In Ottawa or in Nantes, keeping Mark busy is always a challenge. The upside of Nantes is that I know the city very well and I remember the places I used to love as a kid. I don’t have to go for a twenty-minute drive to find some urban fun—the city isn’t as spread out as Ottawa.
At the top of Mark’s if-you-don’t-take-me-there-once-a-day-I’ll-whine list is the Jardin des plantes. You can’t walk on the grass (bummer) but there is a huge sandbox with a metal sieve and Mark can entertain himself for quite a bit. There are benches around the sandbox so I can sit and catch up on French gossip reading magazines and eavesdropping on people’s conversations.
The Isle of Nantes comes second, mostly because you can occasionally see the giant mechanical elephant walking around. There is a small playground as well but Mark is mostly interested in throwing sand—the last time I took him there, I ended up playing alone. No, I didn’t break the swing, yes it looks like I’m pole dancing.
Mark also enjoys running around fountains and going up and down the stairs, especially if it’s a “stairway to heaven” leading to a church.
And there is always regular urban fun, such as people-watching, dog petting and street musicians!