31 October 2013

A Little Sunshine in the Midst of Rain: The Sunshine Award

It's autumn in the Netherlands, so that means that there's been heavy winds that make cycling more of a workout than normal. On the bright side, it has been rather sunny (I think we have had less than normal rain this year), and I've been kindly nominated for the bloggers' Sunshine Award by Liene at Femme au Foyer. Liene has a great travel blog that is worth checking out!

Here's how the Sunshine Award works:  
1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
2. Share eleven random facts about yourself.
3. Answer the eleven questions set by your nominating blogger.
4. Nominate eleven bloggers yourself.
5. Post eleven questions for your nominees to answer.
6. Let your nominees know they're up.

And off we go...

11 Random Facts About Me:
1. I don't like drinking milk from two separate cartons in the same glass. I'll drink one right after the other, but I don't want them mixed in my cup. I know it doesn't make a difference, but I've been doing this for a long time - I'm sure my parents are rolling their eyes as they read this.
2. I love cats. It's really hard to reign in the crazy cat lady in me at times.
3. I didn't have a strong Boston accent to start with, but I've mostly lost it. Unless I'm yelling. Or reading Make Way for Ducklings. Or visiting my parents. If you don't know the Boston accent, watch a few clips from Good Will Hunting.
4. I didn't have a video game system growing up - so Mark and I bought a Wii the Christmas before we married.
5. There's an 11 year gap between me and my brother.
6. I've had the nickname "Ace" since I started the fifth grade. The art teacher had no idea how to say my name and said should wouldn't learn it, so how about just going by "Ace?" I have no idea what her name was any more, but I have to say it's a pretty cool name to go by.
7. I really like to have things in "rainbow order" and will spend a stupid amount of time putting children's markers/crayons back into boxes in the "correct" order.
8. I love reading about Irish history.
9. I broke my arm pretty severely when I was 9 and had to have surgery to set it before it was put in the cast. After the surgery, my arm swelled so badly that the linen inside the cast left a scar that is still visible on my arm.
10. I have never lived in a home without an animal present (the animals were always invited and welcomed in, and I don't count college dorms... in which the animals were not invited or welcomed).
11. One of my stupid human tricks is that I can touch my nose with my tongue.

11 Questions from Liene:
1. If you could choose only one blog post to represent you, which one would you choose?
          This was hard, but I think the story of the first time we biked to Belgium is my favorite post. The trip was pretty typical for one of these on the fly ideas we have. All around it was a good time, we did a lot of exploring, and we had a few humorous, if unexpected, happenings along the way. And in the short time I've been blogging, I think it was one of the first posts that I really felt direction for what I wanted to do here.
2. Name your favorite author, and favorite childhood author.
          My favorite author now is either George RR Martin (winter is coming, after all) or JK Rowling, or Jane Austen... Okay, I don't actually know. I like reading a good story. From childhood, I think Rohl Dahl if only because I reread Matilda and The Witches so many times.
3. What is one thing you are most looking forward to in the coming year?
          Watching Little Man as he starts "big school" and improves his Dutch.
4. Your favorite accent? (for example, an Aussie speaking English)
          Nothing's quite like an Irish accent, but a Boston accent just sounds like home.
5. What would you choose as your last meal?
          Lo Mein. A lot of Lo Mein.
6. Do you have a favorite spectator sport?
          Does housework count? I'd really rather watch than participate.
7. If you could spend one year living anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? (Pretend language and distance from family isn't a barrier)
          I would say Denmark. It's a place I've always wanted to go and I have family roots there. And I would probably be at Legoland every day.
8. Name five things your refrigerator is never without.
          Milk, mayonnaise, carrots, cheese, and beer. I really don't know why mayonnaise is always there... otherwise, it seems like a well-balanced diet to me.
9. What is your biggest pet peeve?
          I really wish people would give more attention to the Oxford comma.
10. You win an all-expenses paid, week-long vacation to anywhere in the world – where are you headed?
         Someplace in the Southern Hemisphere. I think maybe Australia or New Zealand, I've never been, but would really like to explore.
11 Describe the favorite place in your home.
          Our living room is great. Lots of natural light and space. It's much bigger than our apartment in Chicago, and we don't feel like we're sitting on top of each other.

11 Bloggers I am Nominating:
Some of these blogs I've been reading for a while, others I found rather recently, but I enjoy them all and would encourage you to check them out. So - tag!

