After a breakfast of croissants and coffee, we headed to a local playground for a visit to the petting zoo. We watched the pigs root around in the mud, geese taking their morning baths, and a billy-goat trying to make an even bigger dent in its paddock fence. My cousins flipped for the zip-line and we all tossed hunks of baguette to the ducks and a groundhog who swam out for some grub.
Next we went to Place de la Concorde. The square is special to me because I heard a lot of references to it in Egypt–the obelisk that stands in the center is a highly contested art object. The French like to say that it was given graciously to them in a gesture of international goodwill by the Ottoman rulers of Egypt, but many Egyptians maintain that it was stolen from Luxor temple.
My uncle, his dad, and I discussed this fact while waiting in line for the ferris wheel when a lady next to us cut in and said that of course the Egyptians were happy to hand over this cultural treasure! I chuckled to myself but chose not to argue.
Clearly everyone has their own perspective on this issue, including the man who chose to monopolize on the touristic glamour of this trimillenial artifact by dressing up as a mummy and bowing for tourists who threw coins into his tin.
My younger cousin, Sarah, initially said she didn’t want to go on the wheel and we assured her that someone would stay on the ground with her. Once she saw the lines of excited kids and the flashing lights, she dropped any fear and clambered on.
The views were breathtaking, especially since Paris, for the most part, does not have the skyscrapers and tall modern buildings that might obscure the view. From the top of the wheel, we could see for miles and miles.