I had originally planned a fun and simple post about our trip to Paris during the summer of 2014. However, in light of what has happened there in the past few days, I feel I must begin this post a little differently then I first planned.
It was difficult to explain to our 3 children, who are 10, 8 and 6, about the travesties that took place in the "City of Light" this past week.
During the summer, we had taken them on their first European vacation where we spent a few days exploring Paris before we journeyed out to our rental home in Normandy.
They remember Paris as clean and safe and filled with beautiful buildings and happy, joyful people. The news of the shootings at Charlie Hebedo was shocking to them.
Of course, we explained things like this rarely happened in "civilized" cities like Paris.
But lately, it HAS happened a lot.
Even in Canada.
We used to be able to say, "Don't worry kids. It never happens in Canada."
But it did, back in November.
Rosie DiManno, a journalist for the Toronto Star said it best:
"Will it be repeated? Probably, in some manifestation, at some future juncture. As these attacks were preceded by strikes three months ago at a war memorial in Ottawa, a month ago at a chocolate café in Sydney, a fortnight ago at a school in Peshawar. As in London, as in Madrid, as in Bali, as in New York City and Washington D.C. As in, over and over, Kabul and Baghdad."
Scary. But true.
I guess our job as parents is to make sure our children don't live in fear.
And to help them be accepting of all races, religions and creeds so that they can spread love in the world instead of hate.
My heart goes out to all those who lost their lives in Paris and the surrounding countryside.
My heart breaks for the Parisian children and parents who may be afraid to walk their city's streets for awhile.
Now onto the more pleasant part of this post -- photos from our 3 days in Paris, July 2014.
Our rental apartment was in the 17th arrondissement near Sacre Coeur. It was down a lovely cobblestone street and had pretty views out of it's large windows.
(Our youngest son located these labels on the door frames in the main lobby of the apartment building. They also perfectly labeled our three children - Afton, Bryn and Camden!)
Once we had settled into our "home," we ventured down to the River Seine to take a river cruise through the centre of the city.
(Bryn found his favourite lock on one of the bridges across the Seine. We saw so many "faces" looking back at us as we cruised the river.)
After enjoying an inexpensive and delicious traditional Chinese dinner (where the kids ate duck for the first time!) we went to fulfil one of the kids "Paris Bucket List" items:
*See the Eiffel tower lit up and sparkling in the darkness.*
(The view of the Eiffel Tower from the Chinese restaurant. A,B & C fulfil a travel wish!)
We slept REALLY well in the apartment our first night ( jetlag will do that!) and then were up early to see another one of the kids' "Paris Bucket List" items:
*See the gargoyles at the church where the Hunchback of Notre Dame lives."
So, off we went!
(So much beauty and history here. The kids enjoyed imagining about all of the people that have walked the tiled floors here over the centuries.)
(Afton found the stained glass to be the most memorable part for her. The boys listed "lighting a candle for Poppa in heaven" as their favourite part. )
After touring the church, inside and out, we went on a walk around the cathedral, checking out hidden streets and not-so-hidden patisseries!
(These purple tables were outside a cupcake shop that wasn't open yet (darn!), so instead we "settled" for these super-sized meringues and several flavours of macaron at a nearby bakery.)
The final event of our 3 day stay in Paris included dinner out in a simple, yet fine little bistro near our apartment. Some dear friends, whom we had known since our university days, had recently moved to Ireland. They had also recently celebrated their 15th anniversary so they decided to book a weekend away in Paris. Of course, we planned their visit to coincide with ours so that we could reconnect and have a wonderful night out in Paris.
Our dinner lasted for 5 hours as we sipped wine, munched on bread, cheese and olives and then ordered delicious main meals and desserts that were to die for!
Our waiter, Mario, was a hoot and got in on the "fun" quite often during the evening.
Looking back on it now, all four of us list this night out as one of the most amazing of our lives! In fact, because Kevin and I are in Italy during the summer of 2015, we have already planned to meet our friends for a dinner in Rome!
(If you are wondering who was taking care of our kids while we were out- my Mom and my sister were in charge and took the kids up the mountain to see Sacre Coeur and the view of Paris from above!)
I look forward to sharing more photos of our trip to France. After Paris we moved out to our rental home in Normandy and spent two weeks exploring the area and getting a real feel for French culture.
So many adventures, so many pictures!!