You have one too many children, Madame.

We are planning a trip to Disneyland. Disneyland, Paris. Yes, Paris, France.
I know; It's totally nuts but go with me on this one.

Planning has not been easy.   We had special tickets that had to be ordered through the travel agent with my husband's company, on multiple accounts-- two tickets for us, then three for the children. The travel agent was zero-help and it took Steve the better part of a week to untangle this one.  At this time, plane tickets are ordered and we assume we are on the same plane and in nearby seats; God willing it all goes as smooth as it looks on paper.

Passports. Oy Vey, what a mess!  Mine and the two girls were expired and Alex never had one.  Have you ever imagined getting an almost-three-year-old to hold a pose for a passport photo?  As if.  No, our little King covered his face with his hands and wailed for over and hour. How am I supposed to explain to the customs check-point that the baby with his hands over is face is in fact my kid?  Ultimately, we sat him in his stroller and the two girls held a white sheet behind him (it has to be a smooth white background) while I pretended to hit the photographer in the head with a ball.  Now this got his attention and made him laugh, but what does it say about him and his future as a diplomat? I'm not sure I want to go there... but that sticky little point aside, we managed to get some shots.

$15 per person for photos= $60.  Two hours of time.

We went to the post office and the gentleman in charge rejected three sets of Alex's photos before telling us that "maybe" this one set will be okay.

$80 for me
$110  x 3 for children
$25 to post master
$75 to department of who-knows-what
$5.40 in postage
More than $515 in fees and we don't even know if they're going to pass. If they don't we can add expedite fees too, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that the desk clerk  at the, uh,  international bureau of identity and passport control, clearance, and approval- the one in charge of photos- that guy, has kids and a sense of humor.  The mega-afro Alex was sporting that day is not going to add any points in his favor, I assure you.  I can hear it now. White, blond, afro? Who are these people?

Which leads me to:

Booking a Hotel Room in Paris For A Family of Five

There is not much new development in Paris. Hotels in Paris are old. According to what I have learned, most beautiful boutique hotels, the sort you want to stay in when in the City of Lights, are 10x10 cells with a bed and nothing else. Sounds romantic, yes?  But all these rooms for two in this romantic city ought to lead for a need for rooms for five, or four, or three at least, right? Well, you can find a limited number of rooms for four. Either overpriced or dumpy, take your pick... it doesn't matter to me because...

I have one too many children.

My understanding now is that most families with children must book two rooms. (Or three!)  Finding inter-connecting rooms is difficult, and you cannot guarantee it with online booking.  I spent Monday- Thursday looking for a hotel room for five. I spent Friday calling Paris asking where to find a hotel room for five.  Here is what they told me.

Me: Can I get a room for four and use a baby cot?
Msgr Frenchie: It is not possible. (insert beautiful accent here)
Me: Can the baby share my bed like he does at home?
Msgr Frenchie: No, he must have his own bed.
Me: But you don't have a room for five?
Msgr Frenchie: In Paris, we can give you a "family room" that is two rooms shared by one family.
Me: Okay, but they will be interconnecting?
Msgr Frenchie: I'm very sorry, but rooms in the area do not have interconnecting doors. We will put your children on the same floor as you, however.
Me: I don't think that will work for us. Can you recommend any hotel that can accommodate us?
Msgr Frenchie: The problem is, you have one too many children, Madame.

Okay! What was I thinking?
"No, Steve, we can't have another baby--
What if we ever decide to go to Paris!?"

I finally settled on a big international chain hotel. It won't be "French" but it will be in Paris, France.  Of the five hotels this chain has in Paris, one of them has a suite for six.  I booked it and tried not to faint at the price.

Next I have to book the Disneyland Hotel, which I know has rooms for as few as one or as many as ten. Ten!  Talk about extremes, right?   It's not like an international tourist destination should have any consistency. We'll get the park tickets as part of the hotel  package and that will be one more thing off the list.

I've already started packing for the plane.

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1 comment:

  1. Try traveling with for kids. It gets even worse.

    I have an aunt and uncle who have EIGHT kids. They now get their own group travel discount when they fly. It's cheaper for them to take all the kids than to only take a few.


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