When les Verts go marching in.
Making it to Paris in time for les Verts’s visit was arguably the biggest concern we had in terms of the timing of our move here.  Many months before we landed on this distant shore, Nez’s dad had asked whether we were 99% sure we were moving to Paris or 100% sure.  Only if the answer were the latter would he proceed with les Verts’s travel plans.  Being eternally optimistic and a bit bombastic, we did not hesitate to respond, “100%.”  We arrived in Paris with our suitcases a mere 12 days ahead of Nez’s sister and her family.
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One cannot go wrong with Paris at any pace.

14 May 2008A late start to a day at the park.  Our days began later and later as les Verts’s trip wore on.  Today, instead of meeting at their apartment, we met up with Nez’s sister and her family at the Jardin du Luxembourg, that wonderful oasis on the Left Bank.  When we arrived, Kingskid and Berryana were already preoccupied with one the many activities that drew children to this park:  miniature sailboats in the large pond behind the imposing Palais du Luxembourg where the French Senate meets.

  A miniature sailboat that is almost as big as Kingskid and definitely many times older.  (Photo - Les Verts)
  Captain Kingskid and First Mate Berryana reporting for duty at the Jardin du Luxembourg.  (Photo - Les Verts)

For the joy of it all.  The objective was as simple as the joy it brought to the little ones.  They ran from one side of the pond to the other to wait for their approaching boats, aged veterans of this routine who must have seen countless generations grow up in their time.  The constant wind, imperceptible to anything or anyone but the miniature sails of these wooden creations, carried the boats automatically through the tranquil surface.  The child-operators’ only job was to turn the boat around with a long pole and soak up the pleasure of youth in a place seemingly designed just for them.

After returning the boat to the rental cart, we headed over to a shady corner of the park to eat our lunch.  Today, we decided, was going to be a quiet day of rest and relaxation. Paris, of course, was made for one of these days as well. Not long after settling into our green metal chairs, Kingskid and Berryana were off again to the next attraction: the vast playground already full of little children on this lazy summer day.

  One can tell who’s going to be the expat author of a Great American Novel in Paris years from now.  (Photo - Les Verts)
  These green chairs were made for sitting and people watching and we all readily obliged.  

The Language Chameleon, Jr.?  While we adults continued with our doing-nothingness we noticed an interesting sight on the swing and slide set.  There, Kingskid, all-American and most certainly monolingual, was talking to another child.  Now, it was not something short and universal as, “Hey, I was here first.”  It looked like they were actually having a conversation.  They moved on to another contraption and then another, talking all the while.  We could not help but ponder whether these two children had somehow found a way to communicate through all their differences in an environment that seemed to be as conducive for that kind of breakthrough as any.  Hurray for the global citizens of tomorrow!  When it was time to go, Nez and Riot half expected the other kid to give Kingskid the peck-on-alternating-cheeks French goodbye.  Alas, it did not happen, although the friend did walk Kingskid all the way to the playground's exit.  Kissing goodbye, however, was not a common gesture where Kingskid’s momentary playmate came from, the British Isle.  Instead, this child had been intrigued by Kingskid’s Star Wars shirt and overheard him speaking English to Berryana; well, some things indeed do transcend international and linguistic boundaries.

Racing through the Luxembourg:  Kingskid was so far ahead
of the other racers that it seemed as though he was racing all by himself;
an encouraging Language Chameleon cheered him on to victory.


To the simple pleasures.  When we first arrived in Paris, we were struck by all the simple pleasures with which the locals, young and old, immersed themselves.  One of which was the pedal cars in the Jardin du Luxembourg.  On a patch of packed dirt and gravels, little Parisians raced a variety of pedal cars, from four-wheel Formula 1 models to three-wheel dirt bike types.  For €1.40 from their parents’ wallet, the children earned the privilege to pedal their heart out toward a string of flags about fifty feet out and back.  That constituted a treat on an outing at the park.  On this day, Kingskid got to try his hand, or rather legs, at this attraction.  We were very happy to see him push himself and the car to the limit that, at the finish line, even earned him a little victory lap from the grumpy operator.  Best of all, he seemed to have loved it, all one hundred feet of pedaling in the Jardin; no more, no less.

An attempt at the masterpieces of a masterpiece of museums.  We parted once more for Nez and Riot to run their errands before meeting up again at the Louvre.  After patiently yielding to the choices and whims of the younger Verts for days, it was finally Eurogrl’s turn.  It was also Wednesday when the museum opens late and the admission price drops after 6 PM.  The crowd had definitely thinned out by the time we arrived, which made us very happy and the experience much more enjoyable.

Picture day at the Louvre:  Berryana and Eurogrl with the Victory of Samothrace ; the elusive smile of Mona Lisa herself and no crowds! ; and Kingskid admiring a lonely, but lovely, Venus de Milo .  (Photos - Les Verts)

Because the Louvre is enormous and saying that it could be overwhelming is a vast understatement, let’s just say up front that we did not even make a dent in its collections.  But that, of course, was never the point.  Nevertheless, by the time we exited, thoroughly tired from all the walking, we all got what we came for. We duly checked off the “Big Three” – Venus de Milo, the Victory of Samothrace, and the Mona Lisa – all ladies by the way, and have proof to show for it.  Finally, there was art instead of silly knights on display and Eurogrl collected the information she needed for her school assignment. 

  While some race through the Louvre in search of well-known pieces, the Vert children found time to draw them.
  This is probably the “Lion Funieraie” that Kingskid rendered below (number 3), otherwise known as a funerary lion.

And, Kingskid, himself a chameleon of sorts, excitedly dived into an assignment that Nez and Riot had given him:  Draw five of your favorite pieces and write a sentence about each.  The prize:  a mechanical bird that had captivated him a few nights before at the Eiffel Tower.  We were very pleased by the enthusiasm with which he went about this task; it was a success beyond our imagination.  We were told later that he stayed up late doing the write-up back at the apartment and while we only asked for five he gave us seven interpretations of the Louvre’s masterpieces.  He had more than earned the mechanical bird.

With that, les Verts scratched the surface of the Louvre and were accordingly awarded with a wealth of memories.  Joie should know, however, that the first time her sister, Nez, attempted the Louvre, she spent more time taking a nap in the exterior garden than sprinting through the interior on a singular quest to see what the French call La Joconde.  It is self-evident that we all do Paris at our own pace.

You wanted five sketches of my favorite pieces?  Here are seven!  .
In between drawing the treasures of the Louvre, Kingskid found time to pose by one
Kingskid’s work product on
the Louvre's own pamphlet


Three halves of Kingskid:  We love the dedication and enthusiasm that Kingskid brought to the little assignment that we thought up to help a young child appreciate the enormity of a place like the Louvre.  We got more than we bargained for and we think that he too came away with much from the whole experience.  And, that’s cool.

In his own words:  Kingskid’s descriptions of his sketches.  ()

  • (Marin Centaur.  I like the Marin Centaur because it’s half horse half man half fish and thats cool.
  • Frog.  I like the Frog because I love frogs.
  • Lion Funieraie.  I like the Lion Funieraie because it’s big like a real lion.
  • Sphinx.  I like the Sphinx because it’s a cool statueyou.
  • Cat.  I like the Cat because I like to play with cats.
  • Parthenon.  I like the Parthenon because it’s a big building.
  • Cheval.  I like the Cheval because one of my favorite colors is blue and the Cheval is blue.



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