Paris+Rain+Kids #1: What to do? Try the Pool
Trip Start Dec 11, 2009
49Trip End Jan 01, 2012
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Or Swimming and the "Danse Banane"
Rain. Ah, the ongoing parent dilemma, particularly in Paris and even more particularly in the winter. The common scenario goes like this. It's been raining all week and as such the kids have had limited time to play outside during the school week. When they get home they are both wired and cranky. But what to do if it is raining outside. Well, on weekdays during the school year, you can usually just get away with some indoor games like: "fly baby", "fly boy", "lets run screaming away from mom" and other such favorites. However, it is a different story on the weekend and during vacations. These are times you have to get creative because, let's face it, you will not be able to tire them out without help. You get a couple of grace hours in the morning but as the day wears on, they begin to look at you with the same love and compassion with which a hyena looks at a wounded antelope
"Mom, what are we going to DO today?" whined Lucas, my 5 year old.
"Watch Little Einstein's" Seb suggested. Seb is 2, and is at that stage where he is largely addicted to any form of Disney programming. He would happily stay glued to the TV all day if we let him. Lucas, on the other hand, had started to de-program himself just at little by the age of 4, but Mickey pretty much still has a stranglehold on our household. *
It is normally at this point that I put them in front of the demanded Mickey choice and check out the computer for things that may entertain them without exhausting us. But this past weekend, it was Julien running for the computer. This was a result of having a "family council" about what to do that day. Lucas had first suggested Parc Asterix, but it doesn't open until April. I suggested France Miniature, but it was also closed. Seb, with a directness that is the norm for a 2 year old, said "Mickey House!" This means Disneyland, of course. Lucas jumped on this as well. "Let's go to Disneyland!". While Disneyland Paris is always an option, it seems almost obscene to go there more than twice a month. When you go more often than this, even the boys get bored. And Julien...well, asking him to go to a theme park more than twice a month is cruel and unusual punishment. Sadism aside, it is a full day affair, not matter how you slice it, and we were already well into the day. So, Julien made a mad dash for the computer to find an alternative to all things Disney
OK, so I first have to say that yes, it is a pool named after THAT Josephine Baker. Josephine Baker, 1920s exotic dancer, American national turned French superstar / muse, WW2 spy for "La Resistance", and performer of the famed "Danse Banane". In the U.S., that last bit is mainly what she is known for, but here in France she is celebrated for all her accomplishments. This is one reason you have to give kudos to the French. After all, in the U.S. can you imagine someone naming, say, a recreation center after an ex exotic dancer, even if she had gone on to become Mother Theresa?!?! Of course not, some elements of the political coalition would throw a total snit...but I won't go there. Instead, I am going to tell you three things that make this pool a really cool rainy day activity for your kids.
1) It is a SWIMMING POOL on a BOAT in the RIVER. Yep, that's right. Piscine Josephine Baker is located on a ship / barge (pardon my lack of sailing vocabulary) that is moored right on the Seine. If the idea of that doesn't grab your kid's interest then I don't know what will. Once you get there, it is actually even cooler than it sounds because there are clear windows all around the pool, so you can pretend like you are swimming in the Seine...a thing you should never actually do, if you value life
2) On a Rainy Day YOU WILL HAVE THE POOL VIRTUALLY TO YOURSELVES. For whatever reason, no one thinks about going to the pool on a rainy day, particularly if the pool is outdoors. The cool thing about this pool is that it has the benefit of an outdoor feel without actually being outdoors. This means that you can go not only when it is rainy but also when it is cold. This is a good thing because it is apparently close to impossible to gain entrance during the summer months when normal people think about the pool and when they glamorize it even more by opening the roof. My sister in law told a horror story of waiting in line for a hot 3 hours and still not being able to get in with her children.
3) It is conveniently located near some FAMILY FRIENDLY DINING. After a swim, kids are tired and hungry , and there is nothing that drives one to drink quicker than tired and hungry kids
There is another side benefit of visiting Piscine Josephine Baker, besides wearing your kids out on a rainy day, which is collecting certain bragging rights. This is something that your average tourist doesn't know about. In fact, it probably takes several years to ascertain enough about the Parisian way of advertising events to even come close to discovering this place. So, if you live here, and you haven't discovered this place yet, I would encourage you to take your kids now....when it is cold and rainy. If you have the unfortunate luck to be visiting now with kids, take your kids here because it is cool...and it is cold and rainy.
If you are going to get wet anyway, you might as well make some memories doing it.
* As a side note, this was my insidious plan all along. My theory was that if you deny a thing, then they will want it. If you don't then they will get bored. And it is panning out. Lucas is actually getting quite bored of TV now. Ah ha, I win.