Hopefully you've already discovered the first part of our adventurous weekend in Paris where my daughter and I took the train from Villedieu-les-Poêles in Normandie (where we live) to Montparnasse. I was coming in to the capital for a male model photo shoot but decided to bring our daughter for her first trip to the city as we could stay at my cousin's apartment.
We slept really well after tiring ourselves out on our first day. We awoke afresh looking forward to our second day. I'd decided to show her Sacré Coeur so that meant first taking the Metro. After yesterday's fun of taking an escalator for the first time, today started with taking a moving walkway for the first time, that as you can see, was great fun.
I again took the opportunity to ask my daughter to stand still as the train approached the platform so I could capture a few images showing the movement of the trains...
...and the people.
We arrived near Sacré Coeur and started the long climb up the many flights of steps up to the top.
In Paris even the water fountains are beautiful, which she found fascinating. "More steps Mummy". Oh yes, there are lots!
When you finally get to the top the view is quite stunning (even with so many tourists).
We sat for a few minutes on the steps listening to the beautiful music played by this harpist, an instrument that my daughter had never seen before.
We walked around some of the small streets of Montmartre in the areas that are quite touristy...
...but then I took her find something unusual down a little street away from all the people called the 'La passe muraille' - 'The Man Who Walked through Walls' which is statue based on a 1941 fantasy novel by Marcel Aymé who lived in Montmartre.
I admit to having been a little nervous beforehand about travelling on the Metro with my young daughter, but I needn't have worried. All our many experiences were of friendly and courteous people, who were maybe a little curious as to my photography and the trains weren't over-crowded as I had been expecting as you can see.
In the afternoon we ventured out with my cousin using the fantastic 'Autolib' electric car hire system that Paris has. You have to have a subscription and then you swipe your card to sign in and a little car is assigned to you. When you're driving the in-car GPS is always showing you where the nearest Autolib parking spaces are and how many are available. So you just head to the free space nearest to your destination, park the car, plug it in to recharge and swipe your card again to sign out. It's a fabulous system that's reasonably priced, practical and of course environmentally friendly. I can see why my cousin has sold her car and uses these little electric cars, they're great.
First stop: a little coffee in a little café...
...Then off to the zoo in the Jardin des Plantes (The garden of plants). This is the first 'animal' I found that was behind bars
These two Orangutans were real characters, playing with each other and really having a fun ten minutes whilst we watched them. I'm sure that in the photo on the right she smiled at the camera. What do you think?
The Zoo at the Jardins des Plantes is actually the second oldest zoo in the WORLD! I really wasn't expecting to find such a wide variety of animals. Well, to be honest I wasn't even expecting to find this beautiful little zoo hidden right in the centre of Paris, hidden amongst the wonderful trees and plants of a beautiful park.
My cousin then suggested we stop for a cup of tea but not a 'normal' tea. She took us to a middle eastern restaurant for a sweet mint tea. As you can see it took a little persuading before my daughter felt confident enough to try something new.
On returning to the Autolib car parking area we discovered a little Lebanese restaurant and as this is my cousin's favourite cuisine we stopped there for lunch. For my daughter Paris certainly wasn't just about discovering new French things it was about discovering a whole world of new things and that included falafel wraps and other delicacies. It was so enriching for her. We visited a little market and look...we found a little piece of Normandie, a stall selling Normandy oysters.
And yes, the couple on the right are dancing, just enjoying the open air, as music is being played as other members of the public sing along...wonderful.
That evening my daughter stayed with my cousin and her children and I snuck out to do some night time photography having already done my male model photo-shoot that I'd come to Paris for. Here are just a couple of the 'classics'. I'll post more soon, and in colour. The next morning it was time to head home to Normandy.
There was enough time for a last little wander and a drink in a little café near the Metro station.
Well, here we are at the train station ready to go home. They even kindly labelled the train and the direction we were heading...west, to the region that we've loved and called home since 2004 and were our daughter was born.