Boating on the Grand Canal

Adventures in Paris: Versailles

When I think of the top five Paris sites, Versailles would definitely be in the list.  After all, it is the palace of French kings that, in my mind, defines French aristocracy, glory, and excess.  To this day, it’s a grandiose demonstration of Louis XIV’s greatness, from the approach, to the Hall of Mirrors, to the gardens, and beyond to the various secondary buildings such as the Grand Trianon and Marie Antoinette’s estate.

The place is HUGE.  And to our kids, it’s a bit less interesting than the more medieval structures we saw in Provins or Vincennes.

But how could we miss it?! Read more

Ah, the Alps

Adventures in Paris: a Swiss getaway

We rented a car and drove to Switzerland last weekend.  After two and a half weeks of walking and public transportation, having our own car was heavenly.  We felt so independent and in control!  It was awesome.  We were searching for cooler weather, so we decided to drive to the Alps.  It was a six-hour drive, which is pretty long for our little family, but it was beautiful the whole way.  And, as a big bonus, we discovered that France and Switzerland have the best highway rest stops ever.  Read more

Charlie tantrum--right there at the Children's Museum

Adventures in Paris: Getting along with tired and grumpy kids

Kids (and grown-ups) get grumpy when tired.  Traveling is very tiring.  It follows that during your adventures away from home, you will likely experience tired, irritable, grumpy children.  We have experienced a lot of this lately ourselves, so I’ve spent some time thinking about how to help our family be happy while traveling together.  Here are a few things we’ve tried. Read more

French lesson (snip)

2 Weeks to France: Prepping the boys

Reading books and building context                

Family Explorers is based on the idea of putting things into context—working to engage your family in learning about your destination before you go.  With that in mind, I had grand plans for studying Napoleon, the French Revolution (all of them), and at least half of the artists in the Louvre before we leave.  BUT, as these things go, Read more