Subject: Re: April in Paris
Hi, Sheryl. Paris in April with your family - what a treat!

Honestly, you can have a wonderful time just walking around and enjoying the things that Parisians like to do - peering into windows, watching the people, having a coffee at the local cafe, dining at the local bistro. I would recommend that you make sure not to be in such a hurry to see sights that you miss the street life.

That said, there are a few things I might particularly note based on my time in Paris. April 1 is a special day in Paris - poisson d'avril. It is a day sort of like our April Fool's Day where people play practical jokes on one another but the jokes all seem to involve fish. Here is a brief description of why this is so: While you may not want to pull pranks on people on the street, Fauchon (fabulous food hall on the Place de la Madeline in the 8th arr) features chocolate fish and other special poisson d'avril goodies. Treat yourself to coffee or tea and fish sweets there for a unique experience.

Aside from this, you probably want to do some shopping. If you want to see some of the smaller places where Parisians shop, walk the streets of the 7th arr like rue de Grenelle and rue de Varenne. I frequently saw mothers and their daughters window shopping there. I inferred from the gestures that the mothers were teaching their kids about fashion and shopping. A fascinating process to observe.

The department stores are also good places to investigate - Bon Marche in the 7th arr on the Left Bank, Printemps and Galeries Lafayette on Blvd Haussmann on the Right Bank and Samaritaine which is on the Seine. One of my favorite places in Paris is the roof top of Samaritaine. It took some effort to find the staircase that led to the roof, but it was worth it. The views of the city were spectacular.

There is so much more I could say, but I will close with a reminder that regardless of the time of year or the weather Berthillon ice cream is wonderful! Make sure you find the original shop on the Ile St Louis. Don't be deterred by the length of the line. The experience will become part of your Paris memories.

Have a great trip!

Mark Los Angeles