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Rustic Charm

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FC: Haere Ra Aotearoa, Bonjour France! Jason, Julie et Bodie vont en France

1: Bonjour tout le monde! June - August, 2008 Bonjour et bienvenue This is Jason, Julie and Bodie’s Paris Blog!

2: We Made It! July 8th, 2008 Hi all. After 30+ hours of traveling we have arrived! We certainly learned one or two things about traveling with children 1. They make the flight go much quicker than what it otherwise would. The last time we flew long haul it took an age to get anywhere but with the wee man needing looking after time went very quickly (”tres rapidement” even!). I had quite a bit of French stuff with me and I ended up reading only one page of one book and not listening to any Rocket French MP3s 2. Bodie is a great traveler! Bodie was the center of attention, which actually made it much harder for him to get to sleep as everyone was trying to make him wave or clap or stand on his head In spite of all of that he was a dream compared to the other kids on the plane. Although Chupa Chups seemed to be the flavor of the month amongst the other families, which is fine until the sugar rush kicks in! 3. If you ever go via Singapore I recommend staying in the transit hotel within the airport. You can book it by the hour (minimum of 6 hours) and have a sleep in a dark room (as opposed to trying to sleep on chairs in the terminal) and a shower. For $60 it was worth it. They have a swimming pool which we will be checking out on the way back as we are staying there longer. An Australian lady with a bubba next to us on the plane had a few tips about speaking French. She had lived here before and while not fluent knew quite a bit as she works as a make-up artist in the film industry, hence needs to know the lingo. One thing she picked up on was that when leaving a store the sales person often says “avec souci?” “with worry?”, which seems a little odd but after watching the film “Paris” on the plane she figured out they were actually asking if she wanted anything else with her order, possibly “avec ca aussi?” Perhaps Eric or Marie-Yvonne could comment on that one. In the same vein there is also a Paris way of saying “hello” which I will find out more about I am sure. Singapore Airlines has Berlitz on their on-screen entertainment. It is Rubbish, yes, with a capital “R”. We got into Paris around 7am and caught a shuttle to our apartment (www.xcelrents.com). As we were the only people on the shuttle it gave me a good chance to bombard the driver with my French. It went surprisingly well, gives me a bit of confidence about getting amongst it a bit more. Unfortunately the weather has been average by Parisian standards, mid-20’s during the day and mid-teens at night (I will take it!). At the moment Bodie is having a catch up sleep, then we are off to grab a baguette and coffee. I don't know where they get the coffee from that they serve on airplanes but it tastes like they scraped it off the runway A bientot! Jason, Julie and Bodie Page 1

3: We’re Moving to Paris July 9th, 2008 Well we'd love to anyway! Our first day in Paris was spent exploring the Marais area, which is where our apartment is. It is a great area with lots of shops, cafés, etc right on our doorstep and within walking distance to most Paris sights. It is apparently the ‘hip’ area of Paris as well as being the Jewish and gay district. We walked to the Place des Vosges which is Paris’ oldest square, and it is said, its most beautiful. It was good for Bodie to have a run around and chase the pigeons. After a stop for the obligatory croissant and baguette we found a children's playground tucked in a courtyard off a side street. Bodie loved running around with the older kids and even managed to pick himself up a ‘girlfriend’. The girl was about 6 and kept following Bodie around and trying to give him cuddles. Bodie wasn't having a bar of it and kept running away from her to play with the boys. I thought it might be a good chance to ease into my French by practising with the kids but all they did was give me blank stares when I talked to them! I only asked them their name and told them what Bodie’s was! Mmm I’m now thinking I should have studied harder Back to the apartment for a bit of a snooze then off to explore again. We went down the other end of our street this time. I’m starting to think 6 weeks isn't going to be nearly enough time as there is so much to see just in the Marais district alone (and so many great shops to check out!). As we were heading back we came across another children's playground which is hidden down a back street and happens to be right behind our apartment. It was pretty chocka with lots of kids and their nannies. Bodie had a great time running around with them and I think we'll be spending a bit of time there over the next 6 weeks. By this time it was around 7pm so it was back to the apartment for dinner and to put Bodie to bed. Bodie in the playground Bodie et maman! Page 2

4: Bodie has been amazing and doesn't seem to be affected at all by the jetlag. He slept from 8pm until 7.30am which was great. My main concern with coming to France was that Bodie would be waking in the night due to the jetlag but it hasn't seemed to have bothered him. Jas and I haven't been affected too much by the jetlag either. This morning we went for espresso and croissant at a local café and sat outside watching the world go by. Why does the food seem to taste so much better in France? Bodie has been getting lots of smiles from everyone wherever he goes and we have been finding the Parisians to be extremely friendly and helpful. I don't know why people say they are rude as the few times we've been to Paris we have found them to be very friendly. After a stop at a boulangerie for baguettes we had a picnic lunch at the playground behind our apartment while Bodie had a run around. It is a beautiful hot day today so it was nice to relax in the sun. My second attempt to talk to the French children didn't go any better than yesterday. Back in the pram for Bodie while we walked to Hotel De Ville (City Hall) and the River Seine. We are now back at our apartment for a bit of a rest while we wait to hear from Nathalie & Justin (Jas works with Nathalie) who are also here on holiday. We are going to catch up for coffee this afternoon. Love Julie Page 3

5: C’est en forgeant qu’on devient forgeron Thursday, July 10th, 2008 Which sort of means “practice makes perfect”, although it more literally means “its by forging that one becomes a forger/blacksmith!” Quite a fitting quotation as it is very true especially with regards to trying to learn French! One good thing about having Bodie along for the ride is that French people love babies, especially ones that wave their arms, squeal, chase pigeons and wander off on their own a lot He also makes an excellent conversation starter, although we haven't progressed much past “il a quel age?”, “il a douze mois” but hey its a start! I am actually pleasantly surprised at the amount of children in the middle of Paris, the playgrounds get packed very quickly! Bodie, Julie and “Listen”, a sculpture by Henri de Miller The apartment we are staying in is in a great location, this morning we went for a short walk and ended up going past the Centre Pompidou, Les Halles, Jardin des Tuileries, Musee de Louvre, La Notre Dame, L’hotel De Ville and quite a few less noteworthy places. Bodie fell asleep in the Notre Dame, which was great because it meant I could get a coffee without worrying about him running out into the street. In fact the sidewalks aren't even safe in Paris due to the amount of traffic jams and scooters trying to avoid them by riding on the sidewalk! Page 4

6: Just about every playground has a sandpit! We are thinking about hiring a nanny (read language practice person) for an hour a day, so will be trying to sort out how to actually do that over the next few days. For Erics benefit (or perhaps not once he sees how bad my French is!) here is the text for a note I would like to post in a few places! Regardez! Au Pair! Nous sommes une Nouvelle Zelande famille. Nous restons Marais pendant cinq semaines, jusqu’au 18 aot. Nous cherchons une au-pair. Peut-etre une heure par jour. Telephonez <> The Archives Nationales - formerly a grande maison! A bientot J, J et B PS: We have taken a heap of photos but haven't posted any yet as we are still trying to sort out the USB ports on this computer. Page 5

7: Picasso to Beaujolais Friday, July 11th, 2008 Hi all Today we did a walk around the local Marais area (one recommended in the Frommers guide we have). We went to the Musee National Picasso. Even though he is Spanish he has been claimed by the French to some degree as he lived here for long periods of time. When he died a substantial amount of his work went to the French government in lieu of a hefty inheritance tax bill his family owed. Most of that work is on display at the Musee National Picasso. Its definitely worth a read of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picasso to get an understanding of the genius of Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruiz y Picasso (Yes that is his full name!) Bodie loved it as well and had a lot of fun climbing the stairs in the Musee. He is doing a lot of new things since we have been here, we think it is because there are so many older kids and playgrounds to interact with. For example today he figured out how to climb stairs to a slide and then go backwards down the slide. In fact we may have overdone it today as he had a real hissy fit this evening and basically got sent to bed without any dinner (mainly because it all ended up on the floor, and red wine over the bed, and several of his books ripped to pieces) Anyway, after Picasso we went to Place Des Vosges, a park made famous by the writers who lived around it (Descartes, Pascal, Gautier and Victor Hugo). It was also the centre of the rich and famous in Paris for a while, with fabulous mansions and archways surrounding the park. Another Bodie shot! Place des Vosges Page 6

8: From there it is a short walk to the Bastille (or more accurately what was the Bastille), now its a crazy 4 (possibly more) lane roundabout with the Colonne de Juillet in the middle. The Colonne de Juillet honors the victims of the 1830 revolution. We stopped at a café for a coffee, at least ordering stuff is becoming relatively easy in French! Then we headed to the Rue des Roisiers, which is probably the last remaining bastion of when this area was the Jewish quarter of Paris. There is a well-known felafel shop (L’As du Falafel) along this street, which we tried out. The felafel was great, could have just done with more of it! The rest of the day was spent trying to sort Bodie out as he was not a happy camper. Hopefully just over-tired and over-stimulated. He is out to it now thankfully! Because it gives me the opportunity to get stuck into this wonderful Beaujolais Maconnais from the Macon region of France. An amazing wine for 8 euros Julie made her first real purchase today, she got Bodie a Zinedane Zidane top marketed under the brand name Zizou. We just about named Bodie ‘Zizou’ but I was out-voted 1-0 (not for the first time) Amicalement Jason, Julie et Bodie Page 7

9: The Islands Saturday, July 12th, 2008 Today we decided to have a proper look around the Islands in the Seine (Ile De La Cite & Ile St Louis) as we only had a brief look when we went to Notre Dame. Well I’m glad we did the Notre Dame a few days ago as the queues today were long! It was hard to believe that we just walked in and basically had the place to ourselves when today the queue stretched over the entire courtyard. I’m guessing a lot of Europeans come to Paris for a weekend and hence the long queues on those days. We checked out the Marche aux Fleurs (flower market) but ‘one of the most photographed places on earth’ didn’t seem to have much happening and we didn’t even take a photo! We decided to come back to visit Sainte Chapelle another time as the queues were quite long. Over on Ile St Louis it was much quieter with a much slower pace. We had to stop at Berthillon to try out ‘the best ice cream in Paris’ and didn’t even have to queue. We must be doing something right with timing as the guide book said there is always a queue no matter what day or time you go. I’m not sure if I’d call it the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted but it was very good. Next stop was lunch in a park so Bodie could have a run around. It’s great travelling with a toddler as it certainly slows the pace down which is great because it means you take in a lot more rather than racing from one sight to the next. The very impressive Notre Dame Page 8

