La Belle Paris

March4

Our stay in Paris started with a trip to the Canadian embassy, which all worked out just fine. After that we went over to see the world famous Louvre museum.
Le Pyramide
A bit of trivia, there are 35,000 pieces of art in there. If you spent one minute in front of each piece, it would take you 4 months to see it all. Needless to say we saw a fraction of it, but it was impressive none-the-less.
I loved the sculputres:
Sculpture
The rest of the family was quite enamoured with the Ancient Egyptian displays. This stone tablet is very, very, very old.
Heiroglyphics
There were a lot of nice sacophagus’ and even a real mummy. I think that was the girl’s favourite.
The next day we went up the Eiffel tower. A note of advice to any future-goers: It is cold and very windy up there in the winter. Even if it’s kind of nice lower down. Our stay at the top was brief but a nice view anyways.
Top of the tower
A different kind of perspective:
Eiffel tower
Family at the Eiffel tower
We took a boat trip along the Seine. The architecture is beautiful:
Paris architecture
And beautiful near-sunset views:
Paris skyline
The next day I went to pick up our passports and had a leisurely baguette while sitting on the Champs-Elysees. After that I strolled along the Seine on my way to the Musee d’Orsay. Tellement francais! The museum was beautiful and houses many famous impressionist works of art by some of my favourite painters; Van Gogh, Matisse, Monet, Gaugin, Degas, Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Rodin, amongst others. Simon hopes that I am inspired to create masterpieces of my own! We shall see…

%$&*#!!!!!!!

February23

So, on a trip that includes 10 countries, 9 languages (8 of which I don’t speak), and over 25,000 kms, there’s bound to be a bad day. The last 24 hours certainly fit that bill.
In the wee hours of the morning, as we finished packing our bags, it all looked idyllic.
Pals
We awoke to a snowstorm in Munich, only the second that winter. It slowed the driving down considerably and we were late getting to the train station. As Simon physically touched our train as it was about to pull away we were not on it. So much for the 500 km/hr non-stop trip to Paris. As we had a connecting flight to get later that day, we opted for the only other available option; a train with 3 connections. Seeing as we have 5 pieces of luggage, 2 small children and I cannot run or climb stairs quickly, this is a major undertaking. We were totally keen on being first out the door on the first stop; so keen that we got off one station TOO EARLY! We actually thought the train was 4 minutes ahead of schedule. Bad move…So there we were, stuck in somewhere Germany. Simon ran around the city centre and checked in 10 cafes, and no internet in sight. The DeutscheBahn ticket office could not guarantee seats on a French train so we were seemingly screwed. Simon did check in with a travel agent in his cafe search and found that we were near Frankfurt and maybe we could catch the 2pm plane to Paris.
Speed!
TGV
A new city added to our list:
Frankfurt Hbf
Enthusiastically we booked the 2 necessary trains to get to Frankfurt Flughafen (airport). All was going well until the second train; it was delayed 25 minutes. By the time we arrived at the airport and took the shuttle bus to Terminal 2 it was too late to catch that plane. Foiled again! So we checked at the dodgy-looking ‘last minute flights’ desk, which looked to be funded by the Russian mafia, and they offered us a ‘deal’ worth $1500 CAD to fly to Paris for all of us. Well, we settled for losing a lesser amount of money and missing our Paris to Nice flight and got a train to Nice instead. I was pretty happy about taking the TGV to Paris then transferring by Metro to another train station then taking a night train in a sleeper cabin. It was a great ride to Paris, the Metro went off without a hitch and we tiredly boarded our night train to Nice. We slept soundly and it was a great sleep.
The next morning the train made it’s first stop at Toulon at about 6:30am. This stop woke me up so I quietly slipped out, gently closed the door and padded down the hallway as nature called. When I returned the door was open, as often happens on a moving train so I thought nothing of it. As I slipped into bed I noticed my purse had moved. I figured it fell off the end of my bed and I would get in upon daybreak. What ACTUALLY happened is that some opportunist seized the chance AND my bag and it was gone. Wallet, passports, i-pad, i-pod, all GONE. It was a sad realization. The rest of our day consisted of making the necessary phone calls, filing a report at the station and again after a 3 hour wait at the police station, which pretty much took up our day. We did have a few moments to take in the beauty of Nice and a nice creperie for lunch.
But all’s well that ends well. The girls were thrilled that we took a double-decker train to Cannes. We met our Romanian friend Gheorghe who has an apartment at the truly swanky Grand Hotel.
Grand Hotel
We took a lovely sunset walk on the promenade and dined on truffle foie gras, a special Alsatian dish of confit de canard aux pommes de terre and fine French wine. Magnifique!!

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