Friday, 11 May 2012

Seb teaches us to be tourists

We are finally and truly in Paris!  We landed onWednesday morning at around 9am to a cloudy, drizzly day, but we truly don't care because we are in Paris with our grandson!

We flew Air France's newest and largest air craft, the A380.  We had a wonderfully smooth flight, all the entertainment options we could possibly want on our individual TV screens, and a surprisingly good in flight meal, served with champagne and wine (well, not for Seb, lol)
We all tried to snooze a little and Seb did sleep about 3 hours.  Customs and luggage retrieval was quick and efficient and the driver from Shuttle Inter was waiting for us in arrivals at Terminal 2E with a shiny new Mercedes 6 passenger van. We hit some traffic coming in but were in our beautiful little apartment before 11am.

Vanessa was waiting to meet us and show us everything we needed to know about the place we would be living in for the next 11 nights.  The apartment really has everything we need and is quite spacious for a studio.  There is a comfortable double bed in an alcove, a fold out double futon in the living area, a dining area adjacent to the little kitchen, a big walk in closet to store suitcases, clothing and shoes, a large washroom with bath/shower, sink, storage closet and washing machine, and finally a little separate WC.
We have free WiFi and calling back to Canada so Seb can talk to his mom every day.  The transportation options are fantastic, with the Voltaire metro station and stop for the 69 bus about 2 minutes away and the Bastille metro stop less than 10 minutes away. The most unique feature of this great apartment is its own private garden, where we can enjoy breakfast or a glass of wine al fresco and all you hear are the chirping of birds.
Seb & Grandma in our apartment garden

We unpack and settle in and then take our first stroll around our neighbourhood.  My obsessive restaurant research uncovered a well reviewed place for crepes a few blocks from our place, so we set out towards it.  Seb is looking for the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, but I tell him we are quite a distance away from all those sites.  When he asks why, I tell him that most people who live in Paris live in areas like the one we are in and only visit the big monuments once in a while.  It's more important to have a good bakery and cheese shop close by that it is the Eiffel Tower!

We find the place I'm looking for, West Country Girl, but alas, they have no room for us without any reservations.  We go back the way we came and find a little creperie where we have a nice lunch of savoury and sweet crepes.  Seb is fading fast by this time, so we go back to our place for a little nap.  I wake Seb and Poppa up after a couple of hours because I want us all to get used to Paris time as quickly as possible.

We freshen up and we are back out.  Metro Voltaire on line 9 is around the corner from us, we buy our carnet of tickets at a tabac up the street and Seb is ready for his first metro ride.  We take the metro to Saint Augustin and walk down the wide blvd des Malesherbes towards Madelene church.  The Foxity office is just around the corner, and we buy our tickets for the double decker bus tour.  Our tickets are 16 euros each and Seb is free!

The bus comes in a few minutes and after 8 trips to Paris, Den and I are finally taking a proper tour of Paris, lol.  This is not a hop on, hop off but rather a continuous tour of the major tourist sites of Paris.  Deb is loving every minute of it and gets very excited every time he spies something he has been reading about  the last few months.  He recognizes the Louvre Pyramid, Notre Dame, Pont Alexandre III, Musee D'Orsay, the Concorde fountains and the Obelisk and is very excited to ride towards the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysees.

first glimpse of Eiffel ~ very exciting

Hollande was elected President just a few days ago

This is the moment Seb was waiting for!

crossing Pont Alexandre III

Once we have finished our grand tour and Seb has finally seen the treasures of Paris for the first time, we make our way back up blvd des Malesherbes and find an Italian place called Michael Angelo.  We are all very hungry since those crepes were over 6 hours ago.  Seb has a cheese pizza, Den has a vegetable lasagne and I have eggplant parmesan.  Everything was surprisingly good and fresh for a last minute find, and the home made tiramisu caps off a very good meal.

The metro is just steps from the restaurant and we are home by 10pm.  It's a little later than I wanted to keep Seb up on his first day in Paris, but he has loved every minute of it.  We call Danielle so Seb can tell her about his day and then we are all off to dreamland.

