Another day of shopping for Karen, and it is off to the grand parc de la villette in the northeast corner of the city for me and the boys. The metro emerged for us in the middle of a jewish neighbourhood, allowing us to stock up on some good, cheep (and Kosher) smoked salmon sandwiches before heading into the park.
We got there and headed straight for the enormous dragon slide, made out hundreds of old wooden barrels, fashioned together to form two huge dragons with slick metal slides coming out of their mouths.
After climing on that for a while, we headed over to another section of the park, fenced in with activities divided by age categories. The 0-2 set was the usual climbers and sandbox, with an additional very bouncy pool of water with a ultra-heavy sheet of plastic around it (kind of like a densly packed waterbed made only for jumping on. There were two of these (one set in a kind of long ribbed ballon pattern, the other flat) for the 0-2 crowd and another 2 (both long ribbed ones) in for the 3-5 crowd.
The 6-9 year olds had a pro-grade zip line too. Since we were some of the first people in the park, we had the thing all to ourselves for an hour or so, and so Alden and Elwyn both zipped back and forth (and back and forth, and back and forth), hanging (dangling, really) from the zip line. It was cool until the big kids came.
We walked around the park for a while, seeing a french submarine, a huge geodetic ball, a functioning lock-canal system, and some pretty post-modern landscaping (not really aetheically appealing for my eye, but worth exploring, none the less). Met up with Karen by 2:30, and after briefly considering heading indoors to the fee-area activites, headed right back outside for another 2 hours of dragon slides, zip lines and bouncing. Exhaused from a heavy-duty park day, we headed back to our appartment, rehydrated, snacked, and then were taken out for an nice Indian supper with Reiko and her excellent french boyfriend Hugh. Got the kids to bed by 10:45pm, which is going to haunt us tomorrow when we have to be at the train station by 9:30am.
Off to Rotterdam in the morning. Paris has been great. Feel like we scratched the tip of an iceburg, but am very much looking forward to seeing new (and probably less intense) places.