We made it safe and sound to France!
The flights went smoothly. The 7 hour flight to France was probably the easiest part. The kids had their own TV to watch and they watched movies the entire flight.
When we went to the airport in Michigan we needed 2 vehicles to get to the airport. (Thanks again Lisa DesRosiers and Paul Grusche!) We only rented one minivan in Paris and we were worried about 7 people and 9 suitcases fitting in the rental car.
Fortunately, the rental car was an easy part of our travels. After we landed in Paris and got our luggage, the rental car company brought the minibus thing right outside the door to baggage claim. All the luggage fit in the back.
The drive getting out of Paris was probably the worst part. It was 2am for us, but 8am in Paris. Rod was driving and I was trying to navigate us out of Monday morning rush hour. No more movies for the kids and they were tired. They were complaining and we were telling them to be quiet. It wasn't a pleasant combination. Eventually the kids fell asleep and we got out of traffic. It was probably only an hour or two but it definately felt like the longest part of the trip.
Another thing about Paris in rush hour traffic - motorcyles. I wouldn't be surpised if I had a bad dream about motorcycles in rush hour traffic. Motorcycles zoom in between cars. If you are sitting in traffic next to a truck and there isn't room for a motorcycle to zoom in between then they will honk at you until you move. When there is space for them, they fly right on past. It startled me every time. One time there was barely enough space for a motorcyle to get past us so he banged on the hood of our car. But I will admit that I understand why they are on motorcyles, it is easy to get through all the traffic.
The drive from the airport should have been 4 1/2 hours but it took us 6 hours. The kids probably slept 5 hours. We were so relieved to arrive at the house. I was glad that I had already visited the house because I already knew the odd location were they put the lockbox. The kids were pretty excited to start exploring the house and yard.
Since there was no food we needed to go the store. All of us piled back into the minibus and went to the hyperU (sort of like a meijers). We had forgotten bags and the store does not give out bags. In the check out line the cashier was trying to tell Mom and I that the hairdryer came with a warranty. Warranty is not a word that either mom or I know. After a minute or two the man behind us in line started translating for us. When the cashier held up the bag of peaches and told us she couldn't accept them, the same man helped us out again and told us that we had to get a sticker in the produce department with the weight and price.
We went back to the house and had our first meal in France. Bread, cheese, lunchmeat, coleslaw, some potato salad thing (with a cut up hot dog in it?) We were going for a sandwich and prepared salad meal. I think Joey ate half a loaf of bread. He loved the jam we had bought. (I think they sell the same jam at Busch's!)