Monday, August 25, 2008

Day 1: The best picture of the Eiffel tower EVER!

Oh Paris.

Paris is everything I imagined it would be. And more. I have been fortunate enough to travel the world some and have to agree that Paris, truly is, one of the most beautiful places in the world. We saw Paris by foot and by ambulance.

We arrived in Paris at the crack of dawn and instead of resting the kids were all like, "We want to see the Eiffel tower" and "Mama, where is the Eiffel tower?" and "Are we at the Eiffel tower yet?" and "I don't seeeeeeeeee the Eiffel tower" and "I really WANT to see the Eiffel tower, now!"

So guess what we did first? Before resting. Before breakfast.

We set out to see the Eiffel tower. Without a map of Paris, by foot, that is.

On the train, into the city, we borrowed someone's map which helped us decide where the closest stop was to the Eiffel tower. "Should we buy a map?" I asked my husband. "No. We should be able to see the Eiffel tower and we can walk toward it."

Sounded okay to me, the sleep deprived mother of three, after an overnight flight across an ocean. The Eiffel tower IS rather large and we CAN follow it and everyone KNOWS the best way to explore a new city is by foot. And. I reeeeeeeaaaaalllly want an awesome picture of us in front of the Eiffel tower. How classy would that picture look on the wall of my house?

On our mapless walk through the narrow and uneven cobblestone labyrinths of streets we unexpectedly stumbled across many quintessential French icons.

Jay taking a rest in front of the Lourve. The poor guy allowed his sisters to ride in their strollers while he kept up with us on foot.


The place where the train stopped and we got out. Still don't know what church it is. Anyone? Anyone? It was not Notre Dame. That was the next stop. I would love to know just how far THIS place was from the Eiffel tower.


Finally stopping for a breakfast baguette. When in Paris, eat at Paul's. Paul's was like the French equivalant of Panera. Delicious. The husband and I took turns sitting and eating while the kids chased the pigeons with their freshly baked pretzels.


Lola's first glance of the Eiffel tower from a FAR distance and yet another 1.5 hours of walking ahead of us. At this point, just seeing the Eiffel tower, gave all of us the extra endurance we needed for the last leg of the walk. And I still WANTED that picture of us in front of it.



Still walking toward the Eiffel tower. It is not true. You CAN NOT see the Eiffel tower from every point and the streets do not run parallel and you WILL walk around in circles before noticing you are back where you started and then you become pissed that NO ONE in Paris speaks English. You become so angry that you almost want to forget about ever seeing the Eiffel tower.


Yes. This is us back again at the church with no name. Yes. We made a big huge circle and came back to where we started. Yes, I know... we should have purchased a map at THIS point. But. We. Were. So very tired.


By now, Fifi had woken up from her stroller nap and was screaming to be released. At this point, it was nearly lunch and the Eiffel tower was no where in sight. "Do you want to stop for lunch?" My husband asked me, "No. I just WANT to get to the flipping Eiffel tower already." We released the wild Fifi and allowed her to chase some more pigeons before continuing forward. Not even the pigeons in Paris speak English. Apparently no one does.


We finally found a business man and stopped him for directions while the kids played in a manicured topiary maze. "Do you speak English? I asked him. "Oui, yes I do." Finally, I smiled. "How do we get to the Eiffel tower?" He looked at us and smirked, "Are you really walking there?"

By the time we FINALLY reached the Eiffel tower by foot, at 2pm in the afternoon, every single person in our family needed to use the restroom. We tried to find an English speaking person for directions to the Eiffel tower's restrooms.

The Eiffel tower is a busy place. It is a VERY busy place in the middle of the afternoon and the ONE bathroom facility is even a busier place.

After we did what we needed to do, I rounded up the gang to do what I wanted to do. I wanted THAT picture. As we walked away from restrooms, Jay tripped and fell and howled in the gravel walkway.

I scooped him up and surveyed the damage. Clean knees, a tiny scratch on his elbow, some pebbles in his mouth, and a bloody forehead.

Shit. Excuse my French.

I looked around and screamed out my husband's name. A woman, a mom, whom spoke no English, rushed over to me with a fist full of tissues. I held Jay in my arms while sitting in the gravel. I soaked up some blood with the tissues and surveyed the damage again. It was a rather deep wound, an uneven wound, a wound where I could see some of the white fat tissue squeezing out.

Shit. So sorry.

