As I write this, I'm sitting at the table of our Paris apartment surrounded by drying laundry. This dining table and chairs is the best equipment we could find in lieu of a clotheshorse, so it’s a bit of a mess. I don’t mind though… we’re in Paris after all 🥰
While everyone is still snoozing after a late night (which didn’t seem so late because the sun doesn’t set here until 10pm), I've decided to take this chance to note down what's been happening for us since touching down in London town four days ago.
First up, arriving at London's Heathrow Airport and being greeted with cuddles from my sister after 25 hours of travel was bliss. Our son actually said to me at baggage collection, “Mum, when we see Aunty Juju, you have to let go of my hand okay. I’m going to run to her.” 💖 Video calls are great, but nothing beats being reunited in person.
We tried super hard to combat jet lag, with the kids being clued in on what we needed to do to get out body clocks used to the new time zone, but the car ride from the airport to East London got them. While Brent and I lasted until 7pm and 8:30pm respectively, the kids passed out at 5pm. Apologies to my sister's neighbours for the 1am ruckus!
The highlights for me from our quick stay in London were:
Wandering the streets and seeing all the incredible period buildings. It's beautiful how the old and new mix, how lush green vines climb and cover walls, and how blooming roses can be spotted everywhere!
Stopping by Tower Bridge for a coffee and play. The kids opened a florist by The River Thames and sold the most amazing flowers!! All pretend play of course, inspired by the florally decorated King Charles bench seat… I love how the kids play and how they can make fun out of nothing 😍
Lastly, visiting the flat my sister is currently renovating was another highlight. The kids loved planting her herb garden, making dirt potions, and finding a snail to protect. I loved seeing the space she’s creating and couldn’t help but feel extremely proud of her and the life she’s built here. A proud big sister moment for sure!
Then it was tata to London as we jumped on the Eurostar, headed for Paris. The bag of goodies were a hit again, and games of Go Fish provided solid entertainment for a good chunk of time (see my last blog: 5 Best Things We Packed for Our Long Haul Flight with Kids for more on how we’re entertaining the kids while travelling).
Arriving at 10:30am Paris time, we couldn’t check into our accommodation until 3pm, so utilising local luggage storage was fantastic! A short walk from Paris Gare du Nord, we dropped and stored our bags for 5 euro a piece, then set off to explore a gorgeous corner of Paris... Sacre-Coeur Basilica and Montmartre.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris (A.K.A. Sacre-Coeur) - my gosh, what an incredible sight! My second time visitng this beautiful landmark, I swear I could just stand and stare at buildings this whole trip... what they were able to build over 150 years ago is astounding!
Wandering through Montmartre was magical too. The cobblestone streets, artists carrying artboards at every turn, colourful and decorated buildings (see, there I go again about buildings 😅)... the whole energy and vibe of Montmartre is AMAZING!
My only regret is not jumping aboard the Le Petit Train de Montmartre. It’s this gorgeous miniature white and gold train that takes passengers on tours through the charming village. The kids would have loved it, but alas, there’s always next time.
Next, let’s talk about grocery shopping! Instead of going to a single grocery store (like going to Aldi, Coles, or Woolworth’s back in Brissy), food shopping here in Paris is completely different - and I’m feeling it!
We walked up the road from our accommodation to the supermarche for fruit and vegetables, then to the boulangerie for baguettes and croissants. We crossed the street and went into the boucherier for salami and sausages, and then went to the fromagerie next door to pick up some cheese. Visiting the local supermarket, bakery, butcher and cheese shops, saying “bonjour" and feeling the sense of community in each store was wonderful! I wouldn’t want to do it all time to feed our family of four, but whilst on holidays, food shopping this way is novel and fun!
Last of all, yesterday we celebrated my daughter and sister’s birthdays, starting with brunch near Notre Dame - the same spot where my sister was 4 years ago when she found out our daughter was born 🥰
Then we took a cruise along the Seine River (which was amazing for tired little legs, and a relaxing way to see the sights of Paris), enjoyed the Eiffel Tower, a carousel ride, and topped it all off with a yummy dinner and drinks at a local Parisian bistrot.
So far on our trip I’ve felt tired from jet lag, stressed about time, and anxious about the kids safety. But I’d say those feelings have been fleeting - popping up in airports or crowded places. Overall I’ve felt extremely happy and content - excited about our adventures, and grateful to be here travelling with my little family.
Tomorrow we’re off to Disneyland Paris and everyone is excited! You can bet we’ll be wearing disney ears and reenacting our favourite scenes from disney movie... these things can't be helped when I'm with my sister 😄
But before that, to the boulangerie! I think a freshly baked croissant and coffee is calling my name! Also, everyone has just woken up and I can no longer hear my own thoughts (man kids are noisy!! 😅) - Everyone also wants breakfast, so better get dressed and head out.
Until next time friends, au revoir!
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