Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Au revoir France!

Our last day in Paris was spent going to the Catacombs, which none of us had seen before. (Note to potential visitors: instead of showing up ignorant, research how to avoid the line. It's worth it!)

And now we are at the airport, enjoying our last chocolate croissants and espresso. See you soon!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Disneyland Paris

Dave had the great idea to reward the girls with a surprise day in Disneyland. It was fun to watch them miss all the clues as we approached our destination! And even more fun when it was revealed.

Adi was my buddy on Space Mountain.

And Vivian got to see a Frozen world,

eat Frozen marshmallows, 

and see Elsa in an impressive song and dance show.

It was fun for all of us, especially since Vivian took a nap on the train:




Tomorrow is our last day in Frsnce-- everyone's looking forward to getting back to Colorado.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Paris day 2

Ten years ago, I spent a few days in Paris around Christmastime. My enduringly memory is of eating savory crepes from street vendors, partly because they were so good and partly because my attempts to get served in cafes and  restaurants  were frustrating. Now that I'm more capable of the latter, it seems I've become incapable of finding crepe carts. Or rather, incapable last night at dinner time with tired kids. Because I must have passed eight or ten on my run this morning! Too bad I didn't note where this actually was!
It is so much fun to run in the city. Yesterday I did hills circling the Sacre Coeur Basilica. This morning, from our hotel in Montmartre, I went past a market near Les Halles, a chalk artist outside the modern-art Pompidou center, a long queue for mass at Notre Dame, and millions of padlocks on the Pont Neuf that apparently show unending love (?).

A quick turn around the left bank and I headed back to meet up with the family. After a cultural morning of French cartoons in the hotel (while Dave and I ran), and patisserie ogling while eating chocolate croissants (

) we fulfilled Adi's one request for our visit to Paris. 

Honestly not what I would have chosen but apparently someone's been educating our daughters. I still think that visiting the Da Vinci museum in Amboise was better than viewing this one painting, but there's obviously lots else to see at the Louvre. After the Mona Lisa, The big girls and Dave went through Greek and Egyptian exhibits while Viv and I checked out the coffee and juice in the pyramid atrium.

We finished with a boat ride on the Seine, sweet crepes from a cart when we couldn't find any cheese ones (argh!) and a lovely dinner at one of many sidewalk cafes near our hotel. We even got the kids to bed early in preparation for a big surprise tomorrow. (Hint: they don't know there are princesses and roller coasters in/near Paris...)


On the way up.

 Vivian was disappointed, saying she thought "it would be taller than that."

We met the Coes for the afternoon.

We had hoped for toy boats on this little fountain near the Louvre but the girls were happy to sit by the water.

There were chairs everywhere, for old men to take afternoon naps.

Cool boys

Cool girls (don't worry, they just drank juice)

It was so nice to meet up for the last evening with the Coes.  Luckily, we found break-dancers and then tap-dancers on our way down this lively road, to distract us from our sorrow at saying goodbye.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Goodbye Pau

We couldn't have had a better place to call home in France. I will miss the huge river, our lively gîte and being part of Leen's extended family. For our last night, we got dinner from the pizza truck at our boulangerie for dinner in the garden with Leen's and Béatrice's  family.

I loved being able to play, or run, along the river about a kilometer from our home. This is the view of our suburb from a chateau on the other side of the river-- I think our house is in the far back on the right. 

The chateau itself (de franqueville).

When we arrived, the corn behind our house was barely knee high. It tasseled during our last week there. It was from this window that Vivian and I watched the distant fireworks in Pau on Bastille Day.

Our gîte used to be the attic of a barn (owned by Jean Marc's uncle-- he said there were fleas when he was growing up). This view is from our living room French doors. Our host, Béatrice's, house is white with red shutters and the gîte is brown. The closed shutters are the girls' room; our bedroom is just out of view to the right.

This is the view from our bedroom, once we opened the shutters and doors every morning. Béatrice's husband, Xavier, works as an architecture in the office below us and the garden is beyond the stairs.

The street side is much starker. This view is from the edge of the cornfield and shows the window to the bedroom and the hall as well as the bathroom window. I love the piece of old stone wall , which is a common view around here. The house and barn are present in a map from the nineteenth century-- like many structures here, their age is only known to be greater than that.

Time to move on... Waiting at our local bus stop on our way home via Paris...

 And on the train...

Modern technology: we're the blue dot, picking up speed on the high speed tracks past Bordeaux. The cluster of yellow stars is in and around Pau, and the other stars are places we stayed this summer.

Tired in the Paris Metro but so much better than when we arrived eight weeks ago! Suitably global, we were between a group of young women speaking Russian and two older men speaking Italian. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Mediterranean

We headed three hours east to where the Pyrenees meet the Mediterranean Sea. The small town of Torreilles provided everything we could have asked for in a beach vacation. 

Sand bathing

Stone skipping

Sand castling

Sea life 

Running away from waves... And swimming 

Lots of salt!

 And karate, of course

The baker next door to our rental house will be remembered for the smell of baking bread at 4am 

And the bins of baguettes that vans picked up from our tiny street like drug dealers.

And the lively town provided stray cats, cute cafes and rock concerts.

But as always, the best memories are simple from bring together with family.