Sunday, April 17, 2016

Easter Break with Sofia in Paris

Our vacations are normally determined by cheap flights (planned well ahead of time) or expiring miles (which is as good an excuse as any). This year, I decided to take Sofia to Paris (and Italy - to be covered in separate posts) for the Easter holidays. It was a treat for both of us, since I have been travelling a lot for work. Singapore Airlines went on sale last year, so it was off to Paris for us, together with Ninang Ady.

Ready for our adventure! We left a week after the school
holidays started.
Since we had a Singapore Stop Over, Sofia loaded up on Hainanese
Chicken Rice which she finished, and Spicy McWings. She was afraid
she would starve in Paris and eat nothing but Pain Au Chocolat.

The good thing about booking your tickets way in advance is it's easy to stay where you want. I normally stay with my Line, my favorite landlady in Paris who I met through AirBNB. Our flat was not yet ready when we arrived so we just walked around the neighborhood and enjoyed staying at the Montmartre Area.

Scenes from Montmatre
Saying a little prayer of thanks at the
Basilique du Sacre Couer
Enjoying the view of Paris
Channeling Zorrab, the French Zorro. Hahaha.
I was starving so Sofia and I grabbed a bite to eat.
Pain Au Chocolat for Fi and Quiche Lorraine for moi.
Oh Em G! Best Quiche I ever had. Seriously, I am still dreaming of it.
It was so loaded with yummy goodness, with bacon, eggs and cheese,
that it felt like we were eating a deep dish pizza!
Line says the bar of this hotel has the best view of Paris.
That's something for next time.
Arriving during Easter means seeing all these pretty
Easter Eggs on Store Windows.
Channeling Amélie Poulain, because that's what you do
when you live in her neighborhood.

We took the subway to lunch.
Then went for a walk around Musee Georges Pompidou.
Lunch was at Breizh Cafe, because that's one of the reasons Ady came to
to Paris. Sof enjoyed her Valrhona Crepe. I would have enjoyed my smoked
duck crepe more if I didn't eat the quiche.  Reservations required.
You can read my post on Breizh Cafe here.

Jetlag hit us after we stuffed ourselves with good crepes, but we resisted heading back home to nap, so we did the next best thing instead and took a long Metro ride to the outskirts of Paris to go shopping in Primark Creteil. It was on our To Do List anyway. You can read my post on Primark here.
Power Nap on the Metro - check!
Hello Creteil Soleil! They have a lot of other stores too.
Mission Accomplished for Ninang Ady and Sofia.
They both spent around 60 Euros each! Hahaha.
It was late enough to call it a day after shopping, so these two napped again on our way back.
We saw this quaint Church of Saint Jean de Montmartre
which I would like to visit next time when we got back
to Abbesses.

We came back quite late, and luckily, we caught Line before she had to go out for dinner.
We stayed at the Studio Apartment I fell in love with two years ago.
Line did a little re-arranging maximize the space, and I still think the place
is beautiful. I consider it my home in Paris. You can read about it here
Love love love this view.

It's almost a tradition for us to go out and eat a Leon's on our first night in Paris. It's just a short walk away at Place de Clichy so it's very convenient when you feel like you're a walking zombie.
Sofia has eaten at Leon before in London, but this time
she has declared it her favorite restaurant.
Maybe because they gave her a toy. Hahaha.
You can read about it here, same order for Fi.
Welcome to Paris Dinner! Hooray, for dinner with our favorite staples.
My daughter even took a picture of her food, and made us promise we will
come back to eat here again on this trip.
What they had that was new was the seasoned salt.
It was so good, I couldn't resist the fries, which I
normally could on past visits.

