London – Day Two

The second day of our London adventure began early, we ate breakfast in the hotel, then made our way back to the bus-stop. We had decided that today we would visit the Tower Of London. This is the medieval fortress that used to house the Royals of long ago. Think Henry VIII, you know the guy that killed, or imprisoned, his wives if they could not give him a son? The Tower Of London is also where the Crown Jewels are kept, for use during Royal Coronations. (Yes, like Elsa’s!)

The first thing we did when we arrived at the Tower, was to take at look at the Ravens. These birds have ‘guarded’ the Tower for hundreds of years, but, due to very limited numbers of wild ravens, they are now specially bred for the Tower. They are very impressive-looking birds. Much larger than I imagined ravens to be, I always thought they were smaller than crows, but they’re not. They are quite large, with a wing-span of up to 1.5 metres!

We were also entertained by a medieval display of sword fighting, and then some performers put on a Nativity play for the visitors. It was quite funny!

After the play, we went to line up to get into the Jewel Tower. The Crown Jewels are very impressive. Lots of gold and precious stones, the kids liked the ceremonial swords and staffs.

After we had seen all we wanted to see at the Tower, we made use of our free Thames River cruise, and jumped on a boat to travel up-river. It was a different perspective to see all the buildings from the river, and nice to sit down for a little while!

When the cruise ended, we found a bus stop and headed to Harrod’s. It is such a huge store, and we had some fun looking at the displays in the Toy department, and perusing the books! After we had had enough of the crowded store, we made our way back to our hotel, had some dinner on the way back, and spent the evening relaxing. What a huge day! (On a side-note, it was pitch-black in London by 5:00pm, we thought it must have been around 7:00pm, but it wasn’t!)

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London -Day 1

December 28th saw us waking up real early and heading to Gare du Nord to board the Eurostar to London. It’s quite surreal when you think about catching a train to another country! But this is exactly what we did, and two hours and fifteen minutes after we departed Paris, we arrived in London.

We had bought tickets online for the tour buses that run around London, taking in all the sights, so we found the departure point, and hopped on a bus to take us as close to our hotel as we could get, which ended up being Hyde Park. Our hotel was on the other side of Hyde Park to where the bus dropped us, so we decided to walk through the park to our hotel, which turned out to be a good thing, as we soon spied some cute little squirrels foraging for nuts under the trees! They were quite freindly, and not too timid!

When we arrived at our hotel, we were able to check-in right away (always a bonus!), so we popped our suitcase into our room and went on our way back to the bus stop.

It was a long day! We took the tour route around Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, across London Bridge, and Tower Bridge, we saw the building they call the Shard, we saw Dragons that guard the four corners of London City, and bright red phone booths (ask Mum and Dad what they are kids!), and we ended our bus tour at M&m’s World! Four floors of everything that ‘melts in your mouth, not in your hand’!

Enjoy the photos!

 

Sunday in the Marais

So, as the French do not have Boxing Day, we spent the 26th chilling out and relaxing.

The 27th was a Sunday, and we needed some air! So, we decided to go for a walk throught the beautiful Marais. The word ‘Marais’ in French, means ‘marsh’, as this area used to be marshlands many, many years ago. It is also known as the Jewish Quarter, as the city’s Jewish population was ‘moved’ here during WWII.

All I can say is, it has some very beautiful buildings, and pretty little streets with hidden gardens. We were entertained by a jazz band on one corner, and just a few streets away, there was a woman singing opera…this is why I love this city so much!

It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday in Paris!

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These are music scrolls made from chocolate!
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One of the many Christmas trees in Paris!
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An old 2CV – just love them!
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A beautiful building…

Christmas Eve

 

Okay, so a few things happened on December 24th, I wrote in a previous post that Rob arrived, and later that night, Santa found us! But, before the fat man in the red suit came, we did a few other things.

Firstly, we were very happy when Rob arrived, as we had not seen him for over two weeks. After he had a shower and a coffee, the kids took him out to show him our neighbourhood (and to give me a few minutes on my own!)

That evening, we went to the Christmas markets on the Champs-Elysèes where we ate some delicious food and Rob and I drank some hot mulled wine (yum!), the kids also chose their Christmas stockings. When we arrived back at the apartment, the kids ‘hung’ their stockings and got ready for bed.

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Champs-Elysèes Christmas Markets
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Champs-Elysèes Christmas markets

Prepare for the bombardment!

Well, our time here is just about over (one more night), and I have been so slack with posting our goings-on on our blog, I’m feeling a little guilty. So, I have decided to drop a few posts on you all at once. This means, of course, that they will be a little out of order, but I’m sure you will figure it out!

À bientôt! (See you soon!)

Catch Up…Sorry!

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Our delicious dessert – Bûche de Nöel
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Our tiny Christmas tree…
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Three little chickens on Christmas morning!
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A and E opening pressies…

 

So, I have been more than a little slack, and I apologise for that! So much has been happening, and I have just neglected the blog.

First and foremost, the Big Man arrived, and I’m not talking about the one that wears a red suit and drives a sleigh pulled by reindeer…I mean the Big Man that makes us the Young Family! Although, the other man (in the red suit) did come later that same night. So, we have had a lovely, quiet Christmas, we woke up early (a little too early for some!) on Christmas morning to discover that Santa had indeed found us (another reason small people should behave – he really is watching ALL THE TIME!), and he was nice enough to leave presents.

We ate a lovely lunch in the apartment (cooked by moi) and spent the day quietly playing and relaxing. I have added some photos so you can admire our little Christmas.

Playgrounds, Parks and Aire de jeux

Well, the past few days have been spent occupying the small-fry, by visiting lots of parks and playgrounds, or, as they are called in French, aire de jeux.

Our first stop was at the Luxembourg Gardens, where there is a wonderful playground, with a small entrance fee, but it is well worth the €2.50! You can stay all day if you want, there are water fountains if you’re thirsty, and a small store to purchase snacks and drinks, including coffee for the adults, there are also toilets available, a rarity in Paris! The kids ran around like crazy, wild animals for a couple of hours, all fenced-in and safe, while K and I kept tabs on their whereabouts. They had a great time!

The next day, we went to WH Smith, an English-bookstore, on rue de Rivoli, then when we were done there, we slipped across the street to the Tuileries Gardens, where the small people once again ran around like crazy things, and and I tore a day-old baguette to pieces and fed the pigeons. We ran into a British family that had been the Luxembourg Gardens the day before, I’m sure they think we’re stalking them! I was talking to them the previous day, and it turns out they are emigrating to Australia mid-next-year! How’s that for co-incidental?

Which brings us to today. We went looking for a flat-sheet, because they don’t have them on the beds here, and K and I are finding it is too hot at night, but, it seems, they don’t sell them! So, we went to play with the cute puppies in the pet store, and then on our way back to the apartment, decided to check and see if the huge playground in Les Halles was open. It was just opening as we rounded the corner, which was lucky, because they only let a certain amount of children in at one time. This playground is supervised by employees, who organise games and such, and the parents are not allowed in! Take yourself off for an hour and have a coffee! Come back to pick the kids up when the time is up! Hello! Yes! And this park is free! The kids had a great time, even though E was hit in the face while playing a game of dodgeball, poor thing! They both want to go back again. So, all in all, we’ve had a very busy few days of fun and games! Oh, and while the littles were in the playground, K and I sat quietly together and watched the people go by, and listened to the bells on the Saint-Eustache Church.