Our calendar has become organized by the Destinations we plan to visit, or have visited, each day. I suppose that's what you do when you're a tourist.
Today was Sacre Coeur and the Jardin de Luxembourg.
Sacre Coeur is a basilica up on what is really the only hill in the Paris area. It's free to go into the church, of course, but it's 5 Euros to go up to the top of the basilica, where the view is supposed to be great. We thought the view was pretty good from the ground floor, which is already well above the city, so we opted out of paying money to climb a bunch of stairs. (By the way, this parish must rake in the dough. Besides the pricey entry to the tower, one needs to pay 2 Euros for a small votive candle and 10 Euros (!) for a large one. Pretty sure that's not at cost.)
After lunch, we headed south to the very nice Jardin de Luxembourg. Two things were notable, here.
First, the boys were able to rent small wooden sailboats (an hour costs less than the climb up Sacre Couer!) and sail them in the pond in front of the Palais. It was very cool--they absolutely loved it. The boats actually do get lift in the sails and get moving. Although you can't steer, you push it off from the shore and it more or less stays on tack and goes across, where you collect it and send it off again.
The second notable thing in the Jardin was the playground. Now, we've been lamenting the lack of quality playgrounds in Paris since we got here. There aren't many, it seems, and those we've found have been very lame. But, here, in the Jardin, we came across a playgroundopolis, a monstrosity with dozens and dozens of kids and a dazzling variety of play structures.
Oh, but how to get in; where's the gate? Oh, there it is...but, wait...2.60 Euros to get in?! Are you kidding me? A pay-to-playground? And 1 Euro for an accompanying grownup?!
There's just so much wrong with this. For starters, they provide an incentive for parents not to go in with their children and instead let them run rampant. Second, they want to make it more difficult for kids to get exercise? And third, it's a playground, for goodness sake!
As Shannon pointed out, it's probably a private enterprise that leases the space from the city (I hope the city isn't charging its children to play). And, as we've seen how lame the socialist playgrounds are around here, the capitalist option may be the better one.
In any event, it was probably the best 5.20 we've spent so far! I think only the 4 Euros we spent on the sailboats was a better value.
With an afternoon of children-centric activity, the boys were in great spirits tonight. Euros well spent!