One of the great things about France is the school vacation schedule. The French believe in following the "rhythm" of the year, which mean that kids have a two week break every six weeks. This means that they have a fall break, a Christmas break, a "ski" break, and a spring break. They don't get out of school until the end of June, but a shorter summer means that less learning is lost from year to year. Unfortunately, the American school (where Kevin teaches and Serena is a student) only takes one of the weeks in the fall and one of the weeks in February, so they can finish the year mid-June. But, hey - it's still a break every 6-7 weeks, which is pretty great! So, for the week off this February, we decided to stay in Paris and pretend to be tourists (it IS the top tourist destination in the world). A visit to the Louvre is a "must-do" if you visit Paris. Bonus: the French give priority admission to people with disabilities, pregnant women and people with babies. Thank you, Ian, for letting us skip the line! It was actually funny, because I had him in the Boba wrap instead of the stroller. The sign showing who gets priority has a picture of a mom with a stroller, and I think that's what the guards are used to, so they were very confused. They didn't know if they should let us skip the line, since we didn't have a stroller. I was like "hello?...BABY." So, if you're visiting Paris while pregnant or with a baby, DON'T wait in long lines...go right to the front.
^^Cool fact: in France having a baby gets you to the front of the line - and thank goodness, because the line was long! They have a separate entrance/line at most places for people with disabilities and for people with babies (there is a picture of a stroller on the sign). I had to push a little, since I didn't have a stroller, but they accepted that a baby in a carrier was the same thing. I guess babywearing isn't too popular there yet!
^^Serena copied some of the statues' poses. Now she just needs a toga.
Serena has mad selfie skills. She got a few great shots in the mirror.
^^We all loved this painting of the louvre. It's fun to imagine how it was in past centuries, when people sat and painted among the great works.
^^We had to make the obligatory stop at the Mona Lisa. Most people know that her little half smile intrigued people in the 1500's, which helped make the painting popular, but it's less well known how it became the most famous painting in the world. It's partly because it was stolen from the Louvre in 1911. This article has more information.
Moving from America to France with two preteen girls, two dogs and a cat was an incredible adventure. After four years living just outside of Paris, the Family McLean is back in the U.S. (minus the cat, but with a new baby boy). There's always something new to discover, whether it's a family outing, a new recipe, or the next fun vacation.