Part 2 of our Europe vacation was Paris. When we talked about taking the kids to Europe we narrowed it down to Paris or London. We knew we couldn’t afford a multi-country many week trip and wanted to concentrate on one place. We wanted to be based in a larger city with options for side-trips. We also wanted it to be fairly easy and comfortable for us. Both England and France were countries that we felt comfortable traveling to. H. did a study abroad program in England and we had both traveled there several other times, including on our honeymoon. The language barrier was obviously not a problem. Both of us had also been to Paris multiple times, including once with John at 15 months. I have very rusty high-school French but H. speaks the language well enough to get by and that made it an easier option than something like Amsterdam or Berlin or Prague.
We gave the kids the choice of London or Paris and everyone voted for Paris. I think they were at least partially swayed by our description of Paris which included “really good bread, chocolate, croissants, onion soup, coffee, pastries, crepes…”And we did indeed eat very well while we were there.
Because this was their first trip (or for John, the first trip he remembered) we concentrated on the big attractions: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur. The history and art provided a great contrast to the natural beauty and outdoor focus of the Iceland part of the trip.
We spent one day outside the city on two side-trips. In the morning we ventured to Giverny to see Monet’s Garden. It was beautiful. In the afternoon we went to Versailles to see a very different gaudier beauty.