We rented a car and headed on our first ever European road trip! Destination: Paris!
We stopped in Bruges, Belgium on the way there, for lunch and a stroll around the town. Bruges is quaint, picturesque and expensive! Everyone there is a tourist! After glancing at a few menus we decided that eating was going to be expensive no matter where we went. So we picked some prime real estate right on the square, and ordered two plates of Belgium waffles to share. It didn’t take long to consume our $50 worth of delicious waffles! When we got back to the car we finished off our lunch with some bananas and applesauce.
After driving through lots of rain and sitting in heavy traffic we arrived in Colombes an hour later than scheduled. Adam dropped Grace, Sabria and I off while he looked for parking, but unfortunately I didn’t have the code to get into the building. Adam finally arrived, we buzzed in, and soon discovered that the apartment we had rented was located on the fifth floor! We made our way up five flights of stairs only to be greeted by an apartment filled with cigarette smoke. I immediately wanted to call my mom and cry, Paris already felt like more of a cultural adjustment than the Netherlands ever has. We began opening windows and child proofing the place. It was already 9pm by the time Adam had brought the bags up and I had fed the girls peanut butter and jelly. It had been a long day but we wanted to get out of the apartment for a bit while the place aired out. Soon our long day turned into a long night with a walk to the train station and a ride into Paris. It had felt like a nice evening when we arrived a few hours prior, but as we got off the train it began to rain and unfortunately we had left our umbrellas back in Colombes. We had a very memorable walk in the rain down the Champs Élysées. I have heard that it is beautiful to see the city of light at night in the rain, but staying dry in the meantime might be key to it being a fully enjoyable experience! Before heading back we found a sandwich shop that was still open, it provided a nice escape from the damp cold streets. We arrived back to the apartment around 1:30am. We were feeling quite tired by this point and the five flights of stairs in the dark (we couldn’t find the light switch) with two sleeping girls and a stroller were even less thrilling than before. We went to bed a little homesick for the Netherlands!
The next two days were much better! We started the day with bags of french pastries and croquettes from the local bakery.
There was still plenty of rain but we had our umbrellas ready! Throughout our time in Paris we saw the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Notre Dame, Arc De Triomphe, Luxembourg Gardens, The Latin Quarter, Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, Montmartre…
We did have a small incident when leaving Luxembourg park. Acadia got run over by a man on roller blades. We came around the corner and when she saw him coming she decided she needed to be by her parents. So she ran right in front of him! Acadia has already been bit by a bike and now roller blades, needless to say she is becoming a very cautious child when we are out. Since then has been insisting on holding my hand at all times, although it is not always possible…
We didn’t want to stand in line with the girls so we took Paris at a slow pace and Grace went off and spent some time taking in the Museums and enjoying art exhibits.
We ate some delicious food in Paris, I got to eat some very tasty Beef Bourguignon. I even got to do some shopping! I found a trench coat that was exactly what I have been looking for.
On our way home we stopped and spent a few hours in Lille, France. It felt very similar to Belgium as it is near the border. We walked around the centre, went into Notre Dame de la Treille which was a beautiful Cathedral with no line. We got into a restaurant for lunch just before the rain hit. It always feels good to time something well!
Paris is a great place to see, but it felt good be home. Even the girls slept in the next day!