Sunday, July 5, 2009

Adventures in the Land of Love

We began our trip in the bright city of Paris! Here we are at the Notre Dame Cathedral (see us down in the corner?) where we went to an evening service which happened to be in French and Portugese, a special treat for those of us who understand neither language! Our time in Paris was wonderful and we agreed it was a great way to start the trip. Our hotel rooms were small, but clean, and we fell asleep each night to the soothing sounds of motorcycles driving by our windows. We saw all of the big monuments, spent some time in the Louvre, which Mom loved, climbed Montmartre to see Sacre Coeur and the great view of Paris, ate crepes and ice cream, and had an overall fabulous two days before leaving to visit Chud's family in Gien.

We stayed in the Loire Valley for three days with Mom and Jay, during which we visited many great Chateaus and Castles. Renting a car was such a good idea because we were free to go where ever the mood swept us. Fields of bright red poppies flanked us on our way to the regions most beautiful places. Mom and Jay especially enjoyed the French meal we shared with the Fasciottos and I have to say, my heart was about to burst that entire evening. It was so nice to see our families together, enjoying each other's company, everyone being so nice to each other. Mom had mussels for the first time and loved them. They also had their first experience with a multi-coursed meal in which we sat at the table for over two hours!

After our time in Gien with my parents, we took them to Normandy for the last leg of their trip...

Here are Mom and Jay at Omaha Beach, with the memorial sculpture behind them. We stayed in a town called Bayeux, which also happens to have the worlds longest tapestry. We spent the first day getting to Bayeux and making little stops along the way. We had a lovely dinner that first night where Mom had some awesome Mousse au Chocolat (my fav). The next day we went to the WWII museum, Omaha Beach, the US Cemetery (which also had a musuem), a couple sea-side towns, and the old German bunkers. I have to admit, I love history and all, but after a few hours of WWII exhibits I got a little....bored. But Jay and Chud were eating it up, so Mom and I followed them around and took lots of pictures - until they went to the bunkers, at which point Mom and I took a nap in the car. It was delightful and everyone was happy. On our last day we dropped off Mom and Jay in Paris and headed back to Gien for our own week of family visits.

We stayed in a village close to the Fasciottos in a cabin on a little pond. It was absolutely adorable and I was looking forward to some rest after a bustling week of sight-seeing. And rest I got, buddy, after catching a stomach bug and spiking a fever. I didn't get out of bed for a day and a half, but it was nice to know that I didn't have to get out of bed for anything if I didn't want to. Thanks to some good French drugs and a husband who was content to fish all day with his Dad (see above photo), I was back on my feet in no time. We hosted the in-laws for dinner one night at our cabin and ate at their house every other night that week. We went to a music festival, visited some more castles, and enjoyed our short time with family before it was time to leave. On Thursday we headed to Lagnieu, but not before stopping by Bourgoin-Jalieu to visit with Chud's Mom's parents. We spent two nights in Lagnieu with the Fasciotto grandparents, who have a special place in our hearts...

Here is Mami Fasciotto cutting the tart that we ate with our tea after lunch on the last day. She is such a wonderful lady - always bubbly and smiling, a wonderful cook with a great sense of humor. His grandfather is equally endearing. Neither of them speak English, so when his grandfather said something I didn't understand, he decided to say it in Italian instead, hoping I'd get it then! Those exchanges usually ended with lots of pantomiming and laughter.
They live in an old stone house that Chud's great grandfather built with a fabulous garden. No one was allowed to eat the raspberries of the bushes in the garden until Chud and I got a chance to eat them first. His aunts, uncles and cousins had been waiting for weeks to get at those fruits, so when they all showed up for dinner the first night, we picked the raspberry bushes clean together! It was wonderful.
After our goodbyes, Chud and I headed to Arles in the South to enjoy some alone time together in the region of Provence...
Here's Chud at the Roman Amphitheater in Arles. We wandered around the Provencial countryside for four glorious days, soaking up the sun and enjoying our time together. We spent one day at the beach, and if you've ever been to a beach in France, you might now there are many...ahem..."sights" to see. Female sights, to be exact. All over the place. It was fascinating! We spent another day looking at old castles and visiting vineyards. We had a nice, dressy dinner next to the river in Arles, then spent our last day at two museums - the Cezanne/Picasso museum in Aix-en-Provence, then the Lavendar Museum out in the middle of no where. It was a glorious trip!
We finally made our way back to Paris for the last night, then home the next day. No major mishaps or mixups, just lots of memories and good ideas for the next trip.
If you're interested in more pictures, you can see all of them at
If you or anyone you know is interested in hiring a native French-speaker and a darn good babysitter for their family vacation to France, tell them to give us a call! We've been told we make excellent tour guides, so we're thinking about offering our services to well-paying customers!

Baby update: not pregnant - but we should win an award for all the trying!


Meredith said...

I love the pictures here and on the other site. How long until you guys just pack up and move over there? ;)

Pocket said...

If it were up to me, we'd do it tomorrow! S is a little more practical, however, and would prefer to remain here, where we have good jobs and a house. Boo.