The last stop on vacation was Paris to see Emily. She’s been living there for years and knows the city now like the back of her hand, giving us the ultimate four day tour. She and I had spent months honing our plans, figuring out how to make the most of our trip. And while the weather thwarted a few things (the Seine was flooding!) I’m amazed at how much we got to experience. Best of all? Having your sister as your guide.
We took a train from Munich to Paris, which was a feat in itself. Emily met us at the station, flowers in hand, and we cried/laughed/cried some more all the way to our AirBnB in the Latin quarter. After we’d lugged our things up three flights of stairs, we made our way to Notre Dame, crepes in hand. Unfortunately the church was closed by the time we made it, but it was still a sight to behold against the stark white sheet of clouds in the sky. We finished our dinner at the steps of Shakespeare & Company, and Liam could have spent all night in their typewriter cubicle! The only thing that could lure him out was the promise of ice cream.
We planned to spend the next morning at Centre Pompidou, a nice 30 minute walk from our apartment. Emily brought pastries from Chez Manon which we tried our best not to gobble down in seconds- they were that delicious. Our route took us back by Notre Dame, where we noticed there was no wait at the entrance (a rarity) and couldn’t pass up going inside. Liam was just as entranced as I was by the sculptures, reliefs, and stained glass windows. Outside, he and Emily chased pigeons around the statue of Charlemagne before we headed to the museum.
At Pompidou, Liam impressed us again by being the perfect patron. It brought back memories of taking my brother to the art museum in Augusta when he was younger- discussing all the shapes and colors, picking out our favorite paintings. It also helped that there was a small children’s area where little ones could use big stamps to create a backdrop for their very own photobooth-style portrait. It’s my new favorite picture of Liam.
Afterwards we headed to the Marais for amazing falafel at Mi Va Mi, which we took to the Swedish Embassy gardens to eat. If we could have stopped and explored every little garden in Paris, we would have!
That night we strayed the most from our itinerary. We had originally planned on having a picnic lunch at Champs du Mars, but the gloomy weather report showed threats of serious rain all weekend. The rest of our day was set to be cloudy but rain-free, so we decided to keep Liam up a little late and see the Eiffel Tower at night.
After nightfall, the Eiffel Tower sparkles at the top of the hour- something we wouldn’t have seen if we’d stuck to the original plan! Definitely worth it. Liam rode the carousel closest to the tower (in a Le Petit Prince airplane) and on our way out he snatched a rose from a vendor who’d been heckling him. Whoops!
Friday morning we took the Metro north to visit Sacre Couer. The gorgeous basilica is on a hilltop, giving you yet another breathtaking view of the city below. We made a last minute decision to climb the 300 steps to the top of the dome- another “holy crap I can’t believe we just did that but this is so worth it” moment.
We strolled through Montmarte, my favorite neighborhood of those that we saw. We stopped for lunch at Cafe Des Deux Moulins, which you may recognize from Amelié (one of my favorite movies)! After a much needed nap, we took our time going back out to walk the Latin Quarter. Continuing our movie tour theme, we walked past the magical church steps Owen Wilson sits on in Midnight in Paris on our way to dinner. We gorged on fantastic pizza at Golosino, Emily’s recommendation, and ate crepes and gelato while walking down Rue Monge.
Our last morning we spent in the Luxembourg Gardens (again, only a few minutes walk from our apartment). Liam and Ryan played at the giant, impressive playground while Emily and I sipped espresso on a park bench. We caught a show at Marionnettes du Luxembourg, a historic puppet theater that’s been in the garden since the 1930s! I was skeptical that Liam would enjoy it since it was all in French, but he watched the entire thing! His review: “The puppets didn’t talk with their mouths! They talked with their stomachs!”
After the show he took a ride on the Luxembourg carousel, the oldest carousel in Paris. It’s not flashy, but it features an awesome game- jeu de bagues- where all the kids are given sticks to try and catch iron rings on! Catcher in the Rye, anyone? Liam laughed the entire time. We walked around the garden, enjoying the immaculate landscape and watching older kids play with toy boats on the pond.
After lunch in the park, the boys went back to the apartment and Emily took me to the Marais to do some shopping. It was impossible to believe that the last time we had spent an afternoon just the two of us was almost a year ago. We walked along the gloomy but beautiful Seine, had espresso and chocolate mousse, and wandered in and out of secondhand stores arm in arm. For our last evening together we all walked the Canal, Em’s favorite part of Paris, and ate burritos and drank beer by the water. Emily took Liam back to the apartment so Ryan and I could have a night out together. We caught some surf-rock bands at a local bar and ate gelato on the train home. Our taxi was coming at 4 AM to take us to the airport, giving the three of us an excuse to pull an all-nighter together.
We were all heavy-hearted to say goodbye. Three weeks away from home is a while…but when you’re surrounded by people you love, the time flies by.
See you again soon, Em! xoxoxo