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Monday, December 3, 2012

[Epilogue] Trip France 2012 - Leaving much to be desired

Mr. D and and I had planned this France 2012 project for almost two years. We had reviewed the itinerary over and over, before we amended it several times to optimize our trip.
Even though we stuck to our original plan, we couldn't make it 100%, as you might guess, especially with a not-so-cooperative six-year-old kid.
I can't help but leaving much to be desired, even though I enjoyed every minute of our trip.

So, I thought it would be a good idea to record our departure and arrival days so that Remi and Pablo could    read and remember the alpha and omega of our vacation 2012, any time in the future.
I'd love to record as much as possible in this open diary for my kids and their kids, which they can check and reminisce old days. :)

We had our flight from Pierre Trudeau airport, Montreal in the evening, which means that we had to drive to Montreal and leave our car there for two weeks. And as I had expected, there were parking & 1 night stay deals provided by many hotels. The cost of airport parking alone was not much cheaper than one night stay at a hotel. However, we wanted to stay a night at hotel upon our arrival instead of departure. Aloft hotel accepted our request and let us leave our car at parking for two weeks before we stayed at hotel.
We took a shuttle to get to the airport. It was 2-minute drive.

Remi had a few chances to fly, but it was Pablo's first fly in his (6-year) life. We only had road trips to the States and Quebec since Pablo was born. So guess how much he must have been excited! As you can imagine, kids had never stopped talking about the trip since March when we told them about our trip.

 We still had two hours after we checked in.and got our boarding pass.

We strolled around and picked up a couple of books. 

Then kids had an early dinner, since the dinner was scheduled to be served, according to Corsair website, after 9 p.m.
In contrast to his older brother, Pablo doesn't always behave.
Pablo was very cooperative and behaved, sweeping off our worries.

Kids meal was served first, along with toys. I think it's a good strategy to keep them quiet :)

As my kids already had their dinner, they didn't eat all. But they ate quite a bit.
The real problem was that they each had a screen in front of them. We don't have a cable at home and my kids are allowed to watch DVDs only in the weekend. It was a real chance for them to watch the DVDs in the evening after 8 p.m.! (my kids go to bed at 8 p.m. at home)

(By the way, I had to have Mr. D take the photo of this wine since it was the funniest (or most weird) blend of grapes I've ever seen.
Have you ever seen (or tried) a wine made with grenache and merlot?)

Holidays just started, so we decided not to be so strict.
The thing was that the flight was only for less than 7 hours and we were scheduled to land in Paris at 9 a.m. local time, i.e. 3 a.m. Ottawa time. I didn't even want to imagine how grumpy they would be.

But, it was the first time for Pablo to be in a different continent than North America. And! he was amazed by everything, which made him less grumpy at 3 a.m. Ottawa time.

It was around 11 a.m. when we picked up our rental car.
We first went to Belle Epine mall to buy a few bottles of wine & champagne and do some groceries.
We were so determined to drink at least one bottle of good champagne or wine a day while we were in France.

Having picked up a few bottles of wine, we had lunch at Flunch, French fast casual restaurant where we selected food and proceed to a checkout where any items are paid for prior to the consumption. 

Specific hot meals, namely cooked meats, are prepared to order in front of the customer at 'la grille'. Hot vegetable bar was complimentary to the customers who ordered a hot meal.
I had couscous. Everything else was from hot vegetable bar.

This was the first cheese I had in France. (I love cheese!)
It was our first meal in France. We had fun choosing and looking around. I had not been at Flunch for almost 10 years.

Then, we visited [Basilique Saint-Denis] French Royal Necropolis where we could see the burial places of most French kings and queens.
You can see my post about [Basilique Saint-Denis] French Royal Necropolis - The burial place of the French Kings by clicking here.

Then we had a quiet evening with a deli food from Carrefour and a bottle of champagne :) at our hotel room.

Then we had absolutely wonderful two weeks.
If you didn't read my posts yet, you can see how we spent our vacation in France in the posts below:

1) [Auberge Ravoux] Van Gogh's last residence in Auvers-sur-Oise
2) [Basilique Saint-Denis] French Royal Necropolis - The burial place of the French Kings
3) [2012 Maffliers] Kids grow fast... and we age faster...?
4) [Chateau de Chantilly] Le musée Condé - The generosity of a royal prince
5) [Balade gourmande] Brittany by sail: Unforgettable day on a traditional boat in Cancale
6) [Must eat foods in France] You must try these ten inexpensive food in France
7) [Four Representative Architectures in Paris] The most visited edifices in Europe - Part I
8) [Four Representative Architectures in Paris] Notre Dame de Paris - Part II
9) [Four Representative Architectures in Paris Part III] Musee de Louvre or simply Louvre
10) [Opera Garnier] The symbol of Elegance at the centre of Paris
11) [Mont Saint-Michel] Picturesque UNESCO Hertiage site in Normandy
12) [Place des Vosges] A Perfect Symmetrical Square in Paris
13) [Roland Garros] Visiting the glorious French Open venue
15) [Musee Rodin] How to enjoy masterpieces of the great artist, with 1€
16) [Panthéon] The right place to see an evidence of the Rotation of the Earth 

After the fantastic two weeks in France, we had the last night of our vacation at Aloft Montreal, away from home. It was kind of a soft landing instead of coming back home right away. Kids like that, too.

They had  a good night sleep with eye masks they got from the airplane.

In the morning after the breakfast, Mr. D and kids played pool. 

It was the boys' first pool (or pocket billiards) experience. 

They got frustrated, but still enjoyed it. 

I'd like to have a pool table when I'll get  a bigger family room. :)

The final wrap-up of the trip was swimming. 

We went down swimming before we checked out.

These were the capsules of the champagnes we had in France.
(We are champagne capsule collectors)

It was a really fun trip even though 15 days were short. Mr. D and I have reached a consensus on the length of our next vacation in Europe. The next big vacation will be in Italy & France in 2015 for three full weeks.
Hope we can make it. :)

This would be (probably) the last regular post about our Trip France 2012. 

Finale - Trip France 2012


  1. Thanks for sharing wonderful postings about your vacation in France. I had so much fun reading every single one which made me reminisce about my trip to Paris several months ago. It would be a dream to go back anytime soon :(

    Hope you have a nice week.

    1. Hi Julia,
      thanks for having read my travelogue. Hope you liked it. You must have a fond memory of your last trip, too. Your dream and wish will come true, hopefully in a near future! :)