Monday, August 15, 2011

Paris...

The door to our apartment building
When we began working with the travel agent who arranged our tickets for our trip to Sierra Leone, we were originally hoping to be able to go through London. We have dear friends who live in Northern Ireland, and we were hoping to either pop over to visit them or that they would come to London to spend a few days with us. As we planned, though, we discovered that our friends were actually going to be in the States at the same time... so we told the travel agent to look at flights going through other European cities and just try to find us the best deal.

When he came back with an itinerary flying through Paris, I got a wild hair... maybe we could save up enough money to be able to spend a few days in Paris with the kids. Knowing this would be the only trip like this we would ever get to take as a family, it seemed silly to get to Paris, only to spend a few hours in the airport and then fly on to Sierra Leone. I posed my idea to Asia and he agreed... so we asked the agent to arrange our layover to be a few days instead of a few hours.

The five flights of stairs we climbed to
get to our apartment
Asia and I went to Paris for our tenth anniversary, so we had a good idea what we would want to do with the kids. We found an apartment to rent online, booked it, and began making plans... as the trip got closer though, we were extremely focused on all the things necessary for our time in Sierra Leone... while we knew the Paris portion was happening, we really sort of made a conscious decision to not over-plan our time there and instead decided to follow our noses... and see where we ended up. We knew where we were staying and a few of the major highlights we wanted to take in, but we didn't create any sort of strict itinerary for our time.

Figuring out the metro - it took the kids about two trips
and they were experts...
It ended up working out just fine. We arrived in Paris at 8:00 am after a direct flight from Seattle. We hit the ground running, and after a ridiculous journey on RER and metro trains and stations and a short walk (all with nine huge suitcases and five backpacks) we found our apartment. It was in a quaint and lovely neighborhood in the 11th arrondissement, just a few blocks from the Bastille. Up five flights of spiral stairs we found a sweet (tiny!) one bedroom apartment freshly cleaned with a bottle of wine on the table welcoming us to Paris.

The Bastille - this was the major landmark
near our apartment...
Our three days were full of amazing sights and experiences. We managed to see the Louvre, Musee D'Orsay, Notre Dame, The Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, The Arc de Triopmhe, Palias Royale, and Ste. Chapelle... we also managed to find time for quiet picnics, nice long walks and Kyler and I even managed a run at dawn one morning. Our apartment was lovely and quaint with a tiny kitchen that made it easy to save money by shopping at the grocery store instead of dining out all the time.

Waiting outside the Louvre
Our bodies settled in quite well to the time change, but there were still some wide awake hours in the middle of the night and some afternoons when we all could barely keep our eyes open. One night when Asia and I were both bright eyed and bushy tailed in the dead of the night, he turned to me and said "We aren't this family..."  I think both of us were simply overwhelmed by the blessing it was to be able to give our kids this amazing experience. It was so far out of our norm to even think about spending time in Europe with the kids... it honestly had never even crossed our minds as a possibility in any of our hopes and dreams for our family. But here we were. Amazing. We were both so grateful. And we enjoyed it so much...

It was a great time... and such an unexpected treat for us to be able to make it happen. The Goins in Paris... whodathunk? 


Making art interactive...

Loved hearing the kids' perspectives on what they saw in the Louvre
Inside Ste. Chapelle - my favorite church in Paris
Awestruck...
Outside Notre Dame
Inside Notre Dame

E. feeding the birds outside Notre Dame

Ah - the lovely Tour Eiffel...

Hanging out on the tower... of course we went to the top!

We were amazed to see the distance to Freetown notated inside the Eiffel Tower...

Jumping at the Arc de Triomphe... I had to get at least one jumping shot...

I loved this sign at Sacre Coeur...

Getting some lunch in Montmartre

Baguette sandwich, anyone?

E. chose a beret for his souvenir... so cute...

Love the Parisien way of shopping... buying just what you need for the day... no Costco here...

Goodbye, Paris... until next time...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:48 PM

    Thanks for sharing! Amazing pics of an amazing family. This will certainly provide enough "Show and Tell" for the kids for a couple of years!
    Kerri Burke

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