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Let the coloring commence!

7 Apr

All throughout my childhood, we colored hard-boiled eggs then my parents hid them for the Easter egg hunt the following day. This year, I decided to do the same for my daughter, instead of her hunting the usual chocolate eggs.

Finding the dye was a mission and a half but I stumbled upon the same selection I used to use as a child at a wonderful arts and crafts shop called Loisirs et Créations.

I brought these little packets down with me to the south and decided today was the day to transform the kitchen into a veritable dyeing factory. A huge marmite of eggs was bubbling away on the gas cooker and once they were ready, we placed 5 pans with red, blue, green, yellow and purple color on the floor, thereby allowing the little one to have an uninterrupted view of the wonder of the dying process. The idea is to let the boiled eggs soak up the desired shade, stirring occasionally to get an even finish.

Once they were ready, we let them dry for a few hours before sticking funny little stickers on them. They are now ready to be hidden in the garden for tomorrow’s hunt (fingers crossed the weather holds out!)

For those mums who haven’t had the time to organise an egg hunt in Paris, here are a few ideas that could be useful. First of all, find out from your Mairie if they’ve planned anything in your arrondissement. If not, why not join one of these organised hunts:

1)    The Secours Populaires is organising a giant chocolate egg hunt in the Buttes Chaumont on Sunday 8 April from 2 to 6 pm. The entrance fee is 3€ and that includes a magic show, face painting and candy floss! 38 avenue Simon Bolivar, 19th.

2)    The Mairie of the 17th arrondissement is organising an egg hunt in the Square Boulay Level on Sunday 8 April from 9:30-12:30 pm for kids aged 2 to 7. You can enter the square from one of these entrances: rue Boulay, rue Emile-Level or rue Ernest-Gouin.

3)    For those already booked on the Sunday, there’s an egg hunt organised on Wednesday 11 April in the garden of the  Mairie of the 7th arrondissement at 4 pm. Your children can take part in an egg-painting workshop (every half hour from 2-4 pm but make sure to sign them up by calling 0153587507) followed by the hunt.


Get Babarised!

1 Apr

I’ve been pining to redecorate parts of our flat but as our budget won’t allow for genuine parquet flooring just yet, we decided to head to the paint section on the fourth floor of BHV to buy turquoise coloured blackboard paint instead! We thought it would put a fun twist on our note taking at the entrance of the house, and our little one could have a bit of wall that she is actually allowed to draw on!

As we were already on the rue de Rivoli, we decided to head to the Musée des arts décoratifs for the Babar exhibition. It being a grey Saturday afternoon, I was afraid it was going to be chock-a-block but in fact we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Our little one was excited beyond belief, as Babar is one of her favourite characters in his legendary suit “of a becoming shade of green” and I was happy to notice that the exhibition was hung with the little ones in mind.

A video projection shows Laurent de Brunhoff telling the touching story of the creation of Babar by his father, Jean.  The very first drawings of the King of Celestivlle are exhibited alongside costumes, toys, books, and animated cartoons, which my little one loved.

The museum also offers workshops relating to the exhibition for children aged 4-10 as well as narrated tours.

Les Histoires de Babar is on until the second of September, so you’ve got plenty of time to catch it!

Burton Mania!

31 Mar

A few weeks ago I found myself going to the 13th, an area I don’t get the opportunity to visit much as it’s on the opposite side to where I live, but obligations had to be met & off I set on the RER to this new part of town. When my meetings were over, I crossed the bridge to Bercy Village for a quick dose of window-shopping then headed towards the Parc de Bercy where my husband and little one were to join me.

Although it was a glorious day and the park inviting, I went, instead, to the Cinémathèque Française for the much talked about Tim Burton retrospective.

We were a little dubious at first, worried that his genius yet dark universe would be too scary for our little one but as Mr. Burton said so himself, (according to a very friendly museum staff) children are encouraged to see his work and if they don’t like it, they should just turn away. So off we went. We were the only couple there with a kid but we didn’t feel out of place, as there was a very child friendly atmosphere. We took the lift to the 5th floor and there we were met with the unmistakeable world of masterpieces like Edward Scissorhands, Mars Attacks!, Beetlejuice, Sweeney Todd and The Nightmare before Christmas.

