Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Well, they left this morning and this is my first time back on the blog. I'll probably forget most of the details I meant to remember and I won't try to cover it all in one sitting.

Working off the energy

Andrew only took two one-hour naps on the airplane and then stayed up until early evening after arriving. He was so excited to be here, he wasn't going to sleep. And then, of course, he crashed, as did Ellen and Julia.

Boating pond in the Luxembourg Gardens
on a day without boats

We took him over to the Luxembourg Gardens - walking distance (a requirement when I was looking for an apartment) - because it has a very big playground. The playground was closed - for four out of the next five days! The French were busy pruning their trees into rectangles. Luckily, I remembered a tiny playground, so we went there, by which time Ellen was in collapse.

Luxembourg Gardens beehives

And, of course, Julia met a cat on the way home.

Julia and French cat

And I'd forgotten that you can just cross my street to see the Eiffel Tower, so that was very exciting.

Crossing the street!

The apartment turned out to be big enough for the four (and eventually five) of us. The biggest problem was the shower which was tiled in such a way that water just flowed around the rim of the tub and onto the floor. We needed to strategically place towels around. This was doable - though a pain in the ass - with one person, but multiple showers became crazy.

The open window above the nail salon
is my living room

The bathroom has only one tiny hook and no other places to hang drying towels - and we had many soaked towels. At the risk of sounding like an Ugly American, I would think it would have taken one French person to come to the US, say "Oh, that's a much better way of doing a bathroom) and come back and tell everyone else, "Here's a better way to do a bathroom." Done! Of course, we haven't done a public transportation system like the one here and we should have done that long ago. Oh yes, we did, but the auto/energy corps. made sure they ruined that.

Painted building at the start of the rue Mouffetard

The next day we really packed it in. We started at the rue Mouffetard - a market street - which also starts with a playground - always a good thing. We stopped in at a boulangerie and Andrew had his first of many French sweets to come.

A strawberry/ladyfinger thing he picked out

It was a good start. He liked it a lot. And his mother enjoyed her beignets.

Ellen and a bag of beignets

Julia opted for Quiche Lorraine and ended up thinking it was one of the best things she ate in Paris. Warning: We are really down on French cooking. Generally, it sucks!

Yummy quiche

I opted for bites of everyone else's food. It was an excellent choice.

Parisian water fountain

The Parisian water fountains were a hit. They are not very good for a quick drink, but they are perfect for filling up a bottle and beautiful.

Andrew in the Pantheon

Next we headed to the Pantheon. Andrew has a couple of kids books about Paris and he had his personal list of places he wanted to see. This was one of them. As we approached, he said, "This is going to be so awesome!" How many four-year-olds eagerly anticipate the Pantheon? He knew there were a lot of famous people buried there and he had expressed some concern about being one of them. 

Julia with Rousseau's tomb

He was also a little worried about people rising from the dead. We have assured him that never happens - no exceptions!

Then, of course, we needed some Berthillon ice cream ( or was that the next day - I might be getting confused) - so we went to the Ile St. Louis.

Strawberry and chocolate

Then, on to Notre Dame - another one on Andrew's list. As soon as we got inside, he fell asleep (he got to go back another time).

Joan of Arc

Notre Dame grillwork

It is much more crowded in June than in May and much more difficult to enjoy, but as you proceed around the church, the crowd thins out a bit.


Julia bought a votive as a souvenir. 

Shadow of an angel

We topped the day off with a boat ride on the Seine.

This was a big hit!

Everyone enjoyed this - a high point of the visit. And Andrew is thrilled any time he gets near the Seine. He loves it.

First time close to the Eiffel Tower

We got to see lots of spots that Andrew knew about and he just loved being on the boat. 

Yep, I was there, too.

No landmarks

We would all have been happy to do this again - maybe at night - if we'd had time. There is so much to see here that their trip ended without their having seen everything they wanted to see.

By the boat dock at the western end
of the Ile de la Cite

At the end of the boat ride and
ready to do it again

And, of course, we stopped for our early evening drink.

Cool Californians in their shades

The next day the big playground was open. It started to drizzle when we got there, but that didn't stop us!

He likes the ropes course

There is a charge for using the playground! $5 for one child and one parent. Looked like a rather upscale group hanging out there. I don't know if that's the point. I haven't tried to figure out the "socialism" here. The transportation is great. The post offices aren't shutting down - they're open until 8:00 p.m. But the playground costs money. And there are quite a few homeless people. But many have regular spots in the Metro, complete with mattresses, and the guards don't seem to bother them.

Big kids' swing

This structure was reserved for kids at least 7 (Andrew's 4), but he wanted to try it. At first the other older kids kind of pushed him around (in the negative sense), but he kept trying until he got it right (though it was a little scary).

More catching up tomorrow.

Chopin at the Luxembourg Gardens

Every famous man needs a naked woman at his feet. I don't think times have changed on this.

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