Friday, July 18, 2014

Jardin d'Acclimatation

Tuesday we took Penelope to the Bois de Boulogne, and specifically, its Jardin d'Acclimatation. The Bois de Boulogne is a long story--it is Paris' 2nd largest public park (Vincennes is larger), and thus one of the world's great urban parks--we thought we might take a lot of it in on a days's visit, but concluded rather quickly it would take more like a week. Next time. The Jardin d'Acclimatation started as a zoo, and even included a human zoo (imagine...), but, in the last century, it has been primarily a children's pleasure park. It is immense, larger than any I have seen that are strictly for children, and includes features and attractions too numerous to mention. We spent the better part of a day and barely scratched the surface.
The Bois de Boulogne is nestled between western Paris and
La Defense, just to the north; Camping Paris Ouest is located
in the the Bois de Boulogne, and we have camped there many,
many times, from 1979 to 2009; but never spent any time
looking at the park itself; another visit...

A huge, diverse, children's place

Just inside, the misting from the ground gets
P's attention; later it would be a major struggle
getting her out of them and drying her off

It's not Disneyworld, but then you're never very far from you
know where

There are many, many, many rides, all for
children, but mostly for children over one
meter in height, or more; and pricey, too

We explored the place for an hour or so--mostly the rides--
then had another picnic lunch; and then P again burst  into

A rhinoceros ride settled her down

It was to be another day of a very late nap

Feral, but kid-savvy peacocks roam the place

In the Franco-Prussian War, after the
Emperor was captured and surrendered at the
Battle of Sedan, Paris held out and underwent
a brutal siege; for months pigeons from this
tower were its only means of communication
with the outside world (there was the
occasional, very risky, hot-air balloon, too);
after the city's surrender, Prussian troops
quartered in the Bois de Boulogne

Soon to open, the Louis Vitton Foundation at the Bois de
Boulogne; at first, I thought it was a parody of Frank Ghery's
magnificent Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao; no, it's no
parody; designed by Gehry himself; will be magnificent, too

Everything literally under the shadow of La Defense

Among the newer rides

Penelope's favorite, undoubtedly, was the huge misting/
spraying field--a soft compound floor with jets spraying mist
and sprinkling all over, a basketball court and a half; nice
for a warm day

But she was also pretty captivated by the Guignol puppet
theater next door; the Guignol puppet tradition goes back
to the 18th century; the place was packed

Enthralled; despite (presumably) not understanding a word
of it; it relies heavily on audience participation, and she could
thus get into the spirit of the thing via the responses of the
other children...or maybe she has just learned a lot of French

Thus; traditional Guignol has a working-class and moralistic
orientation...fairness, etc.

More characters appear

The villain, who explains his nefarious intentions in detail to
the audience...eliciting boos and other disapprovals

Smack! The villain gets his due

After morality plays, a good trampoline session is always in

We eschewed the camel rides

Opting instead for a couple of the kiddie rides for which P
was tall, of course, the train

And here, wisely, the taxi (an Uber?), as a passenger...
"faster, Rudolfo, faster!"...although she and the driver did
get into a disagreement about who could blow the horn;
all-in-all, it was a pretty great day, although exhausting
for both child and grand-parents

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