When in Paris, Look for Parrots!


Most students who travel to Paris go to visit all the sites they might study in French class. That's what I wanted to do, having studied French from 6th to 12th grade. I wanted to see the Eiffel Tower, walk down the Champs Elysees-the famous avenue filled with stores and restaurants, and anchored at one end by the Arc de Triomphe. The Champs Elysees is a must-see tourist attraction for the American student of French; it even has its own website! (http://www.champselysees.org).

Other must sees are usually the Cathedral of Notre Dame with its flying buttresses, the Louvre with the Mona Lisa, and maybe the Opera House, home of the Phantom. And, in order to guarantee a return visit to Paris, superstitious travelers find and stand on the Zero Mark near the cathedral-the point from which all distances in France are measured.

However, my youngest daughter and I had been homeschooling for almost ten years. Birds had become the portal for lots oflearning. For example, we had studied France and other countries by collecting bird stamps. The first question I asked her was, of course, what shall we see while we are in Paris?

She had a one word answer. Parrots. Parrots? I asked.

Yes mom, let's find Parrots in Paris.

So, in March 2012, we spent a week in Paris on an


educational scavenger hunt; and, we found a Plethora of Parrots in Paris! We even made it to the Sunday morning Marche aux Oiseaux-the open-air Paris Bird Market!

Our hunt began at the quickest and easiest place to find parrots-along the ~ay de la Megisserie on the Right Bank of the Seine-the river which divides Paris. Along the ~ay are a number of pet stores, called Animalerie in French. In addition to parrots, the stores also had fish, ducks and chickens. One store was even selling chipmunks!

The other quick and easy place to find Parrots in Paris is the zoos. We went to La Menagerie du Jardin des Plantes, home of the remaining menagerie of King Louis XIV and to Le Jardin D'Acclimatation,

Of course, the birds at the pet stores and zoos were alive

and well. But some Parisians prefer to enjoy the beauty of birds without the noise and mess. Thus, we visited two different taxidermy shops, Deyrolle (www.deyrolle.com)-the oldest, dating back to 1831, and a newer offering, Claude Nature (www. claudenature.com) The offerings at Deyrolle are larger and more often rented out for window displays. Claude Nature provides birds, bugs and fish for home decor.

There were parrots in the Louvre, including drawings by Pieter Boel, an artist who sketched the animals in Louis XIV's zoo. Next to the Louvre, in Les Arts Decoratifs (Decorative Arts) we found parrots on tapestries, plates, furniture and

 1. A pet store in Paris, called Animalerie. Chiens [dogs], Chats [cats], Oiseaux [birds] (Parrots are parroquets), Rongeurs [rodents] Inside one store were a variety of parrotsmacaws, greys, cockatoos and a myna bird.

2. Stuffed parrot- Claude Nature.

The owner of Claude Nature told us that many of his parrots have died and are brought to him by breeders.

3. This sign reads: Young parrot Grey of Gabon- Steps to Hand 7580 Euros

Date of birth 26 December 2077.

As of the writing of this article, one Euro cost $1.37. So, that Grey would cost about $2,138 USD. Baby white Cockatoo-Bebe Cacatoes Alba--very tame-tres apprivoise, and steps to hand, and very cute-tres mignon, cost nearly $4,000 USD.

4. Display at Deyrolle.

5. A doll at the Musee de la Poupee-a doll museum.

6. picture from a box containing a doll and parrot. Je parle means, I talk.

7. Pictured is an optical store which had a monocle.