Beginnings in Bayern
Blazing Speed of Light Machines
Chasing the Donkey
Expat Tales from Stockholm
Megan Joy Jaunts
Oui in France
Our Lives are an Open Blog
Princess and the Grapie
The Hemborg Wife
The Move to America
The Three Under

11 Questions for the Lovely Folks Above:
1. What is your favorite hobby/leisure time activity?
2. Where is your favorite place that you have visited and why?
3. If you could try any job/activity for a day, what would it be?
4. Would you describe yourself as an introvert or an extrovert?
5. What is your favorite holiday/event to celebrate?
6. What is one food no one could ever convince you to eat?
7. What is the number one goal you would like to accomplish over the next year?
8. Who is your favorite fictional character (from a book, tv show, movie, play...) and why?
9. What were your favorite and most hated subjects in high school?
10. (From Liene) Name five things your refrigerator is never without.
11. (Also from Liene) If you could spend one year living anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? (Pretend language and distance from family isn't a barrier)

So, there you have it. I hope you're finding a bit of sunshine where you are.

30 October 2013

Prepping for Halloween in Dutch (Kind of...)

Tomorrow is Halloween, which isn't really a big deal here in the Netherlands. I've been told that it's gaining popularity over the last few years, and you can find Halloween decorations and candies, but it's definitely not what it is in North America. There isn't really any trick-or-treating, and even though the stores are selling Halloween stuff, they're really focused on Sinterklaas decor.

We didn't really acknowledge or do anything with Halloween last year, but this year we're celebrating with our expat club with a Halloween party for the kids. My friend Farrah from The Three Under is the organizer for the party, and she's designated me as co-chair for the event. Which is today. So we'll be busy a bit later today.

It will be a good time, including some Halloween stories from Curious George and Arthur, games, crafts, and candy (of course). I'm in charge of the games, and I wanted to share my recent wave of genius. I went to the local grocery store, which often puts out the cardboard boxes for customers to take after stocking the shelves, and grabbed two cardboard boxes left over from the mandarin oranges. I used a utility knife to cut a large hole in each box for bag toss games, and then covered the box with colored computer paper to make the bag toss Halloween themed (those years of making classroom bulletin boards really paid off here). I went for silly monster and jack-o-lantern, but the possibilities are nearly endless. I was thinking about making a bat with an open mouth and wings hanging off, but I didn't have any black paper. Maybe next year.

Halloween bag toss creatures - Jack-o-lantern and monster

In a second wave of genius, I realized that these would also make great Halloween candy dispensers. Just putting candy in the bottom of the box and having trick-or-treaters stick their hands in to pick out a candy. If Halloween ends up taking off here, I've got this plan locked away for future use.

Or a Halloween candy dispenser!

If you need a last-minute Halloween game idea, or if you want to surprise your trick-or-treaters, give this a try. They were easy to do, they cost basically nothing but supplies I already had (or got for free), and it will be fun for the kids. So, voila!

Do you have fun tips for celebrating Halloween either at home or abroad? 

29 October 2013

The Joys of Eating Alone

During the last two session's of Little Man's practice days with the kleuterschool, I have discovered something unexpectedly wonderful. At his school, children eat lunch in the classroom. Which means that I am eating lunch. Alone. And it is glorious.

It's been a while since I've eaten a lunch without the Little Man around. Anyone who has eaten a meal with kids has probably experienced something like this: You make some sort of sandwich as fast as you can for the person that decided they are STARVING once they saw you take out the ingredients, and get it on the table before they pounce. Once that's done, you try to make something for yourself even faster because somehow the child is already almost done eating. Then, you eat like a bird.

And by eat like a bird, I don't mean small, dainty little bites picking here and there. I mean you put a whole sandwich in your mouth and pull it down without chewing. Like the way an owl eats. And in case you've never seen an owl eat:

Not terribly majestic, is it?

I've now had a couple of chances to eat by myself, and it has been surprisingly relaxing. I can take my time. I can chew. And I don't have to defend any part of my sandwich.

Do you know what's unique about this picture of my sandwich?
There's no little hand looming over the sandwich, ready to strike.

I'm glad Little Man is enjoying school, and I'm happy to see him at the end of the day. But I think I'm going to get used to eating on my own again.

Did you discover something great about your kids starting/going back to school? Or is there one thing you can't wait to be able to do once the kids are in school?

