The Bachelor (and to a lesser extent The Bachelorette) has been littered with memorable characters skewered on their own ambitions. As much as the show might tout depth and affection, the real delight comes in discovering the polar opposite. There was Christi, the Fatal Attraction-esque basket case from The Bachelor's second season. There was last season's Sarah W., who claimed she must have been kicked off because she was just too pretty.
"At this point in reality television, there are obviously people looking for their 15 minutes," Harrison says. "But I think a lot of people come for the adventure. I mean: Hi, we're in Paris. You want to go to Paris? And if you meet a great guy, what a bonus." At that point, little Taylor topples off her chair, and Harrison brushes her off and brings her back to her feet. "One thing I will say about Paris is that there's a great invention I'd love to bring here," he says. "It's called the high chair."
There are worse places to be stranded for two months, though. The Harrisons have a modest flat in a neighborhood equidistant from the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. They have settled into something of a normal Parisian life, starting every morning at the bakery next door, La Grignotière, a rustic little spot with fresh croissants and not a single employee who speaks English. "But they've gotten to know us," says Gwen, "and what I like about it is that they try to speak English and we try to speak French, and we've kind of taught each other in that way."
The Harrisons' family experience has been far removed from the lush vistas, ruddy-cheeked romance, and carousing that will surely be celebrated on the show. "When you have kids, you don't do the Louvre," says Chris. "You do the park outside the Louvre." Chris went to the Musée d'Orsay one afternoon to see the Impressionists' work, but he waited until a day when his kids were otherwise occupied. "I stood in line for two hours," he says. "I wouldn't dream of putting them through that." Instead, Chris and Gwen have come to regard Fodor's Around Paris with Kids book as a kind of bible, far more useful than any Michelin guide.
They have also found spots they can all agree on. One of their favorite parks is the Jardin du Luxembourg, the lush strolling grounds surrounding the Luxembourg Palace with a special fenced-in play area in the southwest corner. "There's an admission charge, but it was worth it," says Chris.
The splendor and size of Notre Dame and Sacré Coeur cathedrals left the kids' jaws on the floor. After visiting Sacré Coeur, the family strolled Montmartre, the darling cluster of shops and restaurants behind the cathedral known for its old-school French charm. "There are mimes and places to buy ice cream," says Gwen, "so it's a good way to shop without the kids knowing that's what we're doing." There's also a cable car carrying passengers to the top, called the Funiculaire de Montmartre, which the kids treat like a miniature roller coaster.
"And they love the carousels," says Chris. "We've been on six different carousels in Paris, which isn't easy."
There was even a man-made carousel in the backyard of the bachelorettes' château in Houdan, France, a quaint country town. ("Man, I didn't even count that one," says Chris. "We're gonna change the name from the City of Light to the City of Carousels.") One day, the family came with him to work, and Chris killed time until the women arrived playing soccer with his son on the expansive lawn. "It was so cool having my family at work," he says, "in this completely old-school French place with tiny streets."