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Paris, Part 1 (Un!)

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We had another long travel day on Wednesday as we headed to Paris using planes, trains, and automobiles. We left Salamanca for Madrid at 11 am. This time our train made fewer stops and utilized some high speed track, so the trip was shorter than it had been a few days before. We got some lunch at the train station and visited a store there filled with gummi candies.

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We took a taxi to the airport and arrived with plenty of time for our flight. However, gates aren't assigned until about an hour before takeoff, so we spent a lot of time in the central part of Terminals HJK awaiting our assignment. Unfortunately, the kiddie area in this part of the terminal did not allow kids over 6, so we didn't stay there. Instead we went stir-crazy in some seats near the sign announcing gate assignments. Once we did get a gate, we found a nearby play area for all ages.

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Once our flight landed, we took a very long taxi ride through traffic to get to our rental apartment. By the time we could get some dinner, it was past 10 PM. We opted for the quickest thing we could find: McDonalds. As someone who has seen Pulp Fiction, I was disappointed that there was no Royale with Cheese on the menu.

We were staying in the suburb of Noisy le Grand, about 30-45 minutes away from most of the sights in the city. This made it pretty much impossible to go home for naps. DD2 is at the point where she naps, but not every day, and she's not the type of kid who can just doze off anywhere. Thus our strategy was to skip nap but get home for bed earlier than in Spain to make up for the loss.

Both girls are fans of the Madeline books, so we tried to visit several of the places drawn in the books, starting with our first day of sightseeing. Our first stop was the Arc de Triomphe.

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We took plenty of pictures, but did not go inside (Our rule of thumb was to only climb structures with elevators up, given that lots of stairs up can be tough on a 4-year-old.). We then walked down part of the Champs-Élysées, but the girls were getting hungry. We found some lunch before visiting our next site, Notre Dame; once again, we didn't climb the towers, but we did go inside.

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Our next stop was the Luxembourg Gardens. They have a big playground with equipment for kids of all ages. The green structures are intended for older kids, but younger kids went on them as well. There's a small admission fee, but it's good for the whole day (they'll stamp your hand so you can re-enter) and well worth giving the girls a shady place to play. Both of them loved it.

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Saint Sulpice church was on our route to dinner,so we quickly stepped in.

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For those of you who read or saw The DaVinci Code, I took a pic of the gnomon/meridian line, but it did not turn out.

We had dinner as France won against Argentina in the World Cup; it was fun to see people cheering and spontaneously singing La Marseillaise. Afterwards, we headed back to the apartment. For the first time this trip, the girls got to bed at their usual times! That was great because they really needed it.

The next morning we headed to the Tuileries gardens,

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where we found some carnival rides. We took the Ferris wheel and got some nice views of the city.

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We purchased advance tickets for a cruise along the Seine. This also gave us nice city views from a different vantage point.

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Some friends had suggested visiting the Louvre during its extended Friday hours to beat the crowds. We showed up at around 4 PM. There were still people, but the line wasn't bad. Unfortunately, DD2 was running out of energy, and it didn't help when we got a bit lost looking for the Ancient Egyptian art; the Louvre is like an enormous maze, and gallery numbers aren't always clearly marked. We found our way out (without finding the Egyptian art), checked out the Mona Lisa and few other works, and left. Even though our time there was short, it still felt like a deal to see amazing art for less than we spent on the Tuileries Ferris wheel.

We finished with dinner at a place that my husband had researched. It was great, but we were tired when we were done!

(Photo credits to DD1 on the gummy candies, B&W Arc de Triomphe, and sepia Notre Dame; she chose the effects on her own! DH took the Rose Window pic at Notre Dame, Saint Sulpice interior, and the pics from the boat ride.)

Posted by amikulski 19:16 Archived in France Tagged churches art children boats trains museums parks airport monuments

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