Chene Koscielny has been nominated in the BiBs category for Writer and if you take a look at her blog Why is her so stroppy? you’ll see why, here she shares a trip to Paris with her 10 year old daughter
For my daughter’s 10th birthday, I took her to Paris – it was the best birthday present ever.
We lived in Paris until she turned two, but I wondered whether she was old enough to appreciate a city not really topping the list of child-friendly destinations. She loved it! – and it provided us with an endless supply of memories – the kind that form the life support of a mother-daughter relationship.
Here are some fun things we did, none of which cost a fortune.
Try to spot Quasimodo
Victor Hugo’s famous Hunchback of Notre Dame
We decided not to climb the 387 stairs to the top of the beautiful 800-year-old Notre Dame cathedral, milling around the busy square in stead, admiring funny-faced gargoyles (stone-figures) on the façade and imagining Quasimodo spying down on us.
Don’t miss the nearby Pont de L’Archeveche, a glittering testimony to fairytale romance. The bridge is covered in padlocks, locked onto the wrought-iron railings by couples declaring undying love before throwing the keys into the Seine.
Feed the llamas and take a ride on the vintage carousel
in the Jardin d’Acclimatation This wonderfully retro amusement park was minutes from our doorstep when we lived in Paris and Paula and I used to while away hours here. It was a very different experience this time, but well worth a visit for the old-style rides, animals and an aviary filled with colourful birds from around the world.
Disney it’s not. But it’s got real charm and it’s a snapshot of Parisian family life on a Sunday afternoon.
Stand under the Eiffel Tour at the exact moment when she lights up
OK, we hadn’t planned this exactly, but it was magic! Unbeknown to me, even after living in Paris, the Eiffel Tour lights up for five minutes at night every hour on the hour. Well, as luck would have it we had just got off the Metro and were almost exactly under the tour, when she lit up like a giant Christmas tree, as if she’d been waiting for us! We didn’t even care that we couldn’t go to the top because one of the lifts was broken. (Saved us a fortune too!)
Dare each other to eat snails (and video yourselves doing it!)
Paula is not a very adventurous eater, so I was amazed when she accepted my dare! Boosted by a day of new adventures, she was not about to let this experience pass her by – I captured the tasting on video and she felt so proud, she had two more! (As for me – I love snails, but I certainly don’t remember eating them at the age of 10!)
Hop on a batobus to admire the city from a different angle
The batobus on the Seine allows the city to show off her most bewitching charms in a fun, easy-to-digest way perfect for short attention spans and tired little feet.
We had a great time posing in front of the shifting landmarks. TIP: Take along pastries and a drink to sustain energy levels.
Enjoy a picnic on the banks of the Seine
Even though it was early spring the day had matured into a balmy summer’s afternoon and we joined hundreds of Parisians descending on the banks of the Seine from offices and apartments for an impromptu picnic of baguette, cheese, saucisson and a demi-litre of wine for me. The banks were packed as far as the eye could see with guitar-strumming students, artists with sketchbooks, young couples wrapped around each other and business men in suits with bare feet.
Climb the steep stairs to Sacré Coeur at sunset
This was the most ambitious part of our trip – climbing to the top of Montmartre, from which the sparkly white basilica of Sacré Coeur rises above the city like an overprotective parent. The climb is steep, but will reward you with glimpses of bohemian life in the windows along the way. Paula matched my every step. If you time it right – you’ll get to the top at sunset and watch the city open up in front of you in a sea of lights. Squeeze into a tiny restaurant for a quick bite on the way down.
These are just a few of the things we liked. Have you been to Paris with children? Share your experiences with us!
Chené is a stroppy older mum who reflects on life and parenting – after 11 years of hit-and-miss motherhood, gut-wrenching guilt, endless frustration. She likes to add a shot of feminism.
At 43, in the midst of raising an 11-, 8- and 4-year old, she’s finally found her voice (sort of), decided to enjoy her frantic life (most of the time) and to stick two fingers up to anyone, who tries to tell her what to think, say or do… (always!)
She’s a journalist, communications consultant, wannabe author, Chardonnay quaffer and novice tri-athlete recovering from runner’s knee by doing yoga and drinking more Chardonnay.