I screamed out my husband's name again. The woman, who spoke no English, found security. I saw my husband and security approaching me and I tried not to look at Jay's wound because I could not let my children see that I WAS FREAKING OUT inside. I was not only on the verge of tears I was about to vomit from tiredness, from hunger, from the sheer ugliness of the wound.

Security whisked us away to a secret door that led to the basement of the Eiffel tower. The main command station where the French army men with very huge and very real machine guns hang out protecting Paris's most famous icon.

Not every six year old boy has a picture in the command station underneath of the Eiffel tower. Jay was not happy when he learned that we were waiting for the ambulance to take us to the "Hopital Necker Enfants Malades" on rue de Sevres street in Paris for stitches.

I totally FINALLY got THAT picture of one of us in front of the Eiffel tower. Jay in his sister's stroller with an ice cream cone and wrapped head wasn't the picture I envisioned hanging on the walls of my house. But it will do.

The ride to the hospital was rather uneventful because Jay was calm and it was a free ride through the city. It was no double Decker tourist ride. But it was a ride through some of Paris's most famous places. GAH! I saw that church again. The one we saw twice on our walk.

Jay was so awesome and did not shed a tear while getting two stitches. "We give him some gas, yes? Oui, oui? He will like the gas. He will like it, yes, yes?" The doctors informed me. I don't know what gas he got, but the kid was relaxed. He was very relaxed. And he was very proud.

Today, at our local grocery store in Cleveland, Jay stopped the lady filling the olive cart. "I got stitches, see? Right here." He pointed to his forehead. "I tripped at the Eiffel tower and fell and sliced my forehead right open." He proudly explained. "Wow. You fell at the Eiffel tower, in Paris? What were you doing at the Eiffel tower?" She asked. "We were getting ice cream." Jay smiled.

The kid is so proud of his war wound he won't let me hydrate it to prevent from scarring. "I want a scar, Mama." He begs. "You have one of the best stitches stories ever, Jay." I admit. "I know, Mama. Better then yours or Daddys." He exclaims with a smile.

"BUT. But, when I was two, I got THREE stitches. That is one more then you got, Jay." Lola interrupts.

++++++++

Just got an email from a reader, "I am certain the church is indeed Saint Eustache... Here's some supporting evidence in case you are interested...

Per Google, you were 4.8 km from the Eiffel tower, or 1 hour and 8 minutes walking distance (though I'm sure that doesn't account for 3 little ones!)."

Thanks Kristen for the heads up. It took us just over four hours to walk those 4.8 km. Counting the circles we made... how many true kms did we walk that day. Any math teachers out there??

82classy comments:

Mr Lady said...

I knew I should have climbed in your suitcase. It sounds AWESOME.

PsychMamma said...

Oh my! Great story and great pictures. I SOOOO wish I was there! Very glad that Jay's accident wasn't more serious and that you are all smiling about it already. That's what memories are made of. Especially the best ones.

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

You know he'll always remember that story, right? Glad you sorta got a picture.

A Mom Two Boys said...

Great way to start your trip!

When I was little I was whisked, in a similar fashion, into the bowels of our Nation's Capital Building. Seven stitches and a great story later, I survived. And have the scar to prove it!

Have a GREAT remaining time!

carrie said...

Just seeing those kids in Paris is such a treat . . . even though Jay had a mishap - good to get the (hopefully) one injury out of the way in the beginning so you could enjoy the rest of your European vacation!

And Fifi and those pigeons . . . oof! :)

Naomi said...

the best part of this?

"We were getting ice cream." Jay smiled."

Life ... through the eyes of a kidlet. So precious!

Great story-telling.... and great memories!

VDog said...

I thought you were going to POLAND!! You didn't tell me you were going to FRANCE!! My husband is FROM FRANCE!

*merde* I woulda given you the scoop, sistah! *like TAKE THE METRO to the Eiffel Tower!* LOL

GREAT pictures. As usual. Sounds fab, can't wait to hear the rest.

A Whole Lot of Nothing said...

That's a story that will be told over and over and over!

Beauti picks

beth said...

These pictures make me want to pack my kids up and take them to Paris immediately *le sigh* Little fifi chasing pigeons and the brasserie- all so perfect.

And I have been to Paris several times, but I have no idea which Abbey that is. So much amazing architecture...

Can't wait to see Poland!

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

As soon as I saw that church again....I immediately thought of "European Vac.ation" Big Ben....Parliament.....too funny!!

