Sunday, August 1, 2010

When a Longboarder is in Paris...

If you have a son who is longboarder and is under the age of, say, 25, and you happen to be visiting Paris, France, you may wonder what you could do to keep you both happy and get the most out of the trip.

Here are a few suggestions:

Take in the Scenery in Paris:
Tour Eiffel, Wolf, Skateboard... of course
Arc d' Triomphe, Wolf, skateboard... of course
Skating in Paris:  You will notice right away that there aren't many skateboarders or longboarders in Paris at all.  We also noticed that there aren't many SUVs either; this is a good thing.  But the ratio of skateboarders to SUVs is about 1:1, not a good thing.  We counted 4 of each.

The likely cause for so few skaters is the fact that many of the streets are cobblestone and next to impossible to skate.  There are smooth paved areas, but they often have 10 lanes of cars on them.  One day per week from 9am about to 5pm on designated areas, cars are banned during the  'Paris breathes' program.  Roads that are typically open to cars are closed so that non-motorized traffic can take over, bikes, scooters, in-line skaters, and though they don't specify, this would also include skateboarders.  We will check out the scenic routes tomorrow.  I'll be on foot.

Try snails, speak French, eat baguettes:
Escargot & Rose... He tried one... I had the rest... not bad.
Eating in Paris:  After more than a week in France, my boy was needing a fix of Vancouver famed, Bon's, an all-day cheap breakfast joint. Unfortunately, nothing is cheap in Paris.  But you can find bacon, eggs and a bottomless cup of coffee that needs a load of milk and sugar to make it palatable. We found: Breakfast-In-America.  One happy lad.  A small chain restaurant that offers the standard North American Breakfast fare all day long.

Art in Paris
You shouldn't be in Paris if you are not going to look at art.  There are hundreds of museums and galleries and parks where you can find art.  There is art for every taste.  My son, it seems likes the impressionists, post-impressionists and gnarly renaissance art:

Coast Longboarding at the Louvre
When looking at art and artifacts, try to make it relevant to your longboarder... look closely and see the reflection of the Coast longboarding logo in the glass.   'Cool.... Coast in the Louvre...' okay, maybe I am desperate to find a link, but it's worth a shot.

Take the Metro
This is the easiest way to get around.  Today, we had a race to see who would get back to the apartment first.  I took the metro, he rode his skateboard.... guess who won... yup... by 40 minutes... Lunch was on the table by the time he rolled in, but it was a good experiment.  The lifts (elevators) are tiny and slow, the metro is big and fast.

There are a lot of these in Paris, so there is no shortage.  Some of the biggies to check out are: Notre Dame (must not wear Bermuda shorts or bare shoulders), Sacre Coeur (many many stairs, both at the metro and up to the cathedral; worth the climb), but our favourite was Chartres. It is a little out of town, but crazy interesting.  A huge history an it has a crypt tour; it's all in French, so listen closely, or read your English cheat-sheets and try to follow along.  My favourite part was the tower climb where you can see over much of the roofline over to the village below and much of the countryside.  It was amazing, and I am afraid of heights.  Wolf took his go-pro camera on this one, hopefully it turned out better than our trip through the catacombs (also very cool, in a historic, creepy kind of way).
view from Chartres Tower

Wolf at Cafe across the street from Chartres
Wolf at Notre Dame, Paris, France
Bones in the Catacombs of Paris
Skull detail from Catacombs, Paris
Wolf in Catacombs, (yes with his board and go-pro camera...
Get a Haircut
When cultural overload sets in, get a haircut.  So that is what he did.
Tomorrow, onto Lyon.  The adventures continue.