Our First Solo Adventure :-)
Our day started earlier then usual with the children up when Daddy left as he is in a dinner meeting tonight so otherwise they wouldn't get a chance to see him. I missed my few chapters of the Gospel of John that are the starting to my day, but children must be fed and clothed and the rest of it. I am planning on settling into bed shortly to read a few though. It is definitely my favourite gospel.
The first hour of the day was very busy with the usual household stuff to see to. Washing to do in my "laundry room" (sink on the right is the washer, sink on the left is the rinser and the "dryer" is behind), day bag to pack and our plan of attack for le Metro mapped out and memorized ;-)
Around 9:30 we headed off up the road to l'Opera intersection to find the metro that we needed and traversed underground along passageways filled with shops! and cafes! More "billets pur les enfants" were purchased and I figured it best to get 10 and save time off our next trip. We were aiming for the #7 train and it took a few turns to find it, and many stairs. I was so glad that we had decided to put Sausage in the front pouch and carry the stroller on my back for our first forays into the underground maze so that I could keep a hand on Monkey and keep sausage happy. At one point it felt like we had descended to the center of the earth we had gone down so many staircases, and even though the #7 for the opposite direction was sign posted, we couldn't make out where the other direction's platform was so we asked an older lady in French and she was most helpful, even making sure that we got onto the right train :-) God really does provide care in all the little things doesn't he!
a few short stops latter (and an accordion player thrown into the mix) and we emerged out at Chalet to cross over to le Ile de la Cite for our first daily adventure.
Our plan had been to head to le Marche des Fleur (flower market) that is run all year long as a simple and easy first adventure. The idea being that it wasn't too far from home base and we could always go there and turn around and head home if the children (read MUMMY) couldn't handle it all. Our map helped us figure out where we were when we popped out of the "rabbit hole" and literally around the corner the history lessons started!
half way across the bridge (Pont Nortre Dame) we stopped to look at the Conciergerie. This is the imposing castle like structure on the Island which was used as a prison during the French Revolution. It is called the "anti-chamber to the guillotine" as prisoners were taken from here to loose their heads! After about 10 min of discussion and questions from the older 2, wee Monkey piped up "please can we talk about something else so I don't have any nightmares". Continuing on we crossed nearly straight into the Marche aux Fleurs and it was a breath of fresh air to see forced spring bulbs and the most beautiful trained rose trees (at 85 Euros each we overheard!) lots of potted plants and an entire block dedicated to Orchids. Magoo was very long suffering about all the flowers but commented that he didn't really mind as some of them were neat. Another lesson on the lavender of Provence and pausing to smell some - they thought it smelled of soap!
Then even though it wasn't on our plans, the children were being so good, that we continued on to the seat of the Man of Sin on the Island, passing the Hotel Dieu (first orphanage in France and Hospital even til today). For those interested in the second world war this was where the last stand against the Nazis was made by the Parisian police. Another wee history lesson was covered, and our sympathetic Helper was wondering why there had to be wars, which opened a lovely talk about the coming Kingdom of God. I was really wanting to figure out where this hospital is as it is the nearest one to us - about 18 min away by foot & metro.
We had noticed that the crowds were thick, but figured it was the normal tourist traffic plus the fact that there was a lot of construction, little did we know that it was a special day for Notre Dame. It is their 850yr anniversary this year so they had a big seating thing all set up....to watch Rome! It was Pope Francis' inauguration and the crowds were going to watch it all and participate. So we took pics and I told them to note some things that we would talk about after we left. We didn't go in, not that we would have wanted to! They had police checking lists and huge lines to go into the cathedral. Magoo noticed a statue that was Charlemagne - which he had remembered from our classes on Revelation - right in front of the church!
After leaving we were in the middle of a "Man of Sin" class sitting on some random steps when Monkey decided she needed a loo. As in - that very second. So the futile search for public toilets began, and I never did find the ones that the signs were pointing to - finally we asked a lady police officer (that was part of the crowd control around N.D.) and were directed to Hotel Dieu. So into the hospital we went - and extra of washing of hands we did!
Now we headed home on foot as there were 2 important stops to make. 1 - the most important - for 3 "petit pain de chocolat" for 3 very well behaved children. AND the laundry mat we had noticed near the Louvre. On our way we popped into the 2 children's stores we past (Gap was 1-oy) searching for gloves or hats as it is very chilly and damp here - but everyone has their spring stuff out so no luck. Then finally Magoo mentioned that he was hungry, and they all tuned in. Oh dear me, the packed lunch never got packed as I had expected this to be a short trip and to be back home for lunch. But never fear - the golden arches were up ahead so into there we went.
Miss Helper remembered that we had planned on buying flowers for the apartment while at the market, but we had forgotten, but she made the astute comment that we weren't going back for any now! Instead we saw the cancer society selling daffodils just like at home, so we picked one out and she carried it home all pleased :-)
The 3 pain au chocolat were found and Magoos eaten right away as he was still hungry. Then the search for the laundry mat kept on and on as we walked the entire length of the Louvre in search for the correct street. Turned around and just decided to go up another one that we knew would get us in the general vicinity of the apartment, only to see it up head in a couple blocks. So both #1 & #2 of our list is done and I cannot get over the cost of doing laundry!
1 load of washing is 10 euros ($13) AND 8 min of drying is 1 euro. So I recon it is going to cost us about 18 Euros (plus soap) for one load....about $24. so I will continue to wash our little things and just save the trip to the laundry mat for pants and such.
Finally we reached home around 1pm. What a wonderful morning we had. After a half hour of play, homeschooling we started and completed, quiet time, more play time and watching the market out the living room windows.
Now they are all tucked into bed, with visions of the playground visit for tomorrow dancing in their wee heads :-)