A visit with Madeline

Madeline visited from Copenhagen. She brought danish from Denmark.   We visited the 9th floor of PrintempsLe Déli-Cieux. According the website, “The venue is magical, between heaven and earth, set like a glass case on the terrace of the top floor of the Printemps Home Store.”  It was a beautiful day, warm in comparison to Copenhagen. We sat in the open air with a 360 view of Paris.

Our next stop was the Palais Garnier which was built from 1861 to 1875. The opulence of the setting for 1975 patrons was hard to fathom.  Marc Chagall painted the ceiling of the opera house in 1963.

We also took a cruise down the Seine.

Parc de la Villette

Sarah choose to visit Parc de la Villette, a fun place we visited two years ago during the summer.  The girls had fond memories of a zip line and hamster wheels for kids.  We arrived to find the park undergoing a major renovation.  Construction fences surrounded the part of the park they enjoyed so much.  The Dragon part of the part was open and lessened the disappointment with the closed section.

While walking around the park we came upon a bicycle art.


Later in the afternoon, we visited the sister of Annesophie, one of our friends in Bloomington.  Caroline, her daughter Charlotte (age 7) and Gaspard (age 3) kindly hosted us for cupcakes and tea. Charlotte showed Sarah and Rachel her room and allowed us to pet her rabbit.  It was fun to visit to a residential neighborhood without tourists in sight. DSCN0558

Holding the globe in my hand behind the La Cite des Sciences et de L’Industrie



Conciergerie and Angelina

Photo credit: Rachel Cummings

Rachel wanted to go to the Palais de la Cité (the current, Palais de Justice).  Apparently upon exiting the metro, we approached the rear of the Palais. Finding only entrances open to employees, we looked for a public entrance.  The entrance we found was to a site that Cheryl Jenkins recommended. The Conciergerie was built in the middle ages and occupied by the kings of France from the 10th to 14th centuries.  Walking into the cavernous hall on the ground level we were impressed with their mastery of the arch.1024px-Salle_des_gens_darmes_conciergerie  Wandering around the hall we saw four massive fireplaces that had been used to heat the space.  We later learned that a staff of 2000 used the space as a dining room. We also read that at other times the palace guards and their horses were quartered in the grand hall.  On the next level we saw the souvenir shop and wondered whether the Hall of Guards was the extent of what we could see at the Conciergerie.  Normally the souvenir shop is at the end of the tour.   We had not read about the Conciergerie before arriving.  It turned out the exit of the souvenir shop was starting point for seeing the Conciergerie.  As we toured about we read details about the palace turned prison.  During the reign of terror it was where prisoners were held before their execution.

Conciergerie viewed from across the Seine.

The most famous of the prisoners was Marie Antoinette, who was 37 when she met her fate with the guillotine.  From a line drawing done immediately prior to her execution and replicas of paintings of her, it was clear she ate her share of cake.  We have read she did not say, “Let them eat cake”.  She was convicted of treason for her alleged loyalties to France’s enemy, Austria (where she was born and spent the first 19 years of her life).  The people also believed she was involved in an attempt to purchase a diamond necklace.

Our next stop was for tea and pastries.  Mrs. Campanella, Sarah’s seventh grade French teacher recommended Angelina‘s.  Wow.  We arrived at peak tea time.  It was worth the wait.

Jack’s tea and Mont Blanc,  Sarah’s strawberry milkshake, Rachel’s chocolate eclair behind the milkshake

The patrons were a mix of well dressed French, and Brits. There were a few Americans too. Animated conversations were  heard at all points of the compass.

Marcia’s Chorlotte Poire-Chocolat and Sarah’s Mona Lisa

Below is a photo taken by Ella of Rachel.  Two artsy photos by the twins in one day!

Mona Lisa a la Monet


A full day

In the morning on the way to the Louvre,

At the louvre, with a focus on the Egyptians . Their sculptures, pictographs, pottery, pyramids document a civilization that brought us papyrus and writing.  I was about to write how the Americans brought communication so much farther with the internet, but is was a Swiss citizen, Tim Berners-Lee who gets credit for the world wide web. Back to the Egyptians, hats off to them to create what they did with fairly primitive tools.

The highlight of the evening was dinner on the Eiffel Tower.

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Arc de Triomphe

DSCN0413A woman working the front door at an Italian restaurant on the Champs-Elysees wanted to know if we were for Trump. From the outset she seemed quite excited about the prospect of Trump in the oval office. She was disappointed when neither Marcia nor I nodded approval of Trump. As we were departing she came up to explain why she thinks Trump would be good. She mentioned the impact of the governmental costs of hosting immigrants. Her bottom line was that immigrants were adding to iDSCN0411ndividuals’ tax burden. When we did not indicate support for Trump, she asked if we were for Bernie. It was interesting that she did not have an opinion on Hillary. Throughout the interaction she was friendly and welcoming, not at all fitting the American stereotype of the cold French.  (Actually she was representative of the positive interactions we have had in France.) She offered to take our picture with Arc de Triomphe in the background.

I asked her if it was Ok to take her picture.  Here’s Marcia with her new friend

We then headed to Arc de Triomphe.  Our stair climbing prowess is growing day by day.  The views from the top impressed even the kids.  To give the kids ownership of what we do each day, we decided to take turns. It was a good decision to have each member of the family to have control of a day.


Below are some shots from the top of the  Arc de Triomphe.


Our first Saturday

No homework for the girls today.  It was a break for their parents, too.  It was Sarah’s day to pick what we did.  Sarah selected the Aquarium, which is close to our apartment.  The entrance was not very impressive, but the aquarium turned out to be quite entertaining.  We had never seen Mediterranean moray eels.  They aren’t green, they are more black and yellow.  At the Mote Aquarium in Florida there is an exhibit where kids pet small rays, but in Paris they pet colorful carp.

Although it was 37 degrees, the sun made it seem warmer.  Marcia and I wore gloves but the kids went with bare hands.  Since they did not complain about it being cold, I guess they were OK. It turned out to be a good day for the family.