Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Holidays, car, French train and some things to do in Paris

My second post for the lovely Sarah Miles' Wednesday Witter !

This week I have finally realised that the date of our holidays is getting closer and that I still have some details to be taking care of...

 We've planned quite busy holidays : one week to visit our parents, become godmother to a friend's daughter, celebrate my mother-in-law's 70th birthday and christen our baby daughter. And the other week.. ah the other week ! We are going to Paris and we have for only plans to enjoy ourselves.

So... We had to find a present for my MIL. That was easy, we commissioned my Dad to do a line drawing of the farm where DH's mum grew up.

A room to book for our daughter's christening so everyone could have a meal together after the celebration. Let's say it had better be sunny because we will have a beautiful big garden but a rather small room...

A car to carry ourselves, our four children, and all the stuff. We do have a car, normally, a London taxi, like the ones that are being banned from the streets of London this year. Unfortunately Rocket (that's the name our daughters gave it) is being restored at the moment, striped off its body, rust all treated, repainted and put back together. When DH called last Friday to enquire about the progress of the works (it's been in the workshop for about 6 weeks already), they said that the doors were ready to be painted. Right...
Gone the hope to have the mice damage fixed before we leave. Yes, we had mice in it a couple of months ago and they sort of tempered with our indicators. Now we just hope that we'll have it back to go away.

Accomodation in Paris. It's a good thing we're getting on well with my cousin because we're going to be all 7 of us (our family and him) sharing for a week his one bedroom appartment.

Going from Normandy to Paris. That was a bit of a challenge. Balancing costs and the fact that our car (if we get it back in time) is not at its best on a speedy motorway (for one thing it doesn't do going up slopes, well, not very fast at all) we thought Train. Except that on the online tickets booking page we could only find the most expensive trains, the less expensive ones disappearing by the minute in front of our horrified eyes. And if we managed to find something suitable we always arrived towards the end to a message saying something like 'we can't process your order now, please try again later'.
So I thought I'd make the booking over the phone. But there is no phone number on the website... I checked the French page, where there was a phone number but a 0800... one, so not available from the UK. There I raged and reminisced, while kicking myself for doing so as it made me feel like an old grump, how 'when I was young'  (cringe) I would have had a direct line to the station of our departure and booked the tickets from the people who would have known inside out the specific time tables of interest to us. 
Anyway, I was lucky in the end. As we are travelling with friends and will be altogether 11 on the train (including 7 children) I had made an enquiry about a booking for a group and been sent an email with the most coveted (by me at least) phone number for bookings. Still a centrale office, not quite the little French country station, but as it is I had the good fortune to speak to a very helpful and friendly operator and finally got the tickets. 

Things to do in Paris. The list could go on and on. But here are a few things I would really like to do : 
Go to the fantastic Josephine Baker swimming pool, built on a barge floating on the Seine, just at the foot of the Francois Mitterrand library.
Climb Montmartre stairs and Visit again the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur where I often went as a child
Take the children to see Guignol (the French Punch and Judy) in the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont.
Walk around the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes and go to the Mosquée de Paris for a cup of tea.
Play on the Champ de Mars playground, looking up to the Eiffel Tower.
Stroll along the Seine to see the books stalls. 
Experiment at the Cité des Enfants, Parc de la Villette.
Maybe have coffee and croissants in that cafe where I used to have a 'Vittel cassis' with my Dad.
Lots more ideas about what to do in Paris with children here.

Can't wait!


  1. I think you are really brave to drive in Paris.

  2. We're not in the end! I managed to secure some train tickets (if they arrive all right by mail, we've been told 10 days!).

  3. Oh, I would love to go to Paris....perhaps without the kids. I have never been. All sounds quite a mission but a great adventure!

    Thanks for linking up!

    1. It would probably be easier to go directly on Eurostar rather than through Normandy... But I am actually quite looking forward to go on a French 'regional' train again (it's called TER, Train Express Regional, not so express but very regional!!). The little man will love it.

  4. Hurray, actually received the train tickets today !!! That was quick in the end...

  5. Wow, sounds like a real adventure, hope you all have a wonderful time :-) xxx

    1. Thanks Jo! It's been a long time since we've been there. I'm really looking forward to it, childhood memories and all that! Xxx

  6. It could have been fun to take the taxi... DH was already imagining the pics around the Arc de Triomphe! But really, naaah.

  7. sounds like you are going to have a fabulous holiday! Love that u drive a taxi too :)

  8. Thanks Sarah.

    I am really looking forward to it and to seeing our taxi all restored. I will have loads to blog about!