28 October 2013

Monday Coffee, We Fell Back, and a Little More Practice

Welcome back to Monday! I'm linking up with Molly at The Move to America to reflect on last week and look forward to the next with her Monday Coffee Morning blogging social. Give her excellent blog and other participating blogs a look!

The Move to America

Well folks, it's happened again - the Central European Timezone has fallen back an hour onto Standard Time. Like most people, I prefer the time change off of Daylight Savings Time (falling back) over the spring change (spring forward). We're fortunate that Little Man will sleep til 8:00 am some weekend mornings, so we did get to enjoy a bit of the "extra" hour this morning; and tomorrow morning I won't drop Little Man off in the dark like I did on Friday. But despite that, I'm not actually a fan of Daylight Savings - I'm one of those people that think it's outdated and not actually that beneficial - and wouldn't mind if it was just done away with altogether. But it's here, so unless I plan on going totally off the grid (and let's face it, I'm not one to survive "rugged surroundings") I'll continue to deal with it.

Little Man tucks in two more practice days at kleuterschool this week. Last week's first practice days went better than I could have hoped for, and he's already looking forward to more lunch with his friends and buitenspelen (outside play/recess). We're looking forward to his continued enthusiasm.

Little Man's full days of practice at school mean that I will have less reason to ignore a couple of bigger chores I've been putting off around the house. Some cleaning out and organization is in order, and the best time to do it is when I don't have "help."  Now I just have to pull up the motivation to get it done, which I should really do since I have no intention of going out in the awful wind we're having today.

I am well into starting my posts for my Dutch food series to come, and I'm really excited to eat my way through these creations. So far the only cooking incident was a minor burn - an occupational hazard when your oven is above your eye level - so I feel like this is off to a good start! This week, I'll continue to plug away at the posts and recipes some more and hopefully be able to get everything up mid-to late November. Here's a sneak peak at one of the tasties that I'll be featuring:

For later this week, we're preparing for Halloween. It's not really something celebrated in the Netherlands, but it is gaining popularity. Our expat club is putting on a Halloween party for the kids, and we're attending. Now to just figure out how we're going to make the dinosaur costume Little Man is envisioning...

And the end of October reminds me how quickly Little Man's birthday is approaching. This week I need to talk to the teachers at the peuterspeelzaal about the expectations for in-school birthday celebrations. Children's birthdays are a big deal in Dutch culture, and they celebrate at school (parents also go in for the school celebration for younger children) and give their classmates some sort of cadeautje (little gift). Little Man wasn't yet in school at his birthday last year, so I only have a vague idea of what I'm supposed to do and will figure it out while I have a bit of time left to plan.

Before I leave you to start staring at organizing the piles of papers, I need to put in shameless plug to promote myself. If you enjoyed my posts about tips for taking kids to museums and our scavenger hunt at the Rijksmuseum, please check out my guest post at Deanna's wonderful blog, From Casinos to Castles. Deanna's Monday posts focus on mothers supporting each other rather than being in competition. She has very kindly included my post today that provides tips for doing cultural activities with young kids on vacations. Please check out her blog and leave any thoughts or feedback!

It's no secret that we love museums!

We're off to start our Monday - here's to your week!

25 October 2013

Practice Days and Big School

I've mentioned it a few (hundred) times here that the Little Man is starting his transition from peuterspeelzaal (toddler play room) to kleuterschool (preschool/kindergarten). In the Netherlands, school is compulsory once a child turns 5 years old but children can start attending regular school after their 4th birthday. Most people opt to send their kids to full time school when the child becomes a kleuter (a child between the ages of 4 and 6 years old). Every school is different, but it seems that at a majority of schools, once a child is enrolled as a kleuter they stay in the same class until they reach the American equivalent of Grade 1 (age 6 going on 7 during the school year).

To help a child make the transition to full day school, most schools have some sort of "practice" period in which a child attends their new class a few times before being thrown into it officially after their 4th birthday. That is where we find ourselves now as Little Man's birthday approaches in the next few weeks. He will have five practice days in total, and started the transition this Tuesday with a half day, and stayed for a whole day yesterday.

