A Walk in Paris
This week sees the publication of a beautiful new children’s hardback picture book by award-winning illustrator Salvatore Rubbino. A Walk in Paris follows a young girl and her grandfather as they spend a day exploring France’s capital.
They start at Place Maubert, home to one of the city’s oldest street markets, and finish at the Eiffel Tower, its most visited monument. On the way they meet Parisians going about their day-to-day lives and see many of the city’s iconic landmarks. The conversation between the two characters along the way highlights many interesting things about Paris – how the streets are cleaned, for example – and there are also helpful explanations and phrases punctuating the illustrations. The book is engaging, interesting and a delight to read and look at. It’s great to share with a child, especially if you’re planning a family trip to Paris. Reading it has made me long to go there again soon.
Paris for kids
The last time I went to Paris with my children they were quite small – four and eight, I think. My husband used to go there for a couple of days every week on business at that time and the children were missing him. We decided to take them out of school and travel to Paris as a family so that they could follow in his footsteps and see where he went every Thursday. (This was in simpler times when head teachers could authorise such absences and parents weren’t fined for term-time holidays as they are now in Britain).
Travelling by Eurostar from Ashford was very calm and relaxing compared to flying. It felt like no time at all before we were in the centre of Paris feeling very swish as we checked in to the Hilton hotel where my husband stayed every week. We then spent the next few days exploring the city together. We didn’t go in to many tourist attractions as the children were too young to appreciate them, but we were happy just wandering. Our trip up the Eiffel Tower (make sure you buy tickets online in advance if you go) was not a success as the youngest was terrified. But back on solid ground he was happy looking up at it and playing in the nearby Champs de Mars park. He loved splashing in the water of the funky and colourful Stravinsky Fountain – I don’t think you’re meant to actually get in to the water, but it was a good way to cool off in the heat.
Unsurprisingly the trip highlight for the children was the brilliant day we spent just outside the city at Disneyland Paris, the first theme park any of us had ever been to.
Paris for older kids
Now my kids are 11 and 15 they’re old enough to enjoy a different side of Paris. I’d love to take them to see the wealth of Impressionist paintings lining the old station building at the Musée D’Orsay and the inside-out architecture and modern art of the Pompidou Centre. I think they’d enjoy seeing the enormous Hall of Mirrors and Queen Marie-Antoinette’s play village at the Palace of Versailles. I’d like us all to climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe and look down across the whole of Paris. And it would be amazing to see the Eiffel Tower sparkling at night. According to the big, unfolding Eiffel Tower page at the end of A Walk in Paris the tower is lit up with 20,000 light bulbs for a five-minute display every hour, on the hour, after dark. I’d just love to see that.
Walker Books have sent me two copies of A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino to give away to Mums do travel readers. The recommended retail price for the book is £12.99 and it’s published on March 6th, 2014. If you’d like a copy then enter via the Rafflecopter widget below for a chance to win one.