Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Paris to the Moon
We're on vacation at the moment so I'm getting the chance to READ! With all the busyness of a family of six (and dog!) I complete books very slowly these days, but my latest book was worth savouring. Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik was one of those things I found whilst we were packing up that seemed to foretell our eventual move to Paris. I have a vague memory of buying this book in an airport years ago and for some reason never quite getting into it. Rediscovering it now, the book has become like a handbook for life in Paris - because of this book, I knew we would be spending much of our time on arrival in the City of Lights, not visiting museums and taking romantic walks, but at BHV buying household appliances to replace the US ones that don't work on French voltage!
The book covers many aspects of Parisian life, but it is Gopnik's descriptions of bringing up his young son, just a baby when they first moved to the city in 1995 that really resonante and have inspired our own family outings.
The Jardin du Luxembourg was one of the first places we visited. We watched other children sail the toy boats, deciding to leave that activity for another day. It was the carousel that we were headed for.
The girls have always loved the little carousels that you find in so many French town centres and this carousel is a classic that I have often read about. It was much, much smaller than I had imagined but full of faded charm.
Gopnik describes in the book how his son graduated from merely watching bigger kids spin on the carousel, to riding his own horse to partaking in the game to catch metal rings on a little wooden stick. In our family, Florence is still at the watching stage while the others jumped straight onto the waiting animals, stick in hand. That game is hard! The trick is to be the first horse to reach the wooden gourd that dispenses the rings. This time Savannah was victorious, but I'm sure we will be back!