The Paris Less Traveled

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Studio Des Ursulines

The skies were grey, there was drizzle in the crisp air. Our plans for playground time were becoming less and less appealing; so, we took to plan B, a movie at our favorite one-room theatre in the fifth arrondissement. Only a 1.5 mile walk from our apartment, the kids and I started a brisk walk to catch the 4:15 show of The Extraordinary Voyage of Marona. Yet again, I mistakenly thought there would be English subtitles; the kids rolled with the idea of the all French film and reveled in the captivating images and haunting music. The story, from the point of view of a dog, is rather sad as she recounts the tales of her time with her beloved owners, of which there are several, before passing away. It was a beautifully artistic film and even without understanding the dialogue, the four exited the studio with praise and desire to see it again, in English.

Tuesday was our first big outing as a family, as we procured tickets to the JRR Tolkien exhibit at the French National Library. A sight I have never visited, The Francois Mitterand National Library consists of four looming structures on the quays of the Seine with the undulating Passerrelle de Simone de Beauvoir connecting the Right and Left Banks.

Free for children, the Tolkien exhibit displayed over three hundred pieces of manuscripts, art work, drafts, book covers, etc. of Tolkien’s prolific work. As Matt and the kids have been diligently working through The Lord of the Rings, after having finished The Hobbit, for bedtime reading, they were all very invested in seeing the works displayed.

Not personally a devoted Tolkien fan, I found the massive seventeenth century globes commissioned by Louis XIV to be the most fascinating part of our trip to the library. While the library is off the beaten tourist path, seeing the globes and how the world was seen over three hundred years ago was truly thought-provoking and inspirational. I would recommend the visit to anyone traveling to Paris.

After Chinese, Cambodian, Vietnamese and hamburgers, it was finally time to dine at a traditional French Brasserie for lunch, La Marquise. We dutifully ordered the fixed lunch menu and were pleasantly surprised with the friendly service, congenial atmosphere and reasonable prices. With the end of a late lunch, work and school work needed to be done, so two headed home, while the boys and I spent a chilly, windy time at the playground, followed by a warm-up at McCafe. Yes, McCafe. We sipped our hot beverages as they took turns reflecting on our trip so far and verbalising their favorite memories to prepare for conversations when we got home.

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