Paris was both the start and the end of our little spring getaway. It really is an incredible city and there is so much to explore and enjoy here. We first visited it together in 2005, again in 2008 and now in 2013.

Leanne’s sister, Melissa, was in town with our niece and nephew while her boyfriend was in Frankfurt for work. Paris is a perfect city for young ones. You never have to go far to find a park with a playground and carousels are located nearby most major tourist attractions. We picked a hotel near the apartment Melissa was renting around Bastille. Our arrival day consisted of visiting, going to a playground close by, and having lunch in a café before Leanne and I retired to the hotel to recover from the overnight flight.

Quartier latin, Paris

The next day we went exploring and did reasonably well with a three and one year old in tow. To make life easy and to make it fun for the kids we relied on the open-top, hop-on hop-off, double-decker buses to get around. We visited the usual must-dos: Cathédrale de Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, and La Tour Eiffel. We had lunch at Le Relais de l’Entrecôte for their steak with the magical green sauce that keeps people coming back. The staff was great with the kids and they in turn were excellent and ate well with this special treat.

The weather wasn’t cooperating at the Eiffel Tower and we decided to navigate the metro back to the neighborhood we were staying in.

Michael in the Palais Garnier

The following day we visited a different section of the city, driving past the Moulin Rouge and going to the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur and wandering through the neighborhood of Montmartre. That evening Leanne and I went for dinner on our own at an excellent restaurant near where we stayed called L’Ebauchoir. A big highlight of visiting France is the incredible food and this non-touristy bistro did not disappoint.

The next day we made our way to the Latin Quarter and spent an afternoon in the Jardin du Luxembourg enjoying a café in the park and letting the kids play in the large playground there. The day after that we walked through le Marais neighborhood having some treats along the way. A really nice part of the walk was on the way back on top of the old city wall now turned into a gardened pathway. The weather was starting to turn and we made it to half-a-block away from our hotel when the rain started and came down in a torrential downpour that flooded the streets with rivers of water. We hid under shelter while it passed. We were amazed at the intensity of it. That evening Leanne and I flew to Dubai.

Leanne and Michael at le Musée Rodin

Two weeks later we returned to Paris. This time we were on our own and we stayed near the Parc Monceau. Having no urgency to see any touristy sights we took our time wandering through this part of the city and its many parks. We had two full days in town before flying back to North America. One of the highlights was visiting a couple of old mansions that house some of the original furniture and some amazing art collections. We wandered through the extravagant Palais Garnier. We had macarons from Pierre Herme. We also went to the Musée Rodin and Musée de l’Orangerie. We had a phenomenal lunch at Le 114 Faubourg where we had a view that let us look down to the kitchen below and watch the head chef, a true artist, plate everything to perfection. It was a true culinary delight and we finished the whole trip off with dinner on our final night at a Michelan Star restaurant Le Chiberta.

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