There are many reasons to go to France. The French cities are amazing but getting off the beaten track and into the countryside is were you will experience the diverse French culture
Slideshow, click on the right side of the image.
22 years have past since our first trip to Paris. We are now a party of 4 and seem to always have a adventure planned. We (really me) decided that a trip to Paris was a must in the summer of 2008 this would be our 5th time to the city.
I figured what I was doing wrong was not staying long enough. We seem to take day trips but what was needed was 10 days. This time Sean and I are taking Philippa, our seasoned traveller of 5 years. I found us a lovely apartment in the 8th arrondissement Madeline. Just up the street from the Opéra national de Paris - Palais Garnier.
The internet now makes my job very easy. I am a planner and like to know what is going on when we are in the city.
Once we arrive at Charles de Gaule airport Sean asks if I have the code to the apartment. Remember the email with the code to get in? Yah no! I don't! So much for my planning. I don't care at this point we will just camp out front until someone lets us in. I am sick with worry as we approach the the address, will my 5 year old be camping on the streets of Paris. We can see a lady sweeping the sidewalk and chatting to someone I am thinking oh please be the lady that runs the place please! Yes it is her, "ah madame Je suis si heureux de vous voir". She takes us inside to the elevator up about 7 floors then out.
Walk a bit to a small door the kind in the movies that you hid people behind. Yes I have rented the attic! We some how drag our belonging though the small stairwell including a push chair. I am sure there is a jewish family up there. But no it is the cutest little apartment in the loft. When you look up at a Paris apartment from the streets you can often see a small window that is sorta in the roof. Well people really do live up there and you get a smashing view. I love it! The windows face the court yard and you can see the wonderful Paris skyline.
Our first morning I am up and dressed at 6:30, why so early? Because croissants and coffee taste best early. I have the choice of 4 boulangeries from the corner of our apartment. I choose the one with the longest line. I am following the locals. I order trois croissants and a baton for sandwiches. Then off to the local grocers for fruit, jam, milk and coffee. As I stroll back in the fresh morning air the thin bag that covers the croissants lets out their wonderful aroma and I find myself peeling off a buttery layers followed by many more. Upon my arrival at the apartment entrance the bag is empty. Oh crap I have eaten 3 entire croissants. Oh boy back to the line up. Ann Marie is bringing out a warm batch from the oven trois de plus pour mon sac. I manage to get them home and even eat a 4th pretending that it is my first. This will have to stop if I am going to fit up the stairwell by weeks end
We head out as a family by 10. Philippa spots a playground and wants to play, so she joins the other children on the equipment while I join the other mums.
I have been planning for this trip for awhile and one of my details is not to looks like a wide eyed tourist of the 80s. I have packed 7 regulation white blouses. Yes french women wear white and navy blue They also have lovely shoes but my size 11 feet don't fit in lovely shoes and like many french shop keepers have told me in horror." non non madame vous devez aller à la section des hommes pour les chaussures". So my shoes are the give away, I am a Canadian trying really hard .
Our timing is to be in Paris on Bastille day. Years ago when we lived in Clevedon my girlfriend and her kids came to stay with us. They wanted to spend some time in Paris while they were visiting, so I set them up on a coach trip with Shearings. The trip included Bastille day. They came back to the UK" LOVING Paris". The lights, music, food the everything. Yes their first trip ever and they Loved Paris. They were on a friggen coach holiday!
So yes I can testify that being in Paris on Bastille day is a excellent idea.
But la crème de résistance is the Fireman's ball. We had seen a poster advertising the event and it turns out the firehall was just a block away from our apartment. So if you are ever in Paris on July 14th go to the fireman's ball. It is a great party .
The Euro-star was a great opportunity to head to London for a picnic. We get to meetup with our good friends Jazmine and Lorraine for the day and home in Paris for dinner
As our perfect week in Paris comes to a end, we are sitting having our last morning ONE croissants and coffee by the window and can hear some music over the coo of our neighbourhood pigeons. It gets a little louder and it is french accordion music. OMG it is like a scene from my favourite movie Chocolat! It is perfect I have done it
"I LOVE PARIS"