Friday 8th January
On Friday 8th January 2016 we embarked upon Aurora's first trip abroad—a long weekend in Paris.
The first order of business was getting on the Eurostar. We'd chosen an 08:00 departure and with two night owls in the party this made the morning slightly fraught. Fortunately we'd had the sense to sleep over in a hotel a stone's throw from St. Pancras International—this also had the fringe benefit of a hearty Premier Inn cooked breakfast to kick-start the day.
Despite the early start we made it in plenty of time for the train, however, and soon we were zipping along toward Paris.
Tired from the journey we primarily chilled out in our room for the rest of the afternoon and enjoyed a meal in the restaurant in the evening, where their fusion of French and Californian cuisine was a little unusual but for the most part very tasty.
Then it was off to bed for a very welcome sleep.
Saturday 9th January
The following day we had a late start. A very late start. We'd already decided that this was going to be a holiday for relaxation, as opposed to rushing around cramming in as much as possible; but I feel we rather pushed our remit to its limits.
We'd already arranged to meet up with Gill and James for the day, but as neither Michelle nor Aurora were awake before 10:00 I had to rearrange plans and we eventually decided we'd turn up at their flat whenever the ladies were ready.
Once bathing, breakfasting and all the other minutiae were taken care of, we eventually ended up leaving the hotel after noon—rather a far cry from the 10:30 we'd originally agreed with Gill and James. Oops. Once we'd located the nearest RER station we headed over and found their flat without too much issue.
Fortunately Emma was late having her nap so she was still awake when we arrived and we had a wonderful time chatting with Gill and James while the girls played together. We then enjoyed a delicious lunch while Emma took her nap and then James and I headed over to a nearby playground to let Aurora burn off some of her energy. Once Emma was up we headed back and then finished up the day with a tasty crêpe at the local café.
All in all it was a wonderful day, but unfortunately I completely forgot to take any photos except this one!
We caught the RER back to the hotel and Aurora, exhausted from the day, fell fast asleep next to me. This meant I had to carry her back to the hotel—who needs a gym when you have a 20kg toddler?
After we got back we were all so tired that we napped until around 22:30 at which point we headed down for dinner (the restaurant opening thankfully late). Once we got back to the room around midnight we all went more or less straight back to bed.
Sunday 10th January
Another very late start—this holiday turned out to involve a lot of relaxation. Unfortunately this was also motivated by Michelle feeling rather unwell, which isn't the sort of reason you want to have a lie-in on holiday.
Around 14:30 I realised that debatably dry weather was becoming rapidly less debatable the longer we waited, so I took the opportunity to stroll over to the Eiffel Tower with Aurora and leave Michelle to get some sleep.
We had quite a good look, but Aurora was rapidly becoming dissatisfied with the weather and plaintively asked if we could go down again. So we caught the lift down to the first floor for a quick trip into the gift shop.
The gift shop being housed opposite the lift, we did take a little time to stroll around and peer down at the tiny people scurrying around below us.
As we reached the gift shop we hurried gratefully inside, out of the wind and rain. After perusing it for a little while, we decided we'd seen enough of the tower and headed down for the ground. Via the lift I hasten to add.
Safely on the ground once more, we took a few more minutes to take some pictures from the ground and then it was time to head back to the hotel to warm up and dry off.
That was more or less it for the day—Michelle was still feeling like taking it easy, and none of us were particularly keen to head back out into the howling wind and rain. I did end up popping out to bring back a few snacks to the room, and captured a few more pictures on the way.
We enjoyed the remainder of the day resting in the room and, after a late dinner, we retired to bed.
Monday 11th January
Monday was checkout day, but our train back to Britain wasn't until just after midday. Fortunately Michelle was feeling rather better than the day before, so after the earliest breakfast of the week we headed out for one last visit to the Eiffel Tower.
We didn't fancy heading back up the tower, especially as time was shorter than the queues, but we strolled underneath it and towards the little carousel that's located just beyond. As soon as Aurora spotted it, of course, nothing would do but to have a ride.
Shortly after, however, it was sadly time to leave. We collected our luggage and this time rather more sensibly decided to take a taxi across Paris—a trifle more expensive, but oh so much less hassle.
The Eurostar home was fairly uneventful, although as usual Aurora had trouble remaining entertained for the whole trip—but that's not too surprising for a three-year-old on a three hour journey, to be fair.