Random thoughts. Paris, Gehry and kids.


We came home from our 40th anniversary trip to Paris on Friday in time for the first Cubs game. I am still on time distortion, waking up early even as I stayed awake long enough to enjoy last night’s win over the team from Believeland, as my Facebook friend from Ohio, Phil Arway, constantly refers to the ones with the racist logo.

It is not the players fault that the owners cling to this offensive mascot. Cleveland’s pitching is impressive and I fear for the Cubs who lost to the Mets last year due to New York’s superior pitching.

On one of our days in Paris we decided to take a look at the Louis Vuitton Foundation building in the huge Bois du Boulogne, a beautiful park in the upscale 16th Arrondissement.

Both Anne and I have limited attention spans for art museums. We were interested in seeing the Frank Gehry building. There is a cheap bus ride from the Arc de Triomphe to the Bois du Boulogne.


Photos: Fred Klonsky

The museum was both impressive and redundant of buildings designed by Gehry. The collection on display was owned by some wealthy Russian and was made up of paintings by, well, everybody who painted  in Europe in the 20th Century. And the line was long for those like us who had not pre-purchased tickets.

Instead we wandered next door to the Jardin d’Acclimatation, a public park for the kids of Paris.

French kids are off for two weeks four times a school year, which starts September 1 and ends July 1. The two week holidays take place around All Saints and All Souls Day, Christmas, February and Easter. For years schools were also closed on Wednesdays although now they are open on Wednesday mornings.

With all that time off it is a wonder France can compete in the global economy.

French kids also seem pampered by good, healthy school lunches.

Spending the afternoon surrounded by Paris’s kids was a much better choice than visiting one more stuffy art museum or church. With school out, the place was packed with organized groups of kids wearing bright flourescent vests.


The Jardin has been around for 150 years.

First it was a zoo. For a while it displayed actual people from France’s colonies, much like the human zoo at the Chicago 1892 World’s Fair.


Just as the United States can never escape the mark slavery has left on us, neither can France escape it’s brutal colonial history.

But on this afternoon, watching kids ride a camel in the middle of Paris was a gas.

One Reply to “Random thoughts. Paris, Gehry and kids.”

  1. Just a thought… The kids remind me of the scene in Michael Moore’s, “Where Do We Invade Next?”, of the cafeteria in a French school in which the kids ate a decent, nutritious meal on porcelain plates with real silverware at tables served by adults. The concern for the children’s nutritional needs and an overall respect for their humanity couldn’t be more striking. It was in stark contrast to our school cafeterias in the “richest country on Earth” where primarily fats and carbohydrates are put on plastic plates in a lunch line, and eaten with plastic utensils in a crowded, noisy environment.

    Yes, I know… To do something on a similar scale for our kids in the “richest country on Earth” would bust an already strained educational budget. Don’t even present it to our elected representatives and governor who’d either laugh their big butts off at the mere suggestion or start to hyperventilate…

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