Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Things To Do In Paris When You're Three (Part One)

I love Paris.

Before our recent trip, I had been once before and adored it.  We took in the tower, of course, and the arch, then the Pompidou, the Sacre Coeur, Musée D'OrsayPére Lachaise, Moulin Rouge, the Louvre and, one of my favourite stops, the very quaint Shakespeare and Company bookshop.

One place I had never before had the pleasure of visiting, however, was Disneyland; everyone's favourite Parisian suburb.  So, when Jasmine's Godmother invited us to join her on a miniature Disney adventure, we gleefully accepted.

Our journey began with a train, the first of many, from Lancing to Brighton.  Following this, we travelled from Brighton to London Victoria, then took the tube to Kings Cross before finally heading out of the country and arriving, two and a bit hours later, in beautiful Paris.

It had been raining, was grey, busy and smelled less than fragrant.  Travelling with a toddler somehow made the city appear less romantic and feel more dangerous.  We ventured through the bustling streets, trying to find our way to the hotel we had booked many weeks previously.  It was, inexplicably, situated slap bang in the centre of the Rastafarian district.  We were stared at, a lot, but this is nothing new for a redhead.

Upon entering the hotel, it quickly became apparent that this was not a touristy place.  The owner (possibly...he may not have been; we couldn't understand a word...) did not speak English and it took a while to check in.  Following this debacle, we gratefully unloaded the majority of our possessions into our bijou (ahem) room and headed back outside, eager to sample the delights of autumnal Paris.

By this time, it was approaching 5pm and we had somewhere to be.  Jasmine had been desperate to visit the Pompidou Centre ever since Daddy had shown her the photos from our trip, so we took the nearest Metro towards the unusual building and hoped for the best.

Of course, it is closed on Tuesdays!

Undeterred, we continued our Parisian adventure by searching for somewhere nice to eat with a three year old.  We looked for a while, looked at many a place.  Some were too expensive, others were McDonalds. Eventually, we came across somewhere within budget that looked perfectly pleasant and whose manager didn't baulk when greeted with a small diner.  I don't remember the name, nor the exact area, just that it was within walking distance of the Pompidou.  What I do remember, however, is the service.  Now, I do like to pretend that I speak French.  It's a fun thing to do, in England.  Unfortunately, it is a complete lie.  None of us spoke French, and could not read the majority of the menu.  Thankfully, the lovely young man who waited upon us that evening spoke very good English!

We were served our chosen food and drinks promptly and with big smiles.  Jasmine did get fidgety because there was nothing to do, no play area nor colouring books, but was pleased to be involved in a grown-up meal and was most excited to receive a slice of lemon with her lemonade...until she tried to eat it, that is.

One slight negative with this restaurant was the lack of choice within the children's menu - simply one main and one dessert, no other options.  And the dessert was strawberry soup!  When first presented with this information, we were expecting jelly or something similar and that the soup part of the dish was merely a Babelfish translation.  But no, a bowl was brought out to Jasmine, and within it was a cold, red, seeded pureé.  Strawberry soup.

Jasmine was not terribly impressed by this.  She was also rather tired by this point, after a long day's travelling followed by a wander around part of this new city, so we returned to the hotel and readied ourselves for a second long day in Paris.

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