We ended our epic European adventure with a day and a half in Paris…and what an interesting 36 hours it turned out to be!
We knew things were going to get sketchy when mom stepped off the plane with not one, not two, but THREE huge suitcases that she was supposed to be carrying herself on multiple forms of public transport to get to our Latin Quarter apartment. Lets just say, it wasn’t pretty. (Actually, witnessing it first hand was one of the most hilarious things that Caitlin and I have ever seen, but out of respect for mom, I won’t say that out loud. Haha).
Anyway, we got onto one of the trains while it was still relatively empty, but it was soon quite literally packed to the gills with commuters. Honestly, I used to take the train every day to Sydney University during rush hour and that was nothing compared to this. We were quite literally on top of each other. A pickpocket’s dream, one might say. So as soon as we stepped off the train and arrived at our apartment, what did we discover? That mom’s wallet (which also contained her passport) had been stolen right out of her purse. They even closed the zipper again, those sneaky pickpockets!
At this point, it was Friday evening, Mom was due to fly out on Sunday morning, and the US Embassy was closed until Monday. So not good, in other words. But in her usual fashion, mom managed to stay in good spirits as we all headed out to have dinner with Ellen and Jean Pierre Fetu, very good friends of Mom and Dad that live in Paris. It was delightful (Spanish tapas!), but unfortunately Brett and I forgot the camera, so you will all just have to imagine it in your minds. Haha.
The next morning, mom and dad headed to the police station to file a police report and see if they could somehow manage to get mom on the plane on Monday morning. Meanwhile, Brett, Caitlin and I headed out to see Paris. It was particularly dreary and absolutely freezing, but we soldiered on like good little travelers do. Caitlin wanted to do three things in Paris: visit Notre Dame, have a picnic under the Eiffel Tower, and have her picture painted at Montmatre. And by George, we were going to smash all three of those things into one day, come hell or high water!
First stop…Notre Dame!
I thought it was very fitting, as Notre Dame had been our first stop upon our arrival in Paris five weeks earlier…now here we were again on the last day of our trip! Except this time, we went inside as well. And boy, was it magnificent.
We even got to peek in at a meeting of the treasury, which was absolutely filled with men in long white robes. No idea what they were talking about, but it looked important! Caitlin very much wanted to go up to the bell tower, but we were running short on time and were due to meet Mom and Dad at the Eiffel Tower soon. So we made a plan to come back after the Eiffel Tower for some bell tower action.
After that, it was onward to the Eiffel Tower! But not before a funny little pic in the train. Delilah was quite the little train lover by this point. She always made sure to squeal and giggle just loud enough so that all eyes in the train car were on her. She loves the spotlight, that girl 😉
As we stepped off the train and found some takeaway lunch, we were completely dismayed to feel raindrops on our heads. How could we have a picnic in the rain?? Luckily, it only sprinkled a bit and then just looked threatening for a while. We found mom and dad and spread out on the (very cold) grass for our lunch. Even Delilah had a little banana snack (which she insisted on doing while standing so that she could see as much as possible) 🙂
We got some great pics of all of us from the south end of the tower…just in the nick of time too. Not ten seconds after we left, an enormous bike tour of about 150 people came in and piled all of their bikes up on the fence for a group picture.
And the fam 🙂
After that, it was off to Notre Dame (thankfully on a very warm metro!) to see the Notre Dame bell tower. Delilah needed a break from the wrap by that point, so Mom and I decided to hang in a cafe for a bit while Brett went for a walk and Dad and Caitlin went up the tower. It was absolutely FREEZING and raining by that point…what a strange summer day in Paris!
We then headed off to Montmatre in search of the artists and the famous Sacre Coeur. We decided to forgo the famous steps to get up to the top of Sacre Coeur (we had been out and about for around 7 hours by that point), and instead opted for the little tram thing that goes up the hill. Good decision! Sacre Coeur was, of course, gorgeous.
And it offered an absolutely amazing view of the whole of Paris. Notre Dame looked like a teeny tiny dot on the horizon, even though we’d just been there a few minutes before!
As you can see from the above photo, Delilah was exhausted by this point (she’d been in that wrap for almost nine hours straight!) so Brett and I decided to call it a day and head back to the apartment while Mom, Dad, and Caitlin went in search of the artists (which they found and Caitlin had an awesome portrait done).
Before we left, we got one last family photo in Europe 😦 😦 😦
The next morning, with a police report, a copy of her passport, an airport security escort, and permission from the head of Air France, mom somehow weasled her way onto her flight back to the States. When she arrived in Detroit, they told her they’d never heard of anyone being able to do that before. Leave it to Pam, I tell you 😉
Brett, Delilah, and I left that evening and were so sad to say goodbye. Our only comfort was knowing that we had had an absolute AMAZING adventure over the last five weeks. We were a bit unsure of how things were going to go on this trip with a squirmy little baby, but we can honestly say that we had the time of our lives and would do it all over again in the blink of an eye. And just because I promised, here is a pic of the fabulous globe I found in Florence (that Brett wouldn’t let me open till we got home). I think it’s such a neat little symbol of my absolute LOVE for travel. Maybe someday I’ll get to every corner of this baby 😉
We were so happy to share our trip with you all, and hope you enjoyed reading about it. Our next family trip is tentatively planned for April of next year (Roatan, Honduras and maybe the great State of Wisconsin as well). See you all then! 🙂