What a fall....poor Jay and poor you! Whenever we travel especially if it is out of the country....I always worry about someone getting hurt or needing serious medical attention!

Can't wait to see and hear more about your trip!

The pictures are beautiful!

Lisa

Immoral Matriarch said...

Sorry he fell down, but I'm glad you were able to get some variation of the photo you wanted. :)

Elaine A. said...

Seems like that was the hard way to see the inner workings of the Eiffel Tower, but hey you do what you gotta do, right? ; )

It's certainly a good tale to tell that's for sure!

Kirsten said...

What a memorable way to start your trip! Loved the photos... they bring back many happy memories of visiting Paris (pre kids, can't imagine doing it now!) and gave me a good challenge... I think the church is Saint Eustache across from the Les Halles train station. Looking forward to hearing more...

MommyTime said...

It's a great story! He should be proud. I took an accidental flying leap and splatted on the ground in the Vatican City, and got whisked to a Roman hospital over cobblestone streets in an ambulance to be sure that all was fine with the baby I was carrying. It was not only fine; I got to hear his heartbeat for the first time. Injuries on foreign trips ALWAYS make for great memories! :)

Mishelle Lane said...

Best. Story. Evah.

I look forward to the rest of the trip through your words and your photos.

Can't wait. Vit, vit!

Zoeyjane said...

Ah merde! C'est une vie folle que vous menez.

BookMomma said...

Whoa - welcome home!

That is hands down the best Paris story I've ever heard. That will be a story that will melt some girl's heart some day when he's in college... :) A TOTAL chick magnet scar story.

Looking forward to seeing photos and hearing the other tales of your trip!

Jolyn said...

Hmmm...flying buttressess, oui, oui? Sorry, dunno the name.

THAT EIFFEL PHOTO IS AWESOME!!!!!!
THIS STORY IS AWESOME!!!!
(The photo of Fifi, chasing pigeons in front of that awesome door: priceless.)

Eve Grey said...

That is a great story. One to tell the grand-kids and great grand-kids!

lattemommy said...

Priceless. Classy chaos, indeed, Paris-style. :)

Miss said...

That is just so freakin cool. I mean, in the end and all.

krissy said...

Only you could make a story that involved the word shit, bloody, fat tissue and machine guns look so classy!!

That laughing gas sounds delightful. Only because my 10yr old daughter can't get a flu shot without some screaming, chasing her around the table and alligator tears. Especially when she says "that wasn't so bad" after a 20 minute drama session. Grrr.

I cannot wait until the next post. And the picture of you and your grandmother!! I'll be looking forward to it.

Jenelle said...

You had me crackin up at, "Shit. Excuse my French." Too funny!

Your boy has a great story to tell. You didn't have to have a kid fall down to get a ride though...I'm sure you could have gotten a taxi. JK :)

The Girls' Moma said...

Not buying a map is SO something I would do. Glad you finally got the picture... what a great story, too!

the dragonfly said...

Oh my...what a day you had! And you will never forget it. :)

Kash said...

That is the cutest story EVER!

Megryansmom said...

I've never been to Paris, maybe someday. But thanks to you, I feel like I was right there..... without a map.

Crystal D said...

ooh la la, stitches from Paris! (this was typed with my best French accent).
I really love the pictures. It sounds like that walk could have burned off every calorie you ate in Paris.
I love that Jay is looking forward to his scar. Priceless.
Welcome home friend!

Tracey said...

Ok, I'm not laughing at you, because that's just mean, but honey! You certainly have a way to make a day being lost in a foreign city with 3 kids and then an ambulance ride for your kid into a lovely read.

So glad he's ok. And that is a COOL scar story!

enthalpymama said...

La ouch. Um, Le ouch?

Mandy said...

Poor Jay, but the story of the scar will be a great one for him to tell. :)

I dare you to use that picture for "the picture" up on your wall.

That would definitely be a conversation piece huh? Ha-ha!!

Sounds like you all had a very exciting, and exhausting trip. You will need staycation to be able to rest from your vacation.

Thanks for sharing. These pictures are awesome.

Jessica said...

Welcome Back! Possibly Sainte-Chapelle.

Kelly said...

Wow, now THAT'S a story!! I'm so glad you finally made it to the Eiffel Tower even though it resulted in stitches.

I'm now dying to hear the rest of the story~~

Indy said...

