Travel: France

France: Canal du Midi

We’re off to France for a week of floating down the Canal du Midi between Toulouse and the Mediterranean with a couple of friends of ours! Epsilon is one well traveled fetus!

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France: Paris

Deb and Epsilon, 23 weeks, 5 days in the CatacombsWe are back from a mini-break to Paris. I do have to say that I particularly enjoyed the hassle free travel on the Eurostar. Posts and photos forthcoming! Here’s a teaser photo, me and Epsilon in the Paris Catacombs (23w, 5d).

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Paris: Sacre Couer to the Eiffel Tower

Today involved a bit of a whirlwind of sight seeing: Sacre Couer, the (albeit very short) funicular, Arc d’Triomphe, strolling along the Champs Elysee, purchasing an outfit for Epsilon from a shop along the Champs Elysee (have I mentioned how much more fun it is to clothes shop for Epsilon than it is for myself?), viewing impressionist art at the L’Orangerie, having a dinner cruise on the Seine, having fois gras for the first time and finally visiting the Eiffel Tower at night. This is a day better told in photos:

Deb and Epsilon with Sacre CoeurArc de TriompheMark, Deb and Epsilon on a boat cruise of the SieneMark, Deb and Epsilon with Eiffel Tower

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France: Paris – Catacombs

Bones stacked in the CatacombsToday’s mission: we set out in search of the perfect baguette. We ended up doing pretty well on that front, it wasn’t perfect, but it was mighty tasty. As were the other pastries we sampled. We walked through Luxemburg park and enjoyed our food finds on our way to visit the Paris Catacombs. By far the coolest “touristy” thing we have ever done or visited. You start your way down a very long spiral staircase and hike through empty corridors for distance, long enough to start having you think, “where are the skeleton’s, there are supposed to be skeletons!” But once you come upon them, it is striking just how many bodies were moved into these passages. This is the underground network of caves and corridors from an old limestone quarry which is now home to millions of human remains. Millions.

Later in the day we finally met up with Ethan and Liz, had a lunch involving more crepes. We walked around the island where Notre Dame sits, visited the crypts and set out to find this Berthillion ice cream shop Liz remembered. The shop itself was closed, but many vendors in the area sold the rich dessert. Mark and I both opted for the “salted buttered caramel” flavor. It was almost a little too salty. I glad we spent most of the day walking, with a diet consisting mainly of pastries, crepes and ice cream for the day.

Dinner involved another hike but we were rewarded with good food for our efforts. We had several places in mind after searching menus online. But it turned out our top three picks were closed. Not just for the day or the evening, but they had signs posted that they were closed for the owner’s to go on holiday, for the month. It worked out in the end and I was able to practice some French, although my accent quickly gives me away and I am then spoken to in English.

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France: Paris – Eurostar and Notre Dame

eurostarWe arrived in Paris by train, on the Eurostar. What a pleasant way to travel! Particularly in contrast to all the air travel we have done. It was so relaxed with our packed lunches and snacks and lovely countryside to watch zip by.  Pictured left, here I am smuggling a small child across the border.

Even though I had made them recently at home, we managed to have crepes, not once, but twice on this first day in Paris. From two different restaurants, mind you. As they say, “when in Rome,” or rather, “when in Paris,” we should be eating crepes.

Deb and Epsilon in front of Notre DameI was enjoying the opportunity to dust off my very rusty French speaking skills. Certainly my reading comprehension and listening comprehension is quite good after ten years of no practice. But speaking, from being so out of practice, my brain is a second or two behind in formulating responses and remembering pronunciation. It still feels good to stretch those neurons a bit.

Our hotel was within walking distance of the small island on the Siene where Notre Dame sits. We decided to have a little stroll around the island and as a 23w4d bump, Epsilon proved to be an excellent tour guide.

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France: Opio en Provence

I’m back from a short trip to France. We were there for a conference for Mark’s work and a number of people from the US were there, including some friends of ours. It was held at a resort where much relaxing was to be had in the form of absorbing some much needed sunshine and warmth, lounging by the “Zen pool” i.e. no kids and quiet, reading, rambling and even dominating and winning an archery competition. This wasn’t a sight seeing sort of holiday, I honestly may have only taken a handful of photos, and those largely involve the Geobear having adventures. That’s okay, after the weeks I’ve had lately, I needed a very low key relaxing holiday.

Our holiday will continue through the weekend where our friends will be joining us in the UK. it’s been seven months since we’ve had anyone visit us over here, so this will be fun to have some familiar faces around.

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