SO magical!! Luckily, the girls were able to catch most of the parade...just from a different spot....haha.

    We enjoyed our day and savoured our last Disney moments.....and a day in France without rain...well...of course that couldn't happen! haha...we ended our travels in the rain! Bye Disneyland!...and Happy Birthday Mickey!!
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  • Day16

    Paris Disneyland

    November 17, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C

    We packed up this morning and headed back to the Explorer's Hotel at Disney! It was a pretty relaxing day...settling in to the hotel and spending the evening at Disney Village. We had supper at the famous Rainforest Cafe....an amazing restaurant and experience for the kids! The animals move and make noise, a storm ravages the restaurant....it's fun! The food is mediocre, but I guess you pay for the experience. haha. We spent the rest of the evening walking around Disney Village, enjoying the switch from Halloween to Christmas! Tomorrow is our last day in France...and will be spent at Disneyland!...of course!

    Aston had a weird rash a couple of days ago...and today, Morgan and I are covered in what we are guessing are bed bug bites!! We're not sure...they don't really seem like bed bug bites, but it's only on our exposed skin....and doing some research...it seems as though we found a dead bed bug (flat) in the apartment we had rented...and the sheets were covered in what is apparently bug excrement! It all makes sense now....not sure how we didn't put it together when we were there!! Jay and I really need to get our "travel senses" back!
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    Where Kids Take Us...

    Roasted Chestnuts!

  • Day15


    November 16, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C

    After the catacombs, we went straight to Sainte-Chapelle. This time being sure to be there early enough to get in! It's attached to the Courthouse, so there is a lot of security to get through before being allowed in. At one point, they tried to separate us from the kids...sending them through a different line...but I wasn't about to let that happen. There was some confusion, but eventually they let me go with them. It was odd. Sainte Chapelle is beautiful! There isn't a whole lot to explore, and there is a fee to get in, but it was nice. Pretty cool.

    It's been a long day, so we ended it with our favourites!! First stop was Bertrand's bakery where we bought a GIANT pistachio meringue....then for supper we chose Lebanese again...and Amorino gelato to follow! I was so excited to choose colourful flavours this time...trying to make a beautiful flower. Jay got his, Morgan got hers....and then it was my turn...and they switched staff members. Just my luck...I got the trainee!! It was her first day...not only her first day...her first time scooping!! Needless to say, mine ended up looking like a very unkept, unhealthy flower....haha. I guess I'll need to wait for our next trip to Paris to get the perfect flower ice cream! lol.

    Once the girls were in bed, I headed out on my own to check out the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Unfortunately, they don't allow photos to be taken inside. It is a book lovers dream store....floor to ceiling books....creaks with every step...and any book ever imagined...even a hidden kids corner. Apparently, some people even sleep there. And I believe all the books are in English. It was great....until I went to leave. There was a strange man leaving right in front of me. He, for some reason, couldn't figure out how to leave the store...how to push the door open. Some ladies and him had a few not so nice words, then they managed to help him leave. I left right after....started walking down the street, stopped to look at something and that's when I noticed that he was following me!! At first I thought it was just me...so I moved on and stopped somewhere else...he did too. I did it about 3 times, then I called Jay and headed straight into the busy walking streets where I dodged in and out of people. It wasn't until I was sure he was gone that I ducked down the alley to the hotel...which I was locked out of!! There is always suppose to be someone at the front desk...they don't let you bring the key out....and I wasn't aware that they lock the door. It was about 10 minutes before she finally came and unlocked the door...she was in the washroom...of course...the one time I was panicking to get inside...haha. Good night!
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    Where Kids Take Us...

    What does this mean??

  • Day15

    Catacombs Paris

    November 16, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    Today was Jay's day. He's really wanted to go to the Catacombs, ever since arriving. I, on the other hand, feel contaminated and soaked in germs and grime just thinking about it! And I'm not too sure if it's very appropriate for the little explorers....but I went...just for him....haha.

    Our day started off with a VERY expensive "buffet" breakfast in the basement of our hotel. "Buffet" meaning, one thing for each of us...one croissant...one meat slice....one piece of cheese...haha. It was a cute basement area, almost cave like....but the food was not worth the price.

    We took the train to the Catacombs...I'm not sure how, but as navigator...I admit...I somehow had us exit one stop too early! So we had to walk quite a ways....through a tent city!! It was a very educational walk for Morgan, who had many questions about the tents and the area. She wasn't afraid, she wasn't judgemental, she was just...curious. I was very proud of her. She addressed her curiosity with great questions and showed concern for the residents, as it is quite chilly at night at this time of year. They do say that it's not usually this cold, but we lucked out and came during an unusual cold snap...lol.

    It was quite a wait once we found the catacombs...we are lucky we were as early as we were. The line quadrupled behind us!! We only had to wait about 35 minutes to get in as we didn't buy tickets in advance. Another 130 steps...this time going down underground. Wow...another adventure...so different and so interesting. The girls loved exploring the tunnels and the catacombs. Morgan had many questions and was interested in the history and origin of the area. The history is quite fascinating. We spent about an hour underground, then resurfaced near a bakery selling "skull" meringue! Delicious!

    Instead of walking through the tent city again...haha...we opted for the closer train station this time!
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  • Day14

    Louvre Paris

    November 15, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 7 °C

    Finally! We found Point Zero! We've been in this area for days already and have walked past many times...but today, we found it! We knew it was around, and as we were looking we noticed a tour group standing in a circle nearby...so we peeked in...and voila! There it was. The famous Point Zero...the centre of Paris...right in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral! We must've walked past it 20 times already!

