Paris Therapy

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
Trip End Jun 04, 2006

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Work sucks! Well, it's not so bad, but it's mind-numbing and I need a pick me up. Where better to head for than my favourite city of Paris, the place which seemingly has everything and continually surprises you at every turn. This was a visit of two contrasting days, firstly with travelling with my parents and marching my aunt, Sandra, from Australia around the landmarks that pepper the Seine. I've lost count of the number of times I've wandered the route Montparnasse, Luxembourg, Latin Quarter, Montmartre, Louvre, Tuilieries, Concorde, Champs Elysees and finish standing beneath the Arc de Triomphe. Anyone who knows Paris, will realise that this is not a short walk, but I thoroughly enjoy it, knowing there are umpteen possible routes that can be taken.

For all it's galleries, museums and entertainment spectacles, Paris for me is about being outside and appreciating the carefully laid out city where so much echoes the grandiose, slightly bellicose charm that is unique to the French national identity and character. Paris at Christmas time offers the additional spectacle of the lights on Boulevard Haussman which I'd often heard about, but never seen in person. They were pretty, and by European standards spectacular, although they lack the outright dazzling gaudiness of the neon I saw so often in Asia.

By late afternoon, I headed off to see my friends in the West of Paris which is so calm and tranquil by comparison with the centre. The first task was to go with Geoff to find Pere Noel for Tom and Jane in the local Christmas market. I can imagine that if the kids want to see Pere Noel everyday, it must be a bit wearing for parents, but today it was just so cute to see the look on the kids faces as they sought out the big figure in red and white to touch his arm and whisper in his ear.

Meanwhile, my aunt and parents were missing their Eurostar back to the UK - the last of the day. I still don't know quite how this happened, but it appears to be a common occurrence amongst visitors to Paris as the Eurostar staff calmly switched them onto the morning train without a fuss or additional charge. I gather they spent an interesting night in a local hotel. And to think I missed it all!

I was quite happily relaxing with my friends, speaking hybrid English/French with their kids, and visiting the frost covered local parks which was an entertaining challenge to get my head around. I speak English and they reply in French. It's interesting too to see the difference in development between brother and sister. Everyone I know who has bilingual kids has done lots of research on how to develop multi-lingual children and other than patience, the conclusions seem to differ considerably. Is the truth that the psychologists and linguistics experts haven't quite figured out an answer to this one - if indeed there is such thing where language exists.
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