Two Dads in Paris Part 2
Two Dads in Paris is the continuation of Annie’s conversation with David about their second trip to Paris, episode 111. That time they ventured into The Louvre and the Orsay museum and David gives great advice on how to do that with a child. They chose a hotel in the Marais which they loved, even if it was a bit of a splurge.
***visited the Louvre as well as the Orsay Museun, visited the Père Lacahise Cemetery (and offer some great tips about that!), and had some fabulous food. David also talks about their third visit to Paris, a day-trip from London, when they took the Eurostar and visited the Musée des Arts Forains in Bercy.
Hotels Recommended in this Episode: Le Pavillon de la Reine
French Learning Ressources Mentioned on the Show: Rosetta Stone and Duo Lingo.
Restaurant Recommendations: Café Pouchkine, L’As du Falafel, Chez Robert et Louise, Benoit, Royal Turenne
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Two Dads in Paris
David and his husband Michael have enjoyed visiting Paris over the years and today David tells us about their second and third visits to Paris.
The show opens with a little rant: you cannot and should not try to visit 3 European cities in a week! Pick ONE and enjoy your time there instead of wasting money snapping selfies in front of monuments that will never mean anything to you. Buzzing around from place to place is not travel, it’s vanity.
[pullquote align=”full” class=”” cite=”David Palacheck” link=”” color=”#0000FF”]If all you want is a few selfies in front of monuments, then you should be shot![/pullquote]
Second Visit to Paris
Occasion‐ Getting out of New York’s awful winter, and the price to go to France was shockingly affordable compared to going to the Caribbean. Plus, off‐season, attractions would be less crowded; Valentine’s Day Weekend, 2015 (note‐ just after the Charlie Hebdo massacre‐ I only mention because there are some Je Suis Charlie references in some of my photos)
Flight‐ Red‐eye between Newark, NY and Charles de Gaulle; land at +/‐ 7am/car service to Paris
Weather: surprisingly beautiful
Hotel: Le Pavillon de la Reine on the Place des Vosges, le Marais‐ serious splurge hotel, seriously worth it. Advantages of this hotel:
- You wake up to your front yard‐ the Place des Vosges
- Walk through the Hotel Sully, to the Rue St Antoine, pick up a sandwich at Paul, walk down to the Seine, and have breakfast listening to the saxophonist under the Pont Marie…
- The Marais is your home base
David Recommends You Stay Away from the Saint-Ouen Flea Market, Especially with Kids!
Mistake we made waiting for our hotel’s check in time: Taking a car to the Paris Flea Market (Les Puces de Saint‐Ouen) before opening with a 10 year old American boy in tow. Not great for kids! Also, we took a car service to the Flea Market, and when we decided to turn around and come back, our driver understood 0 words of English. Luckily this time I had been re‐learning French for at least 6 months before our trip, so I was able to communicate with him. The Saint-Ouen is nothing like the flea market in Midnight in Paris!
What to Do to Kill Time Until Hotel Check-In
If we could do this over again, we’d wander from place des Vosges to the Centre Ponpidou and on the way back stop at Café Pouchkine (2, rue des 2, rue des Francs Bourgeois 75003 Paris) for pastries and macarons!
L’As du Fallafel, 34 rue des Rosiers serves the best falafel in Paris! There are imitators nearby, don’t fall for it! This place gets crowded, especially on Sundays, but so worth it!
- We went to see the Centre Pompidou. We did not go in because we think museums are not great first day idea, and the lines were crazy.
- Having gone to architecture school at University, and being a fan of both architects (Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano), this is a building I have always wanted to visit. Having seen it in person, though, I found the scale of the building really disturbing in juxtaposition to the rest of the Marais.
Best Way to Visit the Louvre with a Child
- This was our only planned event the entire time we were in Paris
- Buy Louvre tickets on line prior to our visit
- To avoid the hassle of getting in, we used the moderately unknown entry that faces the Rue de Rivoli, I believe it is the Richelieu Passage; entry/security took less than 5 minutes
- We knew we would have limited time, so we concentrated mostly on the Denon Wing, where most of the “hits” are, as well as the Sully Wing, since I am a fan of Egyptian art, and we wanted to see the Venus De Milo
- Make sure to visit the Medieval section where you can see the excavated moat walls of the original structure
- We went to lunch at La Taverne de l’Abre Sec
- We walked the covered passages (interesting, but nothing kids would necessarily want to do)
- Walked through Aux Galleries Lafayette, interesting to say we’ve seen it, not really a kid thing.
- Taxi home, crêpe stop when we hit the Marais
Visit to the Musee d’Orsay
- We weren’t sure if Zane would be up for two museums in a row, so we waited until the morning of to buy tickets.
- Purchased tickets at our hotel; DO NOT buy them at the museum‐ the lines were INSANE.
- Go early; by the time we left, which was fairly early, the lines for the coat/bag check were unbelievable.
- This museum is PACKED; it has a great collection, but be aware there will be crowds.
- One of the things kids will like the most is the 3D model of Paris under glass that you walk over.
- Most of the hits are on the top floor, although the northern ground floor has many things to see.
Blow Off Steam by Walking Along the Seine
- After the Museum we walked the Seine so Zane could blow off steam; the riverside is filled with tons of activities for kids‐ ping pong, climbing walls, etc.
- There are always interesting things for kids to see along the river; we saw the boat Brigitte Bardot from the TV show Whale Wars
- Another restaurant recommendation in the Marais: AWESOME restaurant, Chez Robert et Louise, where everything, even the escargot, is cooked on an open flame in the back of the restaurant.
- Extra plus, walking home through the Marais at night!
Going to Père Lachaise Cemetery
- Don’t walk to Père Lachaise from the center of Paris: it’s a very long walk and there isn’t that much to see along the way. Take a taxi or the metro.
- Bring a paper map with you! Père-Lachaise Map at home before you go. You can get this map at the cemetery, but only in the one place which closes at lunch.
- Lunch at Benoit, 20 rue Saint Martin. Order light, portions are large! The environment is beautiful, but it’s a splurge: 40€ for lunch.
- You can skate at the Hôtel de Ville which is great for kids, but they will not let you on the ice without gloves.
Third trip to Paris
Occasion‐ New Year’s day 2016; Daytrip from London; Visiting the Musee des Arts Forains in Bercy
Travel‐ Eurostar express train from London’s St Pancras Station, we arrived Gare du Nord and took a taxi straight to the Marais
Lunch in the Marais at a decent corner Bistro, Royal Turenne.
Visit to the Musee des Arts Forains Bercy
- Private carousel and fairground arts museum featured in the Woody Allen movie Midnight in Paris (see picture above).
- Had planned to walk, took a taxi, which was a much better idea (Bercy is FAR from the Marais!)
- In the past, this private museum has been open only to the general public for the week/week and ½ between Christmas and New Year’s; However, this year with heightened security, tickets were sold for specific times, and entry was controlled.
- We were clearly the only non‐French visitors (which was great). When I explained to the guides that I was the only member of my family that spoke French, they reassured me and gave me a written transcript in English of what they were saying in each room.
- Once we got to the rides/games, Z had a great time.
- The tour ended in a mime show. It was great to see Zane on the floor in the audience with all of the other (French) kids, enjoying it even without understanding the language.
What It Is Like Going to Paris for One Day on the Eurostar
It’s was good experience, you don’t spend that much time under the tunnel. They exchanged their tickets for an earlier return (which you can easily do without a surcharge).
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