Jay showed me the stitches on Saturday and said "one more than Lola." Cracked me up to read it here too. I too love that the reason he was there was to get ice cream.

Shannon said...

That picture in front of the Eiffel tower is precious - I would hang it up in your house if I were you! You'll always remember the adventure you had that day :-) The pics are all gorgeous, and Paris is just so stunning. I'm so glad you all had a wonderful time!

Domestic Extraordinaire said...

Better than an awesome family shot in front of the Eiffel Tower. You have a cool shot with a great story that I am sure 2 out of your 3 kids will remember always!!

Welcome home!!

mommynotes said...

Great story and pictures. I am sorry that Jay had to get stitches but at least you got a ride and it was free.

I've always wanted to go to Paris. One day!

DYSFUNCTIONAL MOM said...

I have to admit, that truly is an awesome scar story to tell. Sounds like quite an adventure!

Stephanie said...

Oh poor Jay! You do seem to make the most of interesting stories - I'll give you that! And you did get your picture. Sort of :)

Glad you guys had a great time! I love the girls' matching dresses :)

April said...

Ooh poor Jay! Despite his horrible boo-boo all the pictures are beautiful!

just jamie said...

That IS the best picture ever, or certainly the best story.

Check out a Blog Friend's shot of that purdy tower here:

http://www.aarynbelfer.com/2008/07/smattering-day-seven.html

(Either way, SOMEthing has to go on your wall at home.)

Allison Says said...

Even if it wasn't quite the picture you WANTED, it's pretty great. Poor Jay! And hilarious Lola.

Sounds like quite an adventure!

Jo said...

Best eiffel tower story ever! Hands down!

hugs
jo

Tiaras & Tantrums said...

OH, my, you poor dears! THAT will be the story to remember FOR-EVER! You poor little man! And he's so proud - simply enduring!!!
Fantastic trip??

Don Mills Diva said...

Those pictures are spectacular! It sounds like a great time but I need a nap I'm so tired JUST from reading about it!

Ashley said...

Wow you did great! I would've totally been freaking out!!

LceeL said...

Ah yes, the land where Oui Oui does NOT mean pee pee. So good to have you home and so glad that the story is SO GOOD. There is nothing like being lost in a city where no one speaks (or wants to speak) English. You and yours are real troupers.

Well done. And welcome home.

Texan Mama @ WhoPutMeInCharge said...

Great story! And hooray to you for holding your shit (sorry) together. I would never have made it. In times of chaos, I crumble and Texan Papa is my rock.

Tiffany said...

Oh, I love PARIS! It is crazy how close things seem and then you walk and walk and walk! So great to see it through the eyes of your kids - they enjoy the simple things like chasing birds - I love it!

Clare said...

OhMommy, what a great post and story!!! you are too funny, and Jay should be proud. the best stiches story ever:) glad you are all home safely!!

crunchiemummy said...

Memories! That's a story he'll be tellng his grandkids! LOL

Rachel said...

Poor Jay.

I'm glad he's doing well, he is such a boy! Love all the pictures and that just makes the whole Eiffel Tower story that much better and more memorable.

Love that y'all were just there for the ice cream ;-)

MISSED YOU!!

Nan Patience said...

Oh how funny! (sorry)

LaskiGal said...

He is going to have the best stories . . .

"So, let me tell you about the day I got this scar . . . "

The best stories . . .

Kathryn said...

Wow. I can not believe you walked from the Lourve to the Eiffel Tower. It is pretty far if I remember correctly. Yikes.

Still. It really did make for a fabulous story!!! :)

April said...

The best Paris/Eiffel Tower story EVER, too!

Lisa said...

Seriously - you can't make that stuff up. I'm sorry you never got your beautiful picture, but what a story you received instead.

PLUS - Great reason to go back to Paris, right?

Belle said...

Y'all were braver than we were...our kids were 8 and 12. No trips to the ER thank goodness but we have pictures with some of the exact same backgrounds. Glad the boo boo wasn't any worse and that you are home safe and sound. Looking forward to more pictures later.

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

It appears that he'll 'always have Paris' on his forehead ;)

I'd love to take the kids overseas but then I remember we'd have to travel over the sea...

Grey Street said...

Can I just say I LOVE your photos. You always take the best pics. The colors are fabulous and they always come out so sharp! :)

Great job and great story too! :)

Flea said...