10: The afternoon was spent at our local playground where it seemed to be ‘divorced dads day out with their kids’. During the week you only see the nannies so it was quite different today. My French is coming along a lot better - the French children don't run off to their nannies anymore when I start speaking French which must be a good sign? Bodie is generally the youngest in the playground and the older children seem to love playing with him. In some ways Paris is more child friendly than NZ as there are so many playgrounds around (about 5 within a short walk from our apartment) and the Parisians love children, but then in others it isn't (no highchairs at cafés/restaurants, and not very pram friendly). I don't know why people say the Parisians are rude as everyone we have come across has been so friendly and is very tolerant of our basic French. I guess it helps having a toddler with us as it's always a good conversation starter. In fact I would highly recommend travelling with a child as the jet lag doesn't seem to affect them, they adapt very easily, and you do seem to get special treatment with having a child with you. It is also nice to see things from a child's eyes Julie et Bodie We are still trying to work on uploading our photos/videos but this computer doesn't seem to like us. We may have to go in search of an internet café. I hope all is well with everyone. Love Jules, Jas & Bode Page 9

11: Le Jardin des Tuileries Sunday, July 13th, 2008 Bodie slept for over 12 hours last night so perhaps we were pushing him a bit hard by staying out late (for him) over the last few nights. So, this morning we let him have another sleep at the apartment rather than pushing him around in the stroller hoping that he would go to sleep in that. Once he woke we headed off to the Jardin des Tuileries. Its about a 40 minute walk from the apartment and as always you always see something interesting when walking around this area very smelly homeless people (just like Christchurch), amazing architecture (like the Chch Cathedral but better and more of it), the velibs (free bikes), and of course the patisseries and boulangeries! The Louvre Velib stand The velib scheme is great, basically you can hire a bike via credit card (first half hour free) and you can drop it off at any locations with a free spot on them. There are velibs about every 300metres in central Paris apparently. They have just announced that they are expanding it to another 20 arrondissements (areas) of Paris over the next few months. It wouldn't work in NZ unfortunately as they would all get vandalized, over here I think the gendarmes and/or policiers don't take the crap that the police do in NZ. We walked past the Louvre to get to the Jardin des Tuileries. Being Sunday it was very busy with a lot of French people in town, probably in time for Bastille Day tomorrow. Its going to be great bringing Bodie here when he is a bit older, the playgrounds are great, they have horse/donkey rides around the park, and generally lots of play areas mixed in with sculptures, lakes, and a fairground. Page 10

12: I am going to buy some running shoes tomorrow and get up early and zip down there for a run. Its the only place I have seen people do any exercise (other than the velibs). We came back along the River Seine, a 3km stretch of which they are about to transform into a beach for the summer. Apparently its great and the locals really get into it. The Seine (and if you look closely Jason) Julie and Bodie at the Louvre In the afternoon I had a business meeting with a guy who has a hotel-based website. Interesting guy but man he could talk paint off a wall. Reckons he owns 7 hotels around the world, certainly dressed the part, designer gear from head to toe! Unlike me in my jeans and t-shirt! I was hoping to practice some French but I didn't get a word in edgeways in either English or French He did though give a couple of good tips for restaurants and watching the Bastille Day celebrations, Ecole Militaire Metro station is the one to go to apparently. Then it was to our local ‘Cafe Journaux’ for dinner, finally I got to use a bit of French so that was good. Although as per usual most people around here have pretty good English so it can be a bit disconcerting to rabbit on in French and then they answer in English! Its a work in progress I suppose! Tonight is the night where the bals des sapeurs-pompiers (dances sponsored by the Parisian firefighters) take place, generally at the fire stations. We would like to go but as we are going to watch the Bastille Day celebrations tomorrow night thought we would rest Bodie up for it. A bientot Jason, Julie et Bodie Page 11

13: Bastille Day! Monday, July 14th, 2008 Another long day but worth it as the French know how to put on a parade! We set off early to walk to the Champs Elysees for the Bastille Day parade. We couldn't take the most direct route as there were a lot of roads closed off so the walk was a lot longer than we were expecting. The Gendarmerie (police) were very helpful with lifting our pram over the barriers for us. Crowds at the Bastille Day parade - can you see anything??? Our shot of the flyover We found a spot with the rest of the crowds along the Champs Elysees and waited there for the action to happen. It was a huge military parade involving thousands of marching soldiers and police, as well as aircraft and mounted horsemen. Bodie was asleep in his pram for the start of the parade but he woke in time for the highlight of the parade - the fly over. As we have yet to sort out our photos you can view it here http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7505136.stm to see what it’s about. There was heaps of planes flying down the Champs Elysees in different formations which made it pretty loud so unfortunately Bodie wasn't as keen on it as we were. Page 12

14: He didn't seem to like the loud tanks either. I guess it all seems pretty strange to a wee boy. After our 4 hour walk it was back to our apartment for a nap! Because of all the walking we've been doing we've been pretty exhausted at night and haven't made it much past 9pm! Our plan was to go out tonight to watch the Bastille Day fireworks at the Eiffel Tower but I’m not sure if we'll make it as we have to walk quite a long way to get a decent view of the Eiffel Tower and we are pretty exhausted from all the walking we've already done today. We haven't used the Metro yet as most of them have lots of stairs and we are already struggling with the two flights of stairs to our apartment with the pram let alone all the stairs that are in the Metro. We do have a lift to our apartment but it is so tiny it hardly fits one person let alone a pram! The Metro doesn't have lifts at all so we will save that until we are feeling more energetic. Le bébé est tres fatigué We tried to find some running shoes for Jas but it seems people don't run in Paris. I remember having this same problem in London. There are lots of sports shops around but they only seem to sell street shoes and clothes and no actual sports gear. There is a Nike store, Puma store, Footlocker, Go Sport etc near our apartment but none of them sell running shoes. Mmm might have to search the internet to find somewhere that sells them. Page 13

15: As we haven't got many toys here for Bodie he has had to make do with what is in the apartment and his latest toy is the bidet in the bathroom. He thinks it's hilarious to turn the tap on and off and splash the water everywhere. Unfortunately it's not big enough for him to have a bath because he is not liking the shower!! He used to be a bit funny at home with the shower and now he won't get in the shower here. He cries as soon as he gets close to it. The apartment is so tiny but the shower is huge and could probably fit 6 people easily but that doesn't seem to help. It makes it a bit hard to keep him clean! Bodie’s other favourite toys are turning the light switch off and on as his highchair is in reaching distance of a switch, and putting on and taking off the top of empty water bottles. I guess it doesn't take much to amuse kids. Arty Eiffel Tower shot! Right that's it for today. I think our plan for tomorrow is to find an internet café to sort out our photos as we've run out of memory on our cameras (450 photos!) See ya Jules, Jas & Bodie Page 14

16: Photos sorted! Tuesday, July 15th, 2008 Hi all Finally, I have figured out how to get the photos off the camera, onto the PC and onto our external hard drive. It only took 2.5 hours. I wont go into the techno-geek detail but suffice to say Steve (our office geek) would be proud Today was a bit of a cruisy day, I took Bodie for a walk first thing this morning and made some important discoveries! 1. There is a real coffee shop just down the road on a side-street, not that the 100’s of tabacs aren't real coffee shops but this place sold coffee by the sack, made coffee and thats it! They have about 20 different varieties that you can try heaven! Also, it is one of the few places that can easily fit a pram in and there is even room for Bodie to run around without getting run over by a mad Frenchman on a scooter! 2. Next to the coffee shop is a magasin du bandes dessinees (comic book store). This is a great find for me as reading comics is a little less intensive than reading full on French texts. Bought a TinTin one (Le lotus bleu) and a very popular kids one ‘Titeuf’, which looks like a sex education tool Had some interesting French exchanges with various people, from bank cashiers, to the coffee shop guy, to the comic book guy (big B52s fan) and a convoluted (and some what exasparating) conversation about millefeuille natural in a patisserie (always had problems with ‘feuille’ in French class) Today was probably the nicest day we have had weather-wise, absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately it tires Bodie out rather quickly, plus all his running around in the playgrounds. If he was back home he probably would be kitted up and inside all day. Someone likes his blueberries Page 15

17: Went for a walk by the Seine this evening and there were a lot of people out and about. If it was in NZ they would all be boozing but here they spend a lot of time people watching and just hanging out with friends (except for the homeless drunks!). Bodie’s favourite place in Paris - the sandpit! Anyways have a good day! Jason, Julie et Bodie Page 16

18: More Walking Wednesday, July 16th, 2008 After Jas went out for his morning coffee and to practice his French with the Concierge (the fuse blew in our apartment) we headed off for another walk. This time we decided to walk to the Latin Quarter as Jas was keen to check out the famous English language bookstore, Shakespeare & Company, which is filled to the brim with books. I ended up spending more time in their than Jas as I needed a new book to read since I’d just finished one. The bookshop is now more of a tourist trap with lots of Americans. I found it quite strange to hear so many people speaking English as I’d gotten quite used to hearing only French. Shakespeare & Company Building beside the Pantheon (ahhh.. its the Church of St Genevieve Julie) After stopping in a park for lunch we walked to the Pantheon and was stopped by an old crazy French lady who after inquiring about Bodie in French kept asking why we called our son ‘Bodie’. It was a bit hard to explain in French that there was no real meaning to ‘Bodie’ but she didn’t seem to accept that and the conversation somehow got onto talking about Shepherds and sheep???? Page 17

