Category Archives: 2015 In Europe

We went to Paris and London’s Calling

  Back on the train…It has been a long few days of exciting times in Grenoble and Paris. Without overstating the obvious, Paris should not be relegated to a 36 hour visit. That said, we were extremely pleased with all the sites we took in during our brief time in the City of Lights.

It’s probably better to back up a couple of days and finish off our account of Grenoble with the Family Phillips.

  We are saying it again to anyone and everyone who can hear us – we are so thankful for Keith and Sarah taking us in for five days and four nights. You know the saying about fish and houseguests? I’m pretty sure we overstayed our welcome but you would never have known it by the incredible hospitality of Keith, Sarah, and the boys. It was such a lovely visit and we are eternally grateful to have started our journey out this way. In addition to the shared meals, we explored the town of Grenoble, took a bus trip out to Lac du Laffrey, and even found a French babysitter to watch our kids one evening while the four adults went out for a decadent French dinner. 

  The food, wine, and company was exquisite.

It’s not much of an expereince if you can’t share it with others, is it? 

After enjoying a leisurely morning over breakfast and coffee, we departed Sunday morning by train for Paris. 

Train trips with children are always an adventure. Add in the requested screen time for ipods/ipads and you have a battle before the journey even begins. They are good children. Really, they are. But they are just as susceptible to the siren song of Minecraft and Harry Potter movies as the next kid. This delicate balance was rudely interrupted by a lack of battery power that we were unable to correct until reaching the hotel. Hallelujah! Keeping them off the handheld devices was a blessing. That meant they slept!

  We stayed at a Novotel by Montparnasse. We’re a bit lame in this way because our hotels in Paris, London, and York are all Novotels. The reason? The easiest hotel to find kid-friendly accomodations. 

Best decision of the trip.

The Novotel catered to families like ours with plenty of space, extra beds, and perks for the kids like a special morning breakfast for children that included balloon artists, face painters, and lots of children’s decorations. The meal was perfect and the ambience, while not the most romatically Parisian, was idela for our two little ones. In addition, the hotel gave the children stuffed animals, games, and toys as gifts for staying. Well done, Novotel. 

The first evening was spent wandering by the Eifel Tower before having dinner at what Bryce said was, “The fanciest and best restaurant ever.” Who said you can’t have a three course meal with children? They ordered in French, tried the food, and made the best of it. We were immensely proud and happy to be in Paris. We stayed out late and wandered through the neighborhoods with the children happily taking in the sights and sounds of Paris at night. Incredible night.

  The next day we tried to be realistic with our experiences. Hop on trains and buses without any real expectations and just see where the day takes us and what we discover. As a result, we saw many highlights but not all of the requisite touristy things. We did a boat cruise on the Seine, walked through Jardins des Plates in the Latin Quarter, explored the Natural History Museum, strolled along the Seine, and spent a lot of time in the heart of the city around Notre Dame. We ate and drank too much, indulged on ice cream and sweets, and stumbled back to the hotel around 8 to promptly fall asleep. Success!

  We are now on the chunnel train to London. We underestimated our travel time to the station and had to cancel some plans this morning in order to make our EuroStar train to the UK. No matter. Everyone is resting nicely on the train as we head to our hotel that sits in view of London Bridge. 

Thanks for taking the time to read. We are especailly thankful for Julie Pitsonis for watching our border collie Lucy, as well as all the rest of our church friends back home who are getting ready to welcome Rev. Malcolm Rooney this week as he joins the congregation as the visiting minister. I’ll be doing the same thing in Scotland in just a couple of days. Until then, we’re excited to see London and York!