Aug 2, 2013

Adieu, Bourgogne

During our last week in Burgundy we visited one more chateau, enjoyed long walks around town, & managed to pack up our summer in just seven suitcases. (Traveling light seems to come naturally to us...)

One of our favorite visits was to the Château de Cormatin, just an hour drive from us. Built in the seventeenth century the Château displays a beautiful garden, turrets, & an impressive moat.












We took a lovely tour of the Château (which is how I'm able to tell you any historical information...) that led us into the princesses' quarters.




The only private room in the house where the princess would dress & bathe.



Then my own little princess posed by the stream...

On Saturday we said goodbye to our favorite venders at the market. After purchasing our usual groceries we ate at a new cafe called F & B that we'd been eyeing for quite some time. The food left us very satisfied with our last meal in Beaune.


Mrs. C tried the Ahi Tuna


I devoured their savory burger & fries


H enjoyed some vanilla ice cream after lunch

We returned to Saint-Aubin after a very pleasant outing & spent our final days taking in all the beauty our little town has to offer.












After H said goodbye to her favorite little red horse & we gave hugs & kisses to Madame Michelle we were ready to travel back to London. It wasn't easy leaving our home away from home; it has grown to mean so much to us. Tears were shed while driving away from the most incredible summer of my life. I thought back to the phone call when Mr. C asked me to join his family in France this summer & how, even though he gave me a day to "think it over", I knew my answer immediately. I feel so fortunate to have had this beautiful experience with my wonderful second family.

Jul 19, 2013

Living as Locals

So much has changed since we drove into our little Burgundian town in early June. We've picked up some French, made wonderful friends, & learned a lot about the culture here among the vineyards. We decided we were comfortable & confident enough to start enjoying some new experiences with the locals. The kids started horseback riding lessons, we explored nearby parks, participated in a sports festival, & visited a chateau just minutes from our home.

The horse stable is beautifully situated on several acres of rolling green pastures. Our instructor Julie Anne, a lovely French girl, was both kind & patient with Connor & Dylan as they walked & trotted around the ring & then out in the fields. Even Hampton enjoyed her first pony ride on her new friend, Phoebe.










My new friend, Romeo






As you all know, Saturday mornings are spent at the Beaune Market to buy fresh food for the week. This Saturday, however, we explored a nearby park while Mum & Dad did the shopping.




We brought plenty of baguette for some lucky ducks...


...& even saw some ducklings!


Of course we found a playground!






Connor & Dylan dominated the McDo Kids Sport event in town. Apparently it's a big thing across France sponsored, ironically, by McDonald's. It's basically the equivalent of an American school's field day. There were stations set up across a huge closed area with various sports to have a go at.


D was the last one alive in the "sharks & minnows" rugby game


Connor rocked the high jump


Miss Hampton loved the dancing mat


& of course both boys were the best at basketball (French kids don't play as much as us Americans...)




Lastly they enjoyed some old fashioned brotherly competition in the relay races...


...& earned themselves a spot in the local paper!! (Bottom left picture)

Just the other day we all jumped in the car to visit Château de Sully. The stunning estate is nestled within the countryside next to the world famous Côte de Beaune vineyards. Home to duchesse de Magenta and her family, it is the largest residential château in our little region of France. My king, princess, & knight led the way across the moat to explore.









After a tour of the inside, H & I walked through the gardens...




On our way home we stopped in Nolay, a quaint town in the heart of the Cozanne Valley. We enjoyed a light lunch & soaked up the sun while H cooled off in the fountains.


Beautiful wooden framed houses surrounded the courtyard


Le Thé dans la Vigne, a delightful looking tea room is apparently a hidden gem in Burgundy




Someone had to borrow my shirt on drive home...

On a much shorter detour, we found an old windmill used from 1851-1995. We stopped to take in the incredible views of the vineyards.




Once home, Miss Michelle invited me over to show off her homemade cherry preserves. (& I mean really homemade, she picked the cherries from the tree in her garden.)




Her stunning garden filled with fruit trees, flowers, & grape vines.

