And we are in….. Paris, France

We’re off again…… This time it is Paris where we are meeting our friend CP for a Parisien adventure.

We are staying on a houseboat (Le Nenuphar) moored in the Seine and CP is staying at a perfectly delightful eyrie in the 11th Arrondissement.

For those who wonder how it is we travel as much as we do,  we save up money every week in order to fund these trips.  Some people buy nice cars, or clothing…. we spend our money on travel.  Though we kind of wonder if we are spoiling our kids a bit much.

April 28

Technically not part of the trip, but the epic day of winery work definitely informs the start of the trip.


What lurks at the bottom of a tank of wine….. Acid crystals!

I started transferring and blending around 8am, and finally finished clean-up and got back to the house at around 1am.  Jill had been in and out of the winery all day, multi-tasking as she wrapped up loose ends that needed it before we headed off on the 8am ferry…

I ended up going to bed around 2:30, Jill stayed up until 3:30, slept a little bit, interrupted as Ru moved beds, then got up around 5:30 and got me up and going too.

Which brings us to…

April 29

We finished up the last of the winery stuff and finished packing.  I ran around and undid several of the things Jill had done after I went to sleep, such as a bag with a bottle of Jimmy K left on a door handle, and by putting a package in the car that was supposed to be left at home for later mailing by Mitzi.  Ah well, I claim sleep deprivation.

We made the 8am to Campbell River, then the 10:30am to Vancouver, which got us to the White Spot on Georgia for Lunch with our friend Yong Xu.  Super slow service, we were in there for almost 2 hours.

However, our trip to the aquarium was great, so we had a pretty good time overall.


Finally got to the Hotel at the Airport at 6:00, had a dinner of sushi and kara-age we picked up at Fujiya, and hit the pool for about an hour.  Jill and I are trying to set up a scenario in which the girls sleep on the plane tomorrow.  So we are keeping them up late tonight, and will get them up early tomorrow…  Might be a recipe for disaster, we shall find out in the morning..

April 30/May 1st

We got up early as planned and made our way to our gate.  Check in, security and customs were a breeze.  Our gate was in an area of the airport that I did not realize existed, apparently reserved for small planes flying to US destinations.

The Seattle airport was huge!  It took about 20 minutes to walk to our gate, fortunately all behind security, so no line-ups required.

We found out that our jet lag scheme was going according to plan about 2 minutes after take-off when Ru-chan passed out, apparently the large amount of white noise did her in.  Miwa stayed awake for an hour or two then had a 4 hour sleep.  Ru-chan managed an initial 4 hour sleep as well, but added on another 3 hours at the end of the flight

The line for the border inspection was huge and moved slowly, but all went well once we got through.  We took the RER and Metro in to Paris and arrived at our floating apartment around 11 am.  They were still cleaning after the last guests, so we dropped off our bags and went for a walk through the Jardin des Plantes to the Grand Mosquee where we had a lovely lunch of lamb tagine and mint tea.


What greeted us as we stumbled out of the Metro at the wrong gate….. Oh hello Notre Dame!

Miwa passed out halfway through lunch, and did not wake up well.  There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth for about 15 minutes before she calmed down.  Jet lag is really hard on little kids because they don’t understand why they have to stay awake.


MMMMMM   mint tea….

We finally got back to the peniche (French for houseboat) around 1:30, got a brief tour of the facilities, then all took turns napping until 3:30 or so.  Then we just hung around trying not to sleep until about 9pm.

May 2nd

We all woke up at 2:30,  Miwa came to bed with me, Jill went to bed with Ru-chan.  Everyone else was back to sleep by 3:30, but I tossed and turned until 5, gave up read for a couple hours then made myself a pot of coffee.  Jill and the girls all slept soundly until 8.  Miwa really didn’t want to wake up and was quite upset.

At 10am we met up with our friend CP at Ble Sucre, a famed cafe about a 20 minute walk away.  There was a playground across the road from the cafe, so the adults got to enjoy their Pain au chocolates while the girls ran around and had a good time.


We dodged the ubiquitous dog turds as we walked over to the Marche Aligre, a flea/farmer’s market where we wandered aimlessly for a while.  Jill, Miwa and Carol enjoyed themselves immensely, but I was carrying Ru on my shoulders and couldn’t really look at anything, so I got bored pretty quickly.





Eventually we moved on and found a nice cafe for lunch.  I’m trying to decide if dining out is expensive.  It was 52 Euros for the four of us for a light lunch.  That’s $71, hmmm, yep, that is expensive!  We may just have to buy sandwiches from grocery stores going forward.

