After months of thinking about this and then the last minute rush to get everything booked and organized (why do I wait?) we are finally off for our three month European trip. I have Jake (22), Ben (17), Max (9), and Charlotte (6) with me and hopefully Grandma will be over in a few weeks.

We left on US Mother’s Day from Tampa and flew easily over to London. Charlotte was very excited and fun to be flying with. She loved her kid’s meal on the flight especially as she got hers before anyone else did (when you are the youngest of five little things make you happy).


BA flies into Gatwick and out to Europe from Heathrow but I had booked a minivan to take us across the city. For a family of five this was cheaper than taking the bus that is also available.

It was an easy trip of about an hour which wasn’t too bad for a Monday morning at 8am. Drizzling a bit but I still found it hard to be in England but not stay and explore. Hopefully we will be back in a few weeks.

The trip to Paris was short and when we came out we managed to get everyone into quite a large taxi. This was pretty good given we had 4 large suitcases, 2 small ones, 5 backpacks and a computer bag – oh and 5 people! We came out so fast I forgot Euros (duh) but the taxi driver said no problem because I could use my credit card. However once we got across Paris we found out the American credit cards do not work in European push in machines that require a chip. Luckily he took dollars. Still this credit card issue has been something to watch for. Unless the place has the old style of machine where it slides through, cards will not work. Luckily no issues in ATMs. So we have to plan ahead and carry cash.

The hotel we had booked in Paris was located in Buttes Chaumont: The Adagio.

It was in a side street so we had to walk down to it and located in a non-tourist neighborhood but once in we loved the little apartment. Very clean and relatively room for Paris. We had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and living/dining room. The kitchen was fully set up with all we needed. I could have stayed there for a month or two easily.

We were all a bit exhausted and wandered around the neighborhood, bought a few groceries (hallelujah but the wine is cheap in stores here), and then ate outside at a cute pizza restaurant – it was close and I had hungry children but we did have brie on the pizzas☺