"Wow. You fell at the Eiffel tower, in Paris? What were you doing at the Eiffel tower?" She asked. "We were getting ice cream." Jay smiled.

I LAUGHED OUT LOUD when I read this.

What a great story! Tell Jay that scars are like tattoos, but with better stories. Congratulations to him!

kittyconcerto.com said...

Jay is going to love his scar and it might be his little trick to charming the ladies.... "hey want to know how I got this scar? Paris baby"

Aaryn said...

My beret is off to you for doing this trip with kids! We didn't have it in us to do it with just one. And what a fantastic story to have for later. Me thinks you must run out and purchase Ludwig Behmelman's "Madeline" if you don't already have it.

Great pics.
Hope the rest of your trip---before and after Jay's trip---was fabulous!

Marcy - The Glamorous Life! said...

I so totally admire your BRAVERY to take small kids all over Europe. Again So BRAVE. And wonderful photos and memories!

Karen said...

I'm so sorry about the gash, the stitches, the ambulance ride, and the ruined photo of the Eiffel Tower. But THAT is one awesome story to tell through the generations. And Jay has the best souvenir of it ever.

Jenera said...

Good gravy! I'm surprised you all made it alive back to the hotel. You must have some great kids!

ww said...

Hi, I'm also a SAHM from the Midwest and love your blog! Your writing style and skills along with your great journalistic photo taking skills (and beautiful subjects) make your blog one of the best! Have you considered publishing excerpts from your blog into a book? It would be a best seller! Love the Eiffel Tower post - glad your son has recovered from the accident! Wendy

calista said...

Awesome story. Makes me want to book a flight. Brave too, making the trip with your little ones!! Thanks for sharing.

Smart A$$ Mom said...

After 5 years of French, I seize up under pressure and can only mutter "vous voir plus tard"(see you later). Now when you need something said in Spanish or minimal Greek I can rattle it all in French....go figure.

Karen MEG said...

Well that's an impressive badge of honour that Jay is sporting on his forehead LOL!

Everytime I go to Paris, I say to myself it's a great place to take kids; must do.

Now I'm even more sure of it!

The Daily Stroll said...

What a great trip even if it did involve a trip to the Paris Hospital. That is what makes for great memories and even better story telling when Jay is older! Glad you guys had so much fun. Now I'm trying to think if my family can squeeze in another Eurpoean vacation before Baby#2 arrives!

Kim said...

What a GREAT story.. holy cow.. and the pics to prove it all!!!

So jealous of the beautiful shots you got.

JIC- Kimmylyn

3 Peanuts said...

What a fabulous adventure for your family! Love the stories and the photos:)

Amy said...

Okay seriously, it sucks for Jay, but what an awesome experience!!
So jealous of you, your kids. Will you please adopt me so I can go next time?

Rhea said...

Well, you sure know how to do Paris right! lol I didn't know there was a command center below the Eiffel Tower. VERY cool.

What a unique French experience!

Rhea said...

BTW, god bless pigeons. They keep children occupied everywhere!

Marie around the World said...

Great post...as always !
This is the most exciting and special visit of Paris I ever read about ! I am sure each member of the OHMommy family will remember it forever !
Next time, you come to Paris, come to Lille (where I live)for a few days. Then, take the train under the Channel to make a visit to London, you'll be there in no time (1h30 or so) !!

Jenni said...

Wow, what a story! One day, we'll make it to Paris...

Marmarbug said...

Oh my goodness!!! What a trip you all had! And what a story! Reading it made me tired and the stiches? Well that is life when we have kids right?
Neat pic at the end!

Kari said...

What a story! I am so envious of your world travels. I, alas, have never even left the continental US. I have SEEEN Canada...I was actually just afew yards from it. But, that's it. I cannot wait for one day to have an international story like this one. Except for the part about one of my kids having to get stitches. I can imagine how that must have hurt. I love the fact that he was bragging about it after the fact. "yeah, I may have TRIPPED...but I tripped at the Eiffel Tower!!!"

Elisa said...

Oh, wow, that was an eventful walk to the Eiffel Tower!

Can you believe I have never been to Paris? Sometimes to look forward to, after we move back to Switzerland, I guess.

Allison said...

And, if I'm not mistaken---

YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY FOR THAT HOSPITAL BILL!!!

While I'd love to see Paris (whatever the mod of transportation...not really...), I'd say THAT'S the best part of it.

 

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