Even though the Eiffel Tower is the ultimate Parisian symbol, the quintessential Parisian life occurs in 25 hectares of green oasis called Jardin du Luxembourg. There is so much to do in this charming, unique, and befuddling park. I chose this as the days destination based on it’s appeal to children. According to tourism literature, “kids will love this park.” We raced, literally running at times, to reach the famous afternoon puppet theatre: Théâtre de Marionettes. Along with the other kid-friendly park amusements we were disappointed because of the fares. Despite the disappointing charges, we found beauty, relaxation, and interest in the gardens, swarms of pigeons, cookie-cutter trees, ironed and pressed walkways, immaculate lawns for viewing, the palace, statues, and fountains that lie within this large public park.
Before stumbling upon a small Statue of Liberty that we learned is a cast for the real one, we meandered through a two century old, hand-tended orchard of 1000 espaliered trees and 200 species of apple and pear trees.
From the orchard we heard a hympnotic hum that led us right to one of Paris’ many bee apiaries! I wish I had a picture to show you. These bees were working in high style urban hives. Down from the bee village is a school for bee keeping. I think it is so cool that you can get a diploma in bee keeping! Wait. I think I am in progress for a B Keeping Diploma myself And, this diploma is quite a buzz, too.
I really loved this garden. The only disappointment was the realization that you have to pay for everything in the park including but not limited to toiletries, the puppet shows, the play ground, the sail boats, the swings, and the pony rides. It seemed ridiculous to pay for the playground and then pay for five minutes on the swing. Yes, it is 1.40 Euro for five minutes! More, there were souvenir, toy, balloon, candy, and food stands. We felt nickled and dimed in the children’s area as if we were in a theme park vs. a public park. I am sure our frustration is because we are Americans. We didn’t see a frown on a face. Everyone was jovial, content and more than happy to pay for the carousel, the pony rides, boats and the slide.
I would have been more pleased if we payed a nominal fee to enter the park with the activities and amenities included.
We decide the marionette show was worth 4.40 Euro a piece including Beatrice. Even though I admit (hindsight is 20/20) it was a total waste for a 17 month old, it is so French, so Truffaut, like the scene from 400 coups. Every kid in Paris has to see a puppet show! Brian and I couldn’t resist this. We waited in line to buy tickets and enter the perfectly tiny theatre. It was small enough that everyone can see the stage, but big enough for kids to feel like they are in a real theatre. The adorable tiny benches sat watching the thick red velvet curtain while the first four rows were reserved for “kids only.”
The curtains went up and I was so thrilled. I can’t explain exactly why. The colors of the set were rich and the marionettes came to life on the stage. The voices were easy to hear and understand (if you understand French a bit). They maneuvered around on stage gracefully in their festive costumes. They didn’t appear to be marionettes at all. No strings could be seen as they were realistic.
I totally loved every minute that Beatrice allowed us to watch this itty bit of french kid culture. I think, we stayed in the show for about 15 minutes (if that long). Oh, unlucky parents! She was anxious to get out to the balloon stand full of Dora the Explorer inflatables for purchase.
I would have loved it even more if we were prepared for the charges. Otherwise, the kid activities WERE precious and perfectly Paris.
Brian and I were thankful that Beatrice is content to watch the boats rather than rent one. Today at least, we were thankful of her innocence and toddler-hood. Trust me, if she could have uttered a request we would not have been able to resist the old fashioned merry-go-round, the monkey bars, or the boat races. Beatrice we are glad you are one today!