It's been a while since I wrote--my husband is back home in the U.S. while our children and I have moved into an apartment in Lyon, France, before we rejoin him in late September. Moving and parenting alone is exhausting, but the kids and I are delighted to be here establishing a French life for a while, and our kind neighbors add a sense of community to this place. Our apartment is in one of the largest Renaissance-era neighborhoods of Europe, and it's amazing to traverse the narrow cobblestone streets each day! I'll share more about life here soon (I hope to get back to a twice-per-week blogging schedule), and in the meantime, here are some weekend links for your enjoyment:Read More
Bonjour les amis! I've just posted the winner of The Little Bookroom Guide to Paris with Children, signed by author Kim Horton Levesque. (You can read the interview with her here if you missed it.) It was a bit tricky to post that information since we're currently in the Alps with no WiFi access! Honestly though, it's refreshing to finally be somewhere with almost no Internet access. Instead of occasionally checking email and social media accounts like Instagram, I'm taking walks with my children and my former host family, and cooking and cleaning and playing--you know, living, but with no online distractions.
The downside to this is that we're here without my husband, who needed to fly back to Oregon for work. His students return to school next week; la rentrée here in France is just two weeks away. Our kids are handling the temporary separation from daddy quite well, but a piece of our hearts will always be with him and I look forward to being able to reconnect through FaceTime and phone calls.
In the meantime I'm delighting in the incredible natural surroundings here in the Alps: the chalets are tucked among steep dandelion-flowered hillsides, and when the morning fog lifts you can see the high peaks of the crags above--even Mont Blanc on a clear day. Throughout the day you can hear the melodic sound of the cowbells as the cows wander the hills. (It's one of my favorite sounds when they're actually on cows--but not when they're rung by the cheering crowd at a small town American basketball game!).
Have a lovely week, and I hope you get a chance to unplug and escape into nature soon too.
Les amis, I'm delighted to share this interview featuring Kim Horton Levesque, whose sweet and informative guidebook Paris with Children was published in 2013. Actually, the full title is The Little Bookroom Guide to Paris with Children: Play, Eat, Shop, Stay. A dear friend sent me this book before our current stay in France, and I couldn't have been more thrilled! Kim's informative, pocket-sized guide is a mama's dream guide to Paris, listing kid-friendly cafés, children's shops, favorite family parks, and more. Even better, you can win a signed copy of her book by leaving a comment on this blog post (details below). Without further ado, here's my interview with Kim:
Bonjour, mes amis, from Lyon! it's been seven years since I was last in this city. It's wonderful to be back and to see Lyon looking vibrant with its squares and monuments restored. Because it's August, many residents are on vacation and tourists have taken their place, but still, the city just shines with its lovely architecture and views. Maybe it also shimmers because of the heat--It was 35-39 degrees Celcius all last week (95-102 degrees F) until a weekend thunderstorm rolled in and brought relief.
My husband ran the 100m dash this last week in the World Masters track meet--I'm so proud of him, and impressed that he ran it in 11.74 seconds despite the scorching heat! He'll long jump this week as well. The Masters' meets are open to non-professional adult athletes age 35 or older with an official mark to submit. Participants compete against others in a five-year age range. A few days ago, for example, I watched a a group of 85-90 year old women from around the world run the 100m, and they looked amazingly fit. It's so inspiring!
Bonjour les amis! We've just returned from an extended weekend spent visiting dear friends in la Drôme, a region in southeast France. Our friends took us to La Cité du Chocolat in Tain-l'Hermitage (near Valence) and even though none of us were true chocoholics beforehand, we left this place feeling like chocolate connoisseurs--and gourmands who enjoyed far too many of their abundant samples! Here's why it's such a deliciously informative place to visit, and why we'd enjoy visiting it again anytime:Read More
I'm writing you with a full stomach and a contented heart because we've just spent a week in Bretagne (Brittany in English). Bretagne is on France's northwestern coast below Normandy, and it's a popular vacation destination for Parisians who want get out of the city. It's an area with Celtic culture that can be seen in the age-old erected menhirs and dolmens--great Stonehenge-like monoliths that you might recall from Asterix comic books. We didn't see those rocks, though we enjoyed hiking among similar ones with my distant relatives. Actually, I should say my probable relatives--we haven't proved we're related, but genealogy suggests we are and we share a variation of my maiden name. I enjoyed staying with this retired couple ten years ago, and this past week my husband and children got to join me in experiencing their amazing hospitality.
Our two-week stay in Paris flew by--probably because we did so much more than I expected. We could have easily enjoyed staying longer if our budget and schedule allowed it, but we have French friends to visit as well, so I'm now writing you from the lovely stone home of my distant relatives in Bretagne. But before I jump too far ahead, here's where we went and what we did in Paris, starting with the most family-friendly and descending to the least family-friendly, in my opinion:
As a passionate Francophile, I'm thrilled that my family's stay in Paris this month coincided with Bastille Day. (The French always call it Le 14 juillet, but the day is in memory of the storming of the Bastille in 1789.) my husband and I had heard about the military parade on the Champs-Elysées and the unforgettable fireworks at the Eiffel Tower, but we didn't know exactly where to go for the best views or how to escape the crowd afterwards. Here's what we learned:Read More