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Real Mom’s Travel; Paris Top 5

Paris Top 5; by Real Mom…Megan Jones

Our Real Mom; Megan Jones was in Paris for 30 days with her kids, friends and their kids and for the last week; their husbands.  Megan also has a very smart, talented 13 year old daughter; Gabby.  She had a different list of favorites from Paris.  Below we have both.  Megan’s Top 5 & Gabby’s Top 5.  We love them both!!

Megan’s Top 5; Paris

It is so hard to narrow down 30 days of magical moments into a top 5. I could do a Top 5 on food of Paris, streets of Paris to get lost on, and on and on…so here goes;

1.Bastille Day

Nothing like a giant firework show with live music at one of the most famous landmarks in the world. The Parisians take pride in the pageantry of Bastille Day all over the city and all the museums are free that day to boot. If you are planning to go in the summer, plan your trip around the celebrations on this day.

2.Versailles Bike Tour

Versailles is more than just the big over-the-top palace. It is hundreds of acres of pristine gardens that is open to the public. Blue Fox travel was great—the tour guides made the history of the place come alive to kids and adults alike. We stopped to buy food at local market and picnicked near Marie Antoinette’s summer home. The bike tour also includes skip the line passes to the palace, which in the summer, is worth every penny.

3. Monet Comes To Life

I love art and art history, but I knew packing in a lot of traditional museum visits would be a snooze fest for the kids. So we packed in a treasure hunt in the Louvre with a stellar group called THATMuse  (which would be #6 on my list but I’m sneaking in a reference to it here) and science and military museums that had more hands on exhibits. But with Monet, Monet who is everywhere in France, who embodies the romance of art, I decided I wanted my kids to really feel it. To accomplish that goal, we took the kids to Giverny, Monet’s village home 45 minutes outside of Paris. From the little train station in Vernon, we rode bikes to Giverny and toured Monet’s home and the gardens he built that served as his inspiration for many of his famous landscapes, including the water lilies. The gardens are a spiritual experience for anyone who loves art.

That same week, we then took the kids to the L’Orangerie Museum in Paris. The L’Orangerie houses very large 22 foot long panels of Monet’s water lily paintings and it is an exhibit that Monet designed in his 80’s to showcase some of his largest works of art. It is again, a place where you are enveloped by the spirit of the art. I could tell the kids got it—you know when you can see their brain clicking—this was one of those moments where you feel like you did something right as a parent trying to fit it all in a big trip like this. They went on an artist’s journey—seeing the artist’s home, his inspiration, and then the final product.
I recommend getting the first train out of Paris to Vernon as Giverny fills up pretty quickly in the afternoon. I also recommend L’Orangerie on a light filled day because the rooms are filled with beautiful skylights that change the lighting on the paintings.

4.Coldplay Concert

First, let me say at the outset, I’m not some Coldplay groupie. We added it to the itinerary because we got a good deal on Coldplay tickets and thought it would be fun to go to a big arena concert with 80,000 of our closest Parisian friends. It is hard to describe, but it was beyond fun—it was truly a glimpse into how Europeans live in the moment and time kind of stood still. We also realized that we have far more in common with our world wide neighbors than we have differences—music tends to do that. It was the best concert I’ve ever been to because of the concertgoers themselves. Everyone really got into it a festival before the concert and parties after the concert ended outside the arena until the wee hours of the morning. No one was in a rush to go back to their phones or to-do lists. It was a time where I felt like everyone was totally living in the moment. If there are concerts on tour on your trips abroad, do it!

5. Ballet Performance at the Paris Opera

The Opera House is Paris boasting its finest wares. The building is the inspiration for the Phantom of the Opera and boy is it over the top gorgeous. The ballet we saw, La Sylphide, was beautiful. From the costumes, to the sets and star performances, everything was C’est Magnifique. You can do a tour of the Opera house, but I recommend you do more than visit it, take the $ plunge and stick around for a once in a lifetime performance.

To read the rest of Megan’s experience in Europe click here.

Gabby’s Top 5; Paris

1.Monet’s Gardens with the bike tour (follow directions)

All 12 of us got lost on the way to Monet’s house so hoping that the little shop that rents the bikes gives better directions by the time you go visit.  But it was fun and the gardens were really pretty.  

2.Eiffel Tower in the pouring rain

We had a scheduled tour to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower at sunset, but it happened to rain that night and not just a little rain, buckets of rain.  It rained so hard we couldn’t see.  I think all the kids cried at some point during the tour, but looking at the pictures and talking about it after the trip, it’s one of our favorite memories.  

3.Bastille Day firework

Like my mom said—best fireworks show ever!

4. Disneyland Paris

Enough said.  Smaller than the original, but still fun.

5. Celine Dion Concert

Like my mom said, a concert is a unique thing in another country.  Celine sang all her songs in French and we couldn’t understand it at all but we loved it.  

Thanks Megan and Gabby!!! We can’t wait to share your London Top 5’s next!!!

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