We've been talking up "big school" for weeks to help get everyone mentally prepared for this change, but that doesn't prevent the nervousness from setting in when it's actually time to start. Tuesday morning, we walked to school as a family and walked into the classroom. We introduced Little Man to his new teacher and found his coat hook and seat. You could tell he was nervous and starting to get a little teary eyed, but the teacher was great. She introduced him to the rest of the kids, asked if they remembered that sometimes it's scary to start at a new school (with a ringing response of little voices saying, "ja" (yes)), and said everyone was going to help be a new friend. When it was time for us to leave, Little Man didn't want to sit in his seat yet, so the teacher pulled him onto her lap as they started the morning routine. And we left (I was also a little teary eyed). When I picked him up at noon, he was doing fine and the teacher said he had a good first day, but I could tell he was exhausted. But a special treat of watching Curious George with lunch and a nap seemed to put him right for the rest of the day.

But oh, what a difference a day makes. Thursday morning came around, and while he was nervous when we entered the classroom, as soon as he sat in his seat he was fine. It was like he already felt he belonged there. By the time I picked him up, he was happy and excited about the day. The coolest part of the day? TWO sessions of buitenspelen (outside play/recess) and eating lunch AT school.

Seriously, who wouldn't be excited about TWO buitenspelens?
Image courtesy of  Apolonia - Free DigitalPhotos.net.

And while he had a regular session of peuterspeelzaal this morning, he is already looking forward to the next day of "big school."

So far, I have a good feeling about this. Little Man is excited, the teachers seem caring and positive, and the children in the class seem really friendly - after the first day, one of the little girls in his class recognized him at the playground and went running up to him. This would be a major change no matter where we are, but the additional language difference makes the whole experience a little stranger. I'm glad it's off to a good start, and looking forward to what the rest of the school year will bring.

What's you're experience with the transition to "big school?" Did you experience this change at home or abroad? Or are you anticipating a school transition soon?

23 October 2013

A Parisian Promenade (III)

I know that I've packed in a lot of Paris the last few posts (I and II), and I promise this is the last one, but I really can't help but share everything we did. The city is full of beauty and history, and with a great Metro system and a deal like the Paris Museum Pass available to visitors, it was well worth the visit.

Since I wanted to hit all the well known sites that Paris is known for, after we finished our visit to Napoeon's Tomb at Les Invalides, we made our way over to the Notre Dame Cathedral. On our way, we decided to detour up to the bistros of the Latin Quarter and get a mid-afternoon lunch. We just picked a restaurant and ordered French onion soup and red wine for the adults and a plate of frites for the Little Man. While it was massed produced French onion soup for the tourists, it was still better than what I can make at home, and we pronounced it delicious.

I take lousy food pictures, but this stuff
was good. 

We walked towards Notre Dame and the little stalls along the Seinne that sell prints, old books, and tchotchkes. We didn't end up buying anything, but it was fun to poke around and see what people were selling.

Prints, tourist junk, and more!

The light was good on Notre Dame, so we snapped a few exterior photos, but didn't go into the cathedral. We did however, use our Museum Pass to go into the Crypt Archeologique de Notre Dame. There used to be buildings and streets right up against the cathedral on all sides, and the crypt is a unique display that shows some of the ruins that were excavated in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Information is provided in French, English, and Spanish about the history of the location, the specific buildings that were uncovered, and the process of the excavation. Entry is €5 per adult, but free with the pass. This was an interesting and relatively quick visit - and we would not have made the visit inside without the pass, but I'm glad we were able to go in.

Mark and Little Man with Notre Dame in the background.

Ruins below the Notre Dame square.

Another view of the ruins

We had planned to visit the interior of Notre Dame on Sunday morning and made our way to the Île de Saint Louis to find an ice cream shop. It seems like the island (connected to the Île de Cité, the location of Notre Dame) is well known for it's cute little boutiques, restaurants, and ice cream parlors. Several ice cream places are located on the island, so you just have to make a choice, and chances are pretty good that you won't be disappointed - it is ice cream, after all.

We found that we had made better time than expected during the day, so we made one last stop with the Paris Museum Pass at the Centre Pompidou, the modern art museum with a funky exterior. The pieces inside vary by artist and media type and it was great to browse through. Entrance to regular expositions is €13 per adult, but free with the museum pass, and additional tickets may be required for special exhibits (even with the pass).

The all piping is on the exterior of the Centre
Pompidou, which seems appropriate for a
modern art museum.

