Once In a Lifetime

We were invited, through my husband’s work, to a once on a lifetime experience while in Paris – a black tie dinner at the Palace of Versailles. This is actually an opportunity that is allowed only four times a year, and only with the approval of the City of Paris. Our extremely fortunate group had the Palace all to ourselves for the evening, free to roam its opulent rooms, gaze upon the perfectly manicured expansive grounds, and to view with awe the beautiful artistic details throughout. The experience in its entirety was not lost on us. It was with extreme gratitude and privilege that we enjoyed this most special evening.

Arrival at the Palace.

20130908-205401.jpg

Greeted by trumpeters, harpist and others dressed on traditional attire from the time of Louis XIV.

20130908-205854.jpg

20130908-205913.jpg

20130908-205928.jpg

20130908-210022.jpg

The Hall of Mirrors

20130908-210320.jpg

20130908-210339.jpg

20130908-210350.jpg

20130908-210410.jpg

20130908-210442.jpg

20130908-210538.jpg

Dinner in the Battles Gallery.

20130908-211020.jpg

20130908-211033.jpg

20130908-211049.jpg

A truly unforgettable experience…

Walkable

Paris truly is one of the most walkable cities. Our hotel is conveniently located in the 9th arrondissement, as well, and we find it incredibly easy to pick an attraction, consult our map, and set off on our way. Today’s destination the Champs-√Člys√©es and the Arc de Triomphe.

20130908-175547.jpg20130908-175602.jpg20130908-175621.jpg20130908-175641.jpg20130908-175651.jpg20130908-175709.jpg20130908-175724.jpg20130908-175754.jpg

20130908-180019.jpg

20130908-180044.jpg

20130908-180101.jpg

20130908-180117.jpg

20130908-180130.jpg

20130908-180157.jpg

Tomb of the unknown soldier.

20130908-180401.jpg

Stairs in the Arc de Triomphe and images from the top within.

20130908-180550.jpg

20130908-180605.jpg

20130908-180619.jpg

Fabulous views from the top. There are 12 streets that emanate from the Arc de Triomphe like spokes on a gigantic wheel.

20130908-181021.jpg

20130908-181116.jpg

20130908-181142.jpg

Soaking It In

After a night flight, we arrive to a beautiful sunny day in Paris. We are big believers in exercise and hydration as a remedy for jet lag. We take to walking the streets to soak it all in, all the while hardly believing that we are there. Together. The two of us.

20130908-174025.jpg

20130908-174042.jpg

20130908-174103.jpg

20130908-174117.jpg

20130908-174132.jpg

20130908-174146.jpg

20130908-174201.jpg

One Boy and One Girl

Long before there were four boys and a girl, there was one boy and one girl. Every once in a while, we take time to get away, the two of us, to remind ourselves that we came first. So after arranging carpools, planning meals, writing a small novel about the boys’ schedules for the week, and Grandma & Grandpa arriving safely for babysitting duty, we were ready for takeoff and on our way to…PARIS!

20130908-171519.jpg

20130908-171615.jpg

Left Right Center

One of our travel essentials is the game Left Right Center. It’s simple and small. I keep it in my bag, and we have played it at dinner tables and airports wherever we go. There are three dice, and on each die is an L for Left, an R for Right, a C for Center, and a black dot for Keep. Everyone starts with three chips, and depending on your roll, you either keep your chips, pass them left, right or put them in the center. The last person to have a chip is the winner. To make the game really interesting, you can play with dollar bills or M&M’s instead of chips. The winner keeps all!

20130810-201822.jpg

Mac n Cheese

Like millions of children, my son loves mac n cheese. A few years ago, he decided that he wanted to try mac n cheese in every new place we visit. So far he’s up to 12 states and three different countries on two continents. We have hanging in our home two large maps, one world map and one U.S. map, on which we place pins in all the places we have been. We now also refer to these maps as places where my son has had mac n cheese.

20130512-211632.jpg

20130512-211647.jpg

20130512-211700.jpg

Nature Walk

Amazing how the simple act of a leisurely walk with my family can bring so much joy. There’s as much beauty in that as there was in the things surrounding us.

20130512-210308.jpg

20130512-210328.jpg

20130512-210339.jpg

20130512-210350.jpg

20130512-210402.jpg

20130512-210414.jpg

20130512-210440.jpg

20130512-210505.jpg

20130512-210521.jpg