We love Paris! I think I harped on that point enough in our entry from our visit 3 months ago, so, we left time to enjoy a few more days here before catching the Eurostar to London for our eventual flights out of the UK.
We found another apartment in the same arrondissement as we stayed last time, just off Rue La Fayette, it’s a fantastic area with great cafes and restaurants and very easy access to multiple Metro’s, although this apartment was exceptionally small for 4 people, but it was newly renovated and in a gorgeous old building with no lift and a very small, old, rickety, spiral timber staircase to our fifth floor apartment.
On our arrival we had some time to spare and had not yet looked into new areas to discover, and, Ari had been talking about Cité Des Enfants ever since he realised we were heading back to Paris (this is the Science centre in Paris with the Argonaut Submarine), so we made a return visit. It was interesting to see Tess’s change in interaction with the displays since our visit 3 months ago, she really has grown a lot and her understanding of ‘play’ has matured a great deal.
We visited the Arch De Triumph as we did not do so last time and Ari was keen since it is referred to in one of his books at home, he was most interested in the huge round about and how the cars get around it.
Again our time in Paris was full, often just with general exploration, and some brand new discoveries for all of us this time around included:
Jardin des Tuileries: Despite being one of the most visited parks in Paris and being in an area we have passed many times, between the Louvre and Place de la Concord, we had not spent time in this park before. It’s hard to imagine any garden being created almost 450 years ago (1564) and still being enjoyed today. King Henry II’s wife, Catherine di Medicis, moved to the Louvre in 1559 after his death and built a new Palace with these gardens modeled after the gardens of her home town, Florence. 300 years later, King Louis XVI was brought here against his will at the start of the French Revolution and Queen Marie Antoinette was given part of the garden for her private use, by this time it had already been restored in the French style by the architect of the gardens at Versailles. Even Napoleon Bonaparte lived here in 1800. So obviously it’s a pretty famous spot. I don’t think any of those occupants got to enjoy the fantastic new children’s playground that’s been built right in the centre though. We had a lot of fun in these gardens, with views of the Louvre on one side and glimpses of the Eiffel tower on the other, it’s a great place to just enjoy being in Paris.
Musée de la Magie and Musée de Automates: Skye found these two little museums, which are side by side in the Les Halles district of Paris, and they immediately piqued our interest, the “Magic” part because of how much the kids enjoyed the magic show in Pisa, and the “Automates” part because Ari’s Nanny (Skye’s Mum) lent Ari a fantastic book a while back called Hugo (as in the recently released movie), about a boy and his automaton in Paris, which Ari absolutely loved. Automates are antique mechanical ‘robots’. They were only small museums and a little dated, but quaint and worth the visit, the Magic one put on a show with a Magician and the kids really liked that. The Automates were fairly basic but some were hundreds of years old and so impressive nonetheless. Unfortunately photography was not permitted, but here’s a couple of images from the Web to give some idea.
Chateau de Vincennes: We only stumbled across this Chateau on our way to Parc Floral and so did not spend a huge amount of time here, but it is an impressive ‘compound’ of buildings, moats, and a chapel within 1km of fortified walls. It is in fact quite an important place, it was built in 1150 by King Louis VII as a hunting lodge and was extended in the 14th and 17th centuries, two kings were married here and three were born here, apparently the crown of thorns was temporarily housed here and they say a fragment still remains, hence the impressive chapel, and Henry IV was imprisoned here, two others were executed here and in 1791 a mob of more than a thousand tried to demolish it with crowbars! So probably a bit remiss of us to not have heard of this place before.
Parc Floral: This is an enormous park a little on the outskirts of Paris. It is a newer garden only opened in 1969. It has many fantastic playgrounds, the kids favourite had a huge octopus slide, and there is a great ropes course for older kids and adults. We really enjoyed this place and would love to return again.
We definitely don’t want this to be the last time we visit Paris, it’s such an amazing city.