I started questioning my sanity in front of the baggage carousel at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. It was 8:30 a.m., so 2:30 a.m. for us, still on Canadian time. Mark was slumped over his backpack patiently waiting for mine to show up but yawning like crazy—we had only managed to sleep for about four hours during the 6.5-hour-long Montreal-to-Paris flight.
And now, somehow, I had to make him carry his backpack, take the RER B, transfer to subway at Gare du Nord, find the hotel, probably wait to check in because it was early and deliver a nice Paris experience to an eight-year-old kid who spent the past few months under the Ontario stay-at-home order.
Oh, and it was pouring rain, of course.
“Mommy, your backpack…”
Okay, at least one of us was paying attention.
Technically, it wasn’t Mark’s first time in Paris—we spent a few days in the French capital in 2019, but he didn’t seem to remember much. I guess he was only six and it was a pretty short stay, plus we were coming straight from Canada and he was adapting to France.
We made it to the hotel just fine and started the day with coffee, hot chocolate and a grocery trip to the nearest Carrefour. Then he slept for a couple of hours, time for me to go for another grocery trip and organize everything. It didn’t stop raining but we still made it to the Panthéon, then to Les Halles. Much to my relief, Mark was… well, the perfect kid. Responsible, curious, smart, fun to be with. I started to relax. We’d be fine, after all.
The next day was Bastille Day. We didn’t make it to the Eiffel Tower as planned but we found other fun stuff on the way and the fireworks show was great, plus it didn’t rain.
We finally did the grand tour of Paris on the third day. We started in Le Louvre, followed the Seine River all the way to the Eiffel Tower, then we crossed to the Trocadéro, took posh Avenue Kléber to the Arc de Triomphe and walked down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. At night, we went back to Le Louvre, hung out at the Jardin des Tuileries and went to check out the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris and the Quartier Latin.
Yes, we walked. No, Mark didn’t complain. In fact, he seemed to love the experience. I did too, he is turning into a great travel partner.