Thursday, February 10, 2011

Be Merry (Go Round)!

My favorite George Dubya quote is, "the problem with the French is that they don't have a word for entrepreneur." Riiiiiiiiiiight.

In fact, the French have a whole lot of good words, including entrepreneur, that double as English words: café, fiancée, lingerie, croissant, caramel.

To that list I would add carousel. The French make a distinction between a carousel and a manège, which I haven't quite figured out. (Readers enlighten me if you know!) If I had to wager a bet I'd say the former is bigger, perhaps containing 2 tiers, and either does (or does not) contain only horses. I've also heard that carousels turn counter-clockwise, while manège turn clockwise; I've never noticed which direction they go, 'cept around.

It's all academic, really, for I don't discriminate from one carousel or manège to the next. If pressed, I'll fess up to preferring the ones with antique looking horses, but eh, as long as RC are in tow, I'll take the ones with flashing bulbs and bad airbrushing. Skank is as skank does.

In fact, I have a hard time passing by a manège without losing some coin. I've taken to carrying a ziploc baggie filled with tickets from carousels from all over Paris- and they are everywhere! (even carousel ticket vendors know the incentivizing power of offering a bulk discount- such entrepreneurs!)

The most beautiful, I think, is the one outside the Hôtel de Ville, but our neighborhood manège filled with an assortment of outcasts (a pig, an old bicycle, a donkey, random horses), has brought us (by now) hours of fun. Franck remarked the other day while taking pix of the kids on the latest twirl ride, that "all we have are photos of them on manèges." This will be a little demonstration of that:

a riff on the manège, with baton in hand

despite appearances, he loves it

Camille is always game

high tide at Jardin d'acclimatation

parallel pathing at Champ-de-Mars

even in the odd shopping mall, we find what we're looking for

as Cinderella's coachgirl

helicopter ride along the seashore

Saturday, February 5, 2011

You spin me round

Auntie Gwennie came for a visit between Christmas and New Years Day. She arrived 24 hours AFTER she was meant to, due to the storm that hit the Northeast and put NYC and its environs in a veritable lock down. No matter. We got onto the business of having fun in Paris shortly after her arrival. I'm lucky enough to have some pretty rockin' in-laws so RC stayed in Normandie for a few days, sucking up the good eats, while we checked out what was happening at Colette and Musée du Jeu de Paume and lunched at one of my favorite spots in the Marais called Le Loir dans la Théière (their apple crumble? shwing.)

But soon I missed RC, and Gwen wanted to see them, too. So Franck fetched the kids from Normandie and we celebrated by (finally) hitting the big Ferris Wheel (aka La Grande Roue) at the heart of Paris, just opposite the Concorde. The line was short, and the weather c-c-c-old, but we braved it for a wonderful, if slightly overcast, panoramic view of hers truly: Paris. Hot chocolate followed for les petites, and we treated ourselves to some Leffe on tap. As you do.
Anticipating the big wheel.

looking over the Concord and up the Champs-Élysées

Les Invalides in the distance, Camille & mama front and center

Eiffel tower above Romie

Post wheel, but pre post-wheel drinks