Friday, March 15, 2013

Tuileries Gardens

Disclaimer: A week has gone by and I have not blogged!  Wow, am I behind! :)  I going to attempt to try to catch you up to speed today in the next couple of posts as to our adventures from the past week. 
I love it when Bobby wears his cap! ;)
On Saturday, March 9th, we woke up to beautiful sunny weather.  Since our arrival to Paris, there have not been many days that the sun has shone for any length of time.   We decided to take full advantage of the beautiful weather by heading to a park we haven't explored yet:  Tuileries Gardens.  Tuileries Gardens is located between the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe.  Everyone was out enjoying the weather.  As we made our way to the park, Parisians were out sunbathing.  Just to clarify, not sunbathing the way a Georgian would think (in a bathing suit.)  No, instead, benches were full of all ages relaxing in sun: legs stretched out, arms crossed, and many with eyes closed.  It was so fun to see everyone enjoying sunshine sans the large heavy coats and winter gear.  There were people watchers and book readers and cafe drinkers too.   Liam fell asleep on our walk to the playground area of the gardens so I was able to sit and relax myself, Parisian style, for a couple of minutes while Bobby and Amelie hit the playground action.  This playground was especially fun because it had an area just for big kids.  This included an incredibly high ladder to climb, enclosed roping to crawl through, followed by a huge metal slide from which to exit.  The children would go around and around, waiting in line to ascend each time.  Once Liam woke up, he also enjoyed running around.  He was not old enough to do the "big kid" play area, neither was Amelie technically but she handled herself amazingly. We watched many parents encourage young children to climb the ladder only to get scared once at the top and have to be rescued.  This slowed the forward progression of the line many times.  Bobby and I said to each other over and over again that is why they have an age recommendation of 6 years old!  Waiting never seemed to bother Amelie...she was always patient and never whined which was nice.

Liam enjoyed riding on the see-saw, climbing up a smaller ladder with slide, riding on the merry-go-round, and swinging in a hammock.  Common playground equipment in Paris consists of the afore mentioned items as well as these little spring boards.  They seem so dangerous to me but they are everywhere.  They are always positioned close together so that a child can jump from one to the next.  This is a fine feat for older children, but I watched so many younger children fall as they attempted to leap and are not coordinated enough to land squarely on the next platform.  They are made from metal springs and hard plywood tops.  Bobby and I have fun springing on them. ;)
Liam jumping (almost falling) on the Spring Board).
Amelie holding on to Liam while dad swings them in the hammock.
Amelie has been taking good care of Liam.  Holding on to him for dear life in most instances!  I do love how sweet this picture is!
After playing at the playground area for a while, we decided to walk to the Arc de Triomphe.  Because of the amazing symmetry of the city, we could see the Arc in the distance.  It didn't seem to be too far away.  Note:  objects appear closer than they actually are!  On our way out of the garden, we witnessed a protest in progress.  We couldn't read the signs, but there were a lot of demonstrators and police gathered.  Don't worry, we didn't get too close.
You can see the Arc in the distance.  We are leaving the park in this picture.  Liam is doing a little people watching of his own.  He is such a ham and attracts admirers wherever he goes.
 We walked for a long time on Avenue des Champs-Élysées on our way to the Arc.  To say there were tons of people out is an understatement.   It was a very enjoyable walk.  We stopped along the way and ate dinner, and I'm not going to tell you where! ;)

After dinner we made it to the Arc and took pictures.  We also watched the ceremony of the lighting of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I that lies beneath the Arc.  This ceremony occurs nightly.  Bobby was able to talk to a Parisian about what we were seeing.  This man emphasized how proud the Parisians are of this tradition and this eternal flame.
We were sad to see the sun go, but it had a gorgeous exit to a gorgeous day.
You can see the ceremony occurring in the background.
We had a spectacular day.  This was actually one of my favorite days since being here.  I am looking forward to the spring and warmer weather (fingers crossed!).  

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