For our second day sightseeing, we were holding onto a hope that it may not rain and so planned around seeing the city. We started off with Notre Dame and were immediately stunned by the long line snaking around the streets to get in. I don't do lines as a principle! I'd rather "waste" the time wondering around the unknown streets than being squeezed into any building (church in this case) - which by all account must be stunning and beautiful, but doesn't the magic stop somewhere between the lady that doesn't use deodorant in front of you and the annoyingly loud speaker behind?
We walked across the Seine towards the Latin Quarters in search of a restaurant and found a small market. Bought a few souvenirs and admired the local produce - cheese, giant oysters, fruit and vegetables.
We've been warned about not so friendly Parisians, but all what we've experienced so far is quite the contrary. The old lady next table at the bistro poured us wine from their bottle (I may have looked in dear need of some liquid happiness, given all that rain combined with LoLo's demands for sweets, ice cream or toys or all of the above at the same time). The same day, another lone lady waved Lola over offering her a small toy that came with her ice cream sunday. People stood up to give up their seats, smiled at LoLo, winked at them, moved their seats so that we can be seated as a family together.
I must say people were kinder in transportation much more than in NYC and visibly wanting to do the kind deed and not feeling like they had to. It maybe LoLo's charm (the fact that London doesn't stop talking and smiling and Lola flirting - minus when they are whining - but we won't mention those cases here) and the French love of kids, that we get such a warm friendly feeling, but I;d like to think it's more general and just the way people are here.
We passed by the Pantheon stopping for ice cream and crepes. I tasted the boozy Grand Marnier crepe for the first time and didn't really like it. The Latin Quarter is as charming as I remembered it to be - small shops and restaurants and streets buzzing with locals and tourists.
I bought Bensimon sneakers finally - simple pull ons that my Parisian friend, Viera introduced me to many years ago, upon my first visit here.
LoLo found a playground at the end of the day - just the time when it was sunny for about an hour and spent time on a spring see-saw going so fast, I was getting dizzy just observing them (but kids love this stuff, don't they?). It's funny to observe French parents and compare them to those at home. I keep searching for their "superior" techniques as described at the "Raising bebe" book and don't really seem to find it. Ok, so it's been only a week or so that I've been doing my French parenting observation, but still .. (oh and it's not that I am not biased at all lol) ... My only conclusion is, that it's just like sweet home Brooklyn - there are parents who follow their child from swing to swing hovering over them and there parents that sit on the bench reading a book, while their child is pushing aside others on their way up on the slide ladder.
One is for sure, I once again could not keep my mouth shut and when one mom watched her son grabbing the long-awaited ball from London's hand (first on line), I had to tell her it wasn't right and gave her the mean mom look accordingly. She seemingly was oblivious at my upset look and could not be bothered. Uhmm yeaaahh ... I've never been good at playground politics.
When traveling with LoLo, I always like to buy a kids book with local stories. (Most major cities have them published in English.) It teaches them about the city and makes them excited for the sights that we plan to see. And pssst .. if you want the real lazy guide to any city for yourself - just buy one as a gift to a child and you can find out all the major tourist attractions without ever buying a proper guide that you may be lugging from home ;) and may just discover more than a guide book will ever tell you. It is also a wonderful keepsake and a memory and keeps coming back every time you read the book. LoLo remembers much of Barcelona also, thanks to the books we've bought!
Reading the Paris kids book the second after we bought it :)
Yet another cold, rainy day on Wednesday (57 F) made us look for things to do indoors and so we decided to visit the "children's museum" of Paris. It is on the outskirts of the city and so the travel there took us an hour and a half and we were very hopeful! The guide book for kids said that it's the "one museum not to be missed", so we were ready for major WOW factor - well, there was none of that! The museum is divided to two parts ages 3 to 7 and 5 to 12. I bought tickets to the part for smaller children - thinking LoLo were 5 (it's closer to their age first category), but many activities were geared for much smaller kids. Also, if you are a spoiled brat, like we are and happen to live in a big city (like NYC f.e.) surrounded by amazing museum, your children's museum is likely be just as great or better than this one. We're a bit bored by now with the Brooklyn Children's Museum and the place could use some extra TLC, but it's just as good in terms of fun as this giant facility with more interesting things than the one in Paris. And! You can spend as long as you want there! This museum lets you in for an hour and a half and then you have to leave. So, it's not a whole day program - thought with the track out there it may as well be.
Construction site at the Children's Museum
If you have children 5 and you've already decided to go to this museum (I would not, but if you did .. ) .. buy tickets for the older category and not the younger. I haven't seen the older section, but would probably forget about the entire place if my child was 10+ years old and would rather take them to another museum and not here. Also, buy tickets online ahead of time!
For 3 Euros per person we walked through the submarine - just outside of the museum. We walked through the entire giant, black iron submarine (not in water) passing by the sleeping quarters and the kitchen and the captain's place. It was an interesting and short visit, but again .. not worth a visit unless you are a serious submarine fan.
Captain needs a lift! :)
Next entry: Pompidue, a walk through Paris and Jarden des Tuileries
Bisou Bisou, Elvi and the Gang xox