Adventures in Paris: Rainy days

It has been cold and rainy for two days now!  We Texans are pretty wimpy when it comes to the cold, and I definitely did not pack enough warm clothing (it being July and all) for this cool weather.  So everyone has been a bit damp and shivery for the past couple of days.  Too bad you can’t control the weather when you travel!  To compensate for the cold we’ve been eating lots of pizza, warm crepes, and French onion soup.

Yesterday morning we made a poorly-planned visit to Notre Dame.  When we arrived at about 11:00 a.m.–peak time–the line to get inside stretched across the plaza, the line to climb the stairs to the top of the bell towers was about three hours long, and the boys were all hungry.  Not a fantastic beginning.  Since we were already there, and the line to get inside the cathedral was moving quickly, we ignored the complaining and dragged the boys inside for a look around.  They were initially impressed by the huge size of the space, but their excitement quickly faded.  Children are not as good as adults at setting aside physical discomforts like hunger and fatigue.  I know this, but sometimes I forget.  When a child is tired and hungry it is really hard for them to focus on anything else, especially, as it turns out, stained-glass windows and ancient crypts.  It’s hard for me too, so I get it.

So, after making a ruckus inside the Cathedral of Notre Dame, we retreated outside to feed the pigeons and eat lunch.  Feeding the pigeons was a great highlight for the boys, definitely their favorite part of the day.  Lunch was warm and delicious and helped everyone feel better.  A lesson re-learned:  feed your children and plan ahead!

Today, having checked the forecast and knowing it would be cold and rainy, we searched for an indoor activity.  We settled on the Pompidou, Paris’ largest modern-art museum.  A few of our guidebooks promised engaging children’s exhibits at the Pompidou.  Perfect!  However, we learned that there is no permanent children’s area at the museum, but rather a rotation of child-focused exhibits.  The current exhibit is tiny – mainly an audio guide geared toward children ages 6 and older, preparing them to better understand and appreciate the art in the rest of the museum.  I think that’s a great idea, but only one of our children is older than 6 so it wasn’t ideal for our family.  Probably really good for slightly older children.  Still, the boys enjoyed the museum.  They loved the cool exoskeleton modern design of the building and the fountain sculptures outside.  They loved riding the outdoor escalator.  And they enjoyed (for about an hour) exploring the permanent collection of modern art which includes some very cool sculptures and multimedia installations.


We are learning our family’s capacity for museum-going.  Based on today’s experience, when well-rested and well-fed, the boys can handle about 45 minutes of quietly looking at art (quietly for them, mind you, which is not actually quiet but at least not loud).  After a break they were good to go back for one more floor.  We need to build up our museum stamina before hitting the Louvre!  We’ll probably break that one into a few visits.  On the topic of museums in Paris, there are a few lesser-known gems that we are planning to visit.  There is a museum of hunting and nature (Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature) and a museum of science and engineering (Musée des Arts et Metiers) that look interesting for our children.  We’d also like to visit the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Rodin Museum, and the Musée de l’Orangerie. Visiting all these museums will be great research for a future post on preparing young children for museums!

eating crepes

Crêpes make everyone feel better

2 replies
  1. Carol
    Carol says:

    It is so good to see ya’all! Enjoy the cold and damp. It is a sauna in central Texas. I think the museums sound intriguing and the crepes look yummy. What a great adventure!

  2. Kristy
    Kristy says:

    Your boys might like the Conciergerie (sp??). It’s in a great location, doesn’t take more than an hour, and is all dank cellars and prison cells, pretty cool for little boys. I don’t remember it being bloody or gory, I hope I’m right. My kids loved it (when they were about 8 and 10).


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