I guess we all really needed a good night's sleep since no one is up before 10am the next morning.  Den goes to get us our first pain au chocolat and we slowly get ready to go back out.  We were going to go to the Bastille market and get some groceries this morning but since we got such a late start, it's a bit late for the market.  Seb really wants to go back to the Eiffel Tower today, so we decide we will get some provisions later this afternoon after we come back.

The 69 bus is waiting for us and we make the long trek to Champ de Mars on this wonderful bus route, which takes us by the Bastille, rue Rivoli, the Louvre courtyard, across the Seine and by the D'Orsay Museum, around St Germain de Pres and stops right in front of the Eiffel Tower.  We walk up to the Tower and Den takes the first of many, many pictures.  We wait in line for about 20 minutes to climb the stairs up to the first level.  We walk around a little and Seb is just in his glory, pointing out all the familiar monuments he can see.  We decide to take a chance and see if Tour 58, the restaurant on the first level of the Eiffel Tower has place for us for lunch.  They do and they lead us to a great table overlooking the Trocadero fountains.  Our waiter is very kind and funny with us and takes our picture by the window.  Seb has a cheeseburger and fries, I have seared tuna and Den has salmon with risotto.  Everything is very good and Den and I enjoy a glass of wine as we leisurely dine with Paris at our feet.

climbing the Eiffel Tower stairs

 Once we finish lunch, we climb to the second level of the tower and Seb takes in the views again from a little higher.  We spend about an hour walking around and enjoying the sights. We talk about what we want to do next and Seb wants to walk across and see the fountains at the Trocadero.  We climb back down the stairs (much easier for Grandma than going up, lol) and walk across the bridge.  We stop so Seb can buy some souvenirs for his friends back home and also check out the Trocadero Aquarium, but it is closed for the day.
our great table at Tour 58

View from the 1st Level
We sit by the fountains for a while, waiting for the big ones that shoot out water across the plaza.  Seb decides that he would like to stay around the Trocadero until it gets dark so we can see the Eiffel Tower glow and sparkle.

As we climb the stairs to the upper level of the Trocadero, we see about 10 couples waltzing!  Seb takes me for a spin while Den takes his many pictures.  We decide to walk a little to find somewhere for dinner and are rewarded with a little Portuguese bistro on rue Longchamps.  We score a little table outside and Seb has his first CroqueMadame and just devours it.  I have a plate of cheese and charcuterie and Den has a Portuguese specialty, grilled octopus with onions, garlic, peppers and potatoes in olive oil.  Den and I split a half litre of rose and Seb has orange juice and we sit and enjoy Paris all around us.  Dinner is a very reasonable 53 euros and we walk back to the Trocadero to wait for the light show.  As the sky slowly gets dark and the lights comes on, Seb is mesmerized by the sight before him. He just about explodes when Eiffel starts to sparkle, and all my planning and waiting and anticipation comes to fruition as I look at his face full of joy and wonder.
This is what happy looks like

Seb checking out Paris

Seb and Grandma on top of the world

from the second level
Waiting for the fountain

There they go!

Silly Seb

Seb took this picture

Action shot

Seb floating on air

pushing the tower

end of a perfect day



  1. great read, what great memories you are all creating together Megan xx

  2. Jo, I'm so happy that you guys get to be over there with your grandson! Keep having fun!!!

  3. Hurray! first blog post. Wonderful to see Paris through a child's eyes.

    I like to go alone, but I also like to go with people who do not know Paris. It makes me do things I had forgotten about, like climbing the Eiffel tower. I love seeing things afresh.

    So pleased Seb is enjoying himself.

    Actually I am packing for Eastern Europe. This makes me really want to be in Paris ....shush!!

    Look forward to more.

    love Denise

  4. Oh, I made a comment before. Where has it gone? Anyway, great post Jo. Nice to see Paris through a child's eyes.

  5. I was in NYC, so it is fun to catch up on your adventures now that I am back. You've made some incredible memories!