TLDR – Notre Dame, Patheon, a three-story slide and the Eiffel tower at night – oh ya, and Mila turns 7 years old…
Saturday Milas birthday
Mila is convinced she gets whatever she wants today; no clue where she came up with that idea. This morning we told Mila happy birthday. Her response “where are my presents? What did you get me?” She might be a princess, she might be spoiled, I would never believe either of those facts. Today’s Missions, walk to Norte dame and along the river seine, take a nap, eat ice cream, and see the Eiffel Tower light up after dark. We’re exploring the city, we’re not here to ride trains. To explore more we walked all the way from our place to Norte dame (a few hours walk). Part of the walk was down a middle park island zone between directions of traffic on Boulevard Richard Lenior.
Every few 100 meters in the zone was another kids play area. Some of them were brilliant, some of them were filled with homeless and smelt of piss. We played in the nicer ones and encouraged the kids to skip the piss smelling ones no matter how amazing the play toys looked. Along the way every time we came upon a Carrefour(Grocery store) we stopped in for some ice cream. My first Europe trip at age 13 my grandmother Harriet made sure we had ice cream a few times a day. It’s hot out, we might better do the same thing for Mylee and the kids; continue the tradition and eat loads of Ice cream.
The boulevard we were on eventually connected with water we walked along. The waterway ended up running into the core river of Paris, the River Seine. We walked along the river for a ways until we made it to the Norte Dame island. To move from the riverfront to the island we had to lug the stroller up some stairs to take a bridge. We had to wait a few minutes for at least 100 runners to come down the stairs before lugging the stroller up them. Must have been a running club or something because they did not have race numbers on. Either way the runners kept comming down the stairs for what seemed like 11 months.
The closer we are to Norte Dame the greater infestation of tourists becomes until we made it to the cathedral where it was difficult to move at all. The fire that took the wooden roof of Notre Dame down was only a few months ago but reconstruction is in full swing looking like it’s been going on for years. They’ve not hesitated at all to start working on the restoration; impressive.
The entire cathedral is fenced off with metal walls 3 meters high. The open square in front of the Cathedral with the Charlemagne on the horse statue is fenced in littered with construction supplies and containers. We managed a few pictures along the side and in front of the bell towers before we carried on to the Pantheon. On the way to the Pantheon, we toured a small church, Church of Saint-Séverin. Churchs are 95% free to tour, and most of the are amazing buildings – might as well tour them all is my theory. Next to the Church was a crepe and kebab place we stopped in for chips, crepes, and kababs. We sat in front of the church rear entrance and ate our food being glared out by a few street beggers.
The Pantheon is something that was not even on my radar for Paris. After seeing it, it should have been. I took the older kids in while mom waited outside. Great googly moogly it’s an impressive, massive building. The Pantheon costs for adults about 9 euro each. The kids were all free. Kids being free sure is nice for us traveling with 4, five kids this time out. Tour bonus compared to normal church tours, we were able to walk under the main floor in to the crypts where some of the more famous dead people are stored.
Naptime and a Mega Slide
The kids are starting to burn out after all of the walking and heat. It’s time to make our way back home for a nap. We walked from the Pantheon back across the Notre Dame Island in front of the cathedral to the Hotel De Ville metro stop. We rode the 11 train to our stop, Belleville. The 11 is what I am guessing is an older line. It’s a small train rolling on rubber truck tires. When it leaves the Hotel De Ville stop the whole train goes dark for a second then lights back up. The door is not a button it’s a mechanical switch you lift. One-stop I lifted while the train still traveling at about 5km an hour, and the door opened. REALLY wanted to try lifting it at full speed but figured that was not my best idea.