Piece by Marc Fornes

"A better Netherlands begins here" - it seemed appropriate to take a photo.
Political poster for the Socialist Party of the Netherlands

For dinner, we bought a couple of bottles of wine at a local wine shop and treated ourselves to some savory crepes at a little bistro before calling it a night.

Just to do a quick review of the benefits of using the Paris Museum Pass: We purchased two 2 Day passes for €39 each (€78 total) and had free admission into 10 museums and monuments. Without the pass, we would have paid €99 each (€198 total) to get into all the same places. We saved €60 each (€120 total). We saw a LOT with the passes, and some things that we wouldn't have gone into without the pass in the first place, but I'm so happy we got to see. Even if you don't want to stomp around at the same pace we did, a 4 Day pass is €54 and a 6 Day pass is €69 - you can still save yourself a fair amount of money at all 60 participating museums and monuments. I highly recommend the Paris Museum Pass.

We were up early on Sunday, our final day, to get over to Notre Dame to view the interior. Viewing the cathedral is free for visitors, and visitors are allowed in during mass and prayer services but the church asks that you remain and be quiet and respectful. The interior is generally dark, but the church itself is still stunning with all the paintings and gorgeous high Gothic arches - and I actually believe the darkness makes it easier to picture the church the same way as the first parishioners that came into the cathedral 850 years ago. It's such a large church that to really appreciate the architecture and interior, I would recommend at least 45 minutes to really soak it all in.

The entrance to the Notre Dame cathedral

The Rose Window of Notre Dame

Prayer chapel within the cathedral

Beautifully painted pillar


The sanctuary, flanked by arches

Ironwork on the exterior doors

Christ and the apostles, with saints over the archway

The church's famous gargoyles

Our final stop before heading back to the train station was the Sacre Coeur Basilica. The Sacre Coeur is one of the highest points in the city and sits on a hill that overlooks the rest of Paris and can be seen from just about everywhere in the city. We climbed some wicked stairs to get up there (with stroller and suitcases), but there is a little trolley that will drop you directly in front of the church. The view is breathtaking, as is the church. The church was constructed in the late 19th century, so it is fairly new compared to many of the other monuments in the city. Photos are prohibited inside, but the detail and size of the paintings are impressive (check out their website for interior views). It was an impressive way to leave Paris.

The Sacre Coeur from the Eiffel Tower

The Sacre Coeur Basilica

A view of Paris from the Sacre Coeur

Exterior from the side

Sacred heart of Jesus above the entrance

Copper statues above the entrance

We had a whirlwind trip, but we got to see and experience quite a bit. Really, it only makes me want to go back. I hope you also enjoyed our run through the city and find some inspiration.

Have you been to Paris? What is your favorite part of the city?

A Parisian Promenade (II)

Our trip to Paris was jam packed with seeing the sights. Our first few stops included the Eiffel Tower, the Musee d'Orsay, and the palace of Versailles, but we didn't stop there. With our 2 Day Paris Museum Pass, we were bent on getting to as many museums and monuments as possible during our stay. So on Friday, we returned to the center of Paris from Versailles and after a quick coffee stop, we walked up to the Pantheon.

The Pantheon was originally a church built upon the ruins of the church dedicated to St. Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris, upon order of King Louis XIV. As French politicians looked to secularize the country after the Revolution, the building was converted into a mausoleum for laudable French citizens. The Panetheon is the final resting place of Rousseau, Voltaire, Marie Curie (the only woman interred in the Pantheon), as well as other writers, scientists, and defenders of human rights. It is also the location of Foucault's Pendulum, though unfortunately, during our visit the pendulum was temporarily removed during some renovations. The crypt of Pantheon is interesting to explore but can be difficult to navigate with strollers or wheelchairs because of many levels of stairs. Without the Paris Museum Pass, entry into the Pantheon is €7 per adult.

The Pantheon, Paris

The circular area where Foucault's Pendulum typically makes it's daily rotations

Statue of Voltaire before his tomb.

After visiting the Pantheon, we walked back toward the Seinne to visit the Sainte Chappelle church. The church was built in the mid-Eleventh Century and is known for its amazing stained glass windows that surround the sanctuary. Despite damage during the French Revolution, much of the intricate stained glass windows seen today is original to the building and when visited on a sunny afternoon, the whole sanctuary lights up with their color. Admission into the church is controlled by the gendarmerie (French police force) that guards the neighboring Palace of Justice, so be prepared to put items through an x-ray machine and go through a metal detector. Without Paris Museum Pass entry is €8.50 per adult.

