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A birthday in Paris

Alex has been talking about this day for months. He wanted so much to turn three so he can do "martial arts" at preschool with his slightly older friends. And he knew a bit about Paris thanks to some books brought back by his Nanna.

He opened his presents, a complex Swiss wooden puzzle and a German board game, along with a magic writing board purchased at Hamley's in London. But what really captivated him was the musical birthday card from Sydney with a picture of a toilet and a flushing sound when openend.

"Can we see that toilet?" he asked.
I really should rename this trip "The toilets and lifts of Europe".
As he got dressed he talked to his Bob the Builder jumper. So cute!
For the first time on this trip we left our hotel to a sunny day, the sky crisscrossed by contrails.

I had prebooked tickets to the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, quite far out from our hotel's location. They were still closed when we arrived, but we joined the queue, which rapidly became very long. Unfortunately, I had misunderstood the French ticket booking section of the site and only paid for two tickets, thinking Alex was free, but the kind attendant let us in when she realised we didn't speak French.
The museum has a dedicated area for 2 - 5 year olds, with different sections such as building, self understanding, working together and experimentation. Alex stuck to the latter for one reason. It had water. Squirting water, pouring water, making water flow. He refused to go elsewhere and his pants got soaked. But he had loads of fun.

From the Cité des Sciences we caught the metro down to St Sulpice station. This was a posh touristy area. I wanted to eat a lunch in a cafe off Rue de Rennes, but B thought they were too expensive, so we kept search. And searching. Eventually, in frustration, I took us into a cheap, bland, little restaurant with three plate of the day options, choosing salmon pasta and onion soup for B and steak tartare and a peach tart for myself. They were awful and I couldn't even eat much of the raw minced steak. Alex was the only happy one, having sausages and mashed potato for his birthday lunch.
We then had to return to the impressive St Sulpice as there was a big fountain up the front which I had promised Alex that he could see.

Our ultimate destination was the Luxembourg Gardens. We were forced to take the long way around as a number of entrances were closed due to police action in response to an unseen protest. The precisely laid out palace gardens had a central pond empty of the normal toy sailboats. Alex didn't care as all he wanted to do was chase pigeons. I had to stop him from climbing a low fence to run over the garden beds and grass in order to continue the chase. A gendarme was already approaching.

There is also a big playground in the park. First we paid for a ride on a carousel, not as impressive as the one in London, but he enjoyed it nonetheless. Then tickets for entrance into the playground. He was frustrated that he couldn't go on the 7 years and up section, but still had loads of fun climbing and sliding.

This was all very tiring for him and he soon fell asleep on my shoulder as we walked the streets. We found ourselves at Montparnasse, looking for a replacement shaver for me and glasses for B. Neither were found, but I did pick up the soundtrack to TinTin.

We then caught a direct metro back to our apartment area. Alex kept asking for his "birthday", by which he meant a birthday cake with candles. He had been hunting all day for one without luck, surprisingly for a city famous for its patisseries. But on exiting our metro station we saw a chocolatier and patissier right across the road, and there it was, a small chocolate mousse cake!

Alex still had to wait as we shopped for dinner ingredients in Monoprix. We had to give up our vegetables as apparently you need to get them weighed before going to the cashier. I replaced them with vegetables from a mini market down the street. It took me a while to cook dinner, but eventually Alex had his birthday cake. In Paris!


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