After a surprisingly smooth flight, only made memorable by the sudden onslaught of parental guilt when we both woke up to find Juliette sleeping on the floor of the plane, we arrived in Paris. We picked up our luggage and cleared customs in minutes, just long enough for the kids to guffaw while saying “Bonjour” to the uniformed customs officer.
Next thing we knew, we were standing under the gray Parisian skies, trying to talk a taxi into taking our overly large American family in one car. “Cinq! Non, c’est trop.” Finally we located a familiar shape: a minivan that agreed to take our brood into the Paris.
I talked my husband into doing something different this trip. Instead of staying at a hotel, we rented an apartment for four nights. The cost per night was marginally cheaper and it seemed much roomier. I did some research online before turning to my mother for help. Having left Paris at the age of 10, I’m not very familiar with the different neighborhoods and was flummoxed by all the options available.
In the taxi ride into Paris, while trying unsuccessfully to get the kids’ eyes off their electronic screens to take in the sights, I fielded a few skeptical comments from Steve in the front seat. “I hope the apartment is nice… This woman had better be there to open the door… Where is it anyway?” I nodded, trying to convey a calming aura, but wondering what we would do if there was no one to greet us when our minivan dumped us with all our luggage in front of some random sealed apartment building.
We did indeed land in front of two monumental green wooden doors, but they did not remain locked for long. Our hostess opened them up and welcomed us into a palace. The apartment is a ground floor duplex with vaulted exposed brick ceilings and beautiful dark wooden beams throughout, all exquisitely decorated with antiques. There is even a courtyard! The kids started running around, shouting, “It’s a castle! We’re staying in a hotel castle!” She was no doubt getting nervous about having welcomed us in, but once our foot was in the door, there was no getting us out.
The Seine is just a few blocks away, the boulangerie is just around the corner, and cafes are all around. Our pied a terre is a hit and we are off for more adventures tomorrow.