I asked a tour guide what it was like for her the first time she came to Paris, she said she just walked around with her mouth open for a week. I understand this response completely. The old world beauty and architecture is just overwhelming. Our first full day in Paris was somewhat of a wander with purpose.
I'm sure it's against all the travel rules (not that we haven't broken a 1,000 already), but we let everyone sleep in this morning. We started later to catch up on some rest and then sat down for some crepes at Suzette creperie. From there we headed to the Arc de Triumph and climbed to the top for a stunning, stunning view of Paris.
It’s one of those places that you see in pictures but can not fully take in the magnitude and grand sight unless you are there. You just keep shaking your head, trying to imagine all the men and women working together and the time it must have taken to create such a structure.
We decided we must go to the top! Lyra was very unsure as we were climbing the forever circular staircase, but she got over her fear of heights because the view will just do that too you- it was that good.
From there we headed to Avenue des Champs-Élysées and walked all the way to Place de la Concorde. I’m not that big of a shopper but I was secretly thrilled to see so many stickers on the walk way. There were hundreds so we didn’t think one more would hurt.
And, ohhh the flowers in October!!!
We pressed on to the Place de la Concorde only to discover that we happened to be in Paris during the set up for the contemporary art fair (Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain - Paris). As part of the Faire, there were these very rad light and sound exhibits. It made me wish there was a LOHK wall or something of the sort there, but maybe someday, right?
The rain finally found us on our trip so we ducked out into the Jeu de Paume Museum for some hot chocolate and a break. They had a GREAT Halsman and Dali exhibit, my little photographer heart was leaping while my family so happy to have a few minutes to sit and re-group. With more rain and nightfall, we called it a day and headed back to the joy of the patisserie next to our apartment and warm beds.
The little things I noticed today-
1. There is a difference between vacationing and travel. I am finding I REALLY prefer the latter. Vacation is treats, activities, a momentum built that begins to create expectation…it feels like more, more, MORE and go, go, go…travel is exploring a place, people and culture.
Travel stretches and often requires time, patience and intention. Vacation feeds “give me”, while I believe travel encourages “teach me”. There is nothing wrong with vacation and to give yourself all kinds of wonderful things, but for our adventures abroad, I believe staying longer in one place will help us balance the pace and focus on travel. ....BUT who knows, maybe it's all a mix of both? Still learning for sure.
2. The kids’ world view is widening and growing each day. Josiah said he can see himself studying abroad and loved London. Each kid at different times mentioned themselves traveling on their own some day and were constantly taking notes and comparisons of the ways our different countries work, govern and live.
“I don’t think you need a car when you have the tube!”
“Look how the light changes yellow BEFORE the green, that makes so much SENSE!”
“You gotta BUY plastic bags here, that’s gotta be better for the environment. Who wants to buy bags? ”
“I like how you have tea here all the time.”
“Has anyone noticed that the food tastes 200 times better in Paris?”
3. Travel is just one of those things you have to DO to learn. You can read a million books and tips but finding your way with YOUR people/dynamics is all built on living those experiences together. We are not huge planners I discovered on this trip. We like things to unfold which is both great and can make things complicated with so many factors and different needs.
Everyday we learn a little more, about the world and about ourselves. It's so, so good you guys. Crazy good.