Friday, December 9, 2011

no school!

There is no school on Wednesdays in Paris.  Really.  Annabelle has school four days a week, from 8:30 – 4:30.  Don’t tell your children.  Lunch is also 1.5 hours.  Really.  Shhh!

Our second attempt to visit Jardin du Luxembourg was a success, albeit a cold, rainy and windy one.  Annabelle was overjoyed.

Her first stop, the zipline:

DSC_5898 playgrounds are fun in any language

At first, Annabelle was pretty much on her own.  We don’t typically frequent playgrounds in December, but Annabelle was eager to relive her past visits to this impressive children’s wonderland. 

Eventually, she made friends with a little French girl named Marie-Carla.  A good solid Catholic name, no doubt.  They scaled an Eiffel Tower comprised of ropes, and used a good deal of sign language to forge a playground-worthy friendship.  I sacrificed myself as a human popsicle to keep the multi-cultural dream alive.

I tried to remain calm as Annabelle scaled her way to the tippy top of the Eiffel tower, but drew the line when she held on and leaned her body away from the structure.  This thing would be so illegal back in the states.

does this seem safe to you?

Our last stop before I froze solid was the carousel, an antique affair with various horses and zoo animals to choose from.  The operator doles out wooden sticks and children who ride can collect the rings he holds out, each time they pass.  They then call out the number of rings they have collected.  If you’ve read Adam Gopnik’s ‘Paris to the Moon’, you might recall how he describes it in his book.

DSC_5904 collecting rings at the jardin du luxembourg carousel

In general, I get by with my rudimentary French, but when we first arrived at the carousel, I was certain that the operator said Annabelle was too old to ride.  Fortunately, a kind young mother took pity on me and explained that everyone had to ride on the outside because there weren’t enough children to evenly distribute the weight, otherwise.  The French aren’t overtly helpful, by any means, but they certainly aren’t the ogres they’re made out to be.

Good news: I have read many a horror story about returns in France, but discovered that Le Bon Marche and many other stores have adopted better return policies in recent years.  I had to return an item and it was easy breezy.  Sweet relief!

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