Line is so nice, she treats us like family. 
She prepared breakfast for us everyday, even if this was not included in the
rate. We enjoyed her homemade jam, banana crepes, the famous praline
bread from Pralus, (famous in Lyon, read about our visit here) and she even
baked yummy Tarte Au Poire et Pomme (Pear and Apple Tart) for our last day.
Line was a Paleontholigist, so she showed Sofia her collection of old
coins, fossils, and even asked her to find the different whale bone parts
she collected.
Since the next day was Sunday, we decided we would go to La Vallee Village because stores were normally closed in Paris on a Sunday. (Helpful Tip: If you have flexibility to plan your trip dates, best to be in Paris on the first Sunday of the month because most museums offer free entrance).
Some La Vallee Village Tips: Be a member before you arrive. This will
entitle you to special discounts, and if you spend enough in one store,
they will pick up and carry your shopping for you, which will allow you
to buy more. Hahaha.
Food is limited inside La Vallee Village, but the salads are good from
Pret A Manger.
The Shopping isn't off much interest to kids, but there is a playground,
Amorino Gelato served in the shape of a rose, and Pierre Herme.
Sugar Rush much.
Line invited us for dinner at her home, which we gladly accepted because
my best meals in Paris, were always at Line's table.
She served us duck, and she made Sofia some magic Aligot
(Mashed Potatoes with Cheese and Garlic)
served with such magical flair.
With our French Mother, and Sofia's French Grandmother.
Monday was about doing a bank errand, which was quite useless if you ask me. HSBC really sucks when it comes to customer service.
It brought us to Champs Elysees but more on that
in our Paris for Kids post.
We had brunch at Holybelly Cafe, one of my favorite brunch places in Paris. Coincidentally, we visited when they were doing their Epic Swap Staff, where the front of house crew changed roles with the kitchen staff. This meant they were serving breakfast food all day, hooray! because I totally forgot it was a weekday and on normal days, that would mean ordering from their lunch menu.
We had my usual favorite, the savoury stack of pancakes, fried egg and bacon,
as well as scrambled eggs and sides. The only catch is the cappuccino and the
flat white came out the same, but we decided to pay them what the meal was
worth. They let you decide how much to pay due to the Staff Swap.
After lunch, it was Sofia's turn again, so we headed to the Jardin de Plants to visit the Musée d'Histoire Naturelle.
More on this on our Paris for Kids post.

Dinner was at another favorite Paris place, Atelier Vivanda. You can read my post on that here, or try their newly opened Manila branch at the Fort, which I haven't tried. 
I wear my Andy Warhol Cow side out whenever I eat steak
because I am weird that way.
Because steak here is always a win. Though I think we decided we preferred
the flat slices to the thick one. Uh-Oh, I don't remember what they are called.
Atelier Vivanda has another restaurant next door,
BRVT, which is known for cheese, cold cuts and wine.

Sofia's To Do List included a visit to the Eiffel Tower, so we walked off the steak to get there.
View at night from Trocadero.
Construction on-going so you can't go closer.
Of course, we also needed a Moulin Rouge shot at night.

The trip wouldn't be complete without Disneyland Paris for Sofia.
This is where we spent our last day in Paris.
More on a separate post.
I will never tire of waking up to this view.
My daughter and her French Grandmere. 
We couldn't leave without picking up some flowers
for Line and Sofia's pick was this purple bunch.
This is my home in Paris, now it's Sofia's home too.
We will even miss walking up 5 flights of stairs. Yes, there's a lift,
but I chose to walk of all the yummy meals.

It was a great four days for us in Paris, but thankfully, due to astronomical flight costs on Easter Monday, we had to fly back to Paris a day earlier than our return flight to Manila.
We didn't want to bother Line for just one night, so I just used my hotel
points to stay at Hotel Ambassador by Mariott in Opera.
Our flight from Florence was delayed, and it was
raining too, but we were able to maximize our last day.
More on Paris for Kids.
Seeing our part of Paris always gives me a kick.
Of course, we promised Sofia dinner at Leon.
Bye Paris! Five days is too short when Fi and I
are together.
Loved the timing too, because it only started raining
when we left.

Paris always has a place in my heart. I wonder what excuse I will find to come back next year. Hahaha. just saying.

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