Adventures in Paris: We made it!

We made it!  We are in Paris.  Although we felt pretty ready going into Monday morning, departure day was frantic with last-minute preparations.  We treated ourselves to some quality burgers and fries at Mooney’s for one last American-style hurrah before heading to the airport.  We failed at packing light.  We did medium-well, but packing light just isn’t our forte, and our long stay in Paris necessitated quite a few extra items.  After lugging everything inside, we found our little Austin airport was packed with summertime travelers so it was good we arrived early!

Austin Weigh-In

Weighing in at the Austin Airport

Since we weren’t able to find tickets from Dallas or Houston to Paris using miles, we did the next-best thing which was to take the new British Airways non-stop from Austin to London.  The second flight from London to Paris was less than an hour.  It was fun to have a brief stopover in London to hear some British accents.  There is nothing more delightful than a good British accent!

The British Airways overseas flight was very convenient, the plane was modern and comfortable, the individual entertainment systems were exceedingly entertaining, and the food was tasty.  I only had one complaint—it took a very long time for dinner to be served and the cabin lights to be dimmed for sleep.  We probably had about four hours of dimmed cabin lights total, which was not enough for any of us, especially the boys, to get much sleep at all.  So everyone was tired and cranky today.  Really tired and really, really cranky.

sleeping between armrests


The boys, bless their hearts, were pretty good sports.  There was a fair amount of bickering and shoving and complaining, but everyone carried their own backpack and walked on their own feet (except for Charlie who isn’t allowed to walk on his own feet due to his stubborn insistence on always walking in the opposite direction).  All in all, I was proud of our little travelers for hanging in there this long day.  We had the boys dressed in matching green shirts for easy tracking in the crowds.  We got lots of comments on our little green-shirted crew, mostly good ones.

Our arrival in Paris went very smoothly.  Spencer had arranged a car service to pick us up at the airport with a big van for all of our children and stuff.  If there is one transportation cost I suggest you splurge on, it is a cab or car service from the airport to your hotel if you have a lot of kids and stuff.  So worth it!!

Our apartment is in Montmartre, for those of you familiar with Paris.  I really wasn’t prepared for how in the city we are!  We are right in the middle of a bustling urban area.  The apartment itself, however, is located near the end of a very long, very narrow, cobble-stoned alley that manages to feel quaint and quiet amidst the city rush.  It is a perfectly darling little alley lined with trees, vines, and pots of bright flowers.  We’ve already started to feel ownership and familiarity when we turn into “our” little alley.

Our little alley

Our little alley

I’ll write more about the apartment itself later this week, but here’s one last first-day experience.  Having eaten no regular meals today, we were all starving when we finally made it to the apartment.  So after a brief orientation and some quick unpacking, we set out to explore the neighborhood and find some dinner.  It turns out that French restaurants, even casual places like sidewalk cafes, don’t serve dinner at 4:30 p.m.  Most don’t start serving dinner until 6:00 or 6:30.  This is especially true if you’re not in the most touristy parts of Paris.  Since we couldn’t find an actual restaurant that would serve us a late-afternoon dinner, we hit up the next best thing, a boulangerie-patisserie (bread and pastry shop).  We then walked to a good-sized grocery store to buy some basics for the apartment and more food for an evening meal.  The shopping trip was a disaster.  The boys were all in a punch-drunk sleep-deprived crazy state.  They could not be reasoned with, bribed, or threatened into good behavior.  So while they were racing through the isles, knocking things over, and generally making a terrible first impression on the French citizens of our neighborhood, Spencer and I frantically grabbed a few random items and threw them at the cashier in our rush to get out of the store.  We ended up back home with a loaf of fresh bread, some butter, two kinds of cheese, some peaches, some oranges, and a large variety of yogurt (this because I was desperately throwing all kinds of yogurt into the cart while Charlie was running over yet another poor old French lady with the wheeled basket he insisted on pushing around the store).

We feasted on bread and cheese and yogurt, felt happy to be in France, and then put our exhausted little crazies to early bed.  And now, having unpacked and arranged and settled in a bit, we must put our sleepy selves to bed as well.

Bonne nuit!

5 replies
  1. Marci
    Marci says:

    Sounds like you have a great time ahead of you! Can’t wait to hear about it. I’m in the process of planning our own trip. Enjoy!

  2. Gail Roundy
    Gail Roundy says:

    You guys are having way too much fun. You should take it easy. Having too much fun can be addictive, you know.

    Enjoyed your update. Keep us in your loop.

    Best wishes. Aunt Gail

  3. Carol
    Carol says:

    This alleyway into your apartment looks totally enchanting! It just sounds so exciting to me. It sounds like the boys did well considering the circumstances of little sleep, not enough food and way overboard on stimulation. I’m sure you’ll settle into a pattern and routine that will make all the newness more manageable. I’m anxious to hear about your apartment, neighbors, nearby shops, and the cats! Loved the green t-shirts. That is such a great idea!

  4. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    So happy to read this!! Been thinking about you guys – what an adventure!! Can’t wait for your next post… and your alley is gorgeous!!

  5. Kristy
    Kristy says:

    I’m so glad for an update. I love the matching green shirts, but I’m curious about what kind of negative comments you got about them!


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