Sunday morning. We all got up early (Norah is teething right now…so we didn’t have a choice) and spent a nice relaxing morning getting ready. We had some croissants with sliced tomato. Well, I should say that I had croissants with tomato. Alas, Richard is addicted to nutella. There’s nothing I can do about it either. He always puts it on his croissants and now Sydney has to too. I know that many of you would not be sympathetic to my cause, but sliced tomatoes on croissants is pretty much heaven, and so much better for you than pure sugar in the morning. Oh well. Regardless, we all had an enjoyable breakfast and then headed out for church.
Today we went to the Eglise Evangélique Baptiste Paris which is the mother church to the Eglise Protestante Evangélique des Ternes that we attended before. Although a little difficult to find, it is a larger church with its own building. It is about a 30 minute bike ride and turns out to be right near where Richard goes to school. So it was nice to see a little of the area that he bikes to everyday. There were quite a few kids at the church so the girls stayed in the nursery for the service so that they could spend some time with other kids. Sydney definitely misses her friends back in South Bend, especially because she doesn’t have any here. Except for when we go to the park she doesn’t see other kids and even then she doesn’t speak French and finds it difficult to interact. This church has a great little nursery in the basement. I took a couple of pictures, but it was after service, so there were no other kids there, oh well. The people are nice, but the sermons so far don’t tend to satisfy. I think we are going to start attending the Eglise Protestante Evangélique des Ternes from now on. Once the summer is over and all the Parisians come back from holidays, there are supposed to be quite a few other kids there for Sydney and Norah to play with too. The preaching is much better and the congregation is younger and more interested in chatting with us, even if we aren’t that good at French. Also, most of them speak English, so even though we have conversations in French they are able to figure out what we are trying to say!
The first Sunday of every month is free museum day in Paris. So along with Adam we decided to head out to the Musée Nationale du Moyen Age. A museum quite close to where we went to church. When we got there we loaded the girls into our backpack carriers and walked into the museum. It was beautiful! Outside (we couldn’t take a good picture because of the fence) you can see the remains of an old Roman (Christian?) bathhouse built in the 1st-3rd century. Attached to it is the Hôtel de Cluny which was built in the 15th century, and this is where the all the art is kept. Of course there were many beautiful pieces of art there, including beautiful old stain glass windows from many old ruined cathedrals.
We took a picture with Daddy and Sydney next to her (sort of) name-sake Saint Denis (said to be the first convert of Paul). It’s not very clear because they don’t allow you to use the flash in the museum. I’ve added a few pictures that Richard took of some interesting pieces.
As we were walking through the museum, we bumped into an aquaintance from Notre Dame. Paul Prezzia. He is also here taking an intensive French class. Since we had a light picnic packed, we invited him to meet up with us after our tour of the museum and have lunch in a nearby park together.
The Jardin de Luxembourg, is a huge private garden that is open to the public. It is just gorgeous and happened to be right near the Museum. Though there are some strange rules…. There are many walking paths you are allowed to follow. Alongside them are green metal chairs and benches owned by the park which you are allowed to sit on. There are beautiful large fields of lush green grass bordered by gardens of flowers and hostas; perfect for laying a blanket down on and having a picnic under the shade of a large old tree. Perfect for the kids to have fun running around on and people to play frizbie or what-not. But, you are not allowed on the grass! They enforce it very strictly too, as there there are guards everywhere. We saw one couple who had done just what I had envisioned, they found a nice spot on the grass and sat down to relax and enjoy a picnic. A minute later a guard came by and told them to get off! We let the girls run around on it a little anyway and they weren’t bothered. Although it is a beautiful spot in Paris, it isn’t the best family place. I was surpised to see so many people there though. Tonnes of locals sitting down throughout the huge park reading a book or basking in the sun. There is a huge fenced off playground for kids there too. Sydney was so excited when she saw it. The whole way over she kept repeating “We are going in there!” with her big eyes bright and excited. But alas when we got to the entrance there was a fee to get in! It was not a theme park, there were just slides and jungle gyms. Granted they were nice, but 2.50 euros per child plus 1.50 euros per adult is a lot of money for a playground that we only intended to spend 20 minutes in! So I kneeled down and told Sydney that we were just going to go have some lunch and she could run around in the grass instead. She took it very well, though her reaction could have broken your heart. With a downtrodden look on her face she said “Oh, okay momma, sniff”. She still had a great time running around and eating a lunch of cheese and meat, baguette, nectarines and plums.
By this time the kids had passed their second wind and were just plain irritable and not listening. Since it was 5pm anyway and the girls were so tired (Norah had only napped for about 20 minutes in the carrier during our walk to the museum), we put Norah in the carrier once more and Sydney into her bike-seat and rode off. About 2 minutes into our bike ride home both of the girls were fast asleep. Richard and I had some energy left and wanted to extend the bike ride so the girls would sleep a bit longer. The Bibliotèque Nationale de France was only a little out of the way, so we decided to make the trip as I really wanted to see the beautiful library that Richard goes to do research in every afternoon after class. Since you need a special pass to get in and we only wanted to make a quick stop we didn’t go inside. It is beautiful on the outside though! The most interesting thing (at least to me… I don’t do research though ;)) is that in the very center of the Biblioteque Nationale is an old forest. They transported it from Normandy, and apparently it is supposed to be representative of that region’s forests since the middle ages.
It was a perfect evening with white billowy clouds, a warm light wind, and the sun making it’s way down (though there were a couple hours of daylight left). As we looked out at the library and down into the forest the warm breeze swept passed us. It was so peaceful. We walked out on the wooden planks (they used wood instead of concrete, which is such a great idea! It looks beautiful, soft and relaxing) hand in hand… as best we could steering the bikes, back to the road. We hopped onto our bikes and rode back home for a last stretch of about 5 minutes.
It sounds like the evening is over, but it wasn’t. That last bit was just a wonderful respite from a long day. It felt like it was just the two of us again.
So anyway, we got home and warmed up some leftover chili and sat the kids down for dinner. Since we had invited Adam and Paul back for wine and cheese, they also came by, popping in just in time for a bowl of chili too. By that time it was time to put the kids to bed, so we tucked them in, sang them there bedtime songs and then met Adam and Paul out in the back garden, with whom we told tall tales and debated theology until the wee hours.
Now the evening is over. It was a very full day, but a very good day. Please don’t forget that you are all invited, anytime, to join us in our back garden for wine and cheese and fellowship.