4 May 2017
“Noah, do you know why today is special?”
“It’s FRANCE DAY!”
And with that, we were off! It was no more, no less an ordeal then you would expect to get the four us + luggage, to the airport, through security and onto our 9PM flight. The 10.5 hours went reasonably well. There were a few tears shed, a few hollers of protest and that doesn’t include the children’s decorum which was above par on the plane. The tide shifted on arrival.
5 May 2017
While waiting to clear the French border, we found ourselves in a tightly packed, slow moving line. Eli wanted out of the carseat, and Noah…we’re not exactly sure what he wanted, but he was soon writhing on the floor, crying and shouting at the top of his lungs. Jamie was tending to Eli, and I chose not to indulge. A hush came over the crowd. People stared. He just got louder. One kind Frenchwoman offered him a square of chocolaut. He quieted while eating, then the volcano erupted again. We soon found ourselves face to face with Border Police, who entered the crown to address the uproar directly. I couldn’t understand what he said, but I heard the words “enfants terrible.”
Moments later we were whisked to the front of the line and easily passed inspection. Score one for having ‘no shame in my game,’ and letting him cry it out! Not so terrible at all my boy! We were soon through baggage and reunited with Grandma Joan, who is quite proficient at recognizing the Katoff family whistle in a crowd.
Our taxi ride took us through different parts of the city. At one point, we saw tightly packed tents off to the side of the highway. “Refugees,” our driver points out. So terribly sad.
Arrival at our AirBNB was a breeze. We took a tiny two person elevator to our top floor apartment to discover clean, modern accommodations with great views down the Rue Boubourgh. I’m excited to have a kitchen and set out on foot to acquire provisions for our first evening meal.
Sleep comes in fits and starts. Noah does well, but Eli was up from 230 to 6AM. I head out on foot for an early walk as the sun rises. The city is eerily quiet. I snag a few pictures, then stop for fresh pastry. The smell is enough to stop me in my tracks before I even sight the boulanger. [Alan taught the importance of this ritual] I eat a Pain au Raisin fresh from the oven that is so good my knees buckle, and i’m quietly moaning with pleasure. I go back for seconds.
Later, as we set out on our first family adventure, a steady rain began. We visited the Pompiou Center and no less than 5 minutes into our first modern art gallery, Noah was ready for lunch. We saw works by Kandinsky, Rothko and wonderful Walker Evans photo exhibit. We saw them quickly. Little bits of culture is how you start them, right?
Lunch was forgettable at a cafe on the square, followed by some quality napping. After, we set out for Les Halles to repurchase sweatshirts that walked off during our flight. Noah was stoked to visit the Lego store and picked out an Audi R8 racecar that we built after dinner. Eli enjoyed the carousel on the square near the Hotel Devile.
Dinner was relaxing in our home. It’s nice not being obligated to eat every meal in a restaurant with the kids. I got a fresh supplies from a butcher, patisserie (Hure on Rombateu) and veggie store, visiting specialty shops for each like a real Parisian would. Bedtimes went smoothly and I’m hoping to enjoy a good night’s sleep myself.