Sunday, December 24, 2006

Chanukah in Paris

When we first started talking about all of the traveling we would be able to do if we moved to London, I laughingly said that we would just end up seeing a playground in every country. Sure enough, Paris's playgrounds did not disappoint. But I'm afraid that I underestimated my children when I predicted we'd never get past the playgrounds. It turns out that when you're a kid, all of Paris is your playground.

We fit quite a bit into our 5-day Paris adventure, and the kids seemed to enjoy every minute of it. From Julia's joy as she circled around again and again on as many of the city's carousels as we could locate... Evan's delight as he spotted his first street juggler (one of the few who was willing to brave the cold weather for our entertainment)... was clear that my kids were as captivated by Paris as the millions of visitors before them who've fallen in love with the city. As a first time visitor myself, I must admit that I felt the appeal, too, even though my fantasy of hours spent in a little Parisian cafe lingering over a full bodied glass of wine or a rich, pungent coffee and watching the world go by will have to wait for a future trip sans enfants.

Over and over again, I heard Julia and Evan praise Paris. Evan shouted with unbridled enthusiasm every time he spotted the Eiffel Tower and Julia's eyes shone nearly as bright as the hundreds of lights that lit up the street when we stepped out of the Metro station onto the Champs-Elysees after dark. So what, I wondered, would they say was their favorite part of our trip? Would it be a famous landmark they've only seen before in books; the Eiffel Tower, perhaps, or the Arc de Triomphe or Notre Dame? A mode of transportation, maybe; the cool "double decker trains" of the RER that helped us to cover ground quickly or the glass-topped bateaux that gave us a leisurely view of the sights as we floated down the Seine? Would it be a favorite neighborhood; the funky Latin Quarter or the posh Champs-Elysees or the more quaint Marais or the postcard-like Trocadero? Would they choose the traditional playground we found in the Jardin du Luxembourg? The more formal Jardin des Tuileries? The quaint and quiet Place des Vosges?

As I predicted, the kids had trouble choosing a favorite Parisian memory. The final contenders, however, turned out to be none of the items on my list. In the end, Julia and Evan simply couldn't decide whether their favorite thing about Paris was the chocolate ice cream, the chocolate crepes, the chocolate croissants or the hot chocolate.

Quite right. Leave the traditional Parisian memories to the traditional Parisian tourists. As for our family? We'll always have Paris, and we'll always choose chocolate.


Blogger Steph said...

It looks and sounds like you had a blast in Paris! Welcome home.

7:40 PM  
Blogger Liesl said...

Wow, that looks like an amazing amount of fun!!!

I love the pictures, particularly the one of Julia on the carousel horse :)

1:28 AM  
Blogger Rosemary said...

Are you back "home" (in London)? The trip sounds wonderful and the pictures are delightful. Where are the pictures now of you and DH in Paris?

3:06 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

I couldn't be more proud! Yay, Julia and Evan - you chose wisely, children, you chose wisely. ;)

It looks like so much fun and I couldn't decide which photo was my favorite, but the one of Evan laughing in the street...he's just so adorable!

9:35 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

These pics are fabulous. Like, Gina, I keep going back to the one of Evan laughing in the street. Perfect!

Looks and sounds like you had a wonderful time. And chocolate! :-)

10:50 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

What fun and what wonderful pictures! Evan watching the street vendor melts my heart. As does Evan and Julia and the HUGE mugs of hot chocolate. Now that is Paris done right. :)

9:22 PM  

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