Tag Archives: Paris

Paris: The Dove 10

Ten things we enjoyed seeing, doing or trying while visiting Paris (in no particular order)…

1. The Eiffel Tower: yeah, that’s a given. We didn’t go to the top. It would have meant many hours standing in line. But we loved seeing it both in the daytime and at night.
2. Champs Élysées/Arc de Triomphe: great shops, nice cafés, good restaurants, excellent people-watching

3. Pastries – we tried so many yummy things! Pains au chocolat, croissant, crepes, waffles, galette, apple strudel, profiteroles, and more. And the window displays were always impressive.




4. Notre Dame – the church was beautiful on the outside (too crowded to go inside) – and we also enjoyed wandering around the little pedestrian streets, with lots of shops, restaurants and cafés


5. Passage Plantin – if you’ve ever seen The Bourne Identity, you likely remember the scene where Jason & Marie drove through the very narrow corridor, and then down stairs (seen HERE). This is where it happened and it was SO. VERY. NARROW. We always enjoy finding little ‘famous’ spots like this.




6. Orangina – the boys fell in love with this drink (okay, we really liked it, too!)
7. The Louvre – the building itself is art. And if nothing else you should see Mona Lisa. BONUS: kids under 18 are free!

8. Small neighborhoods – we liked exploring areas outside of the main part of the city


9. Sacre Coeur – a beautiful church (the inside was beautiful as well, and didn’t take long to go through despite big crowds) sitting on the highest point in the city








10. Disneyland Park Paris – so much fun! Read more HERE


Paris: an added bonus

We were excited about our trip: because we had never been to Paris, and because we were in need of a bit of down time. But a couple of weeks before we traveled, Zack and I found out that there was going to be something else to look forward to…A family that we’ve become very close with here in Sandefjord was also vacationing in Paris at the same time. It was their Christmas gift to their two daughters, whom our boys adore. We waited until just before traveling to let the boys know (mainly so they didn’t accidentally spoil the surprise for the girls).

We hoped we would have the chance to grab a coffee or share a meal together. What a wonderful treat that we got to spend all day Monday and several hours on Tuesday with each other. It was fun to explore new places together – and to get to practice Norwegian at the same time! What a great way to get to know our friends better.

We will not soon forget our time with our sweet friends: lots of laughs, checking out cool cars on Champs, exploring a Christmas market, crowded trains, pastries, Notre Dame, the tour of coffee shops, and what M&M probably thought was the worst meal of their trip (sorry about the spices – but we love Chipotle!).

We are so thankful for sweet friends!

Arc de Triomphe
Car shop on Champs Elysees
Christmas Market… and a moose?!?!
Notre Dame
This shop sells some interesting things…
look in the back of the window!
Waiting on hot chocolate


She is so good with Daniel
Best Buddies
Sharing dessert on their 19th wedding anniversary
Good friends, good coffee… and always silly

Paris: a tradition continues

It has become a vacation tradition that, if there is one in the city we are visiting, we must locate and visit Hard Rock Cafe.

So on Saturday we included the HRC trek in our day’s adventures. While don’t always eat there, we at least stop by and see it. And the boys like to pick out a pin (a tradition they started after their cousins got them hooked on pin collecting at Disney a couple of years ago).
HRC Paris

We grabbed lunch this time around. It was a nice break from lots of walking. And the boys were excited to add one more guitar pin to their collections!

Just for fun, here are a few of the other HRC locations we’ve visited over the years…

HRC Yankee Stadium – 2011
HRC New York City – 2011
Prague, Czech Republic
Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago – 2009
HRC London – 2011
HRC Berlin – 2011
HRC Nassau Bahamas – 2012
HRC Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
ca. 2003 (who are those two babies in the photo?!?!)
Prague, Czech Republic

Paris: the big Christmas surprise

(WARNING: photo overload at the bottom!)The trip to Paris was our family Christmas gift. The boys knew about it beforehand and were very excited. But we did have one surprise up our sleeve…

On Christmas morning, after all the gifts had been opened, we ‘remembered’ one more gift we hadn’t put under the tree. The boys opened up the box and were excited to find tickets for one day at Disneyland Park in Paris from us.
We had been watching the forecast and it appeared that Sunday would be the best bet for avoiding rain. And it was: it didn’t rain on us all day! (It didn’t rain on the other million people there either. But crowds were a part of this whole trip, so we just rolled with it!)
As a little girl, I loved Disney. I went to the parks in Florida quite a few times. And I hoped to one day visit a Disney outside of America, and visit one of the parks at Christmas. So I guess this was possibly more exciting for me than anyone else!
We had a great time. The park is much smaller than Florida’s Magic Kingdom (MK). We found some thing better at Disneyland Paris (DP), and in a number of cases we prefer MK.Who Wins? Here are a few observations…

