I woke early enough to spot Jupiter or perhaps Mars outside the window, a little before dawn. Tony cautiously asked, “How are you feeling?” My head felt like the size of the Hindenburg, but the rest of me felt human. Four cups of tea and some remaining Bûche de Noël later (Hey, feed a cold and starve a fever, right?) and we were all cheerily bundled and heading to the Festival du Merveilluex.

At first we did not know what to think. And then we totally got into the spirit of it all! Magical scenes around every corner. Beautiful antique fairground rides to snap (as well as ride upon). Vintage games to play! (We all lost at the skee-ball horse race.) Old-school Cirque du Soleil performances and modern animations. Fanciful dress-up scenes that made for hilarious family photos. And on and on…

Outside in the “museum” grounds, more entertainment along with food vendors. Not surprisingly, we all selected the Fish and Chips box from the “Cabane Cape Cod.” (And yes, we did queue.) Before we knew it more than three hours had passed, and our final day in Paris was winding down.

A drop in to BHV for assorted and sundry items that Vienna just does not carry. Back to the apartment we trekked to pack our Tumis and change for dinner at  Le Procope.  We have dined at this restaurant twice before in the last decade, and for both occasions our memories are fond. Tony and the children raved about everything that evening, from the oysters that began our dinner and through the entrees, but I felt put off for the entire meal. Though we had reservations, we were seated in the same area with the hiking boot/jeans wearing set (including one with a backpack thumped down next to the table) and those who extended their selfie sticks in every direction to capture every bite of their shared dinner for social media. One patron even walked over to take a snap of the bust of Benjamin Franklin above our table without asking if, perhaps, she might be disrupting our meal.

There were six oysters, but a certain son slurped one down before the snap.

Speaking of the meal, the wait staff brought a serving for two of Jack’s requested entrée, and then unceremoniously plopped one portion onto his plate with a spoon when informed of the error. When I requested the Tartare, the waitstaff asked, “You do know this is raw beef?” I understand that might be protocol, but the tone was terribly off-putting. Worse still was the presentation: an unstylish lump of chopped beef served with salad and cold pommes frites. I can overlook French fries as perhaps a regional presentation (I prefer toast, cold butter, and capers with my Tartare), but not cold French fries. But this was all of small matter. The wine was flowing; and we were laughing and sharing stories. Family time.

The following morning presented the usual departure chaos. Empty the ‘fridge; take the trash out; drag the Tumis to the RER B (they each weighed in at 22.5kg. Yay!) A sad food selection from the various vendors in Terminal 2F passed as lunch, and then a short hop into Vienna. CTF lifted his head from the sofa when we walked in with his, “’Tis time for my afternoon constitutional, people.” face. Christmas in Paris had come to its end.

Postcards to follow.