Friday, August 14, 2015

Our French Holiday

We just returned home from a road trip to France! This is one of the benefits of living in mainland Europe, and we plan to take full advantage of that while we are in Germany. We've been told that it's very "American" of us to drive everywhere and not use public transportation, but for us, driving to Paris is the same distance as driving across the state of Washington. Plus, we can pack all the "just in case" items for Eloise.

After spending a month in Paris two years ago, we wanted to visit again with no pressure to visit every museum or cathedral. So we returned for a short stay to experience our favourite places again, and to see a few of our St Andrews friends. We ate pastries, baguettes, falafel, and nutella crepes, and drank delicious wine. The Luxembourg Gardens, a night walk along the Seine, and Notre Dame were also on our list. I got to spend an afternoon with Kari and Amy eating pastries from Pierre Herme, and then we all met up again with our spouses for a picnic in Place des Vosges. It was wonderful to see familiar faces and catch up.

(I didn't take my DSLR, so my iPhone had to suffice!)

Eloise is a little over ten weeks old and has already traveled to four countries, soon to be five in September and six in November (Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Scotland, and the USA)! She is an awesome traveler, and I've fed her in some very cool places. Our number one thing we've learned is that everything takes longer with a baby, but we don't mind. Garrick always wonders why so many people are smiling at him and then remembers he's wearing an Ergo with a sleeping baby inside.

After Paris, we drove to the countryside in Normandy. Our cottage had no wifi and was a great place to unplug and enjoy time together as a family. We read in the garden, played games, ate ice cream bars, and took Eloise for long walks. The village we stayed in was named Le Brieul, near Falaise.

During our time in Normandy, we visited Omaha Beach and Le Mont Saint-Michel. It poured down rain the day we visited Omaha Beach, but it was well worth the trip. It was surreal to stand at such a historically significant place. 

Garrick's high school French class had a poster of Le Mont Saint-Michel, and he's wanted to go ever since. I don't know if his 16-year-old self pictured his visit with his future wife and daughter, but I think he was happy to have us along. We parked and road the shuttle to the island and quickly found a place to eat. We were ushered to the back with all the other families with young children, and Eloise made friends with the staff right away. Normandy's special dish is Mussels and Fries and they did not disappoint. Then, we made our way along the VERY crowded street in the rain, and I luckily found a tiny space in the wall that had a staircase leading to the Abbey at the top. The views were stunning!

This morning, we got an early start to Giverny, home of Monet. His gardens were the perfect ending to our trip. 

This was the first time that we left for a trip as a family, and when we opened our front door it felt like home. It's not always been easy, but I'm grateful to be settling in to our new life in Germany.