Unfortunately my dad has been receiving plenty of pressure to have us settle in Paris, through many “we love it here”s and “Papa, can we live here?”… It’s a city with one beautiful building after the other, elaborate iron railing designs, and well-dressed people calmly walking down the street enjoying the fresh air. It really does feel as if everyone is busy doing something, probably working hard since the price of living here is so high, yet leisurely in a Parisian way.
We arrived here through an adventure of its own, traveling via night train! After driving to Malaga and taking a train to Madrid we finally boarded the train; car 81 was approached triumphantly since the train started at around car 60 and it took us a while to get anywhere with our bags. We almost didn’t fit, physically fit, into the cabin with our 4 bags, 6 backpacks, and 6 people. It was definitely cramped! Our beds were 2 feet wide and both Audrey and I had to fit, so we slept on our sides, with me on the edge of the bed hoping I wouldn’t fall off. Some gymnastic classes ensued (climbing from bed to bed) and new manners were learned (be considerate about the feet up there!)
The next morning we were in Paris in a great modern apartment and quickly set out for the Luxembourg Gardens. Don’t forget someone turned 6…Happy birthday Josephine! The Luxembourg gardens were beautiful, but I have to say that I was pretty disappointed by the fact that the extensive playground cost €2.50 for children and €1.90 for adults! We did not go in since it would have been €13.80…but the little ones did enjoy the 100 year-old carousel. There is this fun game where the kids catch little rings on their sticks as they come around, which Josephine and Emilia fiercely concentrated on and we found hilarious. The Luxembourg palace was very interesting for us to see (from the outside), since Marie de Medici wanted her palace to be identical to the Pitti palace in Florence, which we saw, so it was almost like deja vu.
Inside of Paris the metro system is so extensive that you could go anywhere with the 14 lines, 5 express lines, a couple more lines for something I don’t know, and many buses. The Les Halles station is also a mall, so we walked around there and my sisters discovered Hema, a store mixing Target, Macy’s, and Ikea on a small scale. Josephine’s birthday dinner was her favorite, spaghetti with tomato sauce and meatballs, and she chose a fruit cake at one of the local patisseries, which was great! After her birthday, Josephine looked like a little French girl, with boots, leggings, and a colorful beret-scarf set and we definitely commented on that fact, so you can see why papa was feeling the pressure, especially because Josephine picks up on language very quickly, and was saying bonjour all the time. When Mama came into the night train cabin with a video camera Josephine announced “buonasera, some free tapas?”, holding up some UNO shaped tapas, the hilarity speaks for itself.
Unfortunately Audrey became sick during the night so our plans for the Louvre were changed and only Papa, Emilia, Josephine, and I went out. We went to the Louvre just to have our jaw drop at the length of the line around the pyramids and almost out the entrance. Our jaw also dropped at how huge the actual building is. At first we couldn’t believe that all of that was the Louvre; it was just massive. You have to be there to believe how large and beautiful it really is.
We also went to see the Eiffel tower, although our tickets for the top were for the next day. We came out of the metro to a view of a large building and Josephine and Emilia were already antsy: “where is it?”, “Lillian, I can’t see it!”… I was just thinking you just wait… As we turned the corner Josephine was already saying “where is – wow!”…and after that all I heard was “that is sooooooooo cool!” and different variations from open mouths, including my own. The Eiffel Tower looks like a big version of the little key chains and trinkets, just stuck there in the middle of the city. It just blows your mind that you are actually there, at the Eiffel Tower!! We walked around in constant danger of running into something: we were looking upwards the entire time instead of where we were going…
Taking a small detour we went to the Arc de Triomphe and walked around on tired feet, only to find that today was free, so we forced ourselves up the 284 stairs, which I had Emilia count for motivation. The view from up top was spectacular!
Mama wanted to get out so we went to the Louvre and entered through the ticket reservation entrance (it was free that day so no tickets needed). Gleefully we viewed some of the museum, which seems even larger from the inside. We saw some Egyptian antiquities, which were amazingly old, until they threw us out of the museum, in the direction of the stores.
The next day someone turned thirteen!