When I first got my MacBook Pro a few years ago, Abby and I became obsessed with the Photo Booth application — the one that takes your picture and superimposes fake backgrounds to make it seem like you are riding a roller coaster or flying through outer space or floating inside a fish tank. There’s also a background for Paris and when we snapped that photo we got a big laugh out of the resulting image. Look at us! In Paris! Ha ha ha ha! There’s the Eiffel Tower! The day I took Abby and her sister on a trip like that was a day far off in the future, like all those other days in the far off future, such as the day they would be able to keep track of their own shin guards or the day they could drive themselves to ballet or the day we fly through outer space.
But then — voila! — a friend offers a free apartment in Paris (free) any time in the summer (free) and before I know it, we’ve got ourselves another milestone crossed (which is, by the way, free). All of which is to say that the photo above was actually taken at the base of the real Eiffel Tower in the real Paris, where we’ve been wandering and eating and ferris-wheeling and eating and carousel-ing and eating and eating and eating for the past six days. And though I think it took the girls a few days to realize that Paris was something other than a tangle of really old streets you have to hike through in order to get to the crepes and the pan au chocolat and the palmiers and financiers and beignets and macarons, I think they are starting to register how far away from their little world back home they really are. And how strange and wonderful a feeling like that can be.
This post originally was going to be my Bon Vacances email, the one where I say enjoy your vacation I’m going on my annual digital diet, but we’ve been having so much fun in our French kitchen that I think next week we’re going to do our best to post some of the meals we’ve cooked. Mixed in will hopefully be some guest posts that I’m really excited about. In the meantime, some highlights from the week…
(PS: Please forgive my seventh-grade level French and the omission of accents — which I can’t figure out to save my life.)
Everyday starts off with breakfast at Luxembourg gardens, which is in the running to be my favorite place in Paris/on Earth. The girls usually wolf down their pan au chocolat or croissants, then we let them rent a model boat to push around in the fountain for a half hour, while we finish our cafe au laits.
But when we don’t bother with the boats, they still manage to have fun.
You think we could be Phoebe’s parents and not seek out Tin Tin toy shops? We found the coolest one near the Louvre called Noxa (8-13 Galerie de Nemours). Inside were about a million teeny tiny hand-painted figurines. Not just Tin Tin and Snowy and Captain Haddock — though there was plenty to choose from on that front — but military figurines and characters from Asterix, thousands of dolls making up elaborate French pre-Revolutionary royal scenes. In other words, heaven for kids. Phoebe picked out a Tin Tin themed datebook and Abby introduced this figurine to her fleet of ex-pat dolls that made the transatlantic flight from New York.
Highlight of the trip: A dramatic ride on the ferris wheel at Tuileries. A little too dramatic. I looked at my feet the entire time while the girls laughed their heads off.
As for the crepe count: So far they’ve tried nutella with bananas, jambon et fromage, lemon and sugar, and today, at this creperie on Rue St Andre des Arts (pictured up top) they opted for salt and caramel. I cannot believe I just wrote that sentence.