Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Paris - Day 1

We landed at Paris-CDG early Friday morning, and got right on to the blue RER that took us straight into our hotel, one street away from the Jardin du Luxembourg. Perfect location!
Since we arrived in the morning, I was prepared we would have to just leave our things at the hotel and come back later to check in, but we were lucky and the room was very nearly ready. We went to get some fresh croissants and juice from the bakery next door and by the time we had enjoyed our breakfast waiting in the reception, our room was ready.
Time to regroup, and then go on our first walkabout, in all our toasty warm clothes!

We started by walking down Boulevard Saint-Michel and down through the Saint-Germain quarter. I spend a lot of time in this area while I was an Au Pair, in the pubs and bars... and I even lived for a little while right here on Boulevard Saint-Germain when I was a rep. I love this area of town!

First stop was a book shop to see if we could find some English guide books about Paris, written for kids. Linnea got one about Madrid when we were there, and it was a superb way of learning more about what we saw around town. We found a couple here too, which we then pulled out frequently during our whole stay.
We had a quick snack (crêpes!), saw the hotel Esmeralda from one of our favourite books, "Linnea i målarens trädgård", and continued on over to Notre Dame. It was very, very chilly!

We went inside to have a look, at the central nave and the famous rose windows:

From Notre Dame and Ile de la Cité we continued across the Seine towards Hôtel de Ville, and Centre Pompidou. The kids thought this "inside-out"-building looked really cool, and I did want to bring them inside to look at the Modern Art collection; but the queues were very long and it had started to rain, so we passed on that for now.

Instead we took on the queue at the Louvre... Just as long, but hey, we were so cold and wet at this stage, we needed to get inside somewhere!

Even though the queue looked rather long, it went fairly quickly (well, little less than an hour...) and once inside you didn't really notice the amount of visitors, as the Louvre is so big that it swallows a lot of people.

We aimed straight for the Mona Lisa!

I have seen her several times before, but since my last visit she has now been placed a new room on her own wall; behind bullet proof glass of course, in her own little air conditioned box.

Times have changed, not many people would just come and enjoy the art - there was smart phones, tablets (...) and cameras stretched up everywhere from the crowd; well, ours too, of course!
It was a lovely visit, especially Lucas thought it was very special to get to see Mona Lisa. He stood there for quite a while and took it all in.

Venus de Milo:

Artemis, I did a school project on her in high school!

We also saw a temporary exhibit about heroes and villains through the times. Amongst other things it had this original Darth Vader helmet, used in the latest movie:

The first night we went just across the street for some Japanese food. Back in the day I used to come to this specific restaurant every week after I had done the airport transfer. Then, this 'Kiotori Grill' used to be the only Japanese restaurant in this area, but now this Rue Monsieur Le Prince seems to be the place to come for sushi etc - there was almost only Japanese restaurants here, all side-by-side!

Well, the menu hadn't changed in 20 years! Still the same soup, salad and bbq sticks! Still yum too!

Kids had yummy sushi, always a favourite for us, and it was nice to be able to just cross the street after dinner and be back at our hotel early. We were a little bit jetlagged, and tired after a long day, so we turned the lights out already before 9 pm!

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