After lunch we walked over to C’s place for a tour.  A very small place, but nice enough with some interesting architectural decisions.  The washing machine was jammed in the corner of the kitchen, and due to an adjacent wall, clothes would have to be jammed into a door that can only open 4 inches.  The shower stall could maybe fit someone who was 5’8, way to short for me!  I’m not sure if the spiral staircase and the 2 person elevator that forms the centre of the spiral would count as interesting or hazardous, but i thought they were pretty cool.  Distinctly on the plus side, there is a wine cave less than 30m from her front door.  This supplied us the two bottles of wine that made for a wonderful afternoon in all.


We are doing a bit of research on Cabernet Franc while here, so we had two Chinons, The first, “INSERT NAME HERE”, was a little offensive when we first opened it, so we put it aside to air for a bit.  The second, “Le Clos de la Bonneliere” proved much more approachable.  Both were higher in acidity than we were used to, and definitely were meant to be drunk with a meal, but they went down well enough.

We walked back to the peniche along the Basin d’Arsenal.  Lots of interesting things to see, but Ru saw none of it, having passed out on my shoulders shortly after we left Carol’s.  Jill ended up tying her to my head with a scarf.  It helped, but I was till pretty tired after packing her for a solid hour, on top of packing her for shorter stints for most of the rest of the day.  Ah well, I may loose a bit of weight on this trip after all!


Ru sleeping at the Place de La Bastille.

We had dinner and managed to stay up until 9.

May 3


We slept in until 8:30!  Only Jill and I had a brief wake-up at 2:30.

Our mission for the day was to get out Batobus passes.  The Batobus is a tour bus that goes between the Jardin des plantes and the Tour Eiffel, which gives us access to most of the parts of Paris that we want to see.  Jill bought an annual pass, since we only need to use it 4 days to make it worth while.

In theory, all we needed to do was go to the Musee d’Orsay Batobus ticket booth and pick up our passes.  However, theory and practice took sharply different paths due to an error in the Batobus translation.  In the english instructions it said, “please present a print of this email and ID card”,  The french instructions say, “muni de votre bon d’échange et d’une photo d’identité.”  Google translate, helpfully converts this to, “provided with your voucher and photo ID.”  However, the intent of “Photo d’identité” was for an ID photo, which is the literal/direct translation.

This minor discrepancy turned a simple task into an epic quest.  Now we had to find ID photos.  Unfortunately it was Sunday, and the first (closest) place we went to.  The next closest place happened to be in exactly the opposite direction.

Fortunately, that way led to la Louvre, so we had a lovely walk through the Tuileries grounds and past the buildings.  The shopping centre below la Louvre where the photo booth was was hot and crowded, and we all got kind of frantic.  However, we got all we needed, including a souvenir pocket knife as we needed a pair of scissors to trim the photos to size.  The girls also each got cheesy key chains because we needed change for the photo booth.




Fishing and Notre Dame Cathedral in the background



Stopped for lunch at a cafe because we were soaked!


Love lock bridge near Pont des Arts


Random street in the 7th Arrondissement


More locks, different bridge


One of the fountains at the Tuileries


Feeding the birds…. good racket to be in, tourists love it and all it takes is a bag of bird seed. 2 euros well spent.


Outside the Louvre. Maybe we’ll go in later in the week.


Carousel at the Jardin Des Plantes


Iota, our neighbour

We then had to make our daily pilgrimage to a carousel and get groceries.  By the time all was said and done, we had left at 10am and returned at 5pm.  7 hours to get a set of passes = Epic Quest.

During dinner, and the first bottle of wine, Jill and I realized that we had missed  getting a back-up bottle at the grocery store, and with the sun out, we were going to need that on the roof-top patio once the girls were asleep.

So I ventured out to the nearest grocery store, which was about a 10 minute walk each way (as the closest one that is about 5 minutes away is closed on Sundays), and picked up some wine.  The selection was slim and on the cheap end of the spectrum.

I got the following:

  1. Vin du pays, Aude Rouge 1.90€ (no year specified)
  2. Vin du pays, Du Gard Rouge 2.00€ (no year specified)
  3. 2010 Bordeaux Supérieur, Chateau La Barauderie 3.00€
  4. 2012 Mouton Cadet Bourdeaux 10.99€

While at the counter, some random customer thought my selection quite amusing.  He jabbered at me en français, but it was too fast for me to get much out of other than he thought i should have bordeaux, I held up the Bordeaux Supérieur, and he thought I understood what he was saying, so jabbered some more.  Clearly, I need more practice.  I think I missed out on some good humour there.

I’ve tied into the Vin du pays, Aude Rouge now, and clearly they didn’t waste any money oaking it.  Quite possibly they didn’t waste any money on anything other than sugar and food colouring…

Oh well, it was cheaper than the bottled water.