Although best known for his highly original and quirky films, this retrospective also shows Tim Burton’s other hidden talents. He is, first and foremost, an artist. Over 700 of his works including paintings, sculptures, illustrations, photographs and poems are exhibited for all to see.

A fantastic glow in the dark merry-go-round invited us in and led us to the main room in which his numerous illustrations were divided into four categories: Children, men, women and couples.

Then came the movies with sketches of the main characters, costumes, sculptures, script plans and projections. The exhibition closed on more illustrations done on napkins and there must have been hundreds of them!

Needless to say there were a few things on show that my daughter wasn’t too sure about but the majority of the exhibition was well received with loud cries of PRETTY when she spotted a red sequined dress from Sleepy Hollow, giant baby statues and a huge blow up character at the exit of the museum.

We then headed out into the park where there was a beautiful wooden carousel that our little one HAD to go on and where we enjoyed a lovely picnic under the fabulous warmth of the sun.

Better late than never!

13 Feb

I had written this post just after the Christmas holidays but for some strange reason had forgotten to post it! There go the post pregnancy brains again! Oh well, better late than never…

Happy 2012 one and all! I apologise for my prolonged absence but it’s been incredibly hard to pry myself away from all the delicious holiday treats on offer lately  (mince pies, buche de noël and galette de roi to name but a few) and sit in front of my computer and be constructive!

Christmas in Paris was a treat; especially since it was the first time I spent the holidays in the City of Lights. Last minute work obligations meant that we had to scrap our original plans of spending Christmas day with numerous family members and improvise fun and games sur place. As the 25th is a jour férié most of Paris is closed but luckily for us there were a few things we could enjoy en famille. To kick start our day out, we went to the Eiffel Tower in the morning and queued a grand total of 15 minutes before we were on the first floor with skates on ready to let loose on the purpose built ice-skating ring. Our little one was a little bewildered but enthralled by the decorations and lights and had a whale of a time being led on the ice by her more than capable daddy.

We then feasted on hot dogs, fries and mulled wine (a first for the books as a traditional“Christmas lunch”) before heading down towards the “Village de Noël” at the  Trocadero where Christmas stalls were selling all sorts of paraphernalia ranging from Christmas decorations, jewelry, gauffres and Chinese noodles to holidays in the Alps. A full belly and numerous carousel rides later we managed to return home pooped and content after a full fun-filled day out.

The following day we decided to stick to the carousel theme and headed to the Grand Palais where a theme park was erected under the legendary glass dome. A pricey entrance fee (15 euros per adult and 10 euros per child over 3 years) is forgiven once inside the magnificent premises with rides including a giant Ferris Wheel, carousels, slides and entertainment for all ages. Patience is imperative as rides can only be enjoyed once before queuing up for the next one but in the end it was well worth the wait as the kids (and parents) truly had a blast.

Chic Flick

27 Oct

I took my daughter to the cinema for the first time yesterday! As part of a children’s film festival, we went to see Laban and Labolina at Le Nouveau Latina on rue du Temple. A Swedish cartoon aimed at an audience of two years of age and over, it was divided into 6 short stories about a family of ghosts that lasted 40 minutes in total. I was a little apprehensive at first because I wasn’t sure how long she’d stay concentrated, but she did pretty well and only started fidgeting the last ten minutes. The cinema was heaving with parents, grandparents and excited children and in general a good time was had by all.

The festival is on until the 1st of November and movies are being played in cinemas all over Paris. This is a great way to entertain the kids during the school holidays (even if it’s only for a short while!)

FIAC and pumpkins

26 Oct

After a 2-week hiatus, we hit the ground running. We attended the opening of our friend Phédia Mazuc’s art show at the Galerie du Génie, which is still on and highly recommended.

We then headed off to the Casino de Paris (sans little one) to see the Veronic Dicaire show which was excellent. She had me in giggles from the minute go. Plus she does a great Tina Turner impersonation. If she’s ever in Paris again I’m definitely going!

