Nov 18, 2012

A Continentalist in Paris: Bears and Carousels

Visiting the Buddy Bears on their last day in Paris.


Our first week here has just rushed by. Friday was all errands (dry-cleaning is significantly cheaper here than in the UK), and Saturday was errands redux. However: sister 3 had been clamoring to see the Buddy Bears on the Champ de Mars for ages, and today, the 18th, is their last day. So in case Sunday would also be a wash (which it was), we seized the evening and set off at 7 pm - ignoring the dark, cold, and late return time.

Our group of five - my mother, sisters 3 and 4, T, and I - left the metro at Trocadero, because though it's a bit of a walk the view is unsurpassed. And with the kiddoes in tow, we paused for a carousel ride before heading over the Seine for the Eiffel Tower and bears.

The installation consisted of 140 bears representing their respective UN member states, decorated by artists from their countries - "standing together hand in hand, the 2m tall bears promote tolerance and living together in peace." The exhibition marked 25 years of town twinning between Paris and Berlin, together with the 50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty of friendship between Germany and France.

As for the bears themselves: some were striking and original, others cliched, and a few missed the mark completely. And though sometimes even the cliche works - I liked the States' Liberty Statue Bear - I'm not sure if Irish Bear (pipe, red beard, pants with shamrocks) was supposed to mock the stereotype or embrace it.

Even though it was late and freezing, there were plenty of visitors (many of whom were tourists) crowding around the bears to have their photos taken. Since the bears were organized by their countries' French names, this led to some confusion...such as a few Americans looking about with consternation in the "U" section.

We ended up staying until 10 pm - T fell asleep on the way back.

Sunday included a trip to Ikea for random household objects, which was pretty uneventful with the exception of sister 4 being violently sick (in the British sense) on the way there. Which made the ride back home pretty excruciating.

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