Subject: Re: Paris with kids
Greetings, Pat, and other Ziners traveling with children,

Our kids first saw Paris when they were 7 and 9 as a part of a larger Euro adventure. One of the things that *they* chose to do-- which surprised but delighted me--was to sit for a portrait up in Montmartre. It's a beautiful souvenir of a wonderful visit.

The only point of that anecdote is, don't worry about where to take them or what to do. Your days will fill themselves with all of the usual sites. Just remember to keep your schedule flexible enough for all of the spontaneous moments, as those will likely end up being the best of times. European cities are so different than most here in the US--plenty of green spaces for running and rolling out that pent-up energy, amazing open-air markets for choosing an impromptu picnic lunch, bounteous flower stalls yield hair and hotel room adornments, funny bathrooms are fun to try (the wash & dry sidewalk stalls are a hoot for kids), dogs in restaurants?!, and the endless patisseries...well, your young ones will surely acquire a preference for some gorgeous treat!

The young one journaled (and illustrated) all of the forms of transportation he took on that trip. The older one snapped pix. Both did a fair amount of pre-trip reading, non-fiction (e.g., history, artists, WWII) and fiction--it's not too hard to find children's literature based in Paris/France. Watch relevant movies before you go--from Disney, Beauty & the Beast and Hunchback of Notre Dame are perfect choices; any of the Madeline movies; and here's one list (there are many) of classics with a French theme--probably too old for your kids, but not for you! http://www.amb-usa.fr/irc/CultE/movies.htm

Both helped with trip planning working from guide books, and each played the role of tour guide for half a day. They became extremely competitive over figuring out Metro maps and signage, mastering French words and phrases, and converting/budgeting/wisely spending their souvenir money! Devise games when needed to add a little spark to museum visits, e.g., for the Louvre, find all of the paintings with [horses] in them or pick five postcards from the gift shop pre-touring and then find the works of art.

It will be a marvelous adventure. Have fun!

Diana Ball near Houston, TX