19: We had planned on going to the Luxembourg gardens as it is apparently really good for kids but by this time Bodie had fallen asleep so we headed back across the river. Cafés on the River Seine with Notre Dame in the background The afternoon was spent shopping for me while Jas babysat. I went yesterday afternoon as well and am just about shopped out after only buying a few things because shopping in Europe is so tiring! I forgot how much hard work it is! It doesn't help that it is sale time which basically means it's a free for all to try and find what you want in a pile of clothes dumped on a table. Then you have to queue to try things on, then queue to pay for them, and then on the way out you find something else you like and have to go through the whole queuing thing again!! We didn't bring many clothes over with us as I had planned on buying lots of things here but there is no Summer clothes!!! All the stuff in the sales has been well and truly picked over and the new stuff in store is all Winter gear. Poor Bodie is in desperate need of more t-shirts but I seriously can't find a plain old t-shirt! There is nothing in his size in the sales and everything else is long sleeved! I’m finding the prices pretty comparable on the whole with NZ though (clothes & food) even with the exchange rate. Take Care Love Jules, Jas & Bode PS - a lot of our photos have been taken in portrait and we haven't got the software to rotate them so we haven't included these on the blog Page 18

20: Where have the days gone?? Thursday, July 17th, 2008 Hi there Another relaxing day today, I took Bodie down to my local café and let him run around amongst the morning commuters while I had a cafe de napoli avec l’eau chaud. The café is pretty cool and I am working my way through their list of coffees! We were going to go to the Eiffel Tower today but the Metro station on that line is closed for repairs until the end of August! We will have to find an alternative route at some other stage. We ended up having lunch at Forum des Halles, which has a big garden area out the back where everyone has their lunch. Bodie was the centre of attention with a couple of school groups, he pretty much got mobbed by one lot of them. The rest of the day was pretty quiet, watched the Tour de France on TV while Bodie had an afternoon sleep and then took him down to the park for a play. He is starting to throw strops now, which means he is really understanding what is going on! Whether he likes it or not! I can't believe that we left NZ just about 2 weeks ago, time has just flown. And I am off to London on Monday on the way to Los Angeles. It has come around very quickly and I am not looking forward to leaving Julie and Bodie behind. Also, we have booked to fly down to Toulouse when I get back from LA. We are going to stay with French friends we met in Slovenia who now live 1.5hrs out of Toulouse, near the Pyrenees. Page 19

21: Someones being a cheeky monkey with the bidet, and that looks like Dads favorite pen as well! Anyways, have a great day Bonne journee Jason, J et B Page 20

22: Money shot La Tour Eiffel! Friday, July 18th, 2008 The morning coffee for Jas is becoming such a regular habit that the guy doesn't even have to ask what Jas wants anymore. Bodie loves running around in the courtyard as it's on a slope and he finds it hilarious to go up and down it, and he is also trying to master going up and down the stairs in the courtyard. It keeps him amused long enough for Jas to sit and have his coffee. We decided to take the Metro to the Eiffel Tower today. The Metro system in Paris is not designed for prams so while Jas carried Bodie down all the stairs I carried the pram. There are a lot of stairs in the Metro (and no lifts etc) so it was quite hard work. We finally made it down to the platform and Bodie was quite fascinated with seeing the trains.that is until he had to get on the train and he decided he didn't like it at all. I suppose it is quite frightening for a young boy because it is very loud and dark. Anyway we made it to our stop and were just about to get off when all our gear fell out of the pram onto the train floor! We didn't have time to pick up all the stuff before the doors closed so we had to stay on and get off at the next stop. Mmm I don't think we'll be taking the Metro too often - it's just too hard! We then had to change trains and finally made it to our stop at the Champs Elysees. From there we had a bit of a walk to get to the Eiffel Tower so stopped at a playground on the way for Bodie. Bodie in playground Page 21

23: Although we'd been to the Eiffel Tower before it still blew us away with how impressive it is. As we'd been up the Eiffel Tower before we didn't feel any need to wait in the long lines and do it again so we had lunch on the grass at the base of the tower and took lots of photos. Bodie eating his third nectarine (which were supposed to be for Jas & me) Julie & Jason self portrait Bodie trying to steal another nectarine Page 22

24: We walked back to the Champs Elysees to get the Metro but Bodie fell asleep on the way, so instead of waking him we decided to keep walking and ended up walking all the way back to our apartment which is a damn long walk!! We walked from the Eiffel Tower, up the Champs Elysees, through the Place De La Concorde then through the Tuileries Gardens and Louvre then back to Jas’ café for a coffee break!!! Although it's a lot of walking you don't really notice it as there is a lot to look at. By the time we stopped for coffee Bodie woke so we took him to the playground for a run around then back to the apartment where we collapsed! Fountain in the Place De La Concorde Arc in the Tuileries Garden Page 23

25: The Ultimate Playground Jardin du Luxembourg Saturday, July 19th, 2008 Bonsoir/Bonjour depending on where you are! Today we walked to the Jardin du Luxembourg, a 28 hectare garden in the middle of Paris. Its about a 35 minute walk from here past the Hotel De Ville and across the Seine. The garden houses the Palais du Luxembourg, which is a massive building constructed in 1620. They must have eaten a lot of spinach back then. Palais du Luxembourg It also has a huge amount of good stuff for children including a man-made lake that you can hire small sailing boats on. Bodie is a bit young for that but the older kids where having a great time. A sailing boat in the lake Page 24

26: They also have plenty of playgrounds, including one super-playground that you have to pay to get into (a rarity in Paris). It looked pretty cool though, again Bodie is a bit young for it, at the moment he is quite happy sitting in a sandpit stealing other kids toys. In fact so happy that the strops are starting to come thick and fast when its time to go! Bodie making a friend and then stealing his toys Jardin du Luxembourg is an extremely well manicured park. No playing on the grass here except for a very few designated areas. We were going to put Bodie on the grass to see what would happen but figured jail isn’t a good place for a one year old. Someones having fun (and getting heavy) Page 25

27: We got back about 1pm and all had a sleep before getting up to meet Julies friend, Sonia Dutton (who she went to school with) and her man, Steven. They just jetted over from New York for a long weekend! Julie and Sonia had a good time catching up (as it's been about 10 years) and Steve is an interesting bloke doing some pretty good stuff in New York. We took them to my local coffee place (and I finally got a photo!). Sonia and Steven straight from the Big Apple Les Oxenhams en vacance Sonia is here looking at some art galleries for her job, unfortunately most are closed on Saturdays and the one she really wanted to find, no-one seemed to have heard of. That could be a Parisian thing to do with American accents though Went out and grabbed some banana and chocolate crepes for dessert! Yum Yum! The crepe maker was a funny guy and I got a bit of French in edgeways which was good, as most of the time it is limited to ordering stuff. For the few people that may have heard of Wayne Cole (International Man of Mystery) I am catching up with him in London on Monday. That will be good, because it has been a while! Take care J, J et B Page 26

28: Just Chillin Sunday, July 20th, 2008 We had a fairly relaxing day today with not too much walking. We went in search of the local Marais market and stopped at another playground on the way. This one had a much bigger sandpit than the others so Bodie was very happy! Bodie & Jas Bodie's 'New' Sunnies The market ‘Marche aux Enfants Rouges’, was supposed to be on the same street as the playground but we couldn't find it! In hindsight I think we perhaps didn't get far enough down the street. I will have to investigate some more next week as it's supposed to be quite a good market. We spent the rest of the morning wandering the streets around the Marais. Most shops in Paris are closed on a Sunday but the Marais area is allowed to open as it closes it's shops on Saturday instead (due to the Jewish Sabbath day of rest), so there were a lot of people around. The Marais area has a great atmosphere on a Sunday as there are heaps of people about and it's cafés etc are full. I spent the afternoon shopping! The trick is to stay away from the chain stores and stick to the shops in the Marais. There are some great boutique shops in this area and I only went down one street! We are loving the weather here. It is so consistent with the temp being anywhere from 23 - 27 degrees. And it stays that hot until around 10pm when the sun sets. We haven't had to put on long sleeved tops the whole time we've been here. Ahh so nice not to be in Wintery Christchurch! Take care Love Jules. Jas & Bodie Page 27

29: Where’s Dad?? Monday, July 21st, 2008 We weren't looking forward to today but it had to happen. Jas had to leave us this morning to head to London before flying out to LA for work for a week. This is the longest Jas has been away from Bodie so we were all very sad at having to part. It is going to be a long week for all of us. My original intention was to spend the week in London with friends, but 9 days is a long time to stay at a friends with a toddler in tow. I can't remember how pram friendly the tube system is in London (since I’ve never had to take much note before) but if it's anything like Paris there is no way I could do it by myself. At least in Paris I can walk everywhere but in London you can't do a lot without using the tube. I would have loved to catch up with friends since I was so close but I guess that's life with a toddler. After saying bye to Jas, Bodie and I went for a walk to the park for a bit of a play then we headed down to the river for the first day of the Paris Plages. This is a very cool concept where for a month in summer they close off the streets on the banks of the river Seine and turn it into a ‘beach’! It covers a 3km stretch and has sand brought in, deck chairs, palm trees, playground etc. We have seen them constructing it over the last week or so but to see the finished product was pretty impressive. This morning wasn't too busy so Bode and I even managed to get a deckchair and Bode had a play in the sand. After that we headed to the department store, BHV, as I wanted to find Bodie a bucket and spade set for the sand. Whenever we are at a sandpit everyone else has brought along their own sandpit toys except Bode. Bodie normally manages to find a discarded one lying around but then when the ‘owner’ comes back there is normally a bit of a squabble so I thought it was about time for Bode to get his own. I had no luck in the department store though and I have no idea where else to look. Where is a ‘Warehouse’ when you need one?? Look at my cheeky monkey pulling everything out of my wallet including about 200 euros! I was on the computer talking to Jas at the time. He took everything out one by one (including each 20 euro note) so it kept him occupied for a while which was good! Counting Mum’s Money My Innocent Wee Man Page 28

30: After dinner Bode and I did a bit of shopping then headed down to the Plages again. This time I had my camera with me so managed to take some photos. Page 29

31: After our walk along the river we went to the Hotel De Ville to check out a free concert to mark the opening of the Paris Plages. We didn't see much as there were so many people. On the walk back to the apartment I stopped and got the most delicious, decadent chocolate slice I’ve ever tasted - yum!!! I’ve put in a lot more photos today for Jas’ benefit. Unfortunately as it will only be me taking photos for the next week there are going to be even more of Bodie or buildings! Take care Love Jules & Bode (and Jas from London) Page 30

