Sculptures of the Louvre

Cherubs of the Louvre

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Sole Traveling Mama says that it can be a real treat to go to the Louvre and NOT seek out the big names art works.      While hordes of tourists mob Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, you cana leisurely stroll through random galleries and get up close and personal with other stunning creations.    French, Italian, Ancient Greece,  Rome, and busts galore, get off  the beaten paths and discover your own favorites!

Avoid the long lines and buy your tickets online at http://www.louvre.fr/en.   Open late on Wednesdays and Fridays until 21:45 and daily except Tuesdays.    FREE admission on the first Sunday of every month EXCEPT April through September.

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Math and Science are more FUN in Paris!

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This is the 15th year for the Math and Sciences Exposition for Children, taking place this weekend, at Place St. Sulpice.    This FREE exposition is a fantastic way for kids to explore Math and Science theories in a fun, interactive way with great manipulatives for excellent hands-on teaching and experiential learning.     THIS is the way to fire up the brains and creativity of children and make these subjects (especially Math!)  come alive.

The Expostion opened on Thursday, May 22 and will run through Sunday, May 25.  Hours of operation are Friday from 9:00-19:00, Saturday 10:00-17:00 and Sunday 10:00-18:00.     There are over 60 salons with everything from astronomy to games of probability and statistics, geometry, gravity and puzzles.

A few of the exposition sponsors are Casio, Institut du Monde Arabe, Musee du Quai Branly and Societe Mathematique de France – this is a high quality event!!!    Volunteers are engaging and helpful and the children everywhere STM looked were engaged and having so much fun playing the games, they didn’t realize they were learning!

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Don’t be concerned about the weather for the weekend, as the majority of the salons are under tents.     Easy access is had from the Line 10 Metro, stop Mabillion, then a 5 minute walk to Place St. Sulpice, Paris 75006.  Tired from all that thinking?!    A wide variety of interesting cafes are only steps away from the Exposition, right around the Place St. Sulpice.     For more information on the event, check out http://www.cijm.org.

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Off to the French Galop!!

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This Sunday, May 18, come on out to the Hippodrome of Auteuil for the Grand Steeplechase of Paris races.    A part of the “Les Dimanches au Galop” series (The Sunday horse racing series), this Steeplechase has been a part of Paris history since 1874!   This Spring racing series begins  annually in early April and runs through mid-May, taking place every Sunday at either the Longchamp or Auteuil courses.   (Photos shown were taken at the Auteuil races on Sunday, May 4th.)

The events also feature themed “spectacles” that take place between the races.    On the day we attended, there was an incredible hawk and eagle exhibition.    We  couldn’t believe how close up we could get to these birds of prey and how accurately they flew over the heads of the audience!!!

Gates open at 12 with the first race beginning at 1:30.  There are 8 races per day, finishing at approximately 5:30.  Take advantage of the varied activities for children both educational and pure fun, such as the Shetland pony rides, the carrousel and a simulated race course ride.   Food is reasonably priced, and you can also bring your own food in.    Minimum bets start at 2 euros, so you don’t have to break the Bank to enjoy your day there.

Entrance to the Hippodrome Autueil is very conveniently located at almost the end of the Metro Line 10, stop Porte d’Auteuil and the gates are literally, steps from the Metro exit.  The Hippodrome has been completely renovated this past year and is looking better than ever.   On a sunny day, the views to the Eiffel Tower and the hot air balloon at Parc Andre Citroen, are superb!   Children under 12 admitted FREE for every Sunday race day.  Adult admission 8 euros, reduced fare for students or Seniors, 5 euros. Hats not obligatory!

Check out http://www.clubfrancegalop.com   to join for FREE and receive reduced and/or  free admissions for various races in the Paris environs.      www.dimanchesaugalop.com    is the website in English and French with the full calendar of races and special events in the Spring, Sunday Racing Series.

Missed the Spring series or won’t be in Paris until October?    Check out my blog post of October 3, 2013 on the 92nd running of the Prix de Qatar

Need a little more horse in your life?!     Mark your calendars for the Paris area upcoming races out at the Chateau Chantilly racetrack, June 1, Prix du Jockey Club and June 15  for the running of the Prix de Diane Longines.   http://www.prix-de-diane.com

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The Original Macaron

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On a recent day trip to Nancy, Sole Traveling Mama and her eldest daughter were delighted to discover and taste test what are deemed to be the absolute original macarons.    For over 200 years, the secret recipe has been carefully guarded and passed down through the generations.   The secret is currently “held” by Nicolas Genot of the Maison des Soeurs Macarons.