    We spent most of the day exploring as we slowly made our way over to the Louvre. We stopped at the famous Berthillon for ice cream....trying a lime basil flavour...and chocolate of course for Morgan! (We much prefer both the ice cream and the service at Amorino). We tried to stop at the Sainte-Chapelle cathedral on our way, but were too late for entry. They close early.

    We carried on to the Louvre. It's beautiful here! I know, it's a little crazy, but we didn't really have any interest to go inside the Louvre....instead just explored the outside. It was great. I couldn't imagine taking the kids inside...I don't think it would be very enjoyable trying to keep them quiet and chasing them around. I like to use them as an excuse, but really, the thought of spending all that money to look at art history that I don't know anything about...sounds...well...to be honest...quite boring to me. But exploring the outside was great! There was a wedding model shoot going on. It was pretty cool to watch. There were street musicians playing "Let it Go" on violins....amazingly beautiful. The girls had to dance to it of course! They had a great time interacting with the musicians.

    After the Louvre, we started randomly walking...the best way to explore! We found a fun wooden foot bridge to cross the river, and just as we were crossing, the Eiffel Tower starting sparkling in the night sky! It was SO beautiful! I'm not sure if it twinkles every night, maybe at a certain time, but that was the only time we saw it sparkling! So lucky to have seen it.

    We knew we were heading in the right direction to eventually get back to the hotel, but we didn't realize we had walked past our hotel somehow! We ended up at the Odeon Theatre....Luxembourg Gardens....yikes! That's quite the trek! There was a very happy ending to this excursion!! We stumbled upon a Lebanese street food restaurant (Chez Le Libanais) and had the most delicious shawarma wrap....it was so good, that Jay even ran out again after the girls were in bed to get us some more!! A delicious end to a fun day!
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  • Day13

    Eiffel Tower - Part 3

    November 14, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 6 °C

    Back on the ground, we tried to ride the carousel, but didn't have enough cash....I think we need about 12 Euros, but were .50cents short! So we went for a walk to find a cash machine....Believe it....it's true....there are still places that only accept cash!! It was a surprise, considering we were at the Eiffel Tower...a massive tourist attraction! We went on an adventure, found a nice restaurant for lunch, finally found a bank machine, and even another carousel! Did I mention that they are double decker carousels?? So much fun! Jay and I have traveled to about 21 countries now...and our favourite thing to do while in each one, is just walk....just walk and see what you find, meet some locals, see how they live, what their days entail....away from the tourist attractions. For us, it's the best way to travel...to actually experience natural life...not just the tourist locales.

    We finally made it back, took a couple of rides on the carousels, and continued on our way...back on the trains!

    We finished off the evening with a nice, delicious dinner at a small restaurant along the walking street. The gentleman out front was so friendly and very interactive with the girls. He's been trying to get us to eat there since we arrived, so we thought we finally would. After walking around a bit more, we retired early. It was a great day full of fantastic adventures!!
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    Where Kids Take Us...

    mmm...dark chocolate...haha.

  • Day13

    Eiffel Tower

    November 14, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    When we first left Disney and arrived at our rented apartment, we couldn't log into our Eiffel Tower tickets for some reason. No problem....my brother was staying at our house and had access to our computer, so I just had him forward them to me. I made sure we received them, but didn't look any further into it. That was 5 days ago. Our tickets are for today!! YAY!! Eiffel Tower, here we come!!.....or not. Yikes!! How did this happen? Our tickets were for last Friday??? We missed our reservation!! UGH!! We were so sure they were booked for Tuesday...well...that's $100 wasted!

    We decided to get up early and try to beat the line ups....since the online reservations were now completely sold out! Ready to wait in line for hours, we headed out! Our little people were just as excited about the trains as they were about the Eiffel Tower! Two trains, a 15 minute walk, and some chocolate waffles later, we were finally within sight of the famous, majestic, Eiffel Tower!! And there was next to no line!

    What an amazing structure. A giant elevator goes from the ground level, up to the second floor, where your toddler then has a 25 minute tantrum in the middle of the floor, kicking and screaming, meeting many other tourists (most trying to help) while legs and arms are flailing, tears are rolling, screams are piercing, all literally in the middle of the walkway. Oh...that's just us??!! haha....the second floor is actually where most people then transfer to a normal glass elevator that goes straight up the middle to the top! It was awesome! Both Morgan and Aston had a spot right up at the window and neither one of them had any fear....I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not...haha.
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  • Day12

    Walking Streets Paris

    November 13, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    Our hotel is right along the river and right in amongst the tourist walking streets. This is great for us...easy to make it back for diaper changes, quick to find something to eat, and so many areas to explore!

    Just downstairs from our hotel is an amazing gelato cafe! You choose a size, then can choose as many flavours as you want....and can even top it off with macaroons! When they scoop the ice cream, they scoop it into the shape of a flower!! It's amazing, gorgeous, and fantastically delicious!! I didn't realize how it worked until we ordered, so I didn't choose very colourful flavours...next time I'll choose by colours instead of flavours! haha.

    After exploring more streets and bakeries, we decided to eat at a "kid-friendly" burger place, Frog Burger. They were very accomodating to the kids and they even had a high chair....it wasn't quite high enough (not very useful)....but one of the only places with a high chair....so I'll give them points for trying! haha. A few issues with our meal...my burger was raw....we were missing some fries....Morgan spilled her drink ALL over....it was pretty much chaos....but the food was delicious and the server was fantastic! They gave Morgan a new drink for free, gave us free fries, and I'm sure were very happy when we left...haha!
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  • 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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