32: On Our Own Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008 Our first full day without Jas and we are missing him heaps. This morning when I got Bodie out of his cot he poked his head around our bedroom door expecting to see him and looked very sad when he realized he wasn't there! Getting out of the door in the mornings is a bit of a mission on my own. I have to get my bag for the day and Bodie down two flights of stairs then set the pram up with one hand while holding Bode (so he doesn't run off) then push the pram while holding Bode over rough cobblestones for about 100 meters until I get to the front gate. The gate has a 30 cm lip on it so I have to put Bodie down while I hold open the heavy gate and lift the pram over the lip. Then I have to get back in the gate to get Bode and hope that the pram hasn't rolled away!! I’m getting better at it though! Luckily we stocked up at the supermarket before Jas left as there is no way I’d be able to do that with Bode. Today Bodie and I spent most of the day at the Paris Plages (the beach) and walked further down than we did yesterday. It's amazing the amount of effort that has gone into it with all sorts of activities (fencing, table football, table tennis, petanque, hire boats etc) and most of it is free. Playing in the Sand - Just for a Change! More Sand! Page 31

33: It's strange without Jas here as I can spend the whole day without having a conversation with anyone. Bodie is not very responsive! My limited French doesn't go much past ordering lunch so it's a bit hard to have a conversation with anyone. Although I am beginning to feel more like a local now as the fruit and vege guy on our street now asks me how I am (Bonjour comment ca va?) every time I walk past. I am not really wanting to do too much while Jas is away as I’d rather wait until Jas is back so we can do them together. I’d imagine I’ll be spending a lot of time at the ‘beach’ while he’s away. I heard from Jas today and it sounds like he’s missing us heaps so this is going to be a long week. He flew out to LA this afternoon and spent most of the day in London at the airport. Tonight Bode and I went to the shops and finally found a bucket and spade - yay!! We’ll be making good use of that tomorrow. We then went for a walk along the Paris Plages and watched some of the entertainment. There is a great atmosphere their at night with lots of busker's playing music etc. Jas would have been gutted as he missed out on seeing some amazing break dancers! We only just caught the end of it but Bodie was pretty fascinated. Bodie also saw his first clown that he couldn't stop staring at. Bodie’s First Encounter with a Clown It was really hot tonight (26 degrees at 8pm) so the water misters were great to cool us down. My computer is saying it's still 24 degrees now at 9.30pm!!! We are loving this weather. It's supposed to be an even hotter one tomorrow. Bye Jules & Bode Page 32

34: Hot Hot Hot Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008 The days seem to be getting hotter! Ahhh so nice! I went to get our lunch from my favorite Patisserie on our street but it was closed! I had been warned that when summer comes along the owners shut up shop for a month while they head down south for their holidays, but I didn't think it was going to be quite so soon! I decided to go in search of one that was highly recommended which also happened to be in the same street as the market I tried to find the other day. No success here either - this Patisserie was also closed for the Summer and it looked like the market had too as there were only a few stalls and I wasn't in need of pots or pans, or bright yellow safety vests!! It is supposed to be quite a good food market which is what I was after. Instead we went to the nearby playground where Bodie got to try out his new toys! As you can see he quite likes his new toys - the green spade goes everywhere with him! Page 33

35: On the walk to the ‘beach’ I came across quite a few open Patisserie’s so I didn’t need to worry about starving! Bodie was even given a free bread/cakey thing from the lovely lady serving us! It Looks Like Bodie Loves Tarte Citron Méringué as Much as his Mum Bodie had fun at the ‘beach’ and even managed to cool down by running through the water misters. He loved it.that is until he tried to join in the water fight with the big boys (14ish) and managed to get knocked over and bang his head on a barrier. After a few tears he came right though. Tonight we went to the shops (again - don’t tell Jas!), then went for another walk along the Paris Plages. We went a lot further tonight and came across a swimming pool!! Yes they have gone to the extent of erecting a 25 meter fully decked out swimming pool on the banks of the River. We will have to check that out properly in the next few days! The Balloon the Clown gave me Jas is now in LA but it’s a bit harder to contact him as the time difference isn’t so good. He was off to breakfast then a meeting the last time I heard from him. He even mentioned doing a bit of shopping which is unheard of for him!! Take care; Love Jules & Bode Page 34

36: More of the Same Thursday, July 24th, 2008 Another hot day, more sandpits, and more Paris Plages. Today it was off to check out the pedestrian street ‘Rue Montorgueil’ which is known for it’s restaurants and patisserie’s. It was a lot better than I was expecting and the patisserie’s were amazing. Of course I had to stop and get something! I went to a place called ‘Stohrer’ which is where the Queen of England goes whenever she is in Paris apparently!! I will have to come back to this street with Jas to check out some of the restaurants. There is a better foodie street in the Latin Quarter that I’ve been meaning to check out as well, so I’ll have to do that soon. Unfortunately it’s a bit hot at the moment to want to walk too far. We went to a playground at Les Halles to have some lunch but it was too hot so we headed down to the Paris Plages to cool down in the water misters. Cooling Down in the Water Misters.. again! The Unintentional Fred Dagg Outfit I Dressed Bodie in this Morning! Page 35

37: Oops Water on the Lens.Don’t Panic Jas I’ve Fixed It! One Wet Wee Boy Self Portrait with Water on the Lens! Bodie about to Climb into the Drinking Fountain Because I’m not doing so much walking during the day it means I am not so exhausted at night so have been able to do more. The weather is much nicer at night too, still mid 20’s but the sun is lower so it’s not so bad. The atmosphere is really good at night too. Page 36

38: Tonight we went back to the Paris Plages and Bodie played happily in the sand for an hour with his toys. This time other kids were stealing his toys, which made a nice change from me having to take the toys off Bodie that he normally steals. The kids seem a lot rougher here though. Nearly every time we have been at the playground there is sand throwing in eyes, or hitting etc going on. This is obviously normal for kids, but the difference in Paris is that no-one comes to stop them. Normally in NZ the parents step in to sort it out, but in Paris they seem to leave them to scratch each other’s eyes out! I’ve had to mediate on quite a few occasions and shake my finger at other kids while saying ‘attention’ which seems to be what all the French mothers say to their kids when telling them off. Late Night Fun in the Sandpit Bode was covered in sand when I put him to bed so it won’t be a very comfortable night’s sleep for him. Bodie and I managed to get on Skype today to talk to Jas which was really good. Bodie got very excited!! Right off to bed for me. Take Care Love Jules & Bode Page 37

39: More Sandpit Photos! Friday, July 25th, 2008 Just a quick one tonight as there is not too much to report. I decided to have a shopping day as I thought it was a good opportunity to do it while Jas was away (he hates shopping but I have Bodie well trained!). As there weren’t really any photos I could take of shopping I thought I’d bore you with more sandpit photos!!! They are more for the benefit of Jas and the grandparents. I guess the difference between traveling with and without kids is that with kids you spend quite a bit of time at playgrounds, whereas without them I guess you’d spend more time in cafés people watching. No doubt there will be more touristy photos of Paris when Jas gets back and we start to see the sights again. Sandpit Break Between Shopping Still Got My Green Spades Yip There Goes My Spade Page 38

40: Wanting to Play Table Tennis with the Big Boys Haven’t Dropped my Green Spade Though We went for our nightly walk along the Paris Plages again. Although it was still just as hot, there was more cloud cover so it was a lot more pleasant. It seemed a lot quieter on the Plages tonight. The French normally leave for their holidays on 1st August but perhaps some of them leave earlier, as it even seems more quiet on the streets. Back at the Paris Plages Fun in the Sand Page 39

41: Sharing my Toys One of my Many Mosquito Bites Yup I’ve been plagued by mosquito bites but I thought Bodie and Jas had been spared. Jas hasn’t been bitten but now Bodie has. It doesn’t seem to bother him though. I went to the Pharmacy and got some spray for him today. The lady serving us said they were particularly bad this year. Right that’s it from me tonight. If you’re lucky I might have some more sandpit photos for you tomorrow!!!! Love Jules & Bode Page 40

42: More Shops and More Food Saturday, July 26th, 2008 I seem to be spending my days shopping or checking out food stores and it wasn't any different today! I decided to check out the last few shops that I wanted to see while in Paris so headed to Madeleine. I was keen to go to Colette a “Japanese inspired concept store is the ultimate place to see what's hot in Paris” , but when I turned up it was closed for renovations!! It wasn't a short walk to get there either! Yesterday I went in search of the “ultimate” kids store that I’d read about but I couldn't find it! It must have closed down as their website wasn't working either when I checked. So not having much luck!! However when I got to Colette there was a sign saying they had a mini Colette store open around the corner. But when I went to check that out, they weren't joking when they said ‘mini’. In fact so mini there was a queue out the door and there was no way the pram was going to fit in the door. However I did have luck at the other place I wanted to check out which was a bit further away - Laduree. Laduree is famous for it's macaroons that it has been making since 1862. And they were very tasty indeed! There were a lot of fancy pants shops in this area but I stuck to window shopping as I think they may have been way out of my price range. However since I was in the area I thought I should check out Place De La Madeleine which is an area known for it's gourmet food stores. Church in the centre of Place De La Madeleine Page 41

43: I checked out the most famous food store - Fauchon - which was very impressive. It was so big it was over two buildings and several floors. The whole shop was basically bright pink and black and filled with the most amazing food. I didn’t buy anything from here though. Poor Bodie had been stuck in the pram for most of the day so I took him to the Tuileries Garden for a run around before heading back to the apartment. Fascinated with the Donkeys at the Tuileries Garden Trying to Figure Out what the Playground Equipment Does Mmm Still Not Sure Page 42

