Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Postcard from...Paris

Greetings from Paris

What a great summer holiday...London one week, Paris the next. Dare I admit that we also visited Paris during Easter, so I am feeling a very lucky girl at the moment as it is one of my favourite cities.

We had a great day taking the children and some members of the Welsh side of my family around France's capital city. After arriving by train at Gare St Lazare, it was a short stroll to Boulevard Haussmann, where we stopped off at Le Printemps' Restaurant Panoramique for lunch, allowing us to enjoy great views of Paris from the rooftop of the department store.

...well most of us enjoyed the views. When planning such a grand introduction to Paris, I was not aware that my aunt was afraid of heights and this fear only revealed itself at the top of the escalator leading into the restaurant when my poor aunt froze, leaving no alternative exit for others behind us. I think she understood when I had to give her a big heave-ho to the left to avoid the domino effect of people toppling onto each other. To reassure everyone, she was fine once sat down at the lunch table and we all enjoyed our lunchtime experience.

The aim of the day was to take the family on a sightseeing boat trip along the Seine. 21st C Dad and I have visited Paris several times, but for much of my family it was the first time. Travelling by river offers a great opportunity to see many of the key landmarks. So after a quick metro ride to the Trocadero, we followed the steps down towards the Eiffel Tower where there was a selection of boat operators from which to choose. We plumped for the hour's ride for just 10 Euros, which took us down towards Notre Dame and back again, while passing the Louvre, Musee D'Orsay and many of Paris' bridges built by many of Paris' leaders through the many centuries.

It was a beautiful day, so after the boat trip we strolled under the Eiffel Tower and through the gardens towards the Ecole Militaire where we took advantage of the Metro again to visit Montmartre for dinner, before returning back to our chambre d'hote for the evening.

The children really enjoyed their visit too. For us, the key to offering a great day out in Paris was to break up the day with regular rides on the carousels and playgrounds that are dotted around the city.

Incorporating the jewels that we also discovered during the Easter visit, here is a list of the recommended hotspots for kids.

Jardin des Tuilleries: Playground, Carousel, Ice-creams on sale nearby, plus lots of space to walk.
Le Trocadero: Playground in the gardens below the Trocadero, Ice-creams also available with a carousel situated at the bottom.
Eiffel Tower: There is a carousel near the bridge next to the Eiffel Tower. Boat trips are also available from here. There is also a playground in the gardens of the Champs de Mars, to the south of the tower leading towards the Ecole Militaire. Toilets are also available very close to the tower, as well as ice-creams of course.
Montmartre: We spotted two carousels in Montmartre, one near the L'Abbess metro station and the other at the bottom of the Sacre Coeur, where there is also a small playground. Mime entertainers also run regular shows and as well as ice-creams, there are also a number of creperies.

If you love French culture as much as I do, you can look forward to the forthcoming posts covering our weekend en France.

Wish you were here to enjoy the sounds and the sunshine...a bientot...21st Century Mummy xxx


Jo Beaufoix said...

Lucky you
I have never been to Paris.
Mr B has, and he says it's stunning.

We're hoping to take the girls one day when they're a little older.

21st Century Mummy said...

Jo - you need to make sure that Mr B takes you along. It's also so easy for children. It was interesting to see how after being amazed by the Eiffel Tower the first time around, my eldest was a little more blase this time, almost in a been there, done that kind of way. We soon shook it out of him with the boat trip!

Ruby in Bury said...

Lucky girl indeed! Glad you had such a good time, sounds fab.

I miss Paris so much.

The roundabouts are brilliant. I went to Paris with Mr Ruby with just Little J when he was 2, and he loved them, especially the one down the steps from the Trocadero, which he didn't want to get off. I remember it was quite reasonably priced as well - about 70p - unlike the roundabouts here which are always about £2 or something ridiculous like that.

When I lived in Paris I once had "aventure" of the romantic variety with a gendarme I met while hiding in a photo booth in the Gare St Lazare. And I'm only putting that here because this post has gone off the front page now.