Giverny and Monet's Garden: the Beauty of Spring

May has arrived and Mother's Day is around the corner, but I'm still thinking of April . . . as in April one year ago! I was visiting Paris to run my first marathon and I squeezed in a side trip to Giverny, the site of Monet's family home and garden. My French friends were unsure as to whether there would be many blooms there so early in the season, but I made the half-day trip anyhow and I am still dreaming of the timeless beauty I saw there.

(You might also enjoy the garden stamps we've been inspired to use this spring! I share them at the bottom of this post.)

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A Family Visit to Paris' Jardin des Plantes & Ménagerie

The top tourist sites in Paris are its museums and monuments, but Le Jardin des Plantes is an excellent choice for families looking for a peaceful, educational, and fun destination within walking distance from Notre Dame de Paris. (I suggest taking the Metro, though, if you have little ones in tow.) This garden is France's main botanical garden, and it houses a zoo, a carousel, an amazing animal display (La Grand Gallerie de l'Evolution), and several other museums focused on natural history.

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Visiting the Louvre & Jardin des Tuileries with Kids

Many people might not consider taking their children to France's museums but even young children can appreciate the Louvre's incredible treasures in its opulent palace setting. You can pique your child's interest with the Louvre's own interactive site for children or printing out their treasure hunts for families (select parcours-jeux on their family page).

On the first Sunday of the month, many museums in France offer free admission. We'd planned to take advantage of this offer to visit the Louvre (the world's most visited museum), but instead we went the following day, thinking that it would be less crowded if most people had come the day before. Perhaps this was true, but in summer there are such hoards of tourists that any dip in attendance was imperceptible! You can try to avoid the crowds by arriving early or when the Louvre is open very late on Wednesdays or Fridays. (Kids under 18 enter free everyday.) 

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