Tired boys in a cobweb - Jardin d'Acclimatation, Paris
Belonging to a large family feels like being in the center of a giant cobweb. Every part is connected somehow. Even those on the edge of the web, away from the center, feel the shock waves of what happens there. If France is the center of our family's web, then Le Husband, Junior and I are the parts living on the outer rim (let's call it "the Pacific Rim.") Never at the center of the web. Never too far away from it.
I thought about this over the weekend as Le Brother, his younger son, Jules, Junior and I spent the day in a wonderful Parisian park, Le Jardin d'Acclimatation. Located inside the Bois de Boulogne, near the elegant Neuilly neighborhood, le Jardin d'Acclimatation was inaugurated in 1860 during Napoleon III's reign. It was originally a zoo and exotic and farm animals can still be found there today. There is more. A 50-acre amusement park, le Jardin offers a variety of activities: a shooting range, many rides including an old-fashioned carrousel, a puppet theater, a science museum, an art museum, and pony rides to name just a few. When the Obama family visited Paris in 2009, Malia and Sasha, the president's daughters, picked this wonderful park over all the other Parisian gardens. These girls have taste!
Le Brother and I met there before lunch with the two boys, aged 5 and 11. Even though Junior and Jules only see each other once or twice a year, they got along famously while Le Brother and I were busy catching up. Le Brother's older son is spending the week at the beach in Brittany on a school trip, but we will catch up with him next month in Spain.
We enjoyed a leisurely picnic near the new playground while the boys ran around, came back to take a bite, ran around some more, for almost an hour.
Later on, we started exploring the park and met some of its inhabitants. Many looked rather uncomfortable in the hot summer weather.
Two European brown bears live here, Gaspard and Victorine
One of two Aurochs (European bisons), Hera and Aphrodite
There were fun rides, but the shooting arcade was a big winner with Junior, Jules and Le Brother. An accomplished marksman, he annoyed the heck out of the lady manning the arcade because he kept winning free games. The younger boys were thrilled, of course.
Jules and Junior loved their ride on the old-fashioned carrousel.
The RC boats were also a big hit with my testosterone-fueled posse.
Fittingly, Junior was awarded the boat sailing under American colors!
Personally, I favored La Rivière Enchantée (the Enchanted River,) a mellow but refreshing ride in the shade of old trees.
There was more to come during our fun-filled family weekend.
To be continued...