Luuk read through the Lonely Planet guide to Paris yesterday. As a result, today we had grand plans to visit a few of the sites of this great city.
Predictably, we dreamed a little too big. My capacity for long walks is pretty limited with four weeks to go before ‘Jour J’ – the French name for the baby’s due date. We’ve learned our lesson re: getting around Paris – that is, take the train. Problem is, there’s still a lot of walking between platforms, up and down stairs, and from station to destination to station…
Given that the plan included a museum we knew that the pushchair and the backpack would be of no use: museums here don’t allow you to take either past the door. So we left them at home and hoped for the best – a willing, interested and patient 18 month old, who would walk at least some of the time.
Shame said 18 month old didn’t have a morning nap.
Great moment on the train en route into Paris. Musicians frequent the trains, busking, essentially. They have trolley’s with stereos that play their backing tracks. Our musician today played the piano-accordion along with his backing track. After a couple of stops the musician stops playing and wanders up and down the carriage with a paper coffee cup. People put coins in the cup and then the musician gets off at the next stop and changes trains, or at least carriages, and has another go at another audience. Today’s musician came down the aisle and held out his cup.
Louis, in his infinite wisdom (too much backing track buddy, and you didn’t play ‘La Vie en Rose’), reaches out and grabs at the cup. Gold!
A couple of trains later… Musee Marmottan Monet. Basically, once upon a time Monsieur Marmottan collected a whole lot of art, including a bunch of Monet’s works. Now, Marmottan’s home/mansion, as well as all the art, are a museum. We wandered through the many rooms and perused Monet’s work, as well as several other lesser known artists. There were a few familiar pieces and we each found some favourites among the impressionist galleries.
Louis appropriately said ‘woah’ and ‘wow’ a whole lot when we first arrived. Unfortunately this later morphed into ‘No more!’ Time to find some lunch, then.
The next place we planned to visit was the Aquarium at Trocadero. This is meant to be great for kids (it has sharks, after all) but the reviews were pretty mixed and it is said to be expensive. On arrival at Trocadero vouchers were thrust in our faces – 5 euros off! But we were feeling a bit tired and decided to save the aquarium for another day. A leisurely wander down past the Eiffel tower, over the Seine… that sounded more up our alley at that point.
There are loads of merry-go-rounds in Paris – they are the babysitter of choice for many a Parisian parent, I suspect. We had to pass two before we got to the Eiffel tower. Gave in and stopped at the first one.
We continued walking, making for the next Metro station. Stopped for a breather and to check the map/route to the station…
With a more specific route in mind we continued up the park toward the train station. Louis walked, holding our hands, but he kept wanting us to swing him. We had a bit more walking to do, so were gently encouraging him to stop lifting his feet up, forcing us to take his weight. He wasn’t taking hints and let go of our hands, refusing to walk. Eventually we just kept walking. He crawled after us. This was apparently a fantastic photo-op for a whole load of tourists. At one point about ten of them were all taking photos of Louis crawling along, while Luuk and I stood about ten meters away, laughing.
We took our three trains home, all of us feeling exhausted. Louis was about to spazz out, several times, but we managed to talk/cajole him out of it. We live 500m from our train station. Louis was so tired, he didn’t quite make it.
He didn’t even wake up when he was zipped into his sleep sack and put to bed. We’re wiped out too. My vegetarian satay idea will have to wait till another night. Time to try our first Indian food in France. (PS. Wasn’t spicy, but it was yummy.)