Pippa Rea

Pippa's Journey with a Brain Tumour

Aurevoir Eleanor

Eleanor left us on Sunday.  It also happened to be the first day it was cool and rained slightly.  We took the train out to Versaille to see the magnificent opulence and grandeur of Chateaux Versailles first built as a hunting house by King Louis XIII and later extended to become a Palace by King Louis XIV.

The visitor numbers were incredible – a moving blanket of people through the rooms.  The children marvelled to hear the life of both the kings, in particular the stories of wives, mistresses and the number of children to both wives and mistresses!  James could not relate at all with King Louis the XIV who at the age of 15 (virtually the same as James) was found a suitable child bearing wife of age 22 and had 10 children in 10 years (and that’s only the legitimate ones!).  Equal intrigue were tales of beheadings and servants having to test food for poisoning.  Pippa found it interesting that anyone was able to visit King Louis XIV so long as they weren’t beggars, ladies of the night or had small pox.  A visiting a man was required to wear a hat and a sword and if he didn’t have one he could rent one before he entered the room.  We also found it interesting that King Louis XIV had a “fake bedroom” which he would go to every morning for his ceremonious risings in front of a hundred visitors after spending the night in either his own real bedroom, the queen’s or one of his mistress’.  (I hope all these anecdotes are remembered correctly.)

French onion soup was on the menu for our last dinner with Eleanor.

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Saturday saw us take in a few of  our advised must do “tips”

The first was to head along Rue Montorgueil, Foodie heaven and just a short walk from our apartment.  I could have literally spent all day eating my way from one end of the street to the other!  There were so many patisseries and we sampled as instructed the infamous eclair chocolate from Stohrer, but there was fruits, cheeses, salads, seafood, produce and of course cafes.  I think I might have to sneak back……..it is after all, just around the corner…….sort of!!!!

Next we headed off to Montmartre and Sacre Couer again.  Secretly I was cursing Melanie because we had already been up there on Tuesday and as I stood at the bus stop in the hot sun having reluctantly dragged myself away from Rue Montorgueil, I was doubtful.  Melanie had told us about the freestyle soccer performer  at Sacre Coure and it had been backed up by Claire and Russ but he wasn’t there on Tuesday.  The hill is a hard climb for Pippa, but there he was, sitting on the concrete pillar stretching and “psyching” himself up.  In the hot sun on the asphalt we waited, probably for 40 minutes; I doubted again, thinking this guy is full of himself.  Then he performed………….Wow!  Then he went up the lamp pole……….

Incredible, Talented, Extrodinary!


We finished the day coming back via our neighbouring Place des Vosges – beautiful, tranquil yet bustling, art, music and very Parisian.


The Magical World of Disney

Each of us were enchanted by Euro Disney and for Eleanor and I, having never been to a Disney before, it simply exceeded our expectations.  Yes, there were rides and of course leading the charge straight toward the fastest and scariest ones was Pippa – with the rest of us reluctantly dragging along behind……although once he got through the first one, Patrick was up there with her ready for the next one.

Yet it wasn’t actually the fastest and scariest rides that caught our attention, it was the detail in every scene and theme throughout the Park and the pure enchantment of Disney magic that surrounded us in all the worlds.  We had a truly amazing day that ended with a breathtaking parade.

Our favourites were the Big Thunder Mountain Roller Coaster, the Pirates of the Caribbean Cruise and the “It’s a Small World” Cruise.  A Twelve hour day from the time we left our apartment until we returned, but worth every single minute!

The intent of magic and happiness created by Walt Disney has certainly spread through our family.



Wandering Paris

We have spent days wandering the streets of Paris and taking in the sights. Notre Dame is only a short stroll away along with the pretty lane ways of Isle St-Louis and its famous and Paris’ oldest ice cream shop – pineapple and basil is a winner for me!

A day was spent up to Montmartre to visit more gorgeous cobblestoned streets and Basilique de Sacre-Couer with Claire and Russell who dropped in for a night on their way through. It took a long time wandering the square of artists for Pippa to choose her sketch artist but Patrick found his preferred characterture artist immediately. Pippa ended up having both a sketch and a characterture done.  A lovely and fun memory for them both to take home.

Pippa is still perfectly well although her muscles get tired easier than they used to especially up the steps at Montmartre! She’s not the only one though – we are all happy to go to bed at night time! One day she and I did catch a pedal bike home because she was too tired to walk any further. What a lovely treat that was from our beautiful uni student driver, Sara. I’ve kept her number just in case we need her again.

We have wandered around the Lourve, played games in Jardin de Tuileries, strolled up and down the famous Champs Elysees taking in the shops including the car ones for the boys; we have eaten patisseries from famous Cafe Angelina and macaroons from Laudree and stumbled across Parisian markets.

We are all completely enjoying the Parisian life, but not so much the endless cloud of cigarette smoke that engulfs the air we breathe!


L’amour de la Tour Eiffel

Sunday 14th September was two special days in one and Pippa was happy to share the spotlight with her brother – or should I say, James was happy to share it with Pippa and the Eiffel Tower.

We were dedicating the entire day to visiting the Eiffel Tower but it was also James’ birthday and he was celebrating by going to the top of one of the most recognised landmarks in the world!

How to get to the Eiffel Tower from our apartment?  Well, we just wandered down the end of our street, hopped on the batobus and leisurely made our way along the Seine.  Pippa, James and Patrick thought that in itself was fabulous!

The majestic magnificence of the grand structure close up impressed each one of us.  Along with the millions of tourists who visit it we also marvelled at its granduer.  Of course there was no stopping Pippa going right to the top and taking in every view.  We picnicked on the lawn at the base, walked around to the other side of the pond for the obligatory photos and rode on the carousel.  Patrick bargained with the souvenir hawkers, but it was James that came home with something like 26 Eiffel Towers – I still can’t work out how!!!  We took in every experience possible for Pippa to enjoy the Eiffel Tower.   Her dream come true!

It was a very special day.  We didn’t rush but just took our time enjoying every moment and at the end we had a birthday dinner for James.


The Happiest Girl in the World

All I needed to make this trip worthwhile was to see Pippa’s face when she first saw the Eiffel Tower.  On walking through the streets the evening we arrived Pippa declared she might just stay in Paris and live here forever.  The cobblestoned streets, the architecture, the balconies and the beautiful tree lined avenues around our hotel were tugging at her heart.  But it was her reaction to seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time that tugged at mine.

We had a typical French continental breakfast at our hotel and then went on the Hop On, Hop Off Open Top Bus Tour to get our bearings and take in the sights.   We rounded the corner and although I cannot put her reaction and my emotions into words, I think her words are just perfect………..

“Mum, take a look at this face………….this is the face of the happiest girl in the world!”

Enough said.

Later in the afternoon we were driven to our quintessential Parisian apartment (complete with French doored balconies, chandaliers and creaking parquetry floors) in the hub of Le Marais district atop cafes and museums.


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