  • Big Thunder Mountain: we didn’t get to ride it in Florida with the boys, as it was closed. But they look very similar. Everyone LOVED this ride at DP!
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: the exterior at DP is far superior. It was awesome! Inside, there is a sit-down restaurant that sits beside the beginning of the ride. Very cool! The ride itself was almost identical to the original MK Pirates. They haven’t added Jack Sparrow like Orlando. I think MK’s ride wins, but the overall presentation was better at DP.
  • The Haunted Mansion (MK)/Phantom Manor (DP): again, I think DP wins for exterior presentation. But the ride itself had a much darker/morbid feel. We much prefer the fun and family-friendly MK version!
  • Space Mountain: this is my all-time favorite ride at MK! I have to say that the exterior of this ride is incredible at DP – a step above the original. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to ride it. We had a brokenhearted 8-year-old when he found out he wasn’t tall enough. And we weren’t willing to split up to wait through the 1 hour-plus line. I’ve heard it’s great!
  • Animated Move Rides: Rides like Peter Pan and Snow White looked identical. They have a Pinocchio ride, which was new for us. It was VERY similar to Snow White in design, but cute.
  • It’s a Small World: the outside at DP was better. Otherwise, pretty similar.
  • Star Tours: Orlando wins this one, no contest. DP has the old version that DisneyWorld used back in the nineties. Old, dated, grainy. We stood in line for 2 hours because William is such a Star Wars fanatic and couldn’t wait to ride it. He says he wasn’t disappointed, but without the high-def and 3D of Orlando, it was not the same. Plus for DP: the boys got to meet Darth Vader afterwards!
  • Buzz Lightyear: it seemed a lot like the ride in Florida. But here is what we loved: we didn’t have a fast pass and the line said 70 minutes. Daniel REALLY wanted to ride, so we did. We were in and out in less than 30 minutes! It was a great ride.
It was a great day, despite excessive crowds. We didn’t get to ride everything, but we did cover a lot of ground, and enjoyed two parades plus the lighting of the Christmas tree. While we all agreed we prefer DisneyWorld Orlando, we are glad we took a day to experience Disneyland Park in Paris.
Entering the park (first time I’ve ever had to
bundle up for Disney!)


Sleeping Beauty’s Castle


Everyone enjoyed Thunder Mountain


Phantom Manor


Thunder Mountain and the River Boat


On our way to Pirates


The main entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean


Great exterior at Pirates


Kristy – we took more pics at this ride than any
other, mainly because of you!


Alice had a walkthrough section of the park –
the line was LONG and we chose not to wait


The boys loved their first ride on the Teacups


It’s a Small World – the one ride that always has a quick line in
Orlando – had an excessively large line that we vetoed


Christmas Parade


Toy Story


Daniel’s favorite ride


Space Mountain looked incredible – I’ve read it’s much more
intense than the Florida version


Star Tours – Paris needs to update this ride


A highlight for the boys



Lion King




Waiting for the tree lighting


All the shops had great window displays




Headed back to the city – it was a fun day!

Paris: where we stayed

We don’t require much when it comes to a place to stay on the road. When we travel, we are typically looking for a clean place where we can sleep and shower.

A quick game of cards before breakfast
In the past we’ve often used Priceline when traveling. But we’ve more recently become partial to Airbnb. You can find a place to stay for a good price, in a neighborhood, among the locals and not just a bunch of tourists. We also like that we can rent a whole home/apartment so that we have the bonus of a kitchen. It really saves when you don’t have to go to a restaurant for every meal. We don’t eat in for every meal, but it’s nice to at least start the day without rushing out to find something for breakfast!
The view from our bedroom
(when you lean WAYYYY out the window!)

This time around, we found an apartment in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris. It was old. Like, really old. On the fifth floor. No elevator. Spiral stairs. Squeaky floors. A bathtub that was just the right size… for Daniel. In fact, quite a few things (other than the really high ceilings) were his size!

Everything in the apartment seemed to
be sized for our little man!

But we had a fully stocked kitchen. And it took all of two minutes to walk to the Metro. There was a grocery store about one minute from the front door, as well as a great kebab/doner shop. If you leaned out the bedroom window, you could see the Eiffel Tower. And there was a great view of Sacre Coeur from the kitchen. And Belleville is a very interesting and diverse area!

We highly recommend checking out AirBnB for your next trip.



Paris: Coffee

We’ll start with something Zack and I always love to try in new places. That ever important drink: coffee.

We both enjoy good coffee. I wouldn’t call us coffee snobs. But we are a bit particular and have our opinions! We prefer a quality cup of black coffee, not altered by sugar, cream or anything else.
So what is the verdict on our French coffee experience? I’ll put it this way: more often than not, we ordered a cafe au lait or latte. It wasn’t the strength that bothered us, because we like STRONG coffee. We just weren’t overly impressed with any of it.
I think our favorite cup came from Paul on Champs Elysees. Paul is a chain of shops that is supposedly a favorite of the locals. We liked their cafe au lait, and their pastries were delicious! The boys really liked the pastry filled with chocolate and cream.





It is quite nice to have the ability to travel easily and affordably throughout many parts of Europe. So as our family Christmas gift this year, we took advantage of a great airfare deal and a good find on airbnb.com, and booked a week in Paris.

Over the next few days I will be sharing highlights from our trip, including personal favorites, reviews, and unexpected discoveries.
So stay tuned!