Originally created by the Benedictine nuns in their Nancy convent, the dear nuns escaped with not just their lives, but their baking secrets intact after the 1792 Act of Suppression for Religious Orders shut down their convent.    Seeking refuge in the home of  Doctor Gormand at 10 Rue de la Hache, they baked their macarons as a means of supporting themselves, and “voila”, the famous Nancy macaron became a commercial  success!   It took until 1952, however, for the city of Nancy to rename the street on which their convent once stood, La Rue des Soeurs Macarons (The Macaron Sisters Street!)

Unlike the macarons we are accustomed to devouring, the Nancy “original” macarons are what we would think of as the top half of a macaron – no filling.    Delicious with a coffee or tea, the macarons are a delicate blending of sugar and almonds.   Yum!!

Offering a variety of  gift tins and boxes, beautifully wrapped, these make a lovely edible souvenir of a great trip to an interesting city.

Located at 21, rue Gambetta, Nancy France 54000, just steps from Stanislaus Square in the heart of the Old City.

http://www.macaron-de-nancy.com

http://www.mangerbouger.fr

Just Around the Corner…..

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Sole Traveling Mama never ceases to be amazed at the gems that just seem to pop up out of nowhere in her travels around the City of Light.    Just a few days ago, she was on a mission to find her daughter boots at the sales, and wandering along in the 9th, they turned a corner and were astounded to see this view!!!!   How could they not have seen this before?!    Of course, the sky is the limit with what euros can buy you here in Paris, but the looking is always FREE, and oh what you can see when you just set out to wander!

This view is waiting to be discovered on Rue Laffitte, Paris 75009

“Amahl and the Night Visitors” Opera

Amahl and the Night Visitors Opera

One of the many advantages of living in or visiting a city like Paris, is the ability to take advantage of the numerous cultural activities offered, many at very reasonable prices. The STM is always on the lookout for unique performances and she has just the “ticket” for you and your family this weekend!!!

The one act opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” provides an excellent opportunity to introduce your child to Opera and is appealing as well, to those who just “aren’t quite sure” about Opera, as it is only 45 minutes long.  That being said, the instrumental and vocal talents of the performers on January 25th, 2014 will please even the most discerning operatic ear. It will be sung in English and conducted by the talented Italo Marchini.

“Amahl and the Night Visitors” is being performed this Saturday evening, January 26, 2014, at 6:00 pm at the American Cathedral of Paris, located at 23 Avenue George V, 75008. Metro access Line 1 at stop George V or Line 9, stop Alma. Tickets can be purchased the evening of the show at the door; adults 20 euros, students/children 10 euros, or a very reasonably priced Family ticket at 45 euros. This special performance is being sponsored by Les Arts George V and Madamiva.

The opera was composed in 1951 by Italian, Gian Carlo Menotti and first performed on Christmas Eve of that same year. Interestingly it was the first opera ever written for television, being commissioned by NBC and performed live from their studios in Rockefeller Center, New York City. It was the first production for the “Hallmark Hall of Fame” series.

The opera is set outside of Bethlehem in the home of a crippled boy, Amahl and his mother. This touching story is about the 3 Kings on their journey to visit the Christ Child and sin, love and miraculous redemption. A crowd pleaser and tear-jerker, definitely make plans to attend – just don’t take my front row seat!!

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, Toast of the Town!


DSCN2292DSCN2470DSCN2469DSCN2467Sure to delight children of all ages, the charming Teddy Bear windows at Printemps, designed by Prada are absolutely charming. Teddy Bears are dressed in glamorous gowns and glittering jewels, some waving candy canes while others wave signs spelling out P-R-A-D-A. The theme for the windows this year is Noel, A Joyful Obsession and these windows certainly emanate JOY!
Sole Traveling Mama is actually a bit envious of how fashionable the Ski Bears look in their Prada Aviator sunglasses! She knows she certainly isn’t looking that good on the alpine slopes!
The windows are illuminated now through January 6, 2014 at Printemps http://www.printemps.com on Boulevard Haussmann, Paris 75009. Prada is offering many Limited Collection items this season, http://www.prada.com