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15 to 21 August 

15 August

The Lund’s are coming to Paris today! Their flight was due to get in at 07:40 so we set our alarm bright and early (05:30) to meet them at Charles de Gaulle airport. However, Jer checked his handy dandy flight status tracker and realized that they were delayed about 2 hours. Back to sleep for us.

Then just before 10:00 we were all reunited for the first time in 4 months! After hugs, kisses and maybe some tears, we all pilled into an Uber Van and headed for Chateau Walker.

After multiple elevator trips (since 4 people without luggage fit uncomfortably) we were all enjoying the view from our balcony. Luckily, I did not go to the boulangerie that morning to get pastries as everyone was requesting less carb intense food. (They will soon come to love this land of bread, cheese and wine).

So, Jen and I set out to the grocery store to pick up food for lunch today and tomorrow (road trip to Normandy). The rest of the family either enjoyed the balcony or some shut eye on the couch or bed.

Jen, Jer and I prepared a light lunch of salads then started to wake the sleeping masses.

After everyone’s tummies were full, the Lund’s headed for their hotel which was literally 2 blocks from our flat. We could watch them from the balcony to make sure they did not make a wrong turn.

We met up a little bit later to head to the Trocadero metro station to get the weekly metro passes for everyone (easier than buying tickets when you are in town Monday through Sunday but need to take 18 trips to be worth it. This also includes transportation outside of Paris to Versailles or Disneyland Paris). Also, for the weekly passes you need a picture of yourself about the size of the top of your thumb with a white background not smiling (these pictures are generally not of anyone’s good side). The pictures in the metro booths are 5 Euro, or .42 cents if you take them before hand and print at Walgreens. The Lund’s came prepared with their tiny pictures.

After we all had our metro passes, we walked around the Trocadero which is just across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. We then crossed the river for everyone to get their up close look at the Eiffel Tower and then walked along the Seine to cross over at the Bir Hakim/Passy bridge to head back to their hotel.

Shortly after getting back to the hotel/our flat, we headed out to an early dinner by Paris standards, 19:30. We went to La Rotonde which is down the street from our place.

Everyone had a look at their first French cafe menu, in French, and realized they were not in Kansas anymore. But everyone enjoyed their meals before retiring for the night after drinks on our balcony. Tomorrow is an early day as we head to Normandy!

Step count: 14,990, 10.25km

16 August

Today we are road tripping it to Normandy. This is a long day. Jer woke up bright and early to pick up our sweet whip from the rental car place while I went and bought pastries at the boulangerie down the street. I say sweet whip, because it was a new Mercedes 7 passenger van. Riding in style.

We all pilled into the car around 07:30. And we were off! It was about 3 hours to Utah Beach. I tried to have everyone learn French together listening to Coffee Break French podcasts from my phone but the volume was on 1 million so I was vetoed. We listened to the French radio, NRJ, the whole way. It was a mix of pop, EDM and French tunes.

As we got closer to our first destination, we went over the back story and the plan for the day. Jer and I had been to these sights a a few months earlier so we were prepared with our proverbial tour guide hats. It was amazing seeing the sights through other’s eyes.

Our first stop was Utah Beach which is the western most point and then we worked our way back though St. Mere Eglise, Point du Hoc and ended at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach. We have already written about these sights in previous posts but here are some new pictures:
Utah Beach
American Cemetery
One point to note, we planned a picnic lunch at Point du Hoc because I could of sworn they had picnic benches there. Well let’s just say I was 100% wrong. So we had a tailgate style lunch, complete with wine and Haribo gummies at the back of the Mercedes which actually ended up working better than expected!

After the American Cemetery, we started the 2 plus hour drive back to Paris. We ended up having dinner at Cafe du Trocadero. It was a great end to a long day.

Tomorrow we have a day of museums planned!

Step Count: 15,479, 11.19km

17 August

After our long day of traveling to and from Normandy, we had another action packed day.  Today we started at the Louvre. But before we went in, we needed to get tickets. A lot of the Paris museums are on the museum pass. This pass can be bought for one to five days. At some museums it helps you skip lines while others it is just like generals admission but you don’t need to go to the ticket office first. Also, Jer did the math that if we went to 8 museums, the pass was more than worth it. We got out passes at a Tabac in the shops by the Louvre. The only kicker was that we had to pay in cash, which we luckily had enough of between everyone.

The Louvre is the most intimidating museum I have ever been to. There are multiple wings with multiple floors and multiple exhibitions, some permanent some ever changing. Thanks to my main man, Rick Steves, we were able to use his walking tour as a guide to best use our time. We got to see the Mona Lisa, which I’m pretty sure she winked at us, just kidding. Here are a few of our favorite pictures from the Louvre.

