How I Spent My Summer: Adventures in Paris

One benefit of my husband Chris’s job has been Frequent Flyer Miles. Over the years he’s done quite a bit of travelling for work and as a result, our family has been blessed with several very nice vacations, including Hawaii, Mexico, Rome, and this past summer, Paris! I thought I’d share some trip highlights and photographs with you over my next few blog posts.

We left for our adventure on June 26th, flying overnight to arrive in Paris around 8:00 a.m. the following morning. We grabbed a taxi and got to experience Parisian rush hour traffic firsthand.

Since we’re a family of four, it was cheaper to rent an apartment as opposed to staying in a hotel. Chris found a cute, little place right around the corner from the Louvre. It was also conveniently located next door to a detective agency--just in case we uncovered a mystery while we were there.

Photograph © Ashleigh Bowne

The apartment building elevator so tiny, it seemed designed to barely fit two regular-to-petite-size people. In fact, we couldn’t even fit all of our luggage with one person. On a challenge, the kids and I managed to cram the three of ourselves inside!

Photograph © Ashleigh Bowne

 The day was incredibly hot, hitting around 100 degrees. So we headed to the Louvre with dreams of wandering the famous museum in air-conditioned comfort, but unfortunately, everybody else had the same idea. The line snaked about a mile long, so we gave up and walked to Notre Dame instead.

 We entered the hushed atmosphere, appreciating the way its gray stone interior was illuminated by candlelight and sunlight glowing through stained glass windows.

Now for those of you who’ve travelled vicariously with me before through my blog, you’ll recall that I love to make certain my kids fully appreciate what they’re looking at on these family trips. So as usual, I put together a “little” packet of interesting facts concerning everything we were planning to see in Paris.

“Hey guys,” I whispered. “Did you read my notes about Notre Dame yet?”

“No,” they whispered back.

“No problem,” I said, whipping the extra study packet I was carrying from my purse. “Did you know that Napoleon was so geeked to become emperor, that he seized the crown right out of the pope’s hands and placed it on his own head in December 1804, right here at this very cathedral?”

“No,” they said.

“And did you know that Notre Dame is constructed in the high Gothic style? Renaissance artists gave Gothic architecture its name, basing it on the word “Goth” which implied the style was barbaric compared to the clean, noble lines of Roman architecture.”

I looked up. Somehow the kids had sidled away and were nowhere to be seen. Hmmm? No worries. I’d find them again. From Notre Dame we headed to the modern art museum, Centre Georges Pompidou.

Photograph © Chris Bowne

Along the streets we observed several homeless people, as well as people entertaining passersby by playing music for money:

 Needless to say, I’m also one of those dorks who always wants the audio tour headset when I visit a museum. However, in this case we all opted out of getting one. Perhaps we should have. I confess, I’m not a huge fan of most modern art. And I mean no disrespect to those of you who are. But, seriously. Some of this stuff I just don’t get.

I saw a guy wearing an audio headphone standing in front of one work of art for five minutes solid. After he left I walked over to it. It was a white canvas with a series of evenly spaced pencil lines drawn onto it--essentially looking like of a piece of notebook paper. And the title? “Untitled.”

C’mon, really? What could he possibly have heard about this piece that would have lasted five whole minutes?!

We saw stuff like this…

And this…

(I know, dude. I don’t get it either.)

(My entire family agrees this must have been the inspiration for Darth Vader’s headwear.)

We had dinner at a lovely sidewalk café. Dining Parisian style, we faced the sidewalk and street to blatantly people watch. I love it!

 Afterwards, we wandered through the Jardin de Tuileries, soaking up its carnival-like atmosphere with its huge Ferris wheel and wide walking paths.

Image by: Marie de Bueil

We grabbed a taxi and arrived back at the apartment, hot, sticky, exhausted, and wishing our 4th-floor apartment had air conditioning. But other than that, happy! And exhausted.

Tune in next week for more of our Adventures in Paris!

All photographs © Holly Bowne unless otherwise noted.


Nancy said...

Looks like a wonderful trip. And what a brave woman touring with children. I'm wondering how you got pictures in the museum. With a camera that doesn't flash?

Interesting that "goth" means barbaric - hmmmmmm.

Hope the next installment is as much fun as this one.

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Thanks so much, Nancy! And you're correct; I did use a camera with no flash. I love my SLR digital camera! Sometimes I wish it was a bit lighter, but I love the pics I get with it.

TeresaR said...

That was such a terrific summary! I tend to cram too many things into a travel post, but you picked just the right amount of words, photos, and humor into it. Loved it!

And I agree with you: I don't get modern art. Never have; ever will. I read about it, but still don't get it. ;P

Annette Piper said...

I'm still sorting photos from Italy - I think you'd get bored of our trip day to day... ruins, ruins, ruins for the first few days LOL.

Keep writing about Paris - gorgeous city that I've never quite made it to (but I did make it to about 50km away)!