The Obamas' Whirlwind Paris Weekend
From visits to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre to a cruise down the Seine, the First Family explores the City of Light
With school over for the summer, First Lady Michelle Obama, her mother Marian Robinson, and daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, both making their first-ever trip across the Atlantic, flew to meet President Barack Obama on Friday for a weekend of sightseeing and shopping in the City of Light.
On Friday, the First Lady, her mother and daughters to the Eiffel Tower”s panoramic Restaurant Jules Verne for an early evening reception hosted by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe.
Dressed casually in a teal-and-silver scarf and jacket, Michelle escorted a ponytail-sporting Malia, who wore a bright orange coat, and Sasha, in a rose-colored coat, for the brief ride to the tower’s second level, where they admired the sunset and watched the tower’s twinkling lights begin before heading back to the U.S. embassy to meet up with the president.
A River Ride
While the president and First Lady went to Normandy to host commemoration ceremonies for D-Day’s 65th anniversary on Saturday, Malia and Sasha – chaperoned by their grandmother – boarded a 90-minute afternoon river cruise on the Seine through the heart of Paris sailed past the Musee d’Orsay, the Louvre Museum, and the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Later, the presidential parents returned to Paris for a private visit with the family to Notre Dame, where the children’s choir and an organist entertained. Afterwards, the First Family was seen gamboling the parapets amid the gargoyles above the main entry.
And it was parents’ night out when the First Couple enjoyed a late dinner at tiny 7th arrondisement restaurant La Fontaine de Mars, whose most famous visitors to date were Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens last October.
There, they sampled the family-run bistro’s specialities: gigot d’agneau (roast lamb) for him, fillet of beef with bearnaise sauce for her, and for dessert, an ile flottant (floating island of meringue) for him and crème brulée for her. “They were very relaxed at the table,” their waiter told PEOPLE.
Sights and Fashion
Before the president’s noon departure on Sunday, the entire family headed over at 9 a.m. to the city’s modern-art museum, the Centre Pompidou. Then Michelle, her mother, Sasha and Malia were guests at the élysée Palace for an informal French Mother’s Day brunch with French First Lady Carla Bruni and President Sarkozy and their family.
And after lunch at the palace came an essential part of a visit to Paris: shopping, including a trip to the Left Bank’s Bonpoint flagship store, where “they purchased three outfits for Sasha [for] her birthday,” a source tells PEOPLE. (Sasha turns 8 on June 10). “Mrs. Obama was very, very nice. She has a wonderful rapport with her daughters.”
To wrap up their last day in the City of Light, they visited the Louvre Museum, where the historic Cour Carrée entry was closed off for them. They topped off their day with a private dinner at a restaurant in the city’s St. Germain district.
Their whirlwind weekend in France will come to a close Monday when the First Lady, her daughters and her mother fly home to the U.S.