Paris was bursting with contemporary art for the FIAC art festival and everywhere you looked there was a show on. We started off gently with a lovely stroll around the Jardin des Tuileries where the “hors des murs” was located. It was fun to spot the different works of art scattered around the garden and it was such a beautiful day we really couldn’t have asked for more. But there was more, much more! The following day we went to the Slick show, which was held in Trocadero between the Palais de Tokyo and the Modern Art Museum. There were lots of colourful pieces my daughter ooh’d and aah’d at but her favourite piece by far was the installation by Belgian artist Christopher Coppers, aptly named “Made in Belgium”. The Belgian flag was ripped to shreds and each colour placed in a box and blown around by individual fans with the national anthem playing in the background. A flurry of colour & noise that she just couldn’t get enough of!

It is also Halloween season and it started with a bang at the annual Halloween party organised by the AAWE at the American church on the Quai d’Orsay. It was fantastic! There was trick or treating, an arts and crafts table, colouring and stickers, cupcakes and snacks and, of course, pumpkins. To top it all off there was a clown and magic show! Although I felt my little one may have been too young to appreciate all the games on offer, she still had a great time admiring the older kids dressed up in their costumes and the activities best suited for her age group. I must admit we were all pooped by the time we got home but we still went ahead and decorated her pumpkin with funny face stickers at least 10 times before bed!

Yeti’s and race horses

3 Oct

We had a very eventful weekend, kicking off with the Nuit Blanche (see my earlier post) on Saturday. We braced the crowds and headed into the Marais where there were a number of installations we wanted to see. Top on my list was Pierre Ardouvin’s “Purple rain” at the Hôtel d’Albret, however, it seemed to be on top of everyone else’s as well and the queue to get in was a mile long (not something we were prepared to do with our little one) so we decided to sneak a peek at the entrance instead!

We zigzagged up rue des Francs-Bourgeois, stopping in front of the projection of photographs by Yann Gross at the Centre Culturelle Suisse and then headed to what would be the highlight of my daughter’s evening. Entering the Espace d’Animation des Blancs-Manteaux, we heard a sudden squeal of delight when she spotted Fred Sapey-Triomphe’s “Yeti”. A five-meter high sculpture made out of synthetic orange fur and 6000 flashing red bulbs! She absolutely loved it and waved goodbye and blew kisses when we finally managed to get her out the door.

The following day we packed ourselves a picnic and headed to the Hippodrome de Longchamps where the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was taking place.

Traffic was a nightmare but we eventually got to the car park and walked towards the picnic area. Communal wooden tables, ice-cream stalls and snack bars were provided (as well as public loos!) Kids can even go on a pony ride but they have to be over 5 years old (much to my little one’s disappointment).

To our great surprise and amusement, we realised that we didn’t, in fact, have to enter the hippodrome to watch the horse races. We could stay exactly where we were and enjoy the show from the other side of the tracks!

However, being curious by nature, I thought it would be a shame not to go inside considering we were already here and so we braced the crowds (again!)

First up, there’s a kids play-area (always good to know!). Also on the grounds were champagne bars, ice-cream vendors, shops, restaurants, and of course, betting desks to name but a few. Members have access to the top floors of the public tribunes and there’s even a private club member’s tribune (which was half empty!) We walked towards the entrance of the racecourse where we watched the jockeys come in and out much to our daughter’s delight and there was even a dolled-up horse on display for the much appreciated wow-effect.

We also enjoyed the numerous fashion statements being made and the lengths some people had gone to look utterly outlandish. All the women were wearing hats (apparently you got in for free if you did) and a lot of swanky men were strutting their stuff. The public tribunes, however, were a mission to get to as a lot of stairs were involved and they were crowded. Not exactly ideal for poussette pushing! It was impossible for us to get a seat and so we decided the best thing would be to return to our original spot near the picnic area and watch the races from there.

All in all it was a fun day out, albeit a little on the hot side (30° in the shade!) but definitely to be repeated on a less scorching day!