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In spite of transportation strikes, demonstrations, threats of terrorism and flooding in the Seine, my June 2016 trip to Paris with my daughter, Nikki and eight-year-old grandson, Noah was great. Weather was perfect except for a slight drizzle the first day and the day of departure. Our apartment in the 11th arrondissement, east of the Marais, was very attractive and chic (owned by a Brit photographer) inside, building outside shabby and the “quartier” very funky. Old working class neighborhood turning hipster but no charm. Demonstrators one block away at the Place de la République. Lots of graffiti. We had a homeless guy living in a tent underneath my bedroom who liked to party at 3 am. The day before we left the entrance door to building got tagged with spray paint.
Best was being with my daughter and grandson 24/7 in my favorite city – ok I love you too NYC. We hit all the stops on the tourist itinerary. Rode the hokey tourist on-and-off bus.
Did “museum-byes” at 6 museums. Louvre Mona Lisa, check. D’Orsay impressionists, check. Rodin sculptures, check. Arts et Métiers Foucoult’s pendulum, check. Pompidou view and gift shop, check.
Took the métro out to Château Vincennes, a medieval castle 20 minutes from center of Paris. Nikki and Noah didn’t even complain when I had them get off the métro when I realized we were going in the opposite direction and had to retrace our steps – twice. BTW, who knew you could buy a bow and arrow in a museum gift store in Paris which is what Noah did at Vincennes. The security guard at our next stop, the Louvre, was not impressed however.
Saw the Eiffel Tower the first day and then back the last night to see her show off her colors in honor of Euro 2016, the world-wide soccer match. The competition was held at the stadium in St. Denis where the terrorists were last November so there was lots of police presence throughout the city. Noah and I got red/white/blue striped “tattoos” on our cheeks to show our support for the French team. “Allez les Bleu!”
Each museum visit was followed by a park where Noah could play and Nikki and I could sit on chairs and wave to him. He sailed tiny boats in the Luxembourg (his had the stars and stripes) and the Tuileries gardens. He bounced on trampolines, rode on a carousel, climbed on fabulous structures, zip-lined and ate cotton candy (barbe à Papa) We all rode a train, a boat and a silly life-sized rocking horse around a “race” course at the Jardin d’Acclimatation. I pointed out the zoo where the animals were eaten by the starving Parisians during the Franco-Prussian War. Really.
Both Nikki & Noah were wowed by the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Never got to ride on the Seine due to flooding (water level down but not sufficiently on walkways to access the boats) but otherwise it was all good. They are both great travelers. Surprised at how easy eight-year-year-old Noah was.
When I spoke French almost everyone answered me back in French this trip. I always compare my speaking French to the dog that talks. It’s not how well I speak, it’s that I can speak French at all.
The last nite at Petit Pontoise restaurant on the Left Bank Nikki & Noah and I played Hangman in French while waiting for food. Merci, bonjour, sortie and croissant were the words. Noah told me he wants to take the after school French class offered at his elementary school in September.
Bucket list: double check.