44: We have only eaten out at restaurants a few times while we've been in Paris but it’s hard to break away from our local traiteur who does the most amazing food! In fact we haven't cooked for ourselves at all but have been relying on the daily dishes the traiteur whips up. We have been getting on friendlier terms each time I go in, and tonight he was especially friendly (well as friendly as you can be when he doesn't know any English and we have to talk in French). I managed to decipher that he was about to go on holiday and was closing for a month!!! I’m not sure what I’m going to do about dinners any more! There is another traiteur over the road that we also use so hopefully they will still be open. I’m not holding my breath though. Today everyone I came across was particularly friendly - I think it must be because everyone is in holiday mode. I had a good chat to the concierge of our apartment today in French. She was asking where my husband was and telling me how beautiful Bodie was. With Jas away it's been quite good for me to force me to speak French more. I was just doing the basics like ordering food etc but now that I’m beginning to feel like a local on my street everyone is trying to start a conversation so I have to use it more (in saying that I’m still pretty terrible!). Obviously it was off to the Paris Plages tonight with Bode for our nightly walk and play in the sand. I wasn't going to take any more photos of Bodie playing in the sand since I’m sure you've seen enough, but there was a lovely girl there who wouldn't stop cuddling Bodie so I had to take a photo! The girls French parents were a lovely couple who I chatted to for ages (in broken English) while Bodie was happily playing with the girl. I still don't understand this idea that Parisians are rude!! I even had a very friendly Parisian man tell me the Parisian’s are rude. Very unjustified I’d say. Only 3 more sleeps till Jas is back - yay!!! Till tomorrow Love Jules & Bode Page 43

45: Tour De France Sunday, July 27th, 2008 Had a pretty low key morning at the playground as we were going to watch the final stage of the Tour De France cycling event in the afternoon. We set off about 3.30pm and and headed to pretty much the same area we were in yesterday near the Place De La Concord. By the time we got there the crowds were already well and truly packed in. We had to wait about an hour to see the riders but the atmosphere was pretty good with supporters chanting for their various countries, and music blaring from the shops trying to sell the Tour branded gear. I managed to find a side street in the shade where we could wait until the riders arrived and Bodie could have a run around. The Crowds Waiting Bodie Waiting The Peloton on their 1st Lap Page 44

46: I’ve become quite an expert at multi tasking with a young child in tow. It wasn't easy holding my handbag, trying to keep an eye on the pram, Bodie on my shoulders, as well as taking photos of the cyclists! I think the 1st lap I had the camera caught up in Bodie’s legs while he was on my shoulder so I missed the lead riders, the 4th lap I ran out of memory on the camera, and the 5th I didn't manage to get Bodie on my shoulders in time so also missed that lap! Luckily the cyclists had 8 laps so it gave me a chance to get it down to a fine art. I couldn't tell who the riders were so Mike or Jas will have to decipher these photos for me. The only one I could pick out was the Spaniard in the lead yellow jersey which is the main one I guess. We stopped off at the Paris Plages for a play in the sand on the way back and after Bodie ate a mouthful of sand I figured he might be hungry and need dinner as it was getting pretty late. Cafes take a long time to serve food (as the French like to linger over a meal) so I didn’t want to go there as I needed something quick. I did something I said I never would while traveling and that was go to a fast food outlet!! What a waste when there is such amazing food around. I was desperate though! I refused to go to McDonalds though and ended up going to the French equivalent called ‘Quick’. Pretty much the same cardboard tasting stuff though. Bodie enjoyed the chicken dippers though! Jas is about to get on a plane to London so it’s not long now until he’s back!!!! Take care Love Jules & Bode Page 45

47: Leaving Los Angeles and the sequel “Holes on a plane!” Sunday, July 27th, 2008 Hi all from LAX I have been a little quiet on the blogging front for the last week, due to making the trip to LA for our work conference at UCLA. I met my business partner Mark here and between us we only had one laptop and a lot of jet lag! So posting stuff hasn’t been high on the list for me, although it has been great to see Julie keeping it up! Makes me miss them a lot (and Paris) when I see the photos! A quick run down on what I ( and Mark) have been up to In fact even before that when, from when I left Paris (and the family) for London. Luckily I gave myself a bit of time to get to the Eurostar as the train station I was in was a nightmare rabbit warren, it took about 25 minutes to find the right platform, not helped by some very lazy “customer service” people, who would just point rather than actually say where the train left from. Anyway got the Eurostar across, only took 2hrs 15mins, which is not too bad for a 600km journey! Once I got to St Pancras, I legged it to Mel’s place, as she works from home. Nice wee pad she has there too, seemed enormous compared to our dinky little appartement in Paris. Went out with Mel and Anna for dins at a local tapas restaurant, beautiful night in London and great to catch up with them. Ended up staying at Mels on a very comfortable pile of couch seats! The other great thing about Mels place is that its above a very Kiwi cafe! The coffee was great (quite an unusual thing in London). Before i knew it I was on the flight to LA, it was really heartbreaking as the plane was taxiing down the runway as it really did feel like the point of no return from seeing Julie and Bodie! The flight was actually really good, I watched a French movie and then slept the rest of the way. Grabbed a taxi from the airport to the hotel and caught up with Mark who had flown in a few hours earlier. On Wednesday we had a meeting with our American payment processors (Dush and Terra), they flew in from Colorado to meet us. It was a good meeting but the jet lag caught up with Mark and I in the afternoon. We had a nana nap in the afternoon and then caught up with Dush and Terra for dinner. We went to a sushi place (but not as we know it) on Santa Monica pier. Extremely authentic Japanese food, makes me wonder why/how we get served up the crap we do in NZ that is purported to be sushi. In the end an early night Page 46

48: Next day Mark woke up feeling really ill, we had to call a doctor. Nice guy, gave Mark a jab, charged US$350 for the pleasure and then left! Good business if you can get it! By the end of the day Mark was feeling better, we even managed to get ourselves to the hotel gym and swimming pool. LA stays about 30C this time of year and it doesn't rain, although you can certainly see the smog layer, but at least its very sunny unlike NZ at the moment by all accounts! About 4pm we had a meet of all the NZ companies in this program and then a cocktail party after that where we met one of our UCLA students (they only send 1 to cut down on the booze bill). It was all pretty low key and we bailed pretty early. On Friday the program started with Mark and I meeting with our entire 5 person team. In a lot of ways it was as useful for us as what it was for them as Mark and I could objectively look at what the business has been up to and where we want to take it without the day to day pressures of actually running the business. It was a full on day though and even though we went out for dinner with the students we had another early one. Managed to duck out during the day and get Bodie a UCLA present (don't tell him Julie). Saturday was not as useful for Mark and I spent a lot of time just hanging about. This was mainly because the students had to deliver a presentation on our company in the afternoon, so a lot of time was spent sorting that out. The actual presentation was really good considering the time they had to put it together and the fact they didn't really know that much about us. Later that evening we went to the Consul Generals residence in Brentwood, along with the other NZ companies and their students. All you taxpayers out there will be pleased to know that I got some of that money back by drinking a few steinlagers on the NZ government They had a buffet meal which was first class. Again a bit of an early night. It must be the heat! And today I am sitting in the Koru lounge at LAX waiting for my flight out of here and back to the family! I managed to wangle my way into business class so its all good in the hood! Can’t wait to get back to Paris and hoping that i am going to sleep as much as i did on the way here! Anyways this is really just a quick post, will write more once i get back to Paris! Take care and watch for holes in the plane! J Page 47

49: Only One More Night To Go!!! Monday, July 28th, 2008 Jas is back with his family tomorrow - yayayay!! Bodie and I have missed him heaps and are looking forward to showing him what hes missed out on in Paris while he’s been away. It was too hot to do much of anything today except hang by the beach. We went down to check out the swimming pool and as inviting as it looked we weren't there at the right time. They have allocated times for different ages which is great as it means it’s never too crowded. There is adult aquagym classes, 10 - 15 year old sessions, and under 10 year old sessions. However it looks like I’ll have to go out and buy Jas and Bodie some speedos as no boardshorts are allowed!!! We will also have to buy swimming caps as they are compulsory! Here are some more photos of the water misters which Bode spent the rest of the day running around in and getting soaking wet. So did I to be honest as it was so nice to cool down. Mmm I’ll really have to come up with some different photos. They are all starting to look the same on every post - Bodie running through the water misters, or Bodie playing in the sand!!! Page 48

50: Dad’s Back - Yay!! Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 Hi all Finally made it back to Paris! One heckuva day, 11 hour flight, 1 hour tube ride, 2.5 hours on the eurostar another 20 minute tube ride and a 5 minute walk to the apartment! I think it took Bodie a while to figure out who I was! But its all good, he has started saying Dadadadadada again! Out for Dinner Last Night Building Sand Castles with Dad Digging Holes with Mum Most of the day was spent recuperating at the beach. We didnt get up to much , just hung out. We are on the way to Toulouse tomorrow so I need to get my head together before that! Will try and post again this week, but it may be a little thin on the ground depending on internet access. Take care J, J et B Page 49

51: Oh My God We’re in Heaven!! Thursday, August 1st, 2008 Sorry no blog yesterday as we spent the morning traveling to Toulouse (Air France were great to fly with) and the afternoon was spent catching up with friends we are staying with in a small village about 1.5 hours further south of Toulouse. That was the start that Julie made on this post. Not a bad title! Anyway here is me filling you in on some more Bonjour from the South of France! This post is going to be a labour of love as I am typing it on a French keyboard, which has a different layout to an English one. We have been in Sarracolin, a little village about 1.5 hours south of Toulouse at the foot of the Pyrenees, for the last couple of days. We are staying with our French friends, Nicolas and Sorane, who we met in Slovenia on our Eastern European jaunt 5 years ago. They now have a son, Arthur, who is 5 months older than Bodie. Bodie & Arthur Playing Nicely Nicolas grew up in this valley and they moved back here about 2 months ago, so that Nicolas could work in the family business. His father owns a company that specializes in fixing and maintaining cable lifts (gondolas, ski-lifts, etc). The company employs around 30 staff and they service cables around the world. Prior to coming back here Nicolas and Sorane have lived and worked in places like the USA, Thailand, Slovakia, Latvia and Hungary. Page 50

52: Nico's & Sorane's Sarracolin Village A Street in the Village Houses Perched Over the River The Village Church Farmland Surrounding the Village Page 51

53: They have a new house, which is built in the French style so it fits in with the rest of the village. We have had dinner at Nicos parents place the last 2 nights and their place is in the smallest village in France, halfway up a mountain, with amazing views down the valley. Unfortunately I left the cable for the camera in Paris, so no photos until we get back there. Grailhen Village where Nicolas Parents Live The One Street in the Village View from Grailhen Village Nicolas Parents House Dinner in France is a family affair, with cousins, brothers, sisters and friends all coming along. The food and wine is amazing. The conversation is a little hard to handle still but it is getting a little easier to get the gist of whats going on. Certainly spoken more conversational French here than all of the time in Paris! The other big difference is the time that the French eat, dinner starts around 8pm with nibbles (salami, feta, radiches, salmon, etc), around 930 dinner is served off the grill and dessert (sorbet!) comes along after that so it can be 1030-1100 by the time its finished! Then there is usually a long round of goodbyes before we drive the 30 minutes back to Nico and Soranes place. It has been quite hard on Bodie but he is adjusting. Page 52

