Friday, May 26, 2017

Paris, with family

I suppose I could still title the post "with my granddaughter." I am with her after all. Indeed, Snowdrop and I do not meet up with her parents until the afternoon (and it is a meet up that tests the patience of the little girl, as it is full of bad remembrance, on my part, late train arrivals, on their part, and mismatched eating times for us all). But the day is really a coast to the finish line, because I know that by the time I have to navigate that stroller into the courtyard again and carry everything upstairs, I will have help.

But the morning belongs to Snowdrop and me. We are each others pals -- the two adventuring explorers, in the sun bathed city of Paris.

Breakfast, with flowers at last!


After the usual ritual of bath and clean up, I do the extra touch of sweeping up croissant crumbs and the like, wanting to give the young family that feeling of freshness when they trudge back home. That is, I want to sweep. But when Snowdrop discovers the broom closet, I lose control of any cleaning device. I try to ask for the broom back, but she retorts: it's not available! The things kids pick up in school these days...


Well okay, they wont notice a few crumbs.

I want to spend the morning with her in the Jardin du Luxembourg. This, after all, is my personal favorite spot in Paris and it is hers too. (Well, it would be if the carousel there wasn't closed for maintenance. But it's definitely up there!)

And yes, it is another gorgeous day in the city! Here's a view of our street:


In the park, I ask her if she'd like the playground or the swings. She does not hesitate. Swings!

She gets out of the stroller and I coax her to take the sweater off. It's going to reach the mid 80sF today (30C) and it's already quite warm in the morning. No thank you, gaga.


In the swings, she is radiant!


You get five minutes for your 1.5 Euro. When her time is up, she looks at me with those great big pleading eyes, willing me to let her go for another round ... Okay, Snowdrop.


As I get my upper body workout by pushing her up up up, higher than high, I look over my shoulder and notice something else that is so much part of the Jardin du Luxembourg experience if you're feeling splurgey. [And here I have to say that even though I've sprinkled many a coin for her playground, swinging, and carousel experiences, I have done none of the big stuff which really pulls out the Euros. No boat rides (long and boring), no ride up the Eiffel Tower (horribly long and terrifying for gaga), not even a side step into the Bois de Boulogne amusement park. We mostly keep to the parks and oh, what joys can be found here for the little ones!]

What I've just seen over my shoulder is children on ponies. I have spent many a minute in the past smiling at these youngsters riding around the gardens on the weekends. I wonder now if Snowdrop will like this. (I read on some blog or other that a young child is often terrified of straddling a real horse on these Parisian pony rides.)

I ask the attendant (who follows the trail of ponies sweeping up "les crotins" -- the poop) -- at what age can they go? He grins: 15 months if you help them.

Will she go? Will she like it?

She LOVES it!


Gaga, he stops if you don't hold the rope!


The girl has a little of the Wild West in her!


Her biggest disappointment on this day is when her fifteen minute ride through the park is over.

I horn in on one last photo in the park -- the two of us and (named by us) Spots, the pony.


We're to meet up with her parents for lunch -- they will walk over from the train station and we'll all eat what is said to be one of the best croques monsieur in town, at the nearby Cafe Trama.

But I misremembered the time (we're early). Fortuitously, their train is late pulling into Paris, so I cannot feel like I really messed the day up for us. She and I eat lunch...



... and then retreat (she wants to walk: you follow, Gaga) to the nearby Bon Marche department store...


... to hang out and wait for the parents to arrive and eat their own lunch.

In the store, she spots the kitchen that is a bigger, nicer version of what she has at home. She likes it...


... but then she finds a toy stroller and babies. Well, I lost her to the toy that's so very close to her heart.


Eventually I pull her away by telling her that we need more cherries. The grocery section across the street has a wonderful selection of fruits...


I load up the stroller with a bunch of her favorites, though honestly, I've not encountered a fruit that Snowdrop does not like. She really attacked the free samples of melon at the weighing stand.

As we walk back to the Cafe, we pass a clothing store that has an especially light and simple dress for little girls.

Size 2/3, I tell the clerk.
I don't think so, she replies. Look! And she measures a 3/4 against a very cooperative Snowdrop. Perfect! 
You're growing up fast, Snowdrop.


Finally. At the Cafe. Mommy and daddy are there. In the three days they were gone, she never once complained about their absence, but she is overjoyed to see them now!


And daddy is able to coax her out of her sweater!


Let's go home to play!


... well, not for long: the sweater goes back on once we resume our walk.

At home now, making sure every grownup is following.


And now evening. And it really is evening. By the time we got home, by the time Snowdrop showed everything and anything about her life here to her parents, by the time she finally settled in for her nap, it was... 4 p.m.  Hey, she is up just before 6!

And now she is really excited! She's about to bring her parents along to the penultimate, the joy of joys -- the merry-go-round.

We walk to the Touilerie Gardens, and it is just such a beautiful evening! Blue skies, vivid shadows of an early evening...


At the Gardens, she is just so anxious to get there. Where is the merry-go-round, where is it?

There it is! And gaga is reprieved! Mommy is the one who goes round and round and round and round...


And on the trampoline (because she insists on showing them this too), daddy helps her jump jump and jump so high!


Life is good.


And dinner? Oh, this is so easy! Cafe Varenne is open, after a day's pause. My most revered, beloved place for that solidly lovely Parisian meal. As usual, the waiters are your best friends and without so much as a blink of an eye, they bring the coveted item that no other Parisian restaurant will offer -- a high chair. Too, they always have a child's pasta dish -- today it's spinach fusilli and she just loves it.


Why wouldn't anyone finish the whole thing?


She says all her s'il vous plaits and mercis and the owner pats her cheek more than once and tells her she is such a big girl and she is just so happy!

(Ice cream with whipped cream and strawberries, and she is happy, yes she is, but she loves even more mommy's chocolate pot de creme.)


Walking home with mommy and daddy...


... until she can walk no more.


By 11 p.m. she is (mostly) asleep. Snowdrop almost couldn't be persuaded to let go... until I tell her that she needs her rest if tomorrow she is to show mommy and daddy the horses.... Oh, the horses!