Paris and the Happily Ever After
It's four something in the the morning here, which is why I allowed myself to get up even though I should still be sleeping. My sleep schedule is often off and I'm allowed to get up when it's almost five anyway. I found my favorite muffins in the freezer and I've made my usual tea (only decaf left) and it feels good to be back to a bit of routine.
Even if I should still be asleep from our 22 hours of travel to get home. I got a total of five hours sleep, which can sometimes be my norm anyway.
Also I realized as I looked around my kitchen that my mom emptied my dishwasher and tidied up while I was away. Of course she did. It's good to be home, in Ma Petit Maison, as my mom likes to call my house.
As I started to type this, Little Lion woke up and now she's ensconced in a sheet cocoon on our couch, clutching her kindle and eating Valrhona chocolate. My girls were overall amazing travelers, especially considering the jet lag and extreme heat with humidity. And her parents goofing up and making bad decisions along the way. Like the time we took the tube to get from Euston railway station to St. Pancras and it took an hour. With all our luggage. Up and down stairs. In the heat, with busy Londoners. We may as well have taken a cab! Or even worse, as we had no cash and our bank cards were being wonky so we took the metro with ALL OUR LUGGAGE during Paris rush hour and when EVERYONE was trying to get home for the World Cup semi-finals. The girls got shoved and smooshed and it was the WORST subway ride I've ever experienced. (The uber driver canceled, and we weren't sure if another one would too.) And, oh yeah, both those things happened on the same long day as we traveled from Ascot to London to Paris. Traveling Europe is definitely a different experience with kids than in my twenties!
I'm re-reading Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, if only because I made my family walk past the Pantheon on our last night there. Their fictional school is located in the Latin Quarter of Paris, where we stayed. And while it's not my favorite YA series because I felt that <SPOILER ALERT> all three books' main objective was for girl to get boy, I'm still enjoying the atmosphere and the characterizations. And I'm definitely enjoying the re-read after spending five days in the Latin Quarter.
As I wrote the other day, my girls are loving Paris and so am I. We love the individual little boutiques and we're certainly loving all the independent book shops. We love the cobblestone roads, the delicious summer cherries, the little surprises in architecture that we find in every corner.
If I could read French, I would have bought books from every little cute bookstore we found in the Latin Quarter. We also made it to Shakespeare and Co, along the left bank, across from Notre Dame. And Little Lion bought a special edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander/J.K. Rowling.
Our favorite find on our very first day? Le Nuage Vert (The Green Cloud), an independent bookshop featuring Science-Fiction and Fantasy. We adopted some dragons from there and I had to work very hard to convince Little Lion that she didn't need the Wings of Fire series in French.
We also discovered these (possibly unsanctioned) series of Space Invader-style mosaics along random buildings. We made it into a scavenger hunt of sorts, looking for them as we walked and walked and walked.
Confession: I didn't love Paris on my first two trips there. Perhaps because when I was 13 years old, we came to Paris directly from London and it felt dirty and we felt unwelcome. Perhaps it was because both times I've been to Paris felt like a whirlwind--2-3 days max with a tour group directing it all. [You may be wondering why we chose to go to Paris if I was not excited about returning. We chose Paris after our London/Ascot trip so that we could meet up with my sister-in-law and MIL/FIL who were traveling to France as well. Plus the girls were excited to see (part of) France, where Lafayette is from.]
This time we stayed in one place for 5-6 days. This time, we ventured out on our own.
Did we do all the tourist-y things too? You bet. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, a private tour of the Catacombs, Versailles.
And we discovered that the BEST macarons on our trip were the ones on second floor of the Eiffel Tower. Yes, we tried a lot of them. We also found an absolutely CHARMING sweet shop on our street where all the sweets where in jars, and there were various flavors of marshmallow-like goodies in the window shop. (Though the girl serving us balked at my description, I'm not sure how to translate hers.)
So, yeah, I loved Paris this time around, on my own pace, not feeling rushed to see everything, not running back to a tour bus.
Third times the charm.
I always say it's not a good vacation if you don't leave wanting to do/see just a little bit more. And I definitely wanted to try all those little places we passed by on Rue Mouffetard and Rue Descartes, and find the rest of the space invaders mosaics around the city, and peek into all the little bookshops even if I can't read the books.
So I left my heart in Paris. Along with all the cobbled streets and lovely boutiques and bookshops. And friendly Parisiens. That's right, friendly.
If you follow me on Instagram, you likely saw a lot of pictures of the Bookworm Girls reading while on our trip. They did a TON of reading while we passed our time on trains, subways, etc. This is what we read on our trip. Please note that we didn't bring any books, just our kindles, but we did purchase books along the way.
- HP and the Philosopher's Stone, Hufflepuff version by J.K. Rowling x2
- The Unwanteds: Island of Fire by Lisa McMann x 4 1/2
- HP and the Chamber of Secrets, Hufflepuff version by J.K. Rowling x 1 1/2
- The Menagerie by Tui T. Sutherland and Kari Sutherland x 5
- The Menagerie: Dragon on Trial by Tui T. Sutherland and Kari Sutherland x 3
- The Menagerie: Krakens and Lies by Tui T. Sutherland and Kari Sutherland x 2
- The Hidden Kingdom by Tui T. Sutherland
- Hamlet, as re-told by Andrew Matthews
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by JK Rowling
- Ziri Starborn and The Vagabond Twins, both by Mr. Bookworm (still being revised)
- The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
- The Menagerie Series by Tui T. Sutherland and Kari Sutherland x 2
- From the Wings of Fire series: The Brightest Night, The Dark Secret, The Hidden Kingdom, Moon Rising, all four Winglets books, and Legends: Darkstalker by Tui T. Sutherland
- Unwanteds: Island of Fire by Lisa McMann
- Twice Upon a Marigold and Thrice Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris
- Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by E. L. Konigsburg
- Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, The Titan's Curse, Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero (twice), The Red Pyramid, The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan
- A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielson
Dr. Bookworm: I read Simon versus the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Isla and the Happily Ever After By Stephanie Perkins, and the beginning of HP and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling as I re-started it for our upcoming read-along. Yes, they read faster than I do. But I was busy navigating (the Underground and Metro apps were awesome!) and researching our destinations.
Tell Dr. Bookworm!
Do you have a book that should be read before/after visiting a specific city? I really loved re-reading Isla and the Happily Ever After on my way home from Paris. Do you have a vacation spot that won you over but only after multiple visits?