Warfare and Chocolate - A Boy's Day in Paris

Whenever I plan out our daily itineraries for a trip, I usually allow 2-3 hours for a museum visit.  Much more than that and it degenerates into an unpleasant experience for all of us.  So when we approached the Musee de l'Armee, I assumed we would be out in time to grab a quick lunch and move onto the next activity.  Little did I know that not only would we eat lunch at the museum, but we would spend another 2 hours after lunch exploring their extensive collection.  This was a love-at-first-sight place for Jack and we had to drag him away.  He still talks about it and recommends it to anyone we know who is traveling to Paris.  

The collection extends chronologically from medieval armor all the way to the 1960's nuclear arms race and includes Napoleon's stuffed horse, a large arms and armor collection, miniature dioramas of many famous battles, and a huge array of cannons.  There is also a kid's audio tour available which Jack really enjoyed.

Afterwards, it is a short walk to a branch of a great chocolate shop, A La Mere de Famille, the oldest sweet shop in Paris.  There is a delicious selection of chocolates, hard candies, marshmallows and ice cream available.  It's the perfect place to grab a snack or to dangle as a reward to buy you a few more minutes in your museum of choice.  


Lunch with a View

I've had a couple of family members visit Paris recently and have eagerly given suggestions, wanted or not.  I don't know if it is because it was the first place in Europe I visited, but Paris is one of my favorite cities.  We travelled there with the kids a few years ago and I was delighted to discover that it is just as enchanting for kids.  Ava says that she wants to live in Paris when she grows up and whenever we ask the kids about locations for upcoming vacations her answer is always "Paris."

In looking up recommendations, I went through all of the photos from our trip and thought I would devote the rest of this week's posts to some of the more successful outings we had during our time there.  

There are lots of places to eat around the Eiffel Tower but they tend to be a.) expensive or b.) touristy or c.) expensive and touristy.  Looking around for something which was d.) none of the above, I found a recommendation for Cafe Carlu, the cafe in the Cite de Architecture museum.  It is about a 5-minute walk from the Tower and you can eat in the cafe without paying admission to the museum.  The food is very good, as all Paris museum cafe food tends to be, but the real reason to come is for the view.  The cafe has a patio with several tables so you can enjoy your meal overlooking this fantastic sight.

The picture below illustrates another benefit of eating here. It is relatively crowd-free so there is always a table on the patio available.  

Even if you don't make it here for a meal it is still a great place to grab a snack and rest up a bit before continuing on your day.  Also nearby is a carousel, fountains to dip your feet into, and Cineaqua, the aquarium of Paris.