Wednesday, June 3, 2009


So, we caught the Very Fast Train to Paris and this, on the whole, was very good. There was much more room than on a plane and we sat near a friendly German family who chatted to us and gave us kids books. I plugged Mads into the ipod and drank a beer. Then we hopped out at Gare L'est, straight into a taxi and were at our hotel half an hour later, rather than having to deal with the monstrousness of an airport.

First stop the next morning was a nearby cafe called Cafe Madeleine (d'accord...) for croissants and coffee.

Then Mads wanted to see the Eiffel Tower **(her 'must do' list for Paris was based on entirely on the Madeline books and the Eiffel Tower was number one on the list). We hadn't really decided what we would do once we got there, and the long queues nearly made us run away, but Mads was dead keen to go up, so in the end we compromised and went up half way. I'm glad we did. It's pretty amazing. My favourite bit was all the nets they have under each viewing platform to collect all the cameras and phones that fall from sweaty tourist hands before they plummet to the ground and clonk someone on the head. Do you think you'd ever get your phone back again?

We discovered a few things about Paris this time that we hadn't noticed on previous trips, sans Small Person. Like, there is a decided lack of playgrounds, although we've since been assured that they are there, you just need to know where to look. I found the 'no walking on the grass' signs very annoying last time, but they're completely infuriating when you've got a kid with you. Queues are even less appealing, especially when the kid is probably not going to be excited by the interior of the gothic church you are asking her to wait patiently to see. But luckily ice-cream is everywhere, and everywhere ice-cream is good. We also felt strangely articulate being in France after two months in Germany. My French was never good and it is extremely rusty now, but it's still far better to my German. Thieu felt the same. We were able to construct entire sentences and be understood. Pretty much.

We spent two nights in Paris, and then went to visit S and L and their two boys who live in a fantastic old farm house just outside Paris. The elder boy shared Mads' love of Spiderman, Tin Tin and dressing up. And Madeleine discovered a new character to dress up as - a super hero from a French show called Sam Sam which I'd never heard of before. Mads hadn't either, but she instantly recognised that the costume was a cracker.

We particularly like the eyebrows. I'm now in charge of trying to track down a Sam Sam costume for her.

(** I've been instructed that I'm not allowed to post the pictures of Thieu being a model on the Eiffel Tower because then his Superhero identity will be revealed. Sorry.)


  1. Bother, and I was so looking forward to those model shots! Love the shot of you and mads looking down, it's a classic.

  2. alot of pics from our very griswald, euro 1981 family trip were of me standing on the grass - infront of those 'no standing on the grass' signs. My parents are so crazy.