After we found out that we would be returning home much sooner than we had thought, we debated on how we should spend the remainder of our time in Europe. Since we had already planned to visit Paris at the end of our trip, and it happened to be the easiest international hub to fly out of, we opted to make the most of these last few days.
It was a lot more stressful than we anticipated when we arrived from Luxembourg. The flight and getting through the airport was a breeze, but arriving during the evening rush hour proved difficult and extremely frustrating. Instead of taking a taxi to our hotel, we saved some money and decided to ride the RER into Paris. A lesson we learned very quickly – and that we won’t do again – was that on these trains people literally shove themselves in no matter how already packed the car is. We had our luggage and I held Grey, but soon the car we were in was nothing but bodies pressing uncomfortably up onto to others. I was really frustrated and upset with the people continuously getting on the train – noticing how packed it already was – because there was no consideration whatsoever about Greyson.
However, we finally made it to our stop. Our hotel was situated right within walking distance of the Notre Dame cathedral. Another aspect that became frustrating was while we were exiting the metro station. There were no escalators or elevators available so we had to manage our bags, fold up the stroller, and do this while carrying a fussy Grey. Needless to say we were eager to find our hotel and get settled for the evening.
Even after a hectic transportation experience, we were excited to put our feet up and get settled into our room. The view we were offered was absolutely beautiful and we loved sleeping with the windows open each night. For the next four days we would call Paris home and here’s a peek at what kept us busy until our return flight home!
Our first day we did some sight seeing, although the husband and I have seen much of Paris respectively. It was fun getting the chance to take Greyson for the first time and snap some photos of him for our photobook and to have as keepsakes. Notre Dame was literally right outside our hotel so, of course, that was our first stop and we couldn’t leave without a few selfies and photos of Grey.
Le Jardin du Luxembourg & Palais du Luxembourg
Afterwards we kept walking and wandering…with no real sense of where we wanted to go. We happened upon the Luxembourg Palace and walked around their grounds – complete with a beautiful garden to wander through. Once built as a palace, it now serves as a meeting place for politicians and events. Grey loved walking up and down the gardens and, of course, playing with the gravel.
Hôtel National des Invalides
On our second day I wanted to take the boys to another popular landmark in Paris that I had visited almost 10 years ago when I visited Paris the first time. This not only Napoleon’s resting place, but has one of the largest collections of military history and art collections in the world. We learned that this building was first designed and built to house veterans and wounded soldiers by Louis XIV and the dome operating as a church before Napoleon Bonaparte was entombed here in 1861.
It was great getting to walk around and have a place where Grey could freely explore. We didn’t do much of the museum this time around, but I hear it’s a pretty great military collection that spans from the Middle Ages all the way to present day. However, we were at the wills of our toddler. So, that’s where more wine comes in 😉
The Eiffel Tower
(yet another photo I couldn’t get Grey to stand still for…such is life!)
Any trip to Paris isn’t complete without a visit to one of the most recognizable and popular landmarks – the Eiffel Tower! After we finished up at the Invalides we walked to a nearby cafe for some wine and to rest our feet for a moment. Then we set off to the Eiffel Tower to spend some time to hang out with Greyson and let him get some of those wiggles out.
Due to the major long lines, which was to be expected, we didn’t get to go up but it was nice nevertheless to see it once again. Grey loved running up and down the grassy park playing with his new sword we got him from the Invalides gift shop and it gave me a chance to rest my ankle.
While we were visiting the Eiffel Tower, one of the fun aspects to Paris is the many playgrounds that are available. So, we took Greyson over to the carousel and playground so he could get some of those wiggles out and interact with some of the local children.
Cafe avec George!
Grabbing our morning coffee and breakfast each morning quickly became a beautiful way to start each day. Greyson’s Curious George was, of course, along for the ride every step of the way and I couldn’t help but snap a few photos of the two of them – especially when Grey decided to share some of his croissant #heartmelts. There’s nothing like enjoying a cafe crème and croissant while taking in the sights and sounds of the morning bustle.
Our *pocket high chair was worth it’s weight in gold in Paris! Turned every chair into an instant high chair – and best yet, it rolls right up!
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Arc de Triumphe
The Arc de Triumphe monument was installed under Napoleon’s rule to symbolize and reflect the French’s many victories. At night, a flame is lit on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and you can even venture to the top where I hear, and can imagine, you have pretty great views of the city.
After making our way and taking a few photos, I was excited to share with my husband Montmartre which is the city I stayed in when I first came to Paris. So, we caught a cab and was able to make to the Sacre Coeur just in time for the sun to set.
Montmartre & The Sacre Coeur
Montmartre is one of my favorite places to not only visit but stay while in Paris. My hope is that the next time we can make it back we will get to stay in this part of town. It’s more relaxed, less touristy, and attracts a much younger crowd. It’s an artsy district where you can find street artists, shops, cafes, and bookstores. Because the light was dwindling on the day, we decided to hang out for a bit then grab a bite before heading back to our hotel.
But before we did we were able to snap a few photos and enjoy the sunset together as a family.
Versailles was the last trip on our stay in Paris. I had been about nine years ago but the husband had never seen it before, so I was excited to share it with him and Greyson. Unfortunately within nine years there have been a few significant changes to how one visits and experiences the palace and it’s gardens – and most left us feeling frustrated and annoyed.
Like always, you take the RER out to Versailles, which is about a 20-30 minute train ride. Then you walk up towards the main gates and have the opportunity to take pictures like the ones we did and I’m sharing today. Before you could walk straight through, without seeing the palace, to the gardens, which is one of the major reasons to visit. However, now you must enter the palace and go through security as well as purchase palace tickets. The confusing part, even though I read online the night before, was that palace tickets do not give you access to the gardens – it’s a separate ticket. Not only that, but you must check your stroller as they do not allow them on the grounds (OMG, right?!).
Even though it was a beautiful place to visit, and I still recommend it highly, my husband and I became very frustrated with the new layout, having to pay for literally everything, and not even getting to see all that there is to see because by the time we figured out the new layout Greyson decided to have a meltdown and we couldn’t use our stroller for him to fall asleep. All in all it was a pretty horrible trip for us, but at least we got to see it and I got to share it, in some capacity, with my husband and son.
And that’s a wrap on our European trip! Two weeks seemed to have gone by in a flash, but I am so thankful for the time we got to spend together in London, Luxembourg, and Paris. I can only imagine when we are able to return with Greyson, but for now we have these memories and photos that will be treasured for a lifetime.