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Que vive la France!

Visiting Mona Lisa in Paris |

Having my son Christopher's request in mind, in August 2005 we went to Paris to visit the Louvre Museum and also Disneyland Paris. The kids had already been in the Magic Kingdom once, but I think they were too small then and Goofy only made my son cry! This time they were older and more interested in museums and going on scary rides, like Space Mountain! After coming out of Charles de Gaulle we tried to get our Metro tickets from a machine, but it didn’t work, so we had to go to the office to get them. While we were there I met a woman who came from Mexico, so we spoke Spanish and that was very special!

We took the metro to Paris and got off in the Marcel Sembat station, which was the one recommended by the Sorel hotel, which was booked through the Internet . We had to do a lot of walking, but people were helpful when we asked directions. When we thought we still had a way to go, we were surprised to find we were standing almost next to the place we were looking for! It turned out to be a very nice little hotel, with only 20 rooms, but very cosy and familiar! I noticed the owner of the hotel liked to embroider and I could see some of her work in the lobby and our bedroom. Nice touches, I thought! I also met another lady who was working there, her name was Claudia and she came from Mauritius.

We start the day by going to the Louvre and I am surprised by the number of heavily armed guards I see! A sign of the times, I guess. I am impressed about the entrance, so much light around despite it being underground! I was pleased to find that they didnt charge for kids! We get to see the Mona Lisa finally, but I thought it was a pity that it is protected by glass, as it reflects. We also saw some sculptures and the famous Venus de Milo. The place is huge, but we only got to see a small part. Afterwards we had some drinks and my son was most pleased with his chocolate muffin!

Afterwards we went up to the Eiffel Tower and the kids were impressed by the size of the metropolis and they complained because we don’t have more holidays in big cities, instead of just going to islands all the time! Christopher payed with an Euro he had for the telescope and he was proud and very impressed! The kids realised things were more expensive in Paris when they saw we had to pay €7.50 for a Sprite and from then on they ordered ordered water in restaurants and bought mineral water in the Metro, as they found it was only €1.50 there!

After lunch we walked to the waterfront for a boat tour, which was most relaxing and informative, as one could listen to the explanations in many languages! We have ice creams after the ride and the kids buy machine dispensed ones instead of paying €4 each for a cone!

Everybody wakes up early the next day to go to Disneyland, but I find that they returned back to the hotel relatively early. It took a long time to get there but the next day we went to see the Science Museum, which is in the outskirts of Paris. It is modern, efficient and very educational, I found. The kids were interested in the exhibits, but also in the souvenir shop! Christopher bought himself a lava lamp and was very proud of it!

Afterwards we tried to go to Notre Dame, but found it was full of
tourists, so we sat in a restaurant instead and had drinks. There was a nice English bookshop next door and my son found a book he liked about the Industrial Revolution in Rural France and wanted to buy it, but I talked him out of it luckily! We then took the little train that goes up to Montmartre and enjoyed the way watching the little shops and restaurants, as well as the painters once we got up there. Gisela was most impressed, as she likes to draw and paint.

After Montmartre we sat outside in a nice restaurant near the Moulin Rouge for dinner. Both my husband and my son ordered lamb chops, but one was overcooked even though he had ordered rare and the other was nearly burnt, so they returned them and both got new dishes.

We left the hotel the next day and went to have a look at Notre Dame before flying back home. It was only a short stay, but a success I thought, as we are no longer travelling with little kids, but with two teenagers!

Locations Visited: Paris

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