We arrived after a long flight on Air China with a stop in freezing Beijing. I thought I wanted to live in a place with snow again but after freezing our butts off on the shuttle bus that transferred us to our gate (with our coats checked in our luggage) I changed my mind. Air China, by the way, was the worst!! The seats were so small and so cramped and it didn’t help that I was in a middle seat and the second we were in the air the guy in front of me put his seat all the way back. The seats were hard, my television wasn’t working properly and the food was the absolute worst food I have ever eaten on an airlines. Coco who isn’t particularly picky refused to eat a bite. I don’t blame her; it was bland and uninspiring. I don’t expect a gourmet meal but edible would be nice. No such luck.
Anywho, we arrived safely and took a very expensive taxi ride to St. Cloud to my mom’s friend’s house. We had rented an apartment but it wasn’t available until the 21st and we arrived on the 20th so we planned to spend the first night in St. Cloud. Turns out we spent the first two nights there because the distance between the apartment and the house was a huge hassle to deal with (several metros and a long 20 minute walk). The house was very welcoming and very French and we were pleased to arrive. Here she is in the yard leading up to the house. It is just gorgeous nestled into a quiet, green courtyard. Coco was exhausted and crashed immediately but I stayed up to eat a proper meal and chat with the host. It was so crisp and clean and green. Wonderful reprieve from Manila!
The next day morning Coco had her first taste of pain au chocolat (love at first bite!) and then we walked over to a local market where I bought her a little treat.
I loved staying in this house because without television she plays so well with what is around. There were some cute wooden toys around and she enjoyed playing with them. Later we went to check out the apartment and boy did we luck out! It was just as it looked online and perfectly immaculate. It has a large, fully stocked kitchen (where I am sitting right now sipping on some tea as I type up this post) and three separate bedrooms. The owners even put up a tree for us and left us wrapped gifts to open on Christmas day! We returned to St. Cloud (it’s a suburb of Paris) for the night, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the grandparents the next day.
The next afternoon while Coco and I were snuggled on the couch reading Madeline by a roaring fire, Coco spied grandpa walking up the walkway and yelled, “Grandpa!!” and ran out to greet them. It was so nice they were able to meet up in Paris, along with my sister Susan, and I was as pleased as she to see they had arrived safely. They had had some crazy drama with trying to secure my dad’s new passport but thankfully it arrived in time. We all went to see the apartment which is located on a quiet street lined with art galleries and clothing warehouses in Le Marias. Later we went to a Christmas market and enjoyed some pizza and mussels in a cafe. On Christmas Eve, we went to a lovely classical music concert in an old church. I ordered the tickets for everyone online and was so pleased about my purchase. It was very magical to be sitting in a tiny old church listening to Ava Maria and other gorgeous music by candlelight on Christmas eve in Paris. The acoustics were amazing but the setting was just breathtaking. Coco was an angel sitting on my lap. She said the music was beautiful.That night we put out some cookies and water for Santa and some carrots for the reindeer. Then we took a few pics by the tree and then snuggled into bed to read stories.