I just got back to Melbourne last week after spending a month in Europe with my husband and 2 little men.
As I’ve mentioned before, travel is SUCH a big part of our life as a family and this trip was the first of what we hope to be an annual thing for us.
With the boys still being pretty tiny (4 and 2) I had people asking if we were MAD for planning such a big trip with them but the adventure was so exciting to me.
Here’s what we got up to:
Flights: We flew with Emirates from Melbourne to Paris, via Dubai. I’ve flown with them so many times now and they still are number 1 in my book. Great food, amazing customer service, comfortable seats, no scratchy blankets and more entertainment that you could ever possibly watch!
Transfer: The week before we left, I decided to upgrade and book a private car to collect us at the airport and take us right to the door of our apartment. After 24hrs of travel with 2 hungry boys it was perfect. I’m all for catching public transport and doing the ‘local’ thing but THIS is not prime adventure time!
Accommodation: we booked our apartment through Airbnb. I’d spent some time researching before we went and managed to find this little gem! Even before we had the boys, we always preferred to stay in this kind of accommodation rather than a hotel. I love that you have your own little slice of the city. A locals perspective.
Christine and Pascal who owned the apartment lived right next door and where there to greet us when we arrived. They were so lovely with fresh crepes on the table and a folder full of info on getting around, what to do and see, local shops, cafes and parks.
The location was perfect – a quieter area with a metro station (Jussieu) nearby. There was also a cafe on the corner for our morning cafe au lait, a supermarket across the road and a play park for the boys just 5 minutes walk.
We knew Paris was going to be full on. With a city that offers so much to see and do, plus catching up with my BFF who was flying in from Scotland to join us for the week, on top of the inevitable jetlag and the first few ‘settling in’ days that you get at the start of any holiday, we knew we had to plan our time carefully to make the most of our time in the city of lights.
So we wrote our must do list: Eiffel Tower | Notre Dame | picnic in the park | Vari + Steven date night | ice cream by the Seine | add our love locks to the Pont des Arts bridge | Vari + Soreya girls night.
Day 1 – get a taste for our neighbourhood.
Observation: it’s hard to get a take away coffee in Paris. Because people don’t seem to have anywhere else to be. If they are having a coffee, they take the 10 minutes it takes to sit down and enjoy their caffeine fix from a real and not paper cup while they read the newspaper or just observe the world going by.
Walking around Le Jardine des Plantes on a sunny spring afternoon is my idea of heaven. It’s perfect for people watching. Couples kissing, girlfriends reading as the lie on the grass with their boyfriends, friends sitting in circles with a few bottles of wine and cheese singing along to their friend with the guitar, kids chasing each other and practicing their handstands, couples in their 70′s smiling and holding hands. Runners, dog walkers, writers, musicians, thinkers.
Observation: there’s no sense of urgency. No air tight schedule of 10 things they have to do today. The day consists of simply… going to the park. There’s a palpable feeling of presence. People selfishly, without guilt, taking time to just be. Whether it’s with loved ones or on their own. No clock watching for running late. Just happiness and contentment with what’s unfolding right now.
Saturday night was girls night with delicious food and cocktails at Le Schmuck.
Sunday was our biggest day. Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and date night for me and Steven.
We had planned on going for a romantic dinner and some drinks but what we ended up doing was having one glass of wine and a compulsory creme brulee here then wandered the streets for the next 3 hours. I think Paris is one of the few cities in the world you can do this.
Monday we spent the day at Disneyland Paris. With 2 little ones, we felt like we had to pay a visit to Mickey’s European residence. In all honesty, it was an overwhelming day for them. There were parts that they really enjoyed but overall it didn’t really hit the mark.
It’s in their confidence.
Whether in a pair of jeans and a t shirt or a dress and heels, their air of confidence is captivating. It made me wonder, what are these women taught as girls to foster such self assurance?
ST RAPHAEL, COTE D’AZURE
We wanted to escape the fast pace of the city and have some real downtime here. And it delivered. Perfect weather, great food, amazing pools and lots of activities for the boys.
I had so many flashbacks to family holidays I had in Portugal with my family when I was younger and loved that the boys got to experience this.
We stayed at La Baume holiday park with Eurocamp. Our cabin was awesome with all the facilities you needed.
The whole town had such a feeling of luxury and affluence. And with a vintage market on that afternoon, I was in heaven! I would have loved to have been here back in Coco Chanel’s day! From the private yachts to the exclusive shops and restaurants, you can feel the wealth of the place.
We wrapped up the France part of our trip with a tearful airport farewell to Soreya in Nice then it was lunch in Monte Carlo, a drive around the Formula 1 track for Steven, before heading on to Lake Garda for the next 5 days.
The architecture of Paris is like no other city I’ve experienced. Thousands of tiny little homes within grand smiling buildings where there are thousands of stories being told. Then the bustling glamourous beached of the south where people come to celebrate and relax in the gorgeous sunshine.
It’s somewhere I know I’ll return time and time again.
Just a few years ago, I could not have imagined being able to take a trip like this. Working 40 hrs a week in my business for as little as $500/mth, I didn’t even think that trips like this were a possibility.
I feel so blessed to be able to take this time off and go on this kind of adventure with my family.
If you are a freelancer and dream of this kind of lifestyle, I’d love to chat with you.
I’ve got a limited number of spots open in my mentoring program, The Rise of the FREEdomLANCER, for freelancers who want to make for money with more freedom and no burnout.