By: The Whole Family.
For weeks we romanticized Paris, the longest stop on our trip. We would rest! We would watch movies! We would enjoy a leisurely European lifestyle, sitting at cafes for cardplay and lengthy discussions about poetry and painting. (Really, no different than my normal life at Microsoft!)
What we hadn’t bargained on was that there were SO MANY things to see and experience.. that we’d leave having put as even more miles on our shoes and feet than anywhere. But WHAT A PLACE! We were planning to have an arm-wrestling match just to decide which things would make the big blog post… but then Sydney breaks here arm… ahem.. so instead, here’s OUR FIVE FAVORITE PLACES IN PARIS, along with “what we hated most”.
As always, the kids are pretty good for a chuckle, coincidentally liking EXACTLY the same things as mom and dad… cough, cough…
- Euro Cup Fan Zone at the Eiffel Tower. Biggest TV screens ever!
- Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. Experience
- Versailles’s Gardens and Fountains
- The Top of the Eiffel Tower
And the worst thing is bruising my tailbone on roller blades. Don’t get me wrong, roller blading is still fun, but seriously… bruising your tailbone hurts!
- Eating baguettes
- Eating all types of cheeses
- Top of Eiffel tower
And the WORST thing in Paris was… getting a hair cut!
- Top of Eiffel tower
- Eating Pastries
- Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N.
- Versailles Garden
- Musee de arts et Sciences
And the WORST thing in Paris was going rollerblading and breaking my arm.
- Palace and gardens of Versailles
- Date night dinner at Joel Robuchan L’Atelier Etoile
- Watching the kids play with sailboats at Luxembourg Gardens
- Friendly Parisian people
- Amazing Sightseeing
What I liked the least: All the smoking at outdoor cafes and pollen allergy-induced asthma
- Architecture and general “grandiosity”. The French ROCK!
- Churches … especially Saint Chapelle and the gargoyles/stained-glass everywhere
- The Parisian Dead: Catacombs and Cimetière du Père Lachaise
- Joel Robuchon dinner
What I liked the least: the rain. 😦
Versailles Gardens and Fountains (4 votes!):
Alexander: I really have just one thing to say. No wonder the French Revolution started. This is a step above aristocratic. This is what one may call mega, mega, mega, mega, mega, mega, mega, mega, mega, mega, mega, mega, mega, rich. I don’t know how much money King Louis XIV had, but seriously… he built VERSAILLES!!! If any of you have seen Versailles, you know what I’m talking about. It’s kind of like the Euro Cup Fan Zone. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve seen it. There’s a lot of gold. There’s a lot of diamonds. There’s a lot of everything. Just, just look at the pictures. That should help a little bit.
Sydney: Versailles has the most incredible gardens that you will ever see in your entire life. Even only one section of the gardens would be good enough for a king. The had big, medium and small fountains. They were beautiful and cool to watch. I don’t know how the king navigated through those huge gardens. We went row boating right next to one of the big and tall fountains, but the fountain wasn’t running water.
Kristina: The gardens are enormous, the fountains are awesome and the palace is over the top. It’s incredible to think it was built over 300 years ago, before the US was even formed. We rented a rowboat and paddled around the grand canal after lunch. In the late afternoon, we were able to take a tour of the private residences in the palace and see the impressive Royal Opera house.
Joe: Holy moly, if you go to Paris, make time to go to Versailles! Crazy beautiful! Go on a fountain day, and realize they only run each of the fountains for around 2 hours at a set time. Walk the grounds in sync with the fountains. LOVED this.
The Top of the Eiffel Tower (3 votes):
Alexander: What a view!! From the top of the Eiffel tower, you can see everything. The Arc de Triumph, The Louvre, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, you name it!! Also, they had a cool little display showing other tall buildings from around the world, and it shows you their direction. Buildings in Finland were in the same direction as buildings in Eastern China and Japan, because you need to go over the poles.
Piper: My fifth favorite thing was going up the Eiffel tower. I liked it so much because there were really, really great view. Don’t stop at the first floor because there is another floor and it is super high with an amazing view. It is really cool.
