The trip was great - we spent a lot of quality time with my family, both my immediate and extended french family. Mia learned absolutely no French, and showed that she had learned very little in my Saturday lessons, but I translated for her, and for my grandmother, so it was all fine.
We started out with a night in Chicago, and it really was nice to see quickly see B's family. While in retrospect, it was probably a lot more stressful to break up the trip and have to worry about coordinating transportation and overnight bags and etc than it may have been worth. Still, it was nice to have my brother on the flight with us, allowing me a bit of freedom to go to the tiny lavatory without sharing the space with my almost 3 year old. I'll do a separate post later this week on air travel with a toddler, but I have to say that it went pretty smoothly overall, even when I was on my own with her.
Once we arrived in Paris, we met all members of our party at the airport. My parents and my Mom's brother had just gotten in from Barcelona (where they spent a few days), my brother's girlfriend had just gotten in from NYC. We piled ourselves and our immense amounts of luggage into a Volkswagen Eurovan, and continued on the 2 hours to Rouen, a smallish city in Normandy. Much like last time, there were a lot of long lunches, pastries, cheese and wine. The whole purpose of the trip really was just for my Grandmother's 90th birthday, so most of our activities revolved around that.
Our first day, we basically just settled in, went to the French supermarket and loaded up on everything we wanted to have that we couldn't easily get elsewhere. We settled into the apartment we were staying in, visited with my Grandmother at her assisted living apartment, walked around a little and planned the rest of our trip. The next day was our only real "free day", so we took another 2 hour road trip to my uncle's country house, a restored 16th century manor (He's an Antiques dealer, so this is kind of his jam) just to visit and wander around the countryside.
The following day, we had my Grandmother's 90th birthday celebration, with 21 attendees eating a beautiful meal at a beautiful restaurant, during which Mia ate about 5 bites of the meal (and 3 mini baguettes) and watched Frozen on my iPhone. I couldn't have expected much more from her, the lunch went from 12:30-4:30, in typical French fashion. It was great and I think my Grandmother had a great time.
The following day, my Grandmother's REAL birthday, we had another birthday lunch, though only 3 hours this time, and with only 10 attendees. This meal was at a more casual restaurant, but it was probably some of the best food I've ever had. La Petite Auberge, in Rouen, just in case anyone out there might travel out there.
On Friday, we were off to Paris for a quick afternoon of touristy activities, before heading back to the airport on Saturday morning. In Paris, Mia convinced my Dad to take her on the Eiffeel Tower carousel 3 times. We did an evening Seine cruise, had dinner and called it a night before our long day of travel back to the US.