Arriving in France (Europe Adventure)

August 24, 2015 by kimeree13

Years ago, we started dreaming about taking a big trip sans kids to celebrate our 10-year anniversary. However, the big question was “how the heck are we going to pull this off?” It’s not an easy feat to organize everything needed to leave your three kids at home and take off for two weeks, but we did it!  Greg’s mom, Sherry, came over to our home in Colorado to take care of our little cherubs.  While they were busy making their own memories, we flew over to Europe to make some fantastic memories of our own. We really had the time of our lives and had so much fun together!  I cannot wait to tell you all about it!

During our initial planning process about a year ago, we discussed all types of trips in many different places in the world.  Greg wanted a beach vacation, but I wanted to go on an adventure and do something together that we couldn’t do easily with our kids in tow.  One of my dreams since my college years has been to see the countryside of Ireland and try out driving on the other side of the road. This ended up being the focus of our trip and where we’d spend the majority of our time away.

We decided to fly in and out of Frankfurt, Germany, so that we could meet up with my parents later in our travels.  As we were trying to buy plane tickets last winter, we realized that there were not a lot of convenient flights from Frankfurt to the southern parts of Ireland, so we ended up going to Paris, France first.  From here, we were able to take a few days to adjust to the new time zone and then take a direct flight to Cork, Ireland.  This ended up being a great plan because we cut down on some unnecessary travel time and got more time to sightsee!

We left on a Wednesday morning, July 15th. It’s still the strangest thing for me to walk through the airport with little to no bags with me and NO stroller. It’s even stranger to sit quietly waiting for your flight without any distractions, diapers to change or kids to chase around. We sat in peace, talked a little and updated our Facebook pages.  Greg snacked on peanuts and I filled him in on all our stopovers. Time to leave!

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We flew to Dulles (Washington D.C.) first, had a short layover and then took the big 7-hour flight over the pond directly to Brussels, Belgium.  I had the most delicious coffee here at the gate as we waited for our Lufthansa flight to leave for Frankfurt! A short hour later, we arrived in Frankfurt and I did a little “inside scream” as I realized I was back in Germany, albeit for a short period of time!  We scrambled a little to retrieve our suitcases from one terminal and then get over to the other terminal for our Air France flight to Paris. Are you counting? Yes, we took four flights to get to our first hotel stay.  I was surprised, though, I actually liked all the layovers better than being on a direct flight (which we did on the way home).

We hit the ground running and for a short time, I forgot all about the jetlag I was feeling once we arrived to France.  Our hotel was near the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg in the Saint Germain area of Paris, so our first sightseeing stop was to visit these gardens and its Palais du Luxembourg.  I loved the Medici Fountain inside the gardens.  It was sitting underneath some tall leafy trees and flanked by tons of people hanging out and enjoying the shade on a very hot day.

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We took subways all around and through the different parts of Paris.  It’s really difficult to get around this big of a city without using public transportation like this.  So while this mode of transportation is convenient and relatively fast, it is also smelly and stuffy most of the time.  We also had the added bonus of really hot weather while we were there, so that made the whole experience even more interesting. I love the art nouveau style metro signs and entrances.

And some photos of the metro from the inside. Little mazes under the city complete with tall escalators, mural paintings, cool tile work and spiral staircases.

There were so many tourists when we visited Notre Dame cathedral so we didn’t linger there very long or wait in line with everyone to see the inside.

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We walked around the back of the cathedral to Pont de l’Archevêché, which is one of the many bridges in Paris where people hang their “love locks” with their names on it and throw the key into the Seine below. No, we did not attach a lock and we are still going to be “lovers forever.”

I had been to Paris a couple times already before we went on this trip, but I had never been to Ill Saint Louis, which is a small, quaint island, accessible by foot just past the cathedral.  We stopped at Berthillon, a historic ice cream parlor on the island, which is definitely worth a visit for the history alone! The ice cream was good, too!

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So, that’s all for now. More stories and photos to follow soon!

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