Sydney: We went to the Eiffel Tower. We went to the top and there was an amazing view. We saw Notre Dame, the river and the Paris wheel. We took the cable car instead of the stairs, to add to the cable car count of the entire trip. The Eiffel Tower may have been my favorite thing in Paris. The Eiffel Tower is a weird kind of brown metal color. My favorite thing that I saw from the top was a small Statue of Liberty. I felt so warm being up there.
Croissants/Breads/Pastries/Cheeses (3 votes!)
Alexander: No chocolate for me, these things are way too good to have even chocolate added. I will now attempt to explain the taste of a French croissant. A French croissant is the perfect blend of crunch and chewiness. It smells of a freshly grown wheat field, and tastes of unimaginable goodness, and creates a savory-ness between a fresh baguette, and freshly baked pita bread. The croissant should be honored above all other French foods, and should therefore cost more in highly touristy areas like Paris.
Piper: my first favorite thing in Paris is eating baguette which is a long bread. Paris is famous for them and they were amazing. The best place to get a baguette is at a bakery that’s were they make the best. My brother Alexander thinks croissants are the best but I don’t.
My second favorite thing was cheese. France is also famous for cheese they have more than three hundred different types of cheese. My favorite type is Swiss cheese with holes in it. My dad also really likes Swiss cheese. I call it mouse cheese
Sydney: I love Pastries here in France. All the croissants, baguettes and desserts. I got to say Paris wins for best pastries. We are so lucky we have a bakery right next to our airbnb. They have great croissants there. Once Piper got in line for a baguette and she was too short so they skipped her. LOL!! She got in line again and waved her money and got a baguette that is how desperate she is. Some times the people at the bakery would give us free food.
Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. Experience (3 votes!)
Alexander: This should just be the #1 tourist attraction (except for the Euro Cup Fan Zone) while it’s going. Of course, it is all fiction, but I learned stuff about the Marvel world that I wouldn’t have learned had I not gone there. I (stupidly) didn’t know that there was a Thor movie, (which basically got spoiled for me) but that still didn’t affect me much. The design was very well done, with a very modern decoration, and almost seemed like a real museum. At the end, you get to fight Ultron, the world’s smartest robot (until Vision came along, but that’s another story), which was good, but could’ve been better. Apparently, there’s also an Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. in Las Vegas, so if we’re ever in Las Vegas for a weekend or something, I’ll want to go there.
Piper: My third favorite thing was going to a Avengers station were I learned all about the. My favorite Avengers our Wanda the Scarlet Witch, Vision, Clint Barton Hawk Eye and Tony Stark Iron Man. My brother said that he learned that we have another movie to watch. That movie is Thor.
Sydney: The Avengers station is there to teach you about the Avengers. I love the Avengers. The Avengers is my number one favorite movie, but Iron Man is also great and Captain America Civil War is pretty funny too. My favorite Avengers are Iron Man (Tony Stark), Hulk (Brose Banner) and Falcon (Sam Wilson). At the end of the tour we fought with our audio guides. You would throw a hammer, arrow’s and other things that Avengers fight with to beat Ultron from Age of Ultron.
Euro Cup Fan Zone:
Alexander: Okay, you can’t go to the fan zone and not like it. Not only is the atmosphere electric with fans from 24 different countries, but there’s a 50 (not inch, not foot) meter screen. That could be a little bit of an exaggeration, but it’s amazing. That huge screen is flanked by two smaller screens, but show the games just as well. And then there’s the Eiffel Tower in the background. No complaints, no criticism. It was just—which word should I go with? Wicked? Cool? Awesome? Sick??—Yeah, we’ll go with sick.
Musée des Arts et Métiers
Musee des arts et Métiers was an okay museum. I learned how to count in binary, in my head and with my fingers. I got to fly a drone. I did cool tricks when I flew it. I did a couple front flip, side flips and a back flip. Piper crashed hers into the net while she flying it. Alexander and I didn’t crash it when we had a turn.