54: Dinner Overlooking the Mountains at Sunset at Nicolas Parents Sorane & Arthur & Nico Playing in the Hammock Other than the late nights Bodie is loving it as he can run around starkers all day (32C) and spend a lot of it in the paddling pool with Arthur. They are a little young to be friends exactly but Bodie does like playing with his toys! Page 53

55: Playing with More of Arthur’s Toys Playing in the Paddling Pool at Nicolas Parents Bodie Loves Dogs Arthur Playing in the Paddling Pool We are going camping in the mountains tonight so that should be interesting! In a weird kind of way this village reminds me of Reefton, at least with the early morning cloud cover in the valley. Other than that not at all! Its been a mission to write this much so will wait a few days before posting again! Hope you all have electric blankets. Love Jason, Julie et Bodie Page 54

56: Sarancollin... August 3rd, 2008 Sorry it’s been a few days but this keyboard is hard work so we have been putting it off, plus we haven’t been home a lot. We are having a great time here in the Pyrenees with lots of eating and sightseeing. The villages in this area are so quaint and beautiful - exactly what I was hoping to find. They look just like they have come out of a tourist brochure. We didn’t end up camping on the mountain as the weather wasn’t so good the day we wanted to go (the only average day we have had), so we went for a picnic at a lake instead (and got a bit of sunburn). The Lake Arthur & Nicolas Eating Lunch Page 55

57: Last night was the first night we haven’t had dinner at Nicolas parents (it was the Village party). We have been very spoilt at their place with fabulous food and an amazing house with great views. There is always a minimum of 10 people over for dinner so it’s a lively affair. Every night we start off with a glass of Moet with nibbles then red wine with dinner followed by cheese and dessert. Hmmm the French certainly know how to eat! There are lots of kids here with nieces/nephews/cousins etc. The children have their dinner the same time as the adults so poor Bode wasn’t eating until 9ish which is pretty late for the wee man. He has handled it pretty well though. There have been a few scrapes with all the kids snatching each others toys though. I’m pleased to report that Bodie manages to hold his own with the big kids though so he doesn’t get pushed around too much! Last night it was salted salmon steaks on the bbq with salad, cheese, wine and sorbet! A relatively early night after the amount of sun we have had. Nicos parents didnt get in until 4am thanks to the village party. Lucky we werent partying up there or we (and more particularly Bode) would be toast today. Today instead of going back to the parents for the day Jas and I decided to hang out at Nicolas place and relax. It’s been lovely sitting outside with a glass of wine watching Bodie splash around in the paddling pool. The only problem is that we forgot it’s Sunday and nothing is open in this village! We walked down to get some lunch but the Patisserie is closed as well as the supermarket. We tried to go to the one and only restaurant in the village but it was full! We don’t have a car either! Mmm not sure what we are going to do about dinner yet..lucky we bought some wine yesterday so at least we are ok on that front!! Coffee for Lunch at Cafe - No Food Served on Sundays! Page 56

58: Tomorrow we are renting a car and heading to Toulouse way. We haven’t sorted out any accommodation yet but hopefully we should be ok. We were going to go to Spain (it’s only 1.5 hours away) but as we’ve got no child seat for the car we don’t want to venture too far (it’s illegal to have them on your lap in France as in NZ). We are going back to Toulouse to see if we can hire a car seat as they don’t have them in the rental car places in these small villages. So the next few days are pretty unplanned and we are unlikely to have access to the internet. Our next post will probably be on the 7th when we are back in Paris. We will also be able to post some photos then as well. I hate to say it but this holiday seems even better when I read about the terrible weather in NZ at the moment! We are soooo glad we aren’t there!!!!! This post has been a bit better effort than my attempt the other day. Not only is the keyboard different but the internet keeps cutting out so it is a slow and painful process to write these. Until next time, A prochaine Love Jules, Jas and Bode Page 57

59: Je t’aime Paris August 7th, 2008 Ahhh back in Paris!! We wondered how we’d feel being back in a big city after our relaxing holiday but to be honest it feels like coming home and we were surprised at how much we missed it. It is much quieter in Paris though with all the locals disappeared from the streets and on holiday. It seems to be mainly tourists around which is not so good. From where we left off... We said our “Au revoirs” to Nico, Sorana et Arthur and hit the road with our rental car from Lannemazzan. For those of you who have driven on the other side of the road at 140km/hr you will know its not an experience for the faint-hearted, especially when people are passing you like you are standing still The speed limit is 130km/hr on the 3 lane autoroute but it doesn’t seem to mean much. Even the toll gates were a little tricky as you actually take a ticket when you enter the autoroute and then pay when you get off. Most of the ones I have been on you just pay as you go through. We had to head into Toulouse airport to get a baby seat as that is the only place in the area that they could be gotten from. So Bodie was strapped into the middle back passengers seat for that part of the trip. Very nerve wracking. After picking up the baby seat we headed about half an hour out of Toulouse, on the way to Carcassone, to La Nauzelaire, a maison d’hotes Julie found on the net (http://la-nauzelaire.com) the day before. Unfortunately we didnt have a detailed map of the area and it was a relatively new place, so the locals hadn’t even heard of it. We drove around for about an hour until I walked into a Tabac and asked for directions and got the entire shop discussing where it could possibly be. As no one spoke English it was a little tricky to figure it out but we got there. Prior to that I had asked quite a few people, most of whom had no idea, one old guy however did seem to know - unfortunately he spoke French like a maniac on P. It was the first time on this trip where I could not understand one single word someone said, or even if they were words at all La Nauzelaire Page 58

60: The Room Julie with the view from our room in the background La Nauzelaire itself was amazing. The hosts (Brigitte and her husband) were outstanding. As we had arrived fairly late in the day we were stuck for food as nothing is open on a Monday (no supermarket/bistros/patesseries etc), so they drove us to where the only restaurant open in town was (we followed in our car). Unfortunately it didnt open until 8 and it was 7:15 and we had a hungry baby on our hands. So, in a quirky twist of fate we ended up back at the Tabac, which had sold out of everything edible, but we got some junk food to eat (processed bread & cheese!) and a 2.85E bottle of wine (that was the most expensive in the shop!). When I asked Brigitte for a corkscrew she pulled out the rolls royce of openers and came up to open our bottle. When she saw what we had to eat and drink she just about fainted! She suggested that we eat on a table and chairs outside our room while Bodie slept. While we were putting Bodie down to sleep they (without our knowing) set the table, provided a salad, bread and foie gras! They must have felt really sorry for us! Turned out to be an amazing meal in the sunset, truly one of the most memorable! Brigittes husband even made me an espresso from their kitchen to finish the evening off. Page 59

61: Dinner outside with the sun setting Yum! Sunset We would have liked to stay another night here but it was fully booked so Brigitte arranged our accommodation for the next night at a new place nearby called La Masquiere. The breakfast the next morning was very good and we would have liked to stay for a swim in the pool but it was time to head to La Masquiere. Page 60

62: Bodie Enjoying Breakfast Bodie playing Bodie loved the horses Another shot of the view Sorry this is all we have time for today as it’s getting late. We will post more photos tomorrow and update the rest of our trip down south. J,J & B Page 61

63: La Masquiere August 8th, 2008 La Masquiere was a little easier to find and it was only about 10km away from La Nauzelaire (www.lamasquiere.com). I didn’t think our holiday could get any better but I was wrong!! This place was paradise! La Masquiere is set amongst the sunflower fields and next to the Canal Du Midi that runs an extraordinary distance, like over 1,000 kms - very picturesque place. Pool and Cabana at La Masquiere La Masquiere surrounded by Sunflower Fields The accommodation only opened in April and was brand spanking. A night at a maison d’hotes costs about 80 euro, which is around NZ$160. We stayed in a motel in Kaikoura once in what was essentially a concrete block room with no heating and that cost $140! Thats where the comparisons end! Page 62

64: Cooling Down in the Pool Swimming The Canal was beautiful with lots of canal boats making there way around France and cyclists using the canal paths. We went for a walk to the nearest town along the canal paths and it was beautiful because it was so scenic and the trees sheltered us from the hot sun! Next time we are in France we would love to do a cycle tour or boat tour along the canal for a week or two. Walking along the Canal Du Midi A Canal Lock Yum Page 63

65: Cooling Down After our Long Walk Being at this place felt like a real holiday as we just spent all day sitting out by the pool swimming and reading. Bodie could have his sleeps upstairs in the room while we relaxed. There are lots of beautiful medieval villages within close distance but it was too hot to be walking around and it was so relaxing by the pool that we didn’t want to move from there. Once again the hosts were super friendly, we had a bottle of Rose with them the first night we were there. The owner, Patrick, also had a gym in the nearest village, Villefranche, and was a keen squash player. He was quite proud that Thierry Lincou (former world number one) came from the region and had played at his courts. It was good for Jas being able to practice some French in a more social setting as well. The All Blacks are certainly a big brand around here, although Jas told him to watch out for SBW As we didn’t want to move far from the pool the hosts once again prepared us a lovely dinner (this time we paid for it!). When Bodie was in bed Jas & I went down by the pool and were treated to a beautiful 3 course dinner under the setting sun complete with a bottle of Rose wine. We were going to spend our last night in Toulouse but as we were enjoying La Masquiere so much we decided to stay another night. Jas was supposed to have a business meeting in Toulouse on the Wednesday but instead we got the guy to come to La Masquiere where Jas had the meeting beside the pool (I told you we didn’t want to move away from it!). I think Jas wishes all his meetings could be done like this! So again it was another day of hanging by the pool in 35 degrees heat! Page 64

