Our high season is over, leaving us time for more personal endeavors and pleasures. Last week we invited Quinn to stay with us. It was his first time being here without his parents. Emily is traveling around Europe with Peter Brook's Magic Flute as assistant director, and Jos is working in Paris. Quinn has two weeks vacation from school. He spent the first one with us.
We began the week with a visit to Disneyland Paris, something we were all very excited to experience. Euro Disney, as it is also called, was opened in 1992. It was not at all an instant success, but over the years it has become much more popular.
The last time I was at Disneyland, in Southern California, my own children were rather small. I was anxious to see how the European version compared.
Unfortunately the day itself was rather gray with intermittent downpours, some quite dramatic. The park is a fairly accurate copy of the original, I think, and the crowds were almost as big as they are in the States.
Some of the lines were ridiculously long. We were willing to wait fifteen minutes to get onto the merry-go-round, but the line for the Dumbo ride was almost an hour, and although it seemed desirable to experience this classic, in the end we let it go, after waiting at least twenty minutes.
After an eventful day at the park, where we all got quite worn out, we drove with Quinn back to Maison Conti. Here fall is definitely in the air.
Our week was filled with activities, which ranged from the artistic to the mechanical, both in and out of doors.
Quinn created a gelatin leaf print. It's such a great project for kids of all ages. I made quite a few myself to use as wrapping paper or cards or who knows what.
There was scarcely a minute that wasn't filled with some kind of fun. Quinn is at an age where almost anything is interesting to him and he is skilled in many ways.
Bobo led the more technical projects, which included making a corn cob sea plane and a periscope.
We found a corn field and borrowed a few ears of dried corn for our projects.
We also took a nice bike ride together in the nearby forest of Vibraye, where it is wild mushroom hunting season. The trees were in lovely golden colors and the paths were filled with people carrying baskets.
Quinn started out at age three with a wooden balance bike, but now rides a pedal bike without training wheels. He's coordinated and fast! I could hardly keep up with him.
His other favorite outdoor activity when visiting us is horseback riding. We spent two afternoons at the nearby stable, where he learned how to stand up on the horse and turn all the way around in the saddle.
We also spent an afternoon at the lake in La Ferté-Bernard , where fall is also in its glory.
Quinn very much wanted to play in the sand at the shore of the lake and build a sand castle. We had a positively perfect day for this, with the sun shining and the temperature very mild.
I mostly sat on the sand and watched while the boys spent several hours creating their sand castle complex.
It began, of course, with the dam works and the moat building.
Rick had brought all the appropriate buckets, shovels and rakes.
I was able to participate by gathering sticks, leaves and stones. Quinn was quite pleased with these materials, which served well for bridges and cannons.
Trees were planted, a garden was created, there was a grocery store and prison, along with several castles in the large compound. A pair of ducks came by and took a great deal of interest in the proceedings.
When we brought Quinn home at the weekend, we took the opportunity to ride into the center of Paris and do a few errands. We spent a very pleasant autumnal day in town.
Our errands took us from Place Saint Michel through the Latin Quarter, down the left bank, over to the Île de la Cité, onto the Île Saint Louis, and back up the right bank for lunch. The garden on the side of Notre Dame was full of people strolling and playing.
The sidewalk cafés were all full of people enjoying the day, which was fine and bright.
Paris is particularly lovely in the fall.
We passed a little garden near the Hôtel de Sens on the right bank which we had never noticed before. So charming and well maintained!
We ended at one of our favorite little quiet squares at the base of Village Saint Paul, near an old church.
We had a simple but pleasant lunch out of doors at L'Ébouillanté.