Month: September 2015

Paris, encore.

Our Paris weekend continues with day two, which was spent mainly at le Musée d’Orsay and les Jardins de Luxembourg. We wandered around St-Germain-des-Prés, enjoyed the amazing sunny weather, and just generally enjoyed being surrounded by charm and beauty at every turn. Without any further chitchat, here are some of our highlights from day two. Was it really just over a week ago?! Take me back! Le Grand Sigh… Advertisements

Paris, je t’aime

Last weekend we took the kids out of school for an extra day and took off to Paris for our much-anticipated weekend in the city of light. It was the first time in Paris for each of us, which was kind of cool. We totally lucked out with amazing weather for the bulk of our trip, except for one bout of hard rain on Friday evening, while we ate dinner, so we remained nice and dry! Oliver had especially been looking forward to our first trip to Paris. He knows all the big monuments and sights, and he wanted to see each and every one. So, we decided that this time around, our Paris weekend would be all about the BIG stuff. On his list of must-sees were the Tour Eiffel, l’Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre (he apparently had to see the Mona Lisa!), and Notre Dame. Derek and I added a couple of our own — the Musée d’Orsay and Jardins de Luxembourg. We decided that would be enough to pack into one three-day weekend, along with lots of …

Medieval Battle

A couple weeks ago, we drove to the Forteresse de Montbazon to see a medieval tournament, Le Tournoi du Faucon Noir. We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but the flyer said there would be a medieval market, food, and a round-robin of group battles. Sounded like fun, sign me up! Despite not knowing what to expect, both Derek and I had the impression that it would sort of be “for fun”, like the choreographed fighting you’d see in WWF or something like that. Were we ever wrong — this was as close as you could get to the real thing, minus the deaths of course! The teams were decked out in medieval armour, complete with helmets, maille of many sorts, colourful tunics emblazoned with their team crests, and thankfully tonnes of padding. They carried loads of different kinds of medieval weapons, swords, axes, maces, you name it. The day we were there, it was 5-vs-5 fighting, and they really went all out. The teams would face off, and when the refs blew the whistle, it was full steam ahead. Those helmets must …

Montrésor

Last weekend we drove over to Montrésor, which we had heard was a beautiful and charming town on the river (as if we’re lacking in charm around here). After a quick drive, we were greeted with a town which looked straight out of a Disney storybook.  We had a delicious lunch at a café, indulging in crème brûlée and pot-de-crème for dessert, which I simply cannot resist. Then, much to Oliver’s dismay, we went to explore the Château – there’s one in every town! It seems Oli has decided that he is DONE with Châteaux. Poor kid. The sprawling grounds are dotted with lemon trees, roses galore, towering chestnuts, even a XIV century outhouse! Crumbling castle walls surround the Château, with little tiny doors and archways leading to pathways and courtyards to explore. Happily, Oliver was delighted by this, leaving Derek with enough time to soak up the history inside the Château. Outside the gate to the Château are the ruins of a X century keep, built by Foulques Nerra, le Comte d’Anjou, who also built the donjon here in Loches, …

Around Town

Around Town, volume III. Just sharing a few pics from the last couple weeks of August around Loches! I snapped the pic above with my phone one morning as I opened the shutters in Danica’s room to wake her up for school, and the view from her window to the Logis Royale all lit up by the sun, I had to capture it. The daily ritual of opening and closing the shutters, letting the world in, is something I just love about France. The tall double french windows with their Juliette balconies. Just a little French “je ne sais quoi”. We had such a wonderful summer exploring the area, and spent many days swimming at a lovely lake in Chemillé-sur-Indrois. It’s about a 15 minute drive, as always winding down the country roads through fields of sunflowers, wheat, corn and vineyards! I especially love the white french road signs indicating the next towns down the road. Summer is nearing it’s end, and we are seeing signs of fall in the foliage as well as the fruits and veg at our …

La Rentrée

Here in France, the first day of school is called “la rentrée”. There is all kinds of excitement leading up to the day, as everyone comes home from vacation (basically all of France goes on vacation for much of the month of August – les congés!). We noticed a definite change in the feel of our little town, there are fewer tourists for sure, and the locals have come back. Our little street is much quieter, being the hub of the tourist centre of town. Fall is definitely in the air! School has been on our minds for a lot of the summer. I bought workbooks for the kids to do over the summer (yep, I’m that mom! I just wanted to make sure they practiced their french!) and I taught Danica cursive writing, which they start in kindergarten here. We were nervous for them, not because we didn’t think they would succeed, but because it’s a HUGE adjustment for them! They both have a great group of friends back in Victoria, they are super …

Étretat

Our second daytrip during our weekend in upper Normandy was to Étretat, to see the famed white cliffs soaring over the ocean. I had been looking forward to this for some time, and while I was hoping for a crystal clear bluebird day, we were met instead with an overcast haze. Which in the end wasn’t so bad, and lent a sort of mysterious feeling to the town! I do encourage you to do an image search of Étretat, though, to see how the cliffs look in the brilliant sunshine. Stunning! We took a stroll through the sweet town and picked up a sandwich and baguette for lunch (for all my North Van friends out there – we have found the next best thing to the Galleria chicken sandwich, and it comes from Étretat. Yum!). From there we went down to the beach to check out the cliffs. The view took my breath away, I have to admit. I took hundreds of photos, I just couldn’t stop myself. The beach is made up of the smoothest …