Lifetime Memories from Our Trip to Paris
By Eleanor Nelson.
This summer my husband Jim and I had the opportunity to travel on a multigenerational trip to Europe. Being in the travel business for so many years, I have been fortunate to travel to many amazing places. As I get older, one of the things I cherish most, is the time spent traveling with my children and grand-children. We started out the vacation in August with a
couple of days in Paris, a city very close to our hearts. Jim and I got married there and it is our
favorite city. The thrill of seeing my grandchildren experience Paris for the first time was one of the most unforgettable moments of my life. Paris is a truly spectacular city, but the best part of our visit was our decision to splurge and stay at Le Bristol Hotel on the Rue du Faubourg.
From the moment we stepped into the lobby and then into one of the most beautiful dining rooms I’ve ever seen. Everyone at the hotel was gracious
and friendly. The staff was impeccable. The guest rooms offered sweeping views of the Eiffel Tower and upon entrance to the rooms we saw that the
staff had placed personalized toys on each bed for our grandchildren. Upon looking out the window, my grandsons made sure to let us know that the Eiffel Tower looked exactly the way it’s supposed to from their school books. I will never forget the joy we shared at that moment. This was the perfect start to our vacation. I knew we were creating lifetime memories! The thrill of walking along the Seine, taking the elevator up to the top of the Eiffel Tower (climbing down the tower, not up) and going to the Musee D’Orsy to see paintings the children had learned about at school was heartwarming. I remember seeing each attraction for the first time myself and it was absolutely exhilarating (and at times exhausting) to see it through their eyes. Each summer the Tulleries has a carnival with rides, food, and activities for the children. Our family loved it! After a while my husband and I found a quiet café where we could sit and sip wine, watch our grandchildren, and laugh. By this point, we couldn’t possibly keep up with our kids—but we didn’t mind. It was fun just watching them enjoy themselves.
From Paris to Florence
After four days in Paris, it was on to Italy. We rented a Tuscan home in the midst of a vineyard five miles outside of Florence. We got the best of both worlds! ! Florence in August was very quiet and easy to navigate. In deciding where we wanted to stay, the family made only one rule: We must be within a 10-minute drive to Chocolate Gelato! We spent time touring the Accademia Gallery which houses the original David, the Uffizi Gallery, the Gucci Museum, the Duomo, and the Bell Tower. While the adults marveled at the sights, the kids were happy eating pasta and pizza, and of course gelato. Everyone spoke some English, so our family felt right at home.
Back to Paris
After a week in Italy, we said goodbye to our family, and Jim and I went back to Paris and this time stayed on the Left Bank at the Esprit St. Germain Hotel. This area of Paris feels very Parisian and has kept its “Parisian charm” with its street vendors, and traditional cuisine. As worldly as Paris truly is, St. Germain is still an intimate little village. The 5th, 6th and 7th Arrondissments constitute this area and are all generally regarded as the Left Bank. Street festivals and performers, local cafes, and historic landmarks are all part of the St. Germain evolution. We had an unforgettable trip!
Travel Overseas and Safety
One last thing I do want to touch on is my family’s’ personal safety. I would never have taken my grandchildren to Europe if I didn’t feel it was safe. Although the world recalls all the horrific things happening in France recently, we did not see a huge Police or Military presence. The Europeans really appreciated Americans coming to show their support and were pleased to have us there. They treated us as honored guests and thanked us many times for coming. I’m sure our grandchildren will have many more opportunities to travel through Europe again in their lifetime, but I hope that they will remember that their first experience was with Grandma and Grandpa.