Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Running in Circles

Even after 3 months here I still get a chuckle over the fact that french women actually wear the trite french beret. I think they look so silly but whatever.

Here is a photo shoot outside Gucci we happened upon after getting sandwiches at Paul and looking for a parc bench to cool our heals.

Sweet Pea happens to love the beret, but....

...the purple fur on this model is totally strange and why would anyone wear something that ugly. Phew! At least she's not into purple fur. She's almost 8 so that could have gone either way.

Really we had not intended to lunch outside Gucci on the Champs Elysees. But once again, I have become as flaky as a croissant au beurre. Left the SD card sitting in the card reader and god dammit, I wasn't going to miss another day of pictures. We were going to Le Palais de Decouvert and if we were going to Decouvert things I wanted photographic evidence! So after getting off the bus at La Place de La Concorde, we walked up the Champs to the Virgin store and got a new SD card. And, as a bonus, I found that the 2010 edition of Paris Pas Cher was now out and I snapped up a copy of that as well. Paris Pas Cher is a great little book of how to survive in Paris without doing permanent injury to your wallet. Unfortunately, it only comes out every 2 years and the 2008 edition was no where to be found. These books sell like hot cakes and are hard to find so alas, I was thrilled to get my grubby little mitts on the 2010 edition.

While I was there, I asked whether Virgin sold les cartes cadeaux pour iTunes. Have I mentioned this little iTunes gift card hunt yet? Okay so the long and short of it is that good old Apple has created a Berlin wall around each of its country specific iTunes sites. So, me with my American iTunes account (established in the US with a US address and a US credit card) can troll all I want through iTunes.fr (the french side) but when I go to make a purchase I am told I don't have purchasing privileges on iTunes.fr and that I need to go back to my side of the playground. So I do. But can I find the stuff I found on iTunes.fr on iTunes.us? Nope. So what's a girl to do when her bambini are chirping for her to buy them the song they heard on le 14 Juillet at the concert on the Champs de Mars. Well I could go to FNAC and buy the Christophe Mae disc for 25 euros which is something close to $40. Or I could try to snake through the system and establish a French iTunes account.

Enter Angelique Belgique. She's a smokin' hot spy, dressed in a beige trench coat cinched at the waist wearing black stiletto heals and not much else under the coat. The boy at the desk of the internet cafe was disarmed by her red lipstick, smoky eyes and the scent of her perfume as she walked past to sit down in a back room with her sleek laptop. With cunning intellect, Angelique Belgique creates a new user on her computer and establishes a new iTunes account which of course is linked to iTunes.fr because she lives in Paris. Her plan is only foiled when she reaches the page where she must enter her French credit card or an iTunes credit voucher number. She does not have a French credit card and now must scour the streets of Paris for an iTunes gift card.

Okay so Angelique Belgique is not a spy but was one of my names at French camp. And yes, I did create another user on iTunes linked to iTunes.fr but finding this damn iTunes gift card thingy was proving to be crazy difficult. There are no Apple stores here only Premium Resellers and they are wicked hard to find. So the lady at the desk at Virgin directed me to SFR, a phone retailer here who carries the iPhone. So off I go to the other side of the Champs where I am told at SFR to go to Orange, another phone store. I go to Orange and they tell me that FNAC definitely sells them. So I go to FNAC and they tell me to go to SFR. Okay, we're done with this for today. So off we go to Paul, grab a few sandwiches, actually get to see someone use a Cheque Dejeuner, and then find the model outside Gucci while we eat our lunch.

So now that it is well into the afternoon, the kids and I head to the Palais de Decouvert for some sciencey sort of fun. It is a great place to take kids while in Paris, and like I have said here before, Paris is a fantastic place to bring your children. So, please do.

The museum is divided into different scientific sections. Earth science, Physics, Chemistry etc. The kids are standing in front of a Marine Life exhibit that was much prettier than it appears here in the pictures.

This was part of the museum dedicated to the study of space. There were your usual planets, stars, dark room - you know the bit. Except here in France they have added something extra special, and so very French. Below are pictures of the kids enjoying what was called an artistic interpretation of what it would be like to be in space.

So as you can see from the picture below, this science museum is located in an architecturally magnificent setting.

Other things we saw here include a live demonstration on how frogs choose their food, rats in a maze at what they call L'Ecole des Rats, lightning, and a demonstration of the power of magnetic forces. Every 30 minutes there is a live demonstration in each of the sections of the museum. It does help to know a bit of French but not totally required to get what is going on. I did a bit of translating for the kids but by-in-large they got the gist of what they were seeing. The kids also got to play on all sorts of hands on stuff in the Physics section but we missed the demos in the Chem lab which Sweet Pea really wanted to see.

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