Monday, May 21, 2012

Day One. Toronto to Paris

This was the first flight for our ten year old son and only the second for our 11 year old daughter (who had previously only taken an hour long flight).   They were both a little nervous flying over an ocean and across to the other side of the world in their eyes.

I booked us on Air Transat.   Air Transat is a charter service that basically sells cheap flights around the world.  I have to note that I've become pretty spoiled the last few years accompanying my husband on business trips and flying first class courtesy of points so flying economy on a long flight honestly...was not really something I was looking forward to.   That said.  I was also not willing to pay for tickets in first class for my children.   They don't need it at this age.   The other part of me however desperately did not want to be packed into a tight plane.   As I started to research flight options I noticed Air Transat has something called Club class.  Well....that might just fit the bill.   I won't deny I was still nervous of how the service would be but given the price of the ticket for "club class" was less than an economy ticket on Air Canada we rolled the dice.

What an excellent roll that was.   Not lay flat pods obviously but wider seats, comfortable, dedicated flight attendants and bathroom and I have to say....the food was phenomenal.   Truly the best airline food I've had hands down.   We preordered our meals about 3 weeks in advance of the flight.    The service was fantastic.  (I will save the tale of the flight home for another post because it was FANTASTIC).

We gave the kids some gravol as we took off to ensure they'd sleep and adjust to the new time zone a little easier.  We tried to do the same but neither one of us slept very much.

We landed uneventfully and arrived at our rented apartment via train very easily.  Our flat the "Liette Suite" at Paris Oasis (see trip was spacious and extremely comfortable.   It was pouring rain in the early hours and as much as we had vowed to stay awake it was a losing battle so we all dozed off for two hours while it rained and caught a nap.

Upon waking we sorted ourselves out and were about to embark on a walkabout of Paris.   We discovered however that my camera was gone.  Pickpocketed before we even got to the apartment. I had no camera.   We meandered down to the tourist info booth and located an electronics shop where after some discussion with a reluctant salesman (who did not want to sell me a display model of my lost camera), we set off with a new camera in hand.    NOT a great start, but at least it was before any photos were actually taken.

Our apartment was literally steps to Sacre Coeur and we took a quick photo before continuing along.   The gypsy's were in full force trying to tie bracelets to my children but we'd been warned and they stood their ground with loud NO!'s.

(of course I am looking at the photos from my daughter's camera and I realize she had the date stamp turned on....I have edited some of them as best I can through photoshop but I'm not great so there will be a few here and there with horrid date stamps.)

Here they are outside Sacre Coeur.  Across the street from here they had their first taste of real french crepes with nutella and banana.  Yum

From there we wandered down the way to the Metro station and exited at the Arc de Triumph (after locating the new camera)

 Someone is getting excited!!

Almost there now.   We stopped for some sandwiches along the way.  I have to admit the cost of food was not at all as pricey as I would have expected.  (much cheaper in France than England)

Because no trip in our family would be complete without some sort of mishap.  In addition to the camera disappearance I actually tore my meniscus in my knee prior to leaving.  This made for a little more difficult trip as we had planned to climb the Tower.

They are down an elevator and while the line up wasn't long at the time we arrived (about an hour) we decided to go ahead and try the stairs with no line up.

It was slow and steady but I did it!!!  My doctor advised me that I could try to climb but under no circumstances was I to climb back down.  We did take the elevator back down.  I am so thrilled we did the climb.  If I could do it with my injured knee, anyone can!!

 checking out the view
 He had to look too
 First level
There is Sacre Coeur our apartment is next door

 I made it!!!   Cue We are the Champions
 Eiffel Tower second level
 Pretty View
 At the top of the tower

 Strangling his wonderful wife

Me and my beautiful girl

This made us chuckle.  A little boy was knackered and decided to lay down while waiting for the elevator down.  Fell fast asleep within a minute.

 And that was day one.  We made our way back to our apartment after stopping at the bakery and fruit market with a light dinner made at the apartment  the kids wanted to have a quick swim in the courtyard.

 The courtyard of our apartment

We did not expect to climb the tower that day but I'm glad we did.  It has been almost 10 years since our last trek with children to Europe and I can tell makes a difference!  We were beat.   

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