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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Paris Day 1 and 2

We arrived in Paris via the a from Amsterdam. We purchased reserved seating which guarantees a seat but you do pay a little extra for that convenience. The train ride was very smooth. We had 4 seats, two across that face the other two. The fifth seat was across the aisle. We purchased some broodjes, sandwiches in Dutch, and drinks to take aboard the train. The girls were still jet lagged, and slept a good part of the train ride. We really enjoy taking the trains and find it relaxing and a nice way to see the scenery. My husband prefers not to drive so he can relax during the trip too.

We arrived on time at the Gare de Nord station in Paris. One of the girls had to use the WC, or water closet. It cost 1 Euro to use it, so she said she could wait. Boys are only half a Euro, what's with that?

Anyway, again we held tight to our motto, "public transportation only", and tried to take the metro all the way to the west side of town to Paris-Neuilly where our hotel is situated. This required lots of up and down the stairs with our luggage, and asking mulitple times for directions in our broken French. Somehow we managed to get as close to the hotel as possible, but broke down in the end and got a cab the rest of the way to the hotel. The cab driver charged us an extra 1 Euro per bag even though he didn't even help with the baggage. Merde!

The hotel is very nice, we requested a suite. I highly recommend securing one if traveling with children. You definitely want to have the ability to spread out. Once we unpacked and got our gear in order, we set off by metro to find the Marché de Noël, or Christmas Markets. By this time, it was close to 5 pm, perfect timing to see the city holiday lights. We took the 1 metro and took it to Concorde exit, walked a few metres and located the large ferris wheel on the boulevard. From there we located the Champs Elyses Marché de Noël, amid the beautiful lights down the boulevard. There were over 100 vendors selling knitted hats and scarves, jewelry, toys and the best of all, crepes of all flavors. We sampled chocolate, sucre and ham and cheese. Délicieux! The girls also got a bag of french candies, unusual ones we'd never seen in the U.S. It's a good thing we are walking so much to burn away all these French calories.

The marche's eventually lead you down to the famous shops on the Champs Elyses. We finally ended our journey at the Arc de Triomphe. From there we would take the metro back to our hotel. We are quickly getting used to the time here, the girls ended up staying awake watching Sponge Bob and Disney cartoons in French. Bonne nuit.

Tomorrow, the Lourve!

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