After all our amazing adventures we feel like locals here in Burgundy. Sadly it's our last week at our home away from home, but we will always cherish the memories we have made here.

Jul 14, 2013

Visitors

I am terribly sorry I haven't posted in over a week, but I promise I have a good excuse! My Mum & best friend Audrey came to visit all the way from the States. We met in Paris last weekend & strutted around like we owned the place. A & I felt fairly comfortable navigating the city, but it was Mum's first trip so we happily showed her the major must sees.


Tuileries Garden, surrounded by sunbathers on a hot July day


Musée du Louvre




Notre Dame


La Seine

We made our way back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner. We decided to find a spot near the Eiffel Tower to admire the twinkling lights that appear after dark.




Cheers




Can you imagine living here?


The main attraction, all lit up for the entire city to see

After a long day we collapsed into our warm, cozy beds & quickly fell sound asleep. The next morning I politely encouraged the other two to stop by Starbucks before breakfast. The three of us walked past the Opera House, got our coffee, & found a delightful bakery along the way.


Fuel for the day




Fauchon, my new favorite Parisian bakery


Audrey introduced us to an unbelievable market in Northern Paris where we discovered a whole different side to the city. We felt like locals navigating the metro, speaking French to shopkeepers, & wandering outside of the typical tourist areas. The market had everything you could imagine. We walked through rows of men & women selling clothes, jewelry, food, flowers, & antiques.








This beautiful display reminded me of my Grandparent's bookshelves




All of our adventuring made us hungry so we sat down at a wonderful cafe to indulge in some French & some not-so-French classics.


We shared a savory Croque-monsieur...


...& big ol' juicy cheese burger

After lunch we popped into Ladurée for some macaroons & weaved in & out of shops on Rue Saint Honoré & Champs Elysées as we made our way back to the Eiffel Tower.












Selfies at the Eiffel Tower? Yep...




That evening we chose a nice little restaurant on the river with a beautiful view of the Notre Dame.


Brave Mum & A ordered the escargot...


I gave it another try & it turns out the 3rd time's the charm! ;)

After dinner Audrey & I went for drinks at the Buddha Bar. Although it's not at all Parisian, we wanted to give it a try!


"The Ultimate"...I let it burn a little too long & one of my straws suffered the consequences...


A's drink

The drinks were fantastic, the atmosphere was very cool, & had it not been a Monday night we probably would've stayed a bit longer. If you're looking for some fun in Paris I would highly recommend it. On our last day in Paris we walked back to the Tuileries for a crepe & found a massive fair set up.






I'm not entirely sure what it was there for, but it sure did look fun! We kept walking to the Pont des Arts to see the love locks.




That's a lotta love

That afternoon we checked out of our hotel, kissed Pair-ee goodbye, & drove our zippy Peugeot all the way to our house in Burgundy. The next three days were filled with adventures in Beaune, Dijon, & of course our little town of Saint-Aubin.


Beaune






Notre Dame in Beaune


Lunch at Caveau des Arches (hidden gem with the best Beef Bourguignon in Beaune)




Amazing bottle of white from Chateau de Meursault


Escargot smothered in garlic butter


Beef Bourguignon


Chateau de Pommard


A & me in garden




My beautiful Mum


The experience started with a self-guided tour of the chateau...


Old wine making machines


Original Salvador Dali sculpture


Courtyard filled with huge wine barrels


Gator for Nans


Then we met with our guide who took us down to the wine cellar


Thirsty, anyone?




Walking through Saint-Aubin




We ended the trip with a goodbye supper in our neighbor's courtyard. It was a traditional French meal complete with friends, family, & lots & lots of wine from the caveau. We dined & danced into the late hours of the night.

*Pictures courtesy of Audrey's camera



'85 from the caveau


Poppin' the champagne...


A & Pierre


Our boyfriends for the evening






The next morning I said goodbye to Mum & A as we all went our separate ways. Returning to places you've been with people you haven't been there with makes it an entirely different experience. We saw new sights, ate new food, met new friends, & had one fabulous new adventure together.