To continue on with getting totally immersed in the French culture, we went to a one star Michelin restaurant for lunch. First rule of Michelin star restaurants, always go for lunch because the food is the same quality but smaller portions for a much smaller price.  Went to Goust and I thought it was fabulous. However, there were definitely some eclectic ingredients, like rather potent fish roe on a cucumber gazpacho. But you can not come to France and not go to a Michelin restaurant. Here are a few pictures from our meal.
Samplers to start, including Foie Gras Macaroons
Get in my belly!
Squid Tortellini
Dessert sampler!
After we finished up lunch, we headed to L’orangerie Musuem. I think this is my favorite museum. This is where Monet’s Water Lilly’s are installed permanently. Fun fact, this was technically the first museum that was designed just for specific art installation. And it shows, the walls are curved to better see the paintings. I think I could spend the whole day just combing over the detail of the 10 panels.

We then retired back to the hotel/our flat to relax. Dinner was then prepared at Chez Walker. The main dish this evening was prawns from the North of France. Let’s just say they still had their heads on so they were not the biggest crowd pleaser but I thought they were delicious!

Step Count: 21,513, 15.55km

18 August

After our normal morning cafe and pastries, we headed to Notre Dame. It is free to get into Notre Dame and most of the time the line looks intimidating but it is just a security check and it moves rather quickly. Fun facts about Notre Dame, it is built on an island in the middle of the Seine and it was built by the people of Paris who would lug the huge rocks from nearby quarries without any help from machinery creating the actual hunchbacks of Notre Dame. When we were inside they were actually starting a service, in French. It was awe inspiring to see mass while in such a historic and religiously significant building. One of my favorite pieces of architecture in the church is the original rose window. Take a look for yourself.  

After Notre Dame we headed over to Hotel de Ville and then into The Marias for lunch. We ate at one of our favorite boulangeries in the area, Boulangerie Heurtier. After we finished our meals, the waiter brought us some complimentary macaroons to go with our cafe’s. It was just perfect.

We then slowly made our way to the Eiffel Tower as we had bought tickets in advance to go up at 3pm. We walked to the Eiffel Tower through Champ de Mars, the park behind the tower to take in the size as we approached. We wound through security (twice) and were on our way in the elevator up to the second floor. The views are just amazing. However, it did start to rain a little, however we had come prepared!
Looking back towards our apartment.

We then relaxed for a little before heading to dinner at Casa Luca which I would consider to be a French/Italian cafe. We all enjoyed our food and then retired early as we have been running all over Paris the last few days.

Step Count: 22,597, 16.31km

19 August

Again after our normal cafe and pastries, a little bit later this morning, we were on the RER C and off to Versailles. Thanks again to my main man, Rick Steves, everyone got their dose of history before getting inside the palace.
Thanks technology!
We spent time wondering the main palace taking in the over the top nature of everything we saw. Everything was the ultimate one upper.

We then headed outside to enjoy the gardens. However, Versailles is sneaky and they had musical gardens today, which came with an additional charge. But it was totally worth it. We wondered around the gardens tying to find the royals, with no luck. However, unlike yesterday when we were prepared for the rain, today we were not. Kathy improvised with her map but we all got a little wet.

We the headed back to have dinner Chez Walker, since we couldn’t find a Chinese place near by to deliver (side note, we have since but it was closed in August).

We finished tonight playing cards and enjoying some wine.

Step Count: 20,227, 14.37km

20 August

This morning to mix it up, we went out for a family breakfast. We originally thought we found a crepe place however it was closed (it is August in Europe) so we had breakfast at Cafe du Trocadero.

After breakfast, we all went our separate ways. Today is the families last day in Paris and we needed to do laundry desperately as well as pack for our trip starting next week.

Mom, Dad, and Kelsey headed to the Maritime Museum at the Trocadero and the Aquarium which was also in the Trocadero area.

Early afternoon we all regrouped and headed to the Arc de Triomphe to see the views of the city. We walked all 250+ steps to the top and enjoyed the view from above.

We then headed to the Champs-Elysees to do a little shopping. We rounded out the evening with the whole group by having dinner at a Cafe over by the Arc de Triomphe (L’Etoile 1903). However that didn’t completely end the night for all of us as those who wanted tasted a few of the local brews at Frog XVI a bar down the street from our apartment.

Step Count: 15,666, 11.15km

21 August

This morning we all met at our flat to then get the Uber van to Charles de Gaulle (after of course the usual cafe and pastries breakfast). We bid au revoir with hugs, kisses and maybe some tears before we left the family at Terminal 2. We then headed separate directions, literally as we started the last leg of our European August.

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