Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Whole New Bois d'Amour

Bonjour! The weather dawned bright and sunny with only the most intermittent of clouds, and the kids took advantage of our opening the windows to open the shutters to say "Bonjour!" to the world. We had little big plans today: library and confirming Mac's report that he's seen a fountain at the Bois d'Amour when he goes to get croissants in the morning. I decided to give the day over to being with the kids instead of trying that half work/half kids thing - plus, it really is good to walk away for day (two is too many, but 24 hours is just right). Plus, you feel like celebrating when the King of Breakfast (as the kids have dubbed Mac in gratitude (and expectation) that he proffer forth croissants and pains au chocolate daily) brings an almond croissant (super special and delicious!).

And so here is my Oliver resting on the way home for lunch from the library. He checked out a book on how to draw heroes and monsters - all vaguely medieval, but also futuristic sci-fi looking. Iris wanted a book of dog breeds (always non-fiction for her); and Eleanor one on sharks (ever the surprise!). I checked out one on Louis XII (François' predecessor) and Mac's going to learn more about Charlemagne. On the way back, we stopped at a bakery that makes an excellent sandwich bread (plus, the kids can see their slicing machine in action - fun!). Here you see Oliver taking a pause and munching on a slice. How did that kid get so leggy?

A quick lunch in which Eleanor finished the jar of cornichons (really sour pickles - how does she do it?) and then we were off to the Bois d'Amour. So what's it like to hold a dagger and suck your thumb at the same time - while getting a shoulder ride? Only Eleanor would know. This is the main street of the heart of town, and I hope that you can see that tables and chairs have come out - indeed, Mac and Iris had a coffee/hot chocolate "en terrasse" on the way home.

And here it is! The horloge-fountain (clock (!) - fountain) in question. Mac says that when it's still dark the lights beneath the fountain streams light up - cool! Iris loved it and spent a goodly amount of time trying to figure out how it works - she had various and sundry theories about the way the water made the wheels turn which in turn made the gears turn for the clock. Bet she's right! We've wondered all along what these concrete stands were for (more terrasses and cafés? sculptures?). Now we know! I think that it's part of an entire program throughout the park called "Au Fil de l'Eau" (following the water), and it's not the only brain-teaser in the park!

Take this "rebus" for instance - it asks that you read it before trying to cross any body of water. The answer is on the other side of a small stream that runs before it. Go figure. Ok - for you rebus fans out there, I'll give you time to figure it out. It took us a while and the kids were long gone looking for the answer on the other side. I love rebuses - fun with words! Whenever you're ready for the answer, it's down at the bottom of the page.*

Look at how many people are at the bamboo grove! And look at how they've completely redone it! What had lain dormant during the winter has now been reawakened and primed for spring. Iris and Eleanor's "fishing" holes are much smaller or gone entirely, and Oliver had resorted to running along the path so as to not careen into people. It really is like rediscovering the Bois d'Amour - and it's delicious to think that it will only get greener and lusher as the weeks go by now.

Maybe I'll get more shots like this one. Oliver discovered a "new way to climb bamboo" and here seems to be levitating between heaven and earth. He can't wait to show his friend, Jakie, an avid climber himself. There's more to know about the Bois d'Amour - an old gate wall clearly indicates that it wasn't a public park all along. Was it a gift from the Rohan family to the city of Josselin? One end of the park gives out onto one of the gates of the castle ground.

The other end of the park (which we finally decided to explore today) gives out onto one of the state highways and... sheep! If you've ever seen Shaun the Sheep, you know to be excited by sheep - who knows what crafty shenanigans they're really getting up to behind our unsuspecting human backs? It made for a perfectly lovely surprise at the end of a perfectly lovely day.

Ah wait, Iris did hurt both of her fingers digging and climbing, but check out the cool "Neolithic bandages" her dad designed for her!!! She loved those and wore them all the way home. Only the prospect of the cute butcher's amazing lasagna got her to take them off!

*A vent d'oeufs trav vers C 1 courant dos (avant de traverser un courant d'eau) fée attend scie on eau cou 'r an (fais attention au courrant). Nifty, eh?

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