“Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.” – Paul Theroux
The memories of France for our family is not The Eiffel Tower. There is much to this country than what the Turknoy parents grew up daydreaming about.
We stayed in France for a total of 16 days and nights! That is more than half-month as a tourist! Yes, newbie tourist family for few weeks, it’s like few weeks of being in first year high school. We didn’t know any better.
We spent 8 days in Paris, devoted tourists as we are, very good tourists, enjoying all the famous touristic attractions in the city.
Lots of photos with the Eiffel Tower, explored the peak view of the Eiffel Tower, after spending lots of time queuing, waiting for our turn to climb the peak, went to Louvre Museum and checked out Mona Lisa (twice!), enjoyed the River Seine Tour on a cold, windy day, Open Bus Tour for several days, spent a considerable amount of time at the Arc De Triomphe, climb the stairs of Sacre Coeur Church and enjoyed its religious rituals and magnificent views and was awed with admiration exploring the Palace of Versailles.
Phew, it sounded as jampacked as it is written.
Going out of the City of Love, we enjoyed Nice and the French Riveria, again on cold, rainy days. The feel of elegance and posh French Mediterrean is simply too gorgeous for our cheap travel mode. We enjoyed the very classy places in Cote d’Azur, Paul de Vence, Gourdon, Eze, Antibes and Cannes!
It was all very fantastic and dreamlike, and not to be outshined was our three nights stay in Paris Disneyland Hotel. That meant three days of enjoying Disneyland Paris, including breakfasts and lunches with the Disney princesses and other Disney characters, of course, Mickey Mouse included. That also meant lots of Disney parades, Disney rides and Disney fireworks!
It was indeed a magical holiday with family.
But, there is a big BUT, following that magical holiday statement. It was magical BUT there is a LOT more.
This is our first foreign country to explore together as family and there are a lot of “HOOPS!”, “Ohhh Myyy Godddd” moments.
Our top experiences may not be about France even, but hey… traveling is most of the time, not about the destination. We all know how the cliché goes – it’s about the journey, the memories, the mishaps, the memories!
I believe, when we are old, grumpy and grey and someone mentioned France to us, there will be lots of laughter in our head. It will not be because we walked the red carpet of Cannes with kids, it’ll probably because of our boohoo moments in the country.
Survived with rice cooker and lots of tuna. The first two days of Paris means lots of French bread and authentic French food like escargot (yuumm!) Then our Asian side won over our desire to explore new dishes, the rice cooker and tuna cans to rescue! The smell of tuna in our hotel room every meal, every day will make us vomit to this day. It was a lot cheaper, too. The image of my kids eating tuna straight to tuna cans or straight from the rice cooker while happily chatting away the days activities are simply too good an image to forget. Of course, we highly recommend to bring rice cooker and tuna cans when traveling with kids!
For sure, our Asian readers will understand.
Lost. Everywhere. Missed metro stop. Missed bus stop. Missed boat stop. Missed street sign. Even got lost inside the Louvre museum. A lot of times. We swear, that Mona Lisa painting moved, when we tried to find the painting for the second time. We never ended up where we wanted to be, but most of the time, we ended up having fun. With new eyes and new places, everything is just amazing.
For what it is worth, France is really is one of the most beautiful city in the world.
Got Laid with Audience. Yes, that type of laid. We can’t really pass the chance of staying in France and not sneaking in “romantic” moments. Did you know that hotel rooms in France (and Europe in general) are really small and it’s hard to keep anything a secret when you share with three kids? Oh well, kids will figure out anyways. Better sooner than later. Example. Set an example.
Durex means I Love You and The Kids Enough Not to Want to Have More Kids
Enjoyed Rain and Snow A Lot. The kids enjoyed their first snow moments in France. Slip, fall, tumble, run, one snowball, colds and cough, happiness in snow.
Ahh, the rain! It almost didn’t stop raining when we were in Nice. The park, the beach, the no crowd day. Just us, the crazy Turknoy family with wet feet and warm hearts.
Noisy Kids Reported. We were almost thrown our of our first hotel. Two old European couple complained about the kids being noisy. Uuuggh! Who does that? And we found out the answer, two retired grumpy couple! We were given a warning, luckily, we were supposed to check out day after. We just stayed out of the couple’s way. The kids will always remember how we defended them, and how diplomatic we were (promise, we were, just a little bit sarcastic.)
France is glamorous. Our first family travel in France, glamorous as we wanted it to be, was definitely not.
Fond first memories together for all family members @ ages 37,35,7,4,1.