Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Paris - La Deuxième Partie

Andy and I loved so many things about Paris. Our hotel was in a wonderful, quiet neighborhood called Saint-Germain des Prés that had lots of small, charming shops and cafes. We were just a few blocks away from the Jardin du Luxembourg, one of Paris’ most beautiful parks:

It turns out the park had lots of fun activities and sights - one of our favorites was Pétanque, a game just like bocce ball. The courts were by reservation only so we didn’t get to play, but we spent a long time watching the regulars play:

We also saw an authentic French marionette show of Prince Charming at a theater right in the middle of the park. I was amazed at the production value! Although the show was for kids, the sets and props were very professional, and the show was entertaining even for adults like us with limited French skills. Although we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the theater, here are a few photos of the outside to give you a sense for the show:

The hero was a puppet named Guignol (pronounced geen-yoll) that Andy found a little scary (he kind of resembled a mime), but who saved the day in the end. It was so much fun to see the kids in the audience talk back to the characters and sing along with the story. It turned out to be one of the best experiences of the whole trip.

Another day we headed over to the Trocadero stop on the Metro to check out the newest aquarium in Paris called cinéaqua (you know how we love aquariums!). It turned out to be terrific - one of the most amazing features was an arc of water that stretched over you as you entered the aquarium:

It was called cinéaqua because in addition to the aquariums, they showed various nature-themed films on small movie screens right near the fishtanks. There was also an art gallery in one wing of the building. Believe it or not, the combination of aquaria, cinema and art didn’t feel forced - instead it made the space and the experience even more interesting.

Since cinéaqua was near the Eiffel Tower, we also walked over and checked it out afterwards. We were both surprised at how much we loved it - the architecture was beautiful, especially when you were standing right below it:

There’s so much to love about Paris - the sights, the food, the fashion and style (which was fantastic!). I also loved speaking French, and despite stereotypes, the vast majority of French people I spoke with didn’t shun or correct me - they were very kind and glad to speak French with someone who obviously wasn’t a native.

An example of amazing French fashion

Now I understand why so many people fall in love with Paris - the city is truly charming and I’d go again anytime.

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