It has already been such an amazing adventure since our family left our home for Europe one week ago. To begin we had the usual sleepless overnight flight plus a long line through French customs, but with both to be excepted the children did fabulous with it all. Our rented apartment in Paris, once we located it despite our jet lag, was one the sixth floor (top of the building), had a titling roof with skylights and was accessible via a tiny lift (elevator), which we took up two at a time. The walls were painted a soothing deep gray and the sleeping arrangement with the kids sharing the pullout sofa bed was an easy solution for our family of four, though I am sure in a year or so they’d not fit together comfortably.
One of my favorite parts of our Paris visit was a day just wandering from our neighborhood towards the Seine. We had breakfast at our boulangerie (bakery), we referred to it warmly as ours once we fell in love with their near perfect Pain au Chocolat (chocolate croissant) on our first day in the city and went back each morning of our stay. From there we strolled down Rue St Martin through a series of pedestrian only streets with a mix of local and tourist shops until we found a Parisian Librairie (bookstore) with a large children’s section. The kids looked through Manga (comics) section while we browsed the sale bins under a striped awning out front. We purchased a large scale animal dot to dot book and a sophisticated coloring book of Paris scenery and delights to take along as activities for our future train travels through Europe.
Once we reached the river and found a set of stairs leading to the promenade along the bank, we walked along taking in the sunlit water and occasional low flat canal boat until we came upon an obstacle course for children set into the ancient stone walls designed in the neutral tones to blend into the Parisian setting. Next we crossed a pedestrian bridge and made our way towards Saint-Germain-des-Pres. In this area the streets narrowed and the speciaility shots become upscale and numerous, we searched for a specific gourmet food store, recommended by our guide book as a great place to pick up picnic items to take along to the nearby Jardin Du Luxenburg. The cuisine from this deli and bakery was by far some of the best we sampled during our stay and I especially enjoyed the fromage et legume quiche (cheese & veggie quiche), warmed on request and enjoyed with a piece of crunchy bagette, which I’d made the habit of purchasing each morning to have in by canvas bag, to fend off the kids constant hunger while adjusting to a later European diner. Upon entering the garden we easily found few of the iconic public park green lounge chairs to enjoy our lunch right by the Grand Basin (fountain). Our son enjoyed playing with the iconic toy sail boats, which are pushed around the water with long bamboo poles (both can be rented for a small fee for a near by vendor). Afterwards, we located the children’s playground which was outstanding according to our two seasoned tweens. It included rope climbing, swings, as well as a curved track supported zip-line style piece of equipment, that all children lined up to ride on multiple times.
Once we were all sun kissed by the clear summer day and a bit weary from all the walking, we exited the garden to locate the closest metro station. After about ten minutes we located the iconic Metro Sign up ahead and headed back to our rented apartment to relax over a dinner cooked in our small but appreciated kitchen. An almost perfect travel day!