Sunday, April 19, 2009

Paris Part II - What to Do (especially with toddler!)

What to do in Paris?

I know we just got back from Sardinia and I promise I will post from that trip but I felt like I needed to finish Paris first. And since I have been a lazy blogger of late, without further ado... Baby Bird goes to Paris! (I wonder if he will mind that we took him to Paris when he was so young?)

We used a lot of resources to help us plan. The Regensblogger's Planning List was quite helpful. Our friends in Belgium encouraged us to check out Les Catacombes, a man-made underground quarry where old cemeteries were emptied and their bones displayed "artistically." Even my plea for help on my own blog for tips was great - thanks to Blogging Mama for her hints!

Of course, we saw the Eiffel Tower. The line was not too long ~ 45 min. For future reference, even if the line looks short, giant tour groups have priority and will get to go directly into the elevator in their own seperate line ahead of everyone waiting.

The view was spectacular. It was nice outside regardless of the scarf you see me wearing (I am always cold).

We also saw Notre Dame. We didn't go inside because the line looked too long. However, we learned that the line was only for people who wanted to go to the top. D'oh!

We spent a lot of time in playgrounds. The playgrounds are really spectacular. A lot of them require 1 or 2 Euros to enter, but they are well maiuntained and worth it. The playground equipment was very different from anything I had ever seen before. They had giant windmills for the kids to pedal (energy crisis solved!), small rolling hills for kids to run back and forth on and these bumpy, air-filled lanes for the kids whatever kids do on these! Baby Bird prefered to run like a wild animal back and forth.

They also had many old fashioned merry-go-rounds. Of course, Baby Bird picked the Motorrad.

Baby Bird and his Biker Babe

We strolled in a few parks. This park in the 19th district called the Parc des Buttes Chaumont was simply amazing. There is a cliff on which lies Sybille temple, a temple modeled after the Roman Temple of Sybille (in Italy). You can climb to the temple from a ramp or a suspension bridge (Bridge was closed for now) and see the most amazing views of Paris. On a totally random note, the 19th district is also where one of my favorite animated films was set, Les Triplettes de Belleville.

The park was also outfitted with man-made water falls and caves. I should also mention that this seemed very un-touristy. I would guess that this is more of a local spot. If you want to hear French and not more American English while in Paris, Parc des Buttes Chaumont is the place to do it!

The Louvre was also a must-see sight! This was just one of many buildings surrounding the famous glass pyramids. I had no idea it was so big!

We didn't go into the Louvre (am I sounding like a broken record yet?) but Baby Bird did enjoy walking around the fountains over and over again.

Paris was not flattened during the War and we really enjoyed walking around and enjoying the sights. It seems so much older than Berlin. It felt more like what I imagined a European capital city to be like.

We were never bored. There are lovely open air markets almost every day of the week and fascinating people-watching to do. We even saw a person dressed as a sheep dancing on the oldest bridge but named the New Bridge or Pont Neuf. (I didn't take a picture-I felt too much like a tourist already)

We did visit the Les Catacombes but I think that deserves its own post.

The key to traveling with toddlers is low expectations. We didn't see the Arc de Triomphe and weren't able to go into any museums but I guess that we will just have to go back someday (and maybe withOUT the Baby Bird-Mom - you want to babysit?)


lettershometoyou said...

We love Paris. You were smart not to bother going up the Eiffel Tower. An over-rated experience imho. You can get a good panoramic view of the city from Montmartre as well.
Always wanted to see the Catacombs. Did the little guy get spooked out?

Laura said...

Hello, nice blog! Fun to read about Paris with a toddler, we were there pre-kids, and I would love to go back again soon with our 2 young kids, so you have some tips for us! You may want to check out our blog, we also have some ideas about living in germany/europe with kids! bye for now