Monday, May 22, 2017

Paris arrival

Each arrival at a new place has its own story, its own aura, its own excitement tempered with trepidation. How will it turn out? What mark will this week leave on us?

I have many many bright little twinkly images from our travel to Paris and some small reminders that in travel, there will always be challenges.

Let's start with the bright twinkly images: Snowdrop loves airplanes and shows unbound excitement at the prospect of a family trip in one.

That's the little airplane, gaga. She's been told that there will be a small one and a bigger jet.


(One unfortunate discovery: now that she has her own seat, when she is buckled in, she cannot see out the window -- a real blow to the girl who loves to see the plane take off. But her smile remains firm.)


We connect to our Paris bound flight seamlessly in Detroit.


No delays, no mad dashes. And Snowdrop is for the most part, at her very best during the whole long journey. She now only puts up with the bothersome parts, but she does so with an enthusiastic smile, even while coasting on almost no sleep.

(Ever grateful to the flight attendant from first class who peeked in and brought Snowdrop a big dish of ice cream...)


Oh sure, there will be something that will sometimes upset her. And she is a passionate girl, so that your heart goes out to her in the rare times this happens. But mostly, she tries her darndest to show terrific spirit and cheer.

I will say that she is in one respect like me: she just cannot get comfortable enough in an airplane chair to sleep long and hard. She tries, but in the end, she captured maybe two hours of night sleep (still better I suppose to my zero) on the transatlantic flight.

Still, she is an excited little girl and she moves through the tedious end of the journey -- the lines, the connections, the waiting -- with patience and curiosity.

(Waiting for the strollers to be brought up from the plane at CDG airport.)


We are renting an apartment and I have to say, I picked it for its location, which I love. Otherwise, it's fine, though very very tiny. Two bedrooms, sure, but I swear, everything in the photo spread was done at an angle where you could not really feel its tinyness.

(Here's the entrance to this very typical Parisian courtyard...)


We're on the European first floor, so not too many steps to climb! Snowdrop is at once fascinated and terrified by the bird that is kept in a cage just by the mailboxes. It's not an especially attractive bird and he looks not too cheerful for being there, but it is an interesting way to enter our teeny tiny Parisian home.

Wait, I think I'm straying a tad from the twinkly images. Okay, so long as I'm noting the challenges, I'll say that the biggest challenge (aside from the sleepless night) has been the car ride from the airport to the apartment. Normally I take the train: cheaper and faster than a cab. But with a two year old and countless odd bags, it seems always easier to cab it. Never again.

It took forever.

The driver, wanting to avoid highway rush hour traffic, took us the back ways which I am absolutely certain was worse. Stop and go. Stop and go. Everyone was suffering, but for Snowdrop, it was just too much. She didn't complain, but she felt quite shaken by it.

Okay, back to the twinkly images: did I tell you it is really really warm here now? Summer weather!

Shorts weather! (Is this a mother or a grandma walking her girl home from school? In Paris, sometimes it's tough to tell. I'm thinking it's grandma...)


After she has her bath, the Snowdrop and I set out to pick up lunch (at two different bakeries...).

We start at Gerard Mulot for the pastries.


(The kind clerk offers her a macaron cookie which she is delighted to accept!)


And then we hop over to the nearby market for fruits (Snowdrop has a cherry and peach obsession at the moment and these fruits are burgeoning here right now!) and to  Paul's for the baguette sandwiches.



...which Snowdrop just cannot manage to stuff in her mouth, but I will give her an A for effort.


No effort required for the desserts!


While the young family naps, I go out again, this time with a list of things I will definitely need in the days ahead. For example a crib sheet. Who knew that most people bring their own? Too, yogurts for breakfast. Wine for a goodnight blog-writing glass. Paper towels. Nespresso pods. Exciting shopping, no? Well, it gives me a chance to catch a few moments in Paris where my attention isn't focused on children.

We are less than a minute away from perhaps the oldest church in Paris -- the medieval St Germain des Pres.


It's possible to find quiet streets here -- twisting around paths formed very many years ago. I follow these now and I think how different Paris feels each time I am here! It's beauty is always viewed by me from the circumstances of my visit. This time, I am looking at it as a place to be reconsidered with Snowdrop in tow.

Evening. It's a no brainer: after a long nap, Snowdrop asks repeatedly to go to the park. This is where she left her heart. When you tell her "you'll be going to Paris" I'm sure her image is of the pond at the Luxembourg Gardens.

We head out.

And whatever memories she has of this place -- the pond, the sand playground -- are confirmed.



Want some sand, gaga?


Dinner is pizza at the Cesar St Germain.


It's quite good and the little one finally settles into enthusiastic eating, after the pies cool down a bit.


A post-dinner stroll. To the river.


We're getting close to the longest days... Even at 8, the sun has a long way yet to go...


Time to head back again. Time to settle in for the night.

Sleep well, Snowdrop. Rest. Look forward to the days ahead. Remember with a smile those behind us.