66: As the sunflower fields were so beautiful I was on a mission to capture the perfect sunflower shot! It is harder than it seems and I don’t think I quite captured it. The sunflower fields looked so much better in real life. Here are a selection of the photos but there were heaps more! It was sad to leave on Thursday as we would have liked to stay longer. We drove back to Toulouse airport and were stung 380 euros for 3 days car rental!! We were told it was going to be around 200! Then at the airport we discovered our flight was cancelled.luckily we got to the airport over an hour early so managed to get on the earlier flight. Poor Jas wasn’t having a very good start to his birthday. Actually it didn’t get that much better either as we spent the rest of the day traveling back to Paris, grabbing a quick lunch, giving Bodie a run in the playground, having soup for dinner, getting caught in torrential rain (which Bodie loved playing in!) and putting Bode to bed early as he hadn’t had a sleep all day. Oh well at least Jas was in Paris for his birthday!! The weather when we arrived back to Paris was in the early 20’s (as opposed to late 20’s when we left) but it was actually very pleasant after all the hot weather. Yesterday was the first day on our holiday that it has rained!! That’s pretty good for 4 weeks! It has rained a couple of times but that was in the middle of the night so it didn’t matter. The rain in Paris was very off and on (one minute torrential rain, the next blue sky and sunshine) and it is still warm so it wasn’t too bad. You might be getting two posts today because now I need to update what we have been up to today! I have also posted the rest of our photos so you will have to go to the earlier blog posts to see them. I hope you are all well. Love Jules, Jas & Bode Page 65

67: Another day in Paris! Hi all We had a bit of a quiet one today as Bodie needed to get back on track with his sleeping, after we had him all over the place during the last week or so. He has come right pretty quickly and is back to his happy little self! Julie discovered a new coffee place after my last one (www.lapeyronie.fr) closed for renovations. The Lapey Ronie felows are moving a couple of doors down the rue into a bigger place and I chatted with the owner when we went past yesterday. They will be finished the renovations of the new shop around August 25th, so I said ’see you in douze mois’ in my best franglaise! The new coffee place is actually Italian in name and is a pizzeria of sorts. It is on Rue Montorgueil (a somewhat famous street in its own right), which is a pedestrian mall. Perhaps it is what the Christchurch City Council is hoping Cashel St Mall will turn into A magasin on Rue Montorgueil A view of the Rue!

68: They have classic staff at the new coffee place, taking the piss out of my French but in a good natured sort of way! After coffee it was off to the sandpit, Bodie just loves these things, it is going to be a real shame for him when we get back to NZ! Might have to splash out on one for him for Xmas. Bodie in the sandpit again! And again! And finally a new toy, before heading back to the sandpit During Bodies afternoon sleep we watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Unfortunately NZ was not too far behind France, so after waiting nearly 2 hours to see them all we got was less than 3 seconds worth! Back to the Italian place for dins (coffee and pizza!), then down to the plage so that Bodie could have a final play in the sand. He threw a real wobbly when we had to leave because they were packing everything up! Since we have been back Paris has the feel of a ghost town as all the French have headed south and the tourists have come in. Now instead of hearing French everywhere, you are more likely to hear Americans! It certainly has lost its vibe without the daily French commuters doing their thing (and half the stores being closed!). Tomorrow we are going to plan out the rest of our stay and hope to get to a couple of the famous chateaux. Take care, a bientot J, J et B

69: Saturday in Paris - Where is Everyone? We went and checked out the Bastille district today as Jas wanted to look at some kids toy shops that had been recommended (I can’t believe it was Jas’ suggestion to go shopping!!). However the area was like a ghost town and there were hardly any shops open. It is so strange how everything shuts up over August while everyone is on holiday. Apparently there are a lot more shops open in August than there ever used to be so I guess we are lucky they aren’t all closed! The tourist places still seem to be busy but the more out of the way places are sooo quiet. Very strange for such a big city. Place De La Bastille We passed by the Carnavalet Museum on the way and checked out the beautiful gardens. The Museum was once the home of Madame de Sévigné, one of King Louis XIV’s favorites. It is amazing to think that people used to live in these grand buildings. Lovely Gardens in the Carnavalet Museum Mum & Bodie Bodie Trying to Find his way out

70: The weather was beautiful today as it wasn’t so hot (mid 20’s) which is much better for walking. You don’t feel like doing too much when it’s hot and sticky. We stopped by Place des Vosges for lunch and a play in the sandpit for Bode. Sandpit Break at the Place des Vosges Building Sandcastles with Dad Since all the Traiteur’s in Paris seem to be closed our dinners have been going rapidly downhill! We had soup the first night back, pizza last night and Chinese tonight!! Terrible of us to buy that sort of food in a country that has such beautiful food! As our kitchen is so tiny it is not really conducive to making gourmet meals, so we have been relying on the Traiteur’s and their restaurant quality meals. We haven’t been out to restaurants too much as they aren’t very child/pram friendly and Bodie doesn’t sit still for too long (the French normally have very drawn out meals so the food takes ages to arrive). Bodie Eating Dinner

71: As it was such a beautiful night we went for a walk down the Plage and Bodie had a play in the sand. We even managed to acquire two lovely babysitters. Two teenage French girls kept taking photos of Bodie and picking him up to play with him so we just left them to it while Jas and I relaxed for an hour. We then went down to the end of the Plage where they normally have dancing but tonight they had a full on concert. The band was really good and Bodie enjoyed dancing along. Bodie on Mama’s Shoulders - his first concert! You can see Bodie in the Crowd if you look out for the Green Spade! Right off to bed for me. Take care Love Jules, Jas & Bode

72: Jim Morrison wuz here! Hi all Started off a little drizzly today (though still 22C!). Nevertheless took Bodie to the park for his morning run around. He is definitely saying “Car” now, actually he is saying it about 100 times in a row whenever he sees his favorite toy in the playground! While Bodie was having his morning sleep I watched Brazil thrash us at soccer. Boys against men there Watching the Olympics fro here is quite interesting as they tend to show a lot of Judo, as the Frenchies seem to be pretty good at that. And of course EVERY football game I was pretty keen to get to the Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise today and for while there it looked as though the weather was going to count against us but, as it has tended to do all trip, it cleared up and by the time we got out of the Metro there was not a drop to be seen. Mum and Bode waiting for the train The cemetery houses quite a few of Paris’ famous and not so famous former inhabitants. It opened in 1804 and now has around 69,000 inhabitants covering 43 hectares. It basically looks like one big sculpture garden as it appears people have tried to outdo each other even in death! Flash as Michael Jackson Rossinis grave, he wrote William Tell amongst others Jim Morrisons rather non-descript grave

73: This was the popular grave, with a lot of bogans milling around. It was quite weird as bogans are the last thing you expect to see in Paris but obviously quite a few make the pilgrimage. They have had to fence it off and put a guard on the site as it used to be left covered in empty beer cans, used condoms and cigarette butts The big 3 for us to see were Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf and Oscar Wilde. I was also interested in seeing Abelard and Heloise who died in the 12th century but had their remains reinterred here. Unfortunately I couldnt find them! Not sure who it is, but I like it Edith Piaf’s grave Edith Piaf (the Urchin Sparrow) had 2 million people attend her funeral when she died in 1963. She had a rough upbringing but overcame it to be one of the singing stars of her generation. She was known as a bit of a man-eater but in doing so she launched the careers of several of her lovers. Her grave is still visited and decorated by thousands every year.

74: Oscar Wildes tomb/grave and its warning sign about showing respect to his tomb and not to deface it! Oscar Wildes tomb/grave Oscar Wilde was a famous Irish playwright who is probably just as well known for his quotes. One of which he made on his deathbed “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death - one of us has got to go”. His tomb is covered in graffiti and kisses! There used to be a rather large penis hanging off the sculpture, but apparently the feminists got a hold of it Its not often that you could say this about a cemetery but you could spend all day here easily. Unfortunately with the wee man we didnt have the time to do it justice, mainly because the paths are all cobbled so there was no way that he could get to sleep in the pram! Later on in the evening we found some cool stationary shops not far from our apartment, will be checking those out more thoroughly in the days to come Hope all is well, I see it is -3C in Christchurch at the moment. Sounds cold! A bientot J, J et B

75: Montmartre, Sacre Coeur and the Moulin Rouge Today we checked out the Montmartre area, probably most famous for being the site of the Moulin Rouge, however over here the Sacre Coeur is probably a bigger drawcard. We had been putting off going to Montmartre as it is very hilly with cobblestone streets and lots (and I mean lots!) of stairs. It all looks very lovely, but is not the best with a pram! We had a decent metro ride to take and are always delighted at the variations of signs that the French have for their metro stations Barbes Rochechouart metro station try saying that with a mouthful of croissant After an arduous climb up the hill to Sacre Coeur we were presented with magnificent views of Paris. The construction of the Sacre Coeur started in 1876 and didnt finish for another 43 years! The Sacre Coeur! View of Paris

76: The first time Jules and I came to Paris we stayed in Montmarte and absolutely loved the area (it had a real village feel to it), but this time there seemed to be a hang of a lot more tourists. We had stayed on the other side of the Sacre Coeur which I think is too far for most tourists to venture. Lots of Tourists Bodie getting excited about a water fountain! Montmartre is renowned for its windmills, it used to supply all the flour to the Parisian boulangeries back in the day. A few windmills still remain although I dont think any are used for commercial purposes any more. Here is one above what is now a restaurant. Moulin de la Galette Random sculpture

77: After a long descent we found ourselves outside the Moulin Rouge. Pretty seedy area of town to be honest and heaps of tourists! The Moulin Rouge! We are just starting to realize that we dont have long to go, only another week! Time is starting to zip by! We are looking at going to Versaille in the next couple of days and I want to catch the Musee de Rodin and maybe one more look around the Eiffel Tower, then we will probably be done! I am also hoping that the weather in NZ has a miraculous turnaround and busts out the sunshine for our arrival! Take care J, J et B

78: Where did the Weeks Go?? Six weeks is nearly up and it has gone sooo quickly! At the beginning of the week I was starting to worry that we didn’t have enough time to see everything but there are only a couple more things on our ‘must do’ list then we are pretty much done. You could spend a lot longer in Paris as there is so much more to see. We decided to have a pretty low key day today with a bit of shopping and playing in the parks. As there wasn’t much to take photos of I’ve put in some more of Bodie at the park today! (As a mother I’m allowed to take a million and one photos of my child - I think I’ve nearly reached the million mark)!

