Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Paris Can You Handle Them?

Finances are just one of the challenges of going to Paris.
The second challenge? Entertaining three toddlers in a pristine city.

Paris, can you handle them?

My 1 1/2 year old.
I can definitely keep her entertained with food and sugar.
Biggest Concern: Everything else.

My 4 1/2 year old.
He will have a sweet eye for the French girls. He is my Casanova. I also know that Paris has enough fromage to go with his whine.
Biggest Concern: Throwing spit balls at the Mona Lisa
or taking a dive into the Seine during our boat ride.

My 6 1/2 year old.
Is there golfing in Paris? How about orca whales? Non?
Oh, I know, chocolat....oui, that will buy me some time.
Biggest Concern: He will wrestle his brother
inside the Notre-Dame or hop on the Metro without us.

I love my kids and for the most part they are well behaved, but not to French standards by any means. I could really relate to a passage in the book Paris Times Eight, by Deirdre Kelly, where she takes a moment to make the comparison between the Parisian children at the Jardin du Luxembourg with the children she was babysitting.

"That was where the other children of Paris were-never scattered in the street but enclosed in leafy green spaces where you could admire them, as you did the outdoor sculpture ringing the periphery. I stood by, watching the little girls in starched white dresses, patent shoes, and ribbons in their neatly plaited hair, little boys in seer sucker shorts, knee socks, and handsome cotton vests worn over their linen short-sleeved shirts."

"...I let the children run wild. I forbade them to read out of the doors. I dressed them in T-shirts and shorts. We looked like vagabonds, loitering around the large fountain pools, making smacking noises at the large gold carp swimming brightly beneath the surface. Christopher once threw a handful of sand into the pool, eliciting stares and hissing sounds."

My children's pediatrician got wind of the fact that we are planning to go to France and her suggestion....stay in Paris a couple of days and then take your kids to the beach in Nice or the Provence countryside. Fodor's France 2009 also recommends only 2 days of Paris with the rascals. I'm sorry but I will not be saving for 2 years to go visit Paris for 2 days.

Should I enlist my kids in an etiquette academy?

Should I send them to school in starched shirts and trousers?

Should I start sending them to bed during daytime so the time difference doesn't make them impossible?

Should I teach them to play an acoustic guitar and recite poetry simultaneously, so they feel at home in the artistic Parisian cafes?

Should I sign them up for oil painting classes in order for them to appreciate the works of Monet?

If I can conjure up the perfect balance and come back from Paris feeling successful, I will definitely write my own book called

Mini-Paris: A Child's Point Of View.


*Chic Provence* said...

So funny! I wish I had answers for you, but, my child is well grown now!! Find a nice French nanny and stay in Paris for a month!!

Nice is very crowded; Provence will bore them to tears (it's charms are for the more mature among us!!), go for Paris Paris Paris!!!



Anonymous said...

I love the thought process behind this trip especially the $$ count down. Hey pay for me and I''ll babysit! Kitty

corine @ hidden in france said...

I've been taking my children to Paris for the last seventeen years. We end up doing so much walking that once we get to a museum or a restaurant, they're essentially comatose. French kids are a little repressed, (I know i was one of them) as they are constantly disparaged by their parents. Good for you if yours are wild and free. Paris will have to adapt.

(we spell our name the same way! French corinne usually take to 'ns' so I'm a rarity there. And here in the US, until now :-)

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

Adorable kiddos, and hey -- the Paris Time Out guides explain lots of things to do with children in Paris and has great suggestions. I would pick up a copy, if I were you. Just bear in mind that they are not going to be able to do all of the grown-up stuff you want, and be willing to compromise a little and all should work out well.

The other thing is get to know people who live in Paris who might be able to babysit for you, lol. Ahem. Just sayin'!! :) I know you would probably want to do a check on me somehow, and I am not sure how we could arrange that. But I am just saying that if you want someone to keep an eye on the kiddos at your hotel or whatever, I am offering an evening, or even taking them somewhere in the daytime if you want some grown-up time.

Anyways -- we have a while to get to know one another to see if you are comfortable with that! :)

Again, they are beautiful kids. :)

Peter said...

I understand and it's normal that you ask yourself these questions. Difficult to give any real answer. Life i certainly different here, but to have an experience of living in another culture should always be a plus in life! How do you plan their schools?

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

Corine - I was checking out some links online yesterday, and I ran into this book called Urban Crayon Paris. Here's the description: "Family-friendly and budget conscious, this city guide reveals how to have fun with young children in France's famed capital city." It looks like an awesome book and I thought I would let you know about it: http://www.amazon.com/o/asin/0979553407/mdj-20

I noted that there are also lots of other recommended books that look excellent, too, such as Fodor's Around Paris with Kids. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/Fodors-Around-Paris-Kids-3rd/dp/1400019192/ref=pd_sim_b_1

I really hope it will work out for us to connect once you do get here!

Take care --

My Grama's Soul said...

What an adventure for them. They are lucky kids to be able to do this so young.

I did not visit Paris until a few years ago and I can tell you this; IT MAKES EVERYONE FEEL YOUNG AT HEART, NO MATTER HOW OLD YOU ARE!!!!!