I Pack My Bags

So, on Saturday, XUP Jr. and I are going to Paris (yes, the one in France)  for a week. This will be her first time in a foreign country, not including the US. I think I’ve been neglecting an important part of her education in this area because she was quite irate when I came back with only 205 euros in exchange for 300 of her dollars.

“Where is my other hundred dollars?” she demanded, like I’d stolen it from her. This reminded me of when she was 4 and to surprise her one day I traded in about eight dollars worth of the coins she’d amassed for a shiny new, purple ten dollar bill. Holy moses, what a carry-on that sparked.

“You stole all my moneeeeeeeeeeeeey! Where’s my moneeeeeeeeeeey! I don’t want this stupid piece of paper. My own mother steals my moneeeeeeeey! I can’t belieeeeeeeeeve it!  I want my money baaaaaaaaack!!”

No matter how many different ways I tried to explain that I’d actually given her more money and that this paper money would be easier for her to take shopping, it wouldn’t wash. I had to give her the coins back.

Fortunately, she’s a little better equipped to see reason these days — although she’s still looking at me with some suspicion about the euros. Then when I told her to save the receipts for anything she buys so we don’t get charged duty on the thousands of dollars worth of designer goods we’re going to snap up for a few hundred euros, she laughed at me.

“Why would they care what we bought? And how would they even know what we bought?”

Sigh….

I’m looking forward to this being a real eye-opening experience for her — something to give her a teensy bit more wisdom, cultural awareness and sophistication.  At least she’s come a long way from last year when I suggested we go to Paris for our vacation and she said, “Why? What’s to do there?”

I said, “Nothing at all honey. You’re right. We won’t go. We’ll spend March Break in the mall instead.” She has consequently spent this last year finding out exactly what there is to do in Paris and is now quite looking forward to it — while struggling to maintain the most blasé attitude possible, of course.

I’ve never been to Paris and am the opposite of blasé. While my main purpose for this trip is to collect new blog posts (ha ha), I’ve also been enjoying going around at work saying, “Oh, sorry, I have to miss that meeting because I’ll be in PARIS.” I’ve done lots of research and mapped out an itinerary so we’ll be able to get to everything we really want to do and see while structuring it loosely enough so that we can still be as spontaneous as possible.

We are hoping to meet up with Linda somewhere along the line for a café au lait or a glass of wine (The official drinking age is 16, which seems to be the most anticipated highlight of the adventure for XUP Jr. so far.)

I’ve been dumbfounded at the number of people who suggest to me that we should visit the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre while we’re in Paris.

“Really? Do you think those are worth having a look at? We were thinking of spending the entire week at Euro Disney and Le McDonalds.”

I would however, very much welcome suggestions for any non-obvious places to visit while we’re there.  My main goal there is to soak up the atmosphere. We have a small apartment  in the Marais district, so I can shop the markets and bring back a baguette and some fresh eggs and make our own breakfast.

I have a couple of interesting off-the-beaten track things I want to check out and the child is looking forward to seeing some art (aside from the usual places she specifically wants to see the Palais de Tokyo , the Catacombs, the Moulin Rouge (because she’s seen the movie about 30 times) and of course, she wants to shop and spend all the money she’s been diligently saving for the past 4 or 5 months.

So, any other ideas, advice, suggestions, warnings? I just found out on a random blog the other day, for instance that sometimes the transit people don’t want to sell tourists the very reasonably-priced Navigo Decouverte   transit pass — which gives you access to all forms of public transit within the city for only 16 euros for the entire week. There are other transit pass options that are more expensive and I understand some of ticket guys do their best to convince you that only locals can buy the Navigo. So, anyway this blog thoughtfully provided a link to the Navigo handbook to print off, along with the relevant paragraphs highlighted. So I’m ready and even rather eager to having this argument now.

I’ll probably get a friendly, accommodating ticket seller though and will have to save my mediocre French outrage, arm-flailings and shrugs for another occasion.

I’m looking forward to tips from all you seasoned travelers!

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PS: For those of you who may be concerned, rest assured that Bazel has a nice person, who he knows and likes, looking after him and his home while we’re away.