Walking back to our flat from the Metro we stopped in at a kids park to play for a bit, and stoped at a FranPrix (Grocery store) for some snacks and ice cream. Ice cream by the bar is about 2 euro a bar. Depending on the box we are buying 4-6 bar/cones for 2-4 euro at the grocery store. The kids can have three times the ice cream for the same price and they get to practice compromise and negotiation skills. While the kids were resting momma worked out a destination for our after nap adventures. Michelle found a place called Jardin Dragon – Dragon park? with a playground? – Yes we need to go there.
After a good rest and some food, we tried to wake up Mylee. Mylee was not waking up, we’ve been told she loves to sleep and could sleep for entire days. We run pretty hard when we travel, I guess we wore her out today. We quietly left the flat and Mylee and walking towards the Dragon park. According to GPS it’s a 40-minute walk away. It’s a short distance from the water place we were at the night before on the other side of the water. Like if we walked for another 20 seconds we would have accidentally found this place.
The kids saw the slide across the water from where we were and nearly exploded with excitement. Michelle took the kids up the stairs and over the water why I waited for the floating bridge thing to cross with the stroller. By the time I made it the bigger kids had made it down once and were running back up for another slide down. Roxi and I went up with the other kids to slide down. Roxi did not have enough go down on her own. She and I went down together.
The about 10-year-old kid after us must have left right after us because we stopped at the bottom and instantly he smashed into a fleshy wall that is my back. He missed my spine so the impact was not overly painful to me, but he seemed to be dazed and confused as he stumbled away. Not speaking french I didn’t say much to him. I followed him a bit until he found some adults and looked ok. Feeling the kiddo was ok I went back to the slide with the kids. We did not stay too long before calling it a night and heading home to our flat for some cold showers and sleep. This was a taste, we’ll be back with Mylee – Today was a great day.
Sunday Dragon slide
Sunday morning we walked 3km to the dragon slide which had no queue at all at 0900 in the morning. We were smarter this morning, the kids all wore pants so they could slide faster. Last night the girls were in skirts and panties. Bare skin on such a big slide was not the most effective sliding method. On the walk to the slide, we stopped at a few playgrounds and a Franprix for ice cream. After a 10 set of sliding down the massive slide we decided, it was time to carry on to the catacombs to look at piles of bones underground.
The Catacombs are out near the Pantheon, where we were yesturday. We took the metro to the Rer B train. The RER is another train that seems to dislike the stroller. Moving from the metro to the B there was a bank of at least 20 ticket gates none of them were wide enough for a stroller. I ended up taking the rear wheels off of the stroller to make it through the gate. We made it to the catacombs where we found a line around the building. We decided to skip the piles of bones and walk to Luxembourg park instead of spending the day in a queue.
Knowing we were going to have a late-night to see the Eiffel Tower twinkle in the dark we took afternoon nap time a bit early around 1300. We had some pasta around 1630 then went for a play in a very busy play park near the house followed by a walk around the neighborhood for a few hours and more ice cream. Michelle Khaleesi and Roxi stayed behind with a movie while Maddex Mila Mylee and I took the subway back towards the Eiffel Tower for a night viewing of the tower.
We rode two stops on the 11 followed by 13 stops on the 9 before we made it to the big building and fountain on the other side of the river from the tower. We arrived a bit before 2100. Sunset is at 2140; no lights at nine. Guess we have an hour to kill before we can see the twinkle. The area around the fountain is packed with people doing all kinds of things. People doing dance classes, sitting on the grass drinking and hanging out, taking Instagram shots, making tiktoc videos, people selling stuff like tourist things, or the odd guys with buckets full of ice and beer selling bottles of beer or wine by the glass. All kinds of activity happening.
To the southwest of the fountain is a nice play park with a climbing thing we played at for a while waiting for the sun to set. The kids were only entertained there for about half an hour before we saw the main guns of the fountain firing off and had to go check them out. Back at the fountain, we found ourselves a nice spot on some steps below a dance class to wait for the lights to fire off at 2200 on the dot. For five minutes the tower twinkled and sparkled and we watched. As soon as it stopped Maddex and Mila asked to go back home – they both looked exhausted and barely made it back.