Rollerblading .. and the broken arm! (+1 and -1 votes!)
Piper: My forth favorite thing was rollerblading, which is a mix of ice skating and roller skates. Their really fun but you have to be carful because you can get really bad injuries rollerblading.
Sydney: Mommy and daddy let us have a kids day where we have to look on the internet and plan. I chose rollerblading. Rollerblading was fun at the beginning. Then we were going to catch up to mommy and Piper. I was going fast and then I fell. I hurt my arm. I was crying crying and crying. Mommy and daddy took me too the hospital. It was a grownups hospital so they couldn’t take a X-ray of me. They said I was okay. Rollerblades was off my birthday list.
Two days later my arm hurt, so I had to see a Doctor again. first we went to Microsoft to drop off daddy and the other kids. Then we went to the children’s hospital to get a x-ray. We went with a person from Microsoft to translate for us. It turns out that I had a broken arm. I have to have a Velcro for fifteen days. But at least I can take it off during showers and night. I do not like wearing it!! It makes my thump fall asleep all the time. And I can’t wear a jacket on top of it either.
Churches: Notre Dame, Saint Chappelle, Sacré-Cœur
Joe: We’ve seen a GAZILLION cathedrals on the trip… but somehow the ones in Paris seem different and special. I loved going up Notre Dame, I loved looking at the gargoyles. I loved seeing the asian couples out front taking wedding photos with pigeons.
And… Saint Chappelle is BREATHTAKING! In the churching-department, Paris had it all.. gothic, scale, and sheer beauty.
The Parisian Dead: Catacombs and Cimetière du Père Lachaise
Joe: I had never heard of the catacombs until our escape-room host named these as the offbeat” thing he’d recommend in Paris. Get this… back in the late 1700s they had to relocate the remains of SIX MILLION PEOPLE from a big set of neighborhood cemetaries because the body count was getting so high they were a serious breeding ground for disease. So, they moved the bodies into the limestone quarries hundreds of feet
Date night dinner at Joel Robuchan L’Atelier Etoile
Kristina: Joe booked us a dinner at one of the three Joel Robuchan’s in Paris. We both had terrific multicourse dinners which looked and tasted amazing. Our seats overlooked the kitchen so we were able to watch them prepare some of the food which was entertaining as well.
Watching the kids play with sailboats at Luxembourg Gardens
Kristina This pick is likely biased, because it was a rare sunny day for us in Paris. Nonetheless, the park was huge and beautiful. And it was wonderful to watch the kids playing in the sun and enjoying a simple, non-electronic toy as much as they enjoy Minecraft. They pushed their sailboats towards the middle of the small pond, hoped the wind would catch the sails and then sprinted around to the other side with big smiles on their faces to fetch their boat.
And last… a few classics the kids didn’t vote for, but we made them write about anyway. Sense a little bitterness here? 🙂
Alexander: Yes, I love the glass pyramid thing in the middle, and yes, I like the crown jewels, but I don’t see what’s so great about an art museum that’s famous just because it’s big. I’m not a big fan of paintings or sculptures, I like photographs more, but some of the Greek sculptures, and the Renaissance paintings I could appreciate.
Alexander: Overrated. It’s just another portrait.
Sydney: When we saw the Mona Lisa it was bigger than I expected. I also expected that there would be lines because it was so old but there wasn’t.
Piper: When I saw the Mona Lisa I was very surprised because I thought it was going to be bigger and have cracks on it.
Kristina on “Other Sights” There are so many incredible sights to see in Paris and I enjoyed them all. Eiffel Tower, Orangerie (Monet’s Water Lilies), Rodin Museum, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, Musee d’Orsay, Sainte-Chapelle, Palais Garnier, Sainte-Chapelle, Sacre-Coeur, River Seine flooding, walking Champs-Elysses and listening to Joe struggle to pronounce it. Alexander says “click here to learn how to pronounce it, Dad…”
Next stop… Paris Disneyland, and then Provence!