That Time We Went to Paris in December

Every time we fly to or from Kenya, we have a layover in a different country. So far, we’ve seen the inside of the London, Amsterdam and Istanbul airports.

We use a humanitarian travel agent who gets us discounted tickets (we pay for our children) and when she emailed that our layover would be in Paris this time, I sort of hyperventilated. And then when she said it didn’t cost a dime more to spend the night in the city of love, I headed straight for Expedia to look up cheap hotel rooms for a couple of nights. Because I’m wild and crazy like that.

What I didn’t do was figure out how to get out of the airport once we landed at zero-dark-thirty. Our deal of a hotel room was actually more than an hour from the city in the French countryside.

We might have been *thisclose* to a family fight in the Paris airport. Thankfully, there was a bakery and chocolate-filled beignets that CHANGED MY LIFE.

Or at least my attitude.

We finally braved the confusing train system, to which my kids asked over and over? Why does it smell like pee and cigarette smoke everywhere we go?

Ahh, Paris.


AAannndd four hours later we found our hotel room in a 17th century farmhouse-turned golf course, completely vacant, because who golfs in the dead of winter? We don’t, but we did get a cute apartment and had a lovely (expensive) traditional french “winter lunch” that I’m still dreaming about. Oh, Expedia. And Euros, you have a way of surprising us. Apparently, I’m very motivated by food.

And who can blame me? Our family got food poisoning at the Mercy House graduation ceremony and we ended up having Ramen Noodles on Thanksgiving Day. Ahhh…. memories.


The fun thing about visiting a country in which you cannot speak ONE word of the language is boundless. And also, my husband’s impersonation of a French man over lunch. Ooh la la.


So, after a good night sleep and by that I mean, we fell into bed. We did all of this in one day:

We visited the Arc de Triomphe, the oldest, largest arc in the world built by Napoleon. It was bitterly cold.

I had three pair of pants on in case you’re wondering.

I know, impressive.



And then we got back on the underground train and when we walked up the steps, this was our amazing view:


Oh, but we didn’t stop there. We decided to climb the Eiffel Tower. Oh, my children, they do not get their energy from me.


Because I nearly died on this step:


The view from step 700 and something:


Our day was just getting started, next we stopped at the historic, cathedral Notre Dame.


This was such a sacred, holy place.


And the stained glass story telling of our Savior?  I WILL NEVER FORGET IT.VpF8rTybwkPAXtqitzxKmtC4LqaRoxm3nmz-a2XkEjE

Our final stop of the day/night (which definitely pushed our exhaustion level to a whole new level) was the incredible Louve Museum. We didn’t have time or energy, but we needed to see this lady:


To which my 6 year old kept saying in a weary whisper, “Who is Mona anyway??”

Paris in December? I highly recommend it.


    • 1.1


      So was I (surprised at how small she was). Sounds like December was a great time to go. The other thing I remember about Mona Lisa was the crowds around her.

  1. 3

    Heather S. says

    What a blessing! See…you give your life over to serve the Lord and He gives you a gift of Paris in December! It’s incredible all the wonderful things you are showing your children and letting them experience.

  2. 4

    Robin says

    That’s so awesome that you got to see Paris! And I think it’s awesome that that cupcake hat I made years ago has now seen Paris! I need to make her a bigger one!

  3. 6

    Carol Darden says

    What a whirlwind layover! SO glad you got to go to all those places. I was hoping you’d get to the Louvre, and ah…, Notre Dame, so beautiful. I was completely in awe there. BUT, I have to say, the BEST picture, is Terrell. Made me laugh out loud!!!!

  4. 7


    I’m crazy about all those precious kiddos you share with us, but that littlest bug. LORD. She is just the cutest thing. Her expressions always make me giggle. So thankful to God you all made it home safe. What a wonderful, purposeful trip!

  5. 10


    Oh Paris in December – I did that about 19 years ago. It was so beautiful at night – the city all lit up. Cold – yes, but next time, go back in the spring/summer and enjoy it while its warm. I’ve been there twice and both were special experiences. Thanks for bringing those memories back!

  6. 12

    Nichole says

    Great pics! I love the last one where your wee one looks like she is saying ” can we just get this over with?” And the fact that your boy has a sweatshirt on while the rest of you are dressed for the Artic. So funny! Glad you got to experience that sweet little side trip!

  7. 13

    Julie says

    Chocolate-filled beignets, I’m convinced, are a secret heaven food! And you had one – in PARIS!! Yay for your whole family! :)

  8. 15

    Steve Jones says

    LOVE THIS! So glad you guys had fun. And just so you know, the Jones’ might have been in many fights while traveling. :-) If you can figure out the subway system in Paris, you can travel anywhere.

  9. 16

    kelly says

    AWESOME!!!! ahh..the family vacations/adventures…..gotta luv them!! and years down the road get to laugh about how “zany” and fun they were even though there is always down sides…glad you ALL were able to experience that.

  10. 18

    Beth says

    I simply love everything about this! The last picture of your youngest is the sweetest, funniest thing ever! So glad you jumped at the chance to see Paris!

  11. 19


    Oh, oh, I’m excited! We’re getting on a plane for Paris next week and we have a whole week there! … with 4 small children though! I just hope it’s not as cold as it is here… it was in the teens this weekend.
    And I’ve seen the inside of the Paris airport as well as Amsterdam too, but never the cities. Can’t wait!
    Now, if all my children would just quit puking before we go…

  12. 20

    Annette says

    Reading your Paris story reminds me of our Paris in a day story! We had traveled to the Czech Republic for IVF for 5 weeks with 2 1/2 year old twins!!! That’s a whole other story….
    We were able to go to Paris for the day and while we have pictures to prove it and they make us look like we had a lovely time it was anything but. Paris is a very dirty city with business men peeing in the subway and on the streets and dog poop everywhere!
    Let’s just say our trip involved a double decker bus tour, in which my twins kept trying to lean over the top!!! (Hubby was busy listening to the headset) a major meltdown outside the Louve, which I thought a few french people might call the police!, swearing by Notre Dame, a quick siting of the Eifel Tower and an expensive lunch at a cafe for basically a baguette with ham. I’m so glad there isn’t a video of that day!! But like I said the pictures make it look like a truly wonderful day! And my now almost 7 year olds remember the Eifel Tower.
    Your trip will be a memory your family will laugh about!

  13. 21

    Juli vrotney says

    Whatva sweet blessing…I visited all but the museum…over ten years ago…loved it. So glad you had the opportunity to go. God bless, Juli

  14. 22

    Aunt Mel says

    Kristen and Terrell….I MUST say that I LOVE Terrell’s attempt at looking French. I saw the picture on FB and I knew exactly what he was doing. Paris is one of my “bucket list” destinations. I’m so happy you all got to experience it…even though it smelled smoky. Merry Christmas!
    Aunt Melodie

  15. 24


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