On Monday, June 12, we arrived at the Palais Garnier, the original Paris opera house, at 10am and signed up for audio tours. The children had their own version, and the voice leading theirs was, most appropriately, the famous Phantom of the Opera. I’ve never seen live opera nor spent any time inside an opera house, but I loved touring this one and learning its history.
After a couple hours, we had lunch at Cafe Jussieu and took the metro to the beautiful Paris Botanical Garden. This place was not only amazing because of its mazes and tunnels through flowers, bushes, and trees to enjoy and learn about, but it also had an enormous Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy, built in the late 1800s, that was full of stampeding animal skeletons!
It was filled with beasts great and small–from dinosaurs, whales, and giraffes to snakes, rodents, tree frogs, and fish. And a narwhal! But for its lack of air conditioning, we would have explored it for hours.
The gardens also had a carousel, and being a family who loves carousels (especially one with dodo birds, Tasmanian devils, pandas, and dinosaurs), we had to give it a go.
Unfortunately, while the children and I were riding the carousel, and my bride was taking this video of us, my eldest’s American Girl doll, Saige, was left on the bench unattended for a few minutes, and left us. We asked anyone (and everyone) we saw about it for the rest of the day, after asking the carousel operator if he’d seen someone take it and visited every lost and found within the gardens and museums (and continued to call them daily during the rest of our trip). She was sad, but kept some optimism about eventually finding her.
After a couple days, however, we decided to suggest replacement options. I’ll let her mom describe how this went and concluded via the below Instagram picture and narrative:
At least the story ended well.
After the gardens, we saw the Place de la Bastille, which is where the newer opera house is, and of course, is where many heads were lost during the Revolution. All those thoughts of bloodshed got me thirsty, so while the Mrs shopped fabrics with our youngest, I decided to take the older two somewhere I’d been longing to go for months and months, after reading this article called the 21 Best Secret Bars in the World that published in February. As such, I decided we must go to this one:
And here’s my son, trying to crack that famed safe:
He was able to get the numbers right, for the most part, but a key is also required. The owner of the bar was so impressed with his skills that he pulled out his key and opened the safe for us, but only if we promised not to discuss its contents, so I’ll refrain from doing so here, but I will say that it was filled with very valuable treasures that I would have loved to take home with me.
I took a video of how one enters the pizza joint (where we had dinner), goes through the freezer, and out into the hidden bar, Moonshiner. Having drinks at a hidden speakeasy behind a Parisian pizza restaurant with my children gave me a level of immense joy that’s probably unnatural and unhealthy, but there it is. I had to be pulled away after 2 hours of discussing Scotch whisky and European travels with the bartenders, as the next morning, we loaded the Kia Carens and headed west!
Every post I read, I think, “THAT was my favorite day of the trip!” But the truth is, every day was off the charts amazing. Every place we went was incredible. Britain may have more of a sense of humor about itself (and vastly better gift shops–VASTLY), but France gets all the heart eyes. <3
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