We’re here at last – it’s Christmas Eve, it’s cold, it’s raining solidly, it’s Paris – and it’s wonderful!
Supposed to be about jetlag and sleeping right? Wrong! Anyone who knows Paul, knows that won’t happen. He took off to re-discover the local shops whilst we unpacked to the strains of One Direction ( I really need to ‘lose’ her I-pod ).
Once he returned, we went out to have a look at the famous Christmas markets at the Champs Ellysee. These markets go from one end, up both sides of the road with the L’Arc de Triomph at the top – so the plan was to go all the way up one side and then down the other – simple right? Hardly – you forget we have a Paul!
So, the first stall we see sells hot spiced wine, manage to buy one and understand that if I return to glass to any other stall selling the same stuff, I get 1 euro back – not happening, it’s a cute cup and I am after souvenirs. Walking slowly amongst the stalls, I find I have finished the wine – it goes down reeeeal smooth and I’m feeling very warm and cosy. At the next wine stall, I ask if I can re-use the cup – not only do I get a re-fill for the original price I paid but I get 1 euro back ( I still have the cup so not sure they are winning or not ). Don’t care, still warm and getting happier by the second. So that’s how things progressed. Don’t forget, we had two sides of the street to explore. I stopped counting wines ( or trying to understand the ‘still have the cup but getting 1 euro back each time thing ) at 3, Beth stopped counting at 5 and Paul says he stopped at 6 – no way I had that many, honest!. We also had … 1 fairy floss that was bigger than Beth’s entire head, 1 giant sized hotdog ( don’t know what the sausage was as it came in 3 types and 2 colours – we had plain, inside the longest baguette roll I’ve ever seen with sauce, called ketchup ). We shared this between all three of us and it was lovely. Paul also had roasted chestnuts and Beth a cup of hot chocolate – and no I can’t imagine that her warmth was the same as mine at all! We walked around the monument with Paul explaining the history as we went ( he’s better than a tour guide ) before heading down the other side of the street for the rest of the markets.
Time to head home – only now we need the Metro – hmmm, didn’t need it before. Paul’s wearing his ‘I’m exploring face’ which bodes ill for us because we know it can go on for hours. Paris at this time of year is wonderful. Lots of people, lots of music ( all carols ), bustling activity, pretty lights and general happy feelings – not just me and the wine either, everyone is in a good mood around us with plenty of other sightseers taking photos, laughing in groups and couples holding hands – awww. So, another 2 hours goes by in a happy but now slightly painful for our feet blur. Beth and I start quietly singing the ‘my feet hurt’ song under our breaths and taking it in turns to lean on the other – she’s tall enough now that we can both lean on each other which is nice.
Back on the Metro and Paul gives into our pleas about being tired and sore and says he’ll take us home – yay! More Metro and walking, another 1 and half hours later and we are having trouble believing the ‘we are going home, I promise’ thing. More shops ( we’re not actually buying anything, just looking because Paul can’t stay still for very long, I might add ) and the wine is wearing off. Beth is now hanging off me like I’m a coat rack and all we can see is the bobbing black hat racing ahead of us so fast that I’m worried we’ll lose it. Then I realize that we just got off the train that would have taken us to the Place Monge, where even I know we need to be in order to go home and our singing about our feet is now murderous – um desperate. Then Beth realizes where we were supposed to be and that the train we were on actually went where she wanted to go and that Daddy got off it – who needs a crabby wife when we have a tired child in tow, who now knows where she is and that it’s not where she wants to be! She’s now walking like a drunken sailor her feet hurt so much and she’s so tired she can’t see straight, she’s crying and very cranky and I’m pretty sure she swore. Just as well I make the perfect coat rack for hanging off because I like being the good parent for a change. So we get on the Metro again, this time in the right direction
Finally within walking distance of the apartment and still no food for Christmas Day ( apparently this was the original mission ). Beth and I go home – even I know where to go now! We have been out for 6.5 hours with no food or water in the last 4.5 hours of that time. Paul goes off to find food and we don’t expect him back anytime soon. A hot shower and pyjamas is looking good.
He comes back an hour later with stuff to make Christmas dinner and Christmas Eve presents – we totally love him again! The presents are as follows ;-
Beth – a One Direction onesie which is very cute and has the faces of the boys suitably( or is that unsuitably ) placed over her bosom. She thinks it’s hilarious and the colours suit her down to the ground. It has a very convenient flap at the back
Paul – a grey onesie with a hood that looks like a tracksuit so very civilized and has a zip all down the front for convenience. He looks amazingly good in this which is so wrong because onsies are supposed to look uncool
Helen – mine is a light blue and very pretty until you realize that the images are of Tinkerbell with very nerdy glasses on! Hmmm, do I detect a little fun making here? Mine has buttons – very small buttons, all the way up the front that makes for absolutely no convenience whatsoever when you have to take the whole outfit off – did he not get that it’s winter here! Then Beth convinced me to take a look at myself in the full length mirror – believe me, you soooo don’t want to know! Merry Christmas Eve!
Finally, we discover that the computers won’t deliver films or TV, the TV only does the news in English and we have plenty of food for tomorrow but nothing for today! Our brains are definitely in holiday mode. Beth eats half a bag of corn chips and half a jar of salsa and heads for bed, Paul has some crackers and gherkins and cheese and I have tea and toast before heading to bed – it’s now 8pm!!
What can I say? We are in Paris and it is still amazing!
At 3 in the morning, Beth’s snoring, Paul’s reading and I’m typing. By now, it’s 6am and both Beth and Paul are snoring and I’m still typing and wondering how I’m going to get up for church in the morning.
But still in Paris, it’s still amazing and tomorrow is Christmas – YAY!
Merry Christmas everyone – and I’ll keep you all posted.