After five days in Paris, we’re off on a train heading south. It’s Easter and the fast train tickets were exorbitant, so we’re on the normal train nosing out through the suburbs of Paris, past little villages and regional towns. Having caught the fast train from Paris to Bordeaux quite a few times, it’s nice to be on a different line and travelling at a speed where everything isn’t whizzing past in a blur. Strange that when you get outside Paris, the countryside is remarkable similar all the way south until you hit the wine country just outside Bordeaux.

We’re all quite happy to sit on the train today as we’ve walked our little legs off in Paris this week. Gabe has been horrified by the filth – bird poo, dog poo, chewing gum, urine – and the noise – traffic, beeping, trains, street sweepers, people and out of tune police cars (his words) – and is very happy to leave Paris for the country. Lucie’s tired face lit up when she saw the Eiffel Tower peeping over a building. Being Easter, there were a gazillion people so we didn’t go up it, but wandered around the area and saw it from different angles. As the photo below shows, sometimes we were very confused about where we were!

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We spent an interesting few hours at the Musée des Art et Métiers looking at all kinds of old telegraphic, photographic and recording machines. I dragged the kids through the crowds in the Galeries Lafayette (one of the original department stores with a coloured glass domed roof) up to the terrace for a view of the roof tops, and again to the top of the Institut du Monde Arabe. I was going to have coffee, but at 6 euro for an espresso, decided to descend to ground level where it’s only 1.50. We stopped at Les Arènes de Lutèce – a roman amphitheatre discovered in the late 19th century, where instead of throwing Christians to the lions, they now play pétanque.

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Around the corner we found the Paris Mosque, standing serenely in its aquamarine and white simplicity. We got a sneak peek at the courtyard garden, but it was closed to visitors, so no more than that.

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Paris is a very different place with children. I’ve only been once with kids – when Gabe was 15 months old – and every time since has a been a little escape from real life and responsibilities. Unlike all those other visits this one has been very subdued – no cocktails, no wine, no fancy dinners, no trying on pretty dresses, or late nights skipping around the city of lights. It seems entirely wrong to report I’ve been in France for 6 days and not had a glass of wine. A glass of Bordeaux this evening is in order!

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