The surprise of the Summer for me was exactly how much I fell completely in love with Paris. Primarily, I really wanted to take the children and show them the sights, but during our whistlestop bus tour of the city I also found myself gazing at the stunning architecture just completely in awe.
It is breathtakingly beautiful, descriptions and pictures just do not do it justice. I wanted to stay and spend hours wandering the streets and soaking in the atmosphere and history, but a few hours was all we had so we made the most of it by hopping on a Big Bus Tour (which is all L would have tolerated anyway, as it was he got a bit anxious half way through the tour & he never would have managed all the walking) and enjoying a guided tour of the main city sights, which cost €147.60 for 4 adults & 3 children (4-12).
We hopped on the Metro (approx €28) and travelled from our hotel just on the outskirts of Paris into the centre for our city tour. I'm not a massive fan of the underground (understatement), but I have to say I found the Metro a lot less traumatic than the Tube for which I was very grateful.
Starting at the Eiffel Tower and Champ de Mars, we were driven around the city on our open-top bus in the sunshine. We marvelled over the Notre Dame cathedral, L'Hôtel des Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, Grand Palais, La Madeleine, Place de la Concorde, the Louvre and the Jardin des Tuileries, Musee d'Orsay, and the Palais Garnier, we travelled down the Champs-Elysées and walked across bridges over the Seine.
It. Was. Amazing.
We were all very much looking forward to a lovely week in the villa, and we had a wonderful time during our week away, but Paris was absolutely the highlight of our trip for me and I am so happy that we were able to take the children there. Now that they are older we can do more 'grown up' things as well as the usual family days out to theme parks & zoos.
Taking them on a city tour to see and learn about architecture and history was not only fun but important from an educational aspect, too - something I think banning holidays in term time will negatively impact. Breaks in the school holidays are massively overpriced and will prevent people from being able to share these experiences with their kids. We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel this Summer, only made possible by a certain chap's exceptional organisational skills, and had it not been for him we'd have most likely been spending the Summer holidaying at home and would have missed out on such an amazing holiday and learning opportunity.
Our visit to Paris has given me the city tour bug, I want to take the children to visit as many cities as I can. We're planning a bus tour of London next, we have visited many times but I've never actually shown the children the sights so hopefully they will enjoy it almost as much as we enjoyed Paris - to be honest I don't think I'll ever love anywhere else as much as I love gay Paree!
These are just a small selection of our holiday snaps from Paris, if you'd like to see more check out the hashtag #Eurosheps on Instagram.