Sainte Chappelle's stained glass above the alter

Intricate stained glass windows of Sainte Chappelle

Stained glass behind the alter

Even the paint work of the church is highly detailed

The detail of the stonework of the church goes with the detail of the windows

The Louvre was our last stop on Friday. The museum is open late (until 9:45pm) on Friday nights, and we planned to take advantage of getting the most out of our passes by timing this visit for the evening when everything else was closed. The Louvre is home to the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and countless other masterpieces; but the building itself is just as interesting as the Louvre was the palace of the kings before Versaille, and Napoleon also kept his private residence at the palace during his reign - it's worth looking up at the ceilings and around the museum walls while you visit. And the modern pyramids through which you enter provide a unique juxtaposition next to the classic palace design. Without the pass, entry to the Louvre is €13 per adult. The museum itself is a bit of a labyrinth because of all the old palace stairways, but museum employees are posted throughout and will kindly direct you toward the direction you would like to go.

The Louvre by day

The Louvre by night

Lioness by the Lions' Gate of the Louvre

Ceiling of one corridor of the Louvre

Venus de Milo, created approx. 120 BC, discovered in 1820

We returned back to the hotel late, but that didn't stop us from getting up early the next morning to pack in more places to visit with the Museum Pass. We started with the Musee de l'Orangerie, the home to Monet's famous water lilies. The museum is small, but the staff do a nice job of crowd control so that the rooms never feel overwhelming because of all the visitors. Photos are not allowed inside the museum, and they ask that you speak in quiet voices. Entry without the pass is €10 per adult, but the museum offers many combination tickets with other museums. Those with the Museum Pass or pre-purchased tickets also wait in separate lines and will enter the museum faster than those without tickets.

Entrance to Musee de l'Orangerie

We decided to walk down the Champs Elysees toward the Arc de Triomph, and along the way stop at Pierre Herme, a macaroon shop that I read (here) has some of the best macaroons in Paris (Fun and important fact: They also sell chocolate). We found one (inside another store) at 133 Champs Elysees, just before you reach the Arc, and purchased a box that we have slowly been rationing - because it would be easy to blow through these delicious treats...


After getting a delicious taste, we walked through the tunnel to the Arc de Triomph. Please note: don't cross the rotary/roundabout to get to the Arc - it's illegal, the traffic is heavy, and the drivers are nuts. There is a tunnel that goes under the road and pops you right up at the base of the Arc. Visiting the base of the Arc is free to all, but for €9 admission per adult (free with the Museum Pass), you can visit the interior and the top of the Arc - which has fantastic views of the city. And the Arc is surprisingly accessible considering it was built as a monument of Napoleon's narcissism... An elevator is accessible to those with strollers or wheelchairs and will take you to the interior or the top.

The Arc de Triomph. And yes, I was standing in the middle of the street to
take this photo - but I'm smart enough to stand on the pedestrian island.

Underside of the Arc

View from the top of the Arc, toward the Louvre

Little Man was excited to spot the Eiffel Tower again

After the Arc, we took the Metro to the Musee Rodin, a museum housing a great number of Rodin's sculptures at his former home. I wanted to see "The Thinker" - and we probably wouldn't have paid the €6 adult admission for our quick visit if we didn't have the Museum Pass. Others with a better appreciation of Rodin's talent will, however, find the sculpture garden and museum quite interesting.

The Thinker

The Gates of Hell

Details on the Gates of Hell

Our final stop in this area of Paris, though not the final stop for our Museum Pass, was Les Invalides, a military hospital, the Musee de l'Armee and Napoleon's tomb. I wanted to visit because Napolean's tomb was sure to have an extremely ornate enclosure, and I was not disappointed. Like Napoleon himself, the mausoleum/crypt is over-the-top and an interesting visit for purely visual reasons (even if you don't care about the history). Typically, admission to Les Invalides is €9.50, but is free with the Museum Pass (reduced admission is also offered to special groups and at certain times of the year - see here).

The building containing Napoleon's tomb

Napoleon's final resting place

The church that houses Napoleon's tomb

Les Invalides by night

I'm promising now one final installment of A Parisian Promenade to come, with a grand conclusion, if you will. So stay tuned for more info and pictures tomorrow!
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