79: After a morning play for Bode on the sand at the Plage and a bit of shopping we went to Rue Montorgueil to get lunch and Jas’ ever important coffee then sat on the grass at Les Halles to eat lunch. It was beautiful in the sun relaxing while Bodie chased pigeons around. Near where we were sitting there were a large number of police (around 14) but we weren’t sure if there was something going on or whether there is just a large police presence in the area as the area around Les Halles is a bit dodgy. If you don’t mind sharing the grass with a number of homeless/crazy people then it’s doesn’t seem too bad. What’s Going On? Bodie Chasing Pigeons Eglise Saint Eustache (with homeless man in foreground)

80: Bodie’s First Carousel Ride (he doesn’t look that thrilled!) Carousel’s are very Popular in Paris We did some shopping in the afternoon and I still think on the whole most things are cheaper than in NZ. Even food is pretty much the same. It just goes to show how expensive NZ has gotten when you consider Europe to be cheap!! That is even taking the exchange rate into account. I’m starting to get worried about our baggage limit though, let alone trying to find room in our suitcase for everything! We went to our local park in the evening and met a lovely Parisian couple with their 17 month old son. We were talking to the couple for over an hour until we got kicked out of the park as it was closing. Bodie and Jules (the wee boy) had a great time clapping together and pushing the prams around. It was even very funny when Jules full on rugby tackled Bodie. He kind of leapt on Bodie’s back and they both fell over. Very impressive! The one time I didn’t have the camera on me!! Jas is obviously drinking far too much coffee because the guy at the coffee place gave him his coffee for free tonight! They have even started giving Bodie Amaretti biscuits since we go there all the time. I might have to start thinking about weaning Jas off the coffee!! Until tomorrow Love Jules, Jas & Bode

81: Musee Rodin Bonjour from Paris! It all started out a bit chilly today, 15C this morning and it felt like winter well, actually nothing like winter in NZ at the moment by the sounds of it. We will have to make sure we rug up before we hit Christchurch, no showing off the tan:( Took Bodie down to the plage so he could play in the sand, he just loves it and has become very sociable, in fact just about too much as he wants to play with the big kids but they move way too fast for him. Kids his own age tend to be still getting on their feet and not interested in other kids to play with. Will be interesting to see how the rest of the antenatal class have been getting on when we get back to Chch. Spent the afternoon at the Musee Rodin, a short metro ride towards the Eiffel Tower. I have always been a fan and have somehow managed to miss this museum every other time I have been to Paris. Its not really a museum as such as many of Rodins works are situated in the gardens, while a whole lot more are stored indoors in a large chateau in the grounds. Truly a very relaxing spot as it is not overly touristy. Rodins most famous work, The Thinker And another angle! Just to prove it was his work

82: Bodie, Dad and The 3 Shades The Chateau and the grounds Another statue! Unfortunately a lot of the better pics were around the wrong way so they will have to wait til we get home to get righted! Its a shame because the Gates Of Hell is well worth a look In the evening we went to the local department store, which is massive, at least by NZ standards. Managed to get a few dvds and comics in French so will be interesting to see how much I can understand when I get to view them! At the moment we are sitting in the apartment with a Bordeaux and a range of cheeses and baguettes! Certainly the Life of Reilly at the moment! Tomorrow we are looking at heading to Versailles, depends on the weather, the forecast always seems to be for rain but it never comes! Those are the types of forecasts I like! Take it easy everyone and see you in a week or so! J, J et B

83: Champs Elysees & Trocadero We were keen to go to the Catacombes today (millions of skulls & bones of Parisians stacked underground when they ran out of room in the cemeteries in 1785!!) but we weren’t sure if it was pram friendly (or nightmare proof friendly for Bode), so we opted for the very touristy “must visit when in Paris” - Champs Elysees. The last time I came to the Champs Elysees I wasn’t that impressed and my view hasn’t changed this time either. Granted, it is a very lovely tree lined avenue with good views of the Arc de Triomphe but aside from that it is just a crowded giant street lined with super sized chain stores that you can go to anywhere in the world. We battled the crowds and made our way to the Arc de Triomphe for the obiligatory photos then decided to walk to the Eiffel Tower again for a final look. Jas & Bode on the Champs Elysees Arc de Triomphe Another Angle

84: This time we went to the Trocadero which is on the other side of the river but has great views of the Eiffel Tower. It wasn’t a great day for photos though as it was very overcast. The Eiffel Tower still blows us away every time we look at it. View of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadero Tonight was spent at the playground then going for a bit of a walk. The place really seems to come alive after 8pm. The streets seem very quiet during the day but at night everyone seems to come out to party. Only 2 days to go - argh!!! There are so many more things we would like to do but it’s so hard trying to fit it all in. Now it’s a matter of choosing between them all and trying to fit in as much as we can but at the same time just chilling and soaking it all up. We really should have come up with a bit of a plan as we tend to decide on the day what we are going to do. Take care Jules, Jas & Bode

85: OK, whats going on? I was looking at the stuff website and saw that it was -1C in Christchurch and I also saw a lot of people complaining on Facebook about the weather in NZ in general. Lets just all hold hands and pray that the weather comes good by Tuesday or we will take the next plane back to this side of the world! We are in total soaking it up mode at the moment as we are a little over doing all the touristy things and have decided to leave everything we have missed until next time. So today it was back down the plage for a play in the sand, coffee and lunch at the new coffee place (which also doubles as a very good organic food restaurant) and then a late evening walk just cruising around the streets. All very low key but tres cool as well! We even went back to the new coffee place for dinner and are probably going to head there for petit dejeuner (breakfast) tomorrow. And I suppose the packing starts tomorrow as we are getting picked up at 9am on Sunday to head to the airport and 36+ hours of travelling back to NZ! I would say that Chch airport will be the first time we will need those long sleeve tops we packed for this trip Anyways its “Au revoir” from me and Julie will have the honor of the last post tomorrow Take care and see you soon a bientot! J, J et B

86: Last Day in Paris!!! I didn’t want this day to come but I guess we can’t fund a never ending holiday forever (I have to send Jas back to work!). We have had such a great time in France and this holiday has far exceeded our expectations . Travelling with a child makes it even more enjoyable. Having a child hasn’t changed what we would normally do on a holiday too much. It would have been nice to have more lingering meals at restaurants, but it’s not like we would be going out for dinner every night anyway so it hasn’t been too bad. We are already planning where we will go on our next visit to France (hopefully the same time next year). Today was spent visiting all our favourite places for the last time. We went down to the Plage in the morning so Bode could have his final play in the sand and Jas could go on his last run along the Seine, then it was back to the apartment to sort out the packing (and watch NZ win a few medals!). It was a bit of a mission as we have managed to buy quite a bit of stuff! It will be interesting to see if we are over the weight limit! We went out to lunch to our new favourite (the organic restaurant) then for a walk around our area. I am actually feeling very sad about leaving this place - there might be tears tomorrow!! The evening was spent at the playground for a picnic dinner where Jas even got to talk rugby with a Welsh guy who was there with his kid. There are no photos today as Jas has packed up the camera. Actually the camera it pretty much on it’s last legs anyway. It has been bashed about and got so much sand in it. The flash hasn’t been working for a couple of days so the photos have been a bit average anyway. We aren’t looking forward to the 36 hours of travelling ahead of us (the only downside to coming to this side of the world), or the winter weather in NZ either! But I am looking forward to my huge house (in comparison to this tiny apartment) and my kitchen!! As I haven’t been able to cook for 6 weeks, I’ve actually really missed it! That will probably only last a week though! See you in a few days. Love Jules, Jas & Bode

87: Back Home - Brrrrrr Well this will be the final post of our trip!! Already after two days back home it already feels like our holiday was a life time ago. The taxi ride to the airport in Paris was sad as we really didn’t want to leave. The plane ride home wasn’t too bad with Bodie getting a bit more sleep than on the way over. He got about 4 hours sleep each leg of the trip although that meant entertaining him for the other 6 hours! Bodie is a great wee traveler though and we certainly wouldn’t hesitate going on another trip like this with him again. We had a 12 hour stopover in Singapore and although we intended to go into the city for a few hours the 12 hours went by so quickly we didn’t have time. We again used the fantastic Transit Hotel and had a sleep for 6 hours before doing a bit of shopping and getting a bite to eat. Singapore is certainly one clean and organised place. Next time we would like to spend a few days there to have a good look around. I thought the French were friendly with kids but man the Singaporeans love kids. In fact we hardly saw Bodie at the airport as the waitress took off with him to show him to all the other waitress’s and pass him around for cuddles. He was gone for about 15 minutes before she bought him back! It meant we could eat our dinner in peace which was rather nice. I guess after 6 weeks I must have picked up some French because it took me a couple of days after leaving to not automatically say ‘merci’ etc which was quite odd. As the plane was landing in ChCh the pilot told us the weather conditions in ChCh. It was 2 degrees with snow and rain!! There was an audible sigh from the entire aeroplane! Not a very nice welcome for us! I was surprised at the amount of snow on the Port Hills. Bodie seems to be affected more by the jetlag on the return journey as he has been sleeping a lot. His first night home he slept from 7.30pm till 11.30am - 16 hours!! We went to the supermarket when we got back and poor Bode is missing all the attention he got in Paris. People aren’t so fussed with kids in NZ so Bode didn’t have anyone stop to talk to him which he is not used to. He even tried out his cutest moves (the fake laugh) but no-one responded. I felt sorry for the wee man! I think he is going to miss being around so many people as he loves the attention. Even taking him to a playground won’t help as generally he would be the only kid there. In Paris the playgrounds are full of kids but in NZ I guess everyone has backyards to play in. I will have to organise a proper playgroup or something for him. Bodie does love being back home though as there is so much space for him to run around and so many toys!! He was like a kid in a candy shop we he first arrived home. It’s been so long since he’s been around proper toys that he is loving it - especially the trucks! As much as we loved our trip to France it is always nice to come home (after opening 6 weeks worth of mail and doing endless loads of washing that is). We are loving the fresh clean air, healthy veges again, and the amount of space at home!! Ahhh now to plan our next trip Au Revoir - 0ver and out for the last time Love Jules, Jas & Bode

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  • By: Bodie O.
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  • Title: Rustic Charm
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  • Started: over 7 years ago
  • Updated: about 7 years ago