The French Experience

img_52511This photo pretty much sums up my experience touring a bit of this beautiful country – jaw-dropped-selfie. I mean, why not? This place is fantastic! They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder but hey, look at the picture. I can’t imagine anybody arguing this place is anything but stunning, right? Of course, this is just one of the many beautiful sights I saw in France.

So, here’s how it started. I asked my husband that for this year’s trip to England , I would like to do a side trip to Paris. I don’t think I need to explain why Paris but the request came about as I am turning the big Four O this year. In the Philippines, having your birthday in August is not exactly the best thing (for travel, at least) because it’s the rainy season. Luckily, it’s summer time in Europe (I don’t do well in cold weather) so I thought it would be the perfect plan to celebrate my big day in Paris.

Being the loving and thoughtful husband that he is, he planned an 8 days trip to France which also included 3 days  in Tours for Chateau visits on my actual birthday. This is because I am obsessed with castles. Yep!  I blame all the princess stories I grew up with.

I’m no expert traveler and certainly a non-experienced blogger (this is my first ☺ yey) so, I’m not going to write about the what-should-and-shouldn’t stuff about traveling. I’m writing based on my own personal experience traveling as a family with 2 toddlers in tow. While I didn’t experience much of the romantic side of Paris (a sit down meal for our family of four means taking turns alternating between eating and looking after our girls. I suppose most parents out there can very much relate and yes #struggleisreal)

WEATHER: It was EXTREMELY hot while we were in Paris. With lots of walking, sightseeing and picture taking to do (with at least a baby to carry or a pram to push), it wasn’t easy even for a tropical mama like me. It got a bit cooler on our last full day which was the day of our visit to Versailles.

SITES: It’s impossible to tour and actually enjoy Paris if you only have a few days to stay. Everywhere you look is beautiful and it’s not easy to just walk from point A to point B. We therefore decided to go on a hop on-hop off bus to tour this magnificent city so we had a better view of what to see, in the quickest and easiest way possible. I wish I could also say it’s the cheapest but, it’s not. Truth is, France is very EXPENSIVE. In fact, in one of the restaurants we sat in while in Montmartre, we had to pay 6euros for a small glass of Coca Cola. Beautiful architecture can be seen everywhere. Not knowing lots about the history (one of the best things about the tour bus is the audio that tells you where, what to look for and what it’s about) you would simply think every building is a castle or something. One must take note, the best bet for a photo opt of the Eiffel Tower is at Trocadero (even this opportunity I passed because of a sleeping baby in my arms in the scorching Parisian summer day).

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And so, I settled for this shot. Thanks to my ever supportive husband.

Versailles is a MUST visit especially if you are only staying in Paris. Again, a FULL DAY is needed to immerse yourself in this beauty and grandeur. There were fewer open rooms in the palace than I expected however, the beauty and size of the gardens more than make up for that! There’s so many things you can do here like picnicking, biking and rowing/boating in the lake. We arrived late (I think around noon time) so we got ourselves a group tour (with audio guide only) that let us skip the queue to get in the palace and in the gardens, and also hired a buggy that let us explore them quicker.

 

TRANSPORT: Sadly Paris Metro can be confusing and unfriendly because of lack of escalators/elevators at the stations. There’s probably a couple of stations we saw /used an escalator/elevator. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, except that we had 2 small kids, a pram and 2 super seniors (mum and dad ☺) with us. However, people were generally friendly and helpful which is always a great thing. We conveniently used Uber a couple of times to save us all hassles of moving about with all our luggage’s as we left (to go to Tours) and come back (to go to London).

FOOD: Out of the things to write about, this one scares me the most. Coming to France, one of the most exciting things for me was the food experience. Again, I’m no foodie but I love to eat and while I cannot say I’ve eaten at many of the finest restaurants out there, my taste buds were left a bit disappointed during this trip. Don’t get me wrong, the food was not “blah” but being the most visited City in the world, I imagined great things when sitting down for a meal in Paris. I won’t say more and I hope this doesn’t offend any reader out there. Again, this is just a personal note on a personal experience.

Now comes the fun part, the best part of the trip (at least for me), our stay in TOURS, FRANCE!   ☺☺☺

Instead of writing about it, I think the best way to do this is to show off (yes, show off as I am that proud of this experience) pictures from this trip.

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lovely little city of Tours
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goofy baby comes from a goofy mummy at Chateau de Chenonceau
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couple’s photo by Azay-le-Rideau Château
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happy kid at Chateau Villandry

Finally, I’d like to give credit to our tour guide, Pascal who provided an exceptional service during our Chateau visits from Tours.  For anybody interested, you may get in touch with his company please visit their website: http://www.accodispo-tours.com/

This is exactly how I want to end this first blog post; a very happy me in one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

So much more to say about the trip and honestly this blog would never be enough, at least not to the point of boring my reader(s). It was such an experience I will never forget and would love to revisit in the future (most likely, distant future).

Au Revoir

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