Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ditching the guidebooks!

One of the things I love about Paris are all of the hidden treasures to be found around the city and outside the guidebooks. We are so well located in the city that we can easily walk just about anywhere. I love being able to step out my front door and into the Marais which is a gorgeous part of town full of boutiques and cafes. If I walk down the street instead of across the street we find ourselves in the Bastille. The infamous place where people were imprisoned during the French Revolution. Remnants of the Bastille prison can still be seen in places in the metro station that resides underneath the chaotic and death-defying roundabout above. It is also said that there are markings on the road to indicate the original structure of the prison. Either way, it is a pretty cool sight despite the tourists and the cars trying to clip your rear end.

If you walk past the Place de la Bastille and follow signs for the Viaduct des Arts you will be rewarded with a wonderful two part walk. Just beyond the Bastille is an old viaduct that has been restored into l'ateliers (artisan workshops) below and a well cared for garden above. Les ateliers range from dressmakers, to hand-painted bone china, to doll restorers, to umbrella makers. There are hats, glass jewelry, home decor - some of the most amazing home decor- and lots more.

This is a shop selling very old toys. So old they just plain look creepy!

Not going to fall for the wolf in bourgeois clothing.

After walking along the shops, we found a park to play in as a reward for shopping with mommy. The yin and yang of our Parisian summer.

I probably have said this here before but ALL Parisian playgrounds are totally different. They have such completely different play structures that it no longer becomes going to the playground that is closest. We go to the playground with the items we feel like playing on that day. Sometimes this will require us to bus over to the Jardin du Luxembourg for the zip line, or metro to the Tuileries for the swingie thing and large metal ball, or walk up to Arts et Metiers for the playground that is all sand like a beach. Forget the museums- Paris has crazy ass playgrounds to hit!

Anyway, I was able to capture here what is a very common occurance here in Paris. The mystery thing at the playground. We arrive, we see something new. We don't know quite how it is used and we sort of play around it until we see the French kids use it and then we are all over it!

So below to the right you see Buddy climing up the structure and Sweet Pea trying to figure out what those bars are for.....

You can almost hear her saying "what the heck?"
Well watch and learn my dear, watch and learn! Here come the French kids....

Ahhhhh that is what those bars are for!!! And they're off....

Mom, if I practice on these can I get a skateboard??? - Buddy

So after an hour or so of playing and the requisite ice cream cone afterwards, we head back to the viaduct to walk along the garden path home.
No complaints here!

Oh, I took this picture to the left because it seems they are digging up all the streets at home to lay cable and I think they are doing it here in Paris too. Although you wouldn't know it from their shitty internet service.

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