Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Enjoying the festivities for Noel before we head back to the US for a visit.

Artwork, school, Marche Noel de Levallois, and a delicious meal at our new favorite neighborhood restaurant "Au Coin de la Rue".

Walking to school, art, red balloon at soccer practice,

Vincent's cahiers from school and "Magic Noël… sous les étoiles."  Alex and Vincent wanted to do the rides after school.  Vincent loves the large Mickey and kept giving him hugs.

Rides included:
• L’Express du Père Noël : La luge géante du Père Noël version Roller Coaster 
• Le Palais des glaces : Pas facile de trouver son chemin dans le palais mouvementé des bonhommes de neiges 
• Les Voitures du Père Noël : Pour les pilotes en herbes
• Les Chaises volantes : Un voyage proche des étoiles
• Les Trampos élastiques : Un indémodable pour sauter de joie parce que c’est Noël 
• La Luge du Père Noël : Sensations garanties pour tous ceux qui aiment la glisse

Sunday, December 14, 2014

November - catching up after computer crash

Alex, Max, and Vincent

Alex's soccer game Saturday November 8 at the local stadium (also where he practices every Wednesday).

Park, food, school, day off school for Armistice Day we spent in Paris in the Marais (the reopened Picasso Museum was mobbed so we didn't wait), and Parc Monceau.

School, soccer practice, Marche Noel down the Champs-Elysees (even though it was 60 degrees), meal at a bisto on Boulevard Haussmann.

Vincent art projects at school, and bringing "Max le bebe" home for the weekend from his school. Vincent had to take care of Max, get him dressed, and then tell the story of his weekend when he went back to school on Monday.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014


It's school picture time...more pictures to come, eventually.  Our home computer gave up the ghost so we had to buy a new one.  Ah, technology.  We spent November enjoying some fabulous weather before it turned cold.
Vincent, petite section, ecole maternelle Jules Ferry
3 1/2 years old
Alex, CE2 (third grade), ecole elementaire Jules Ferry
8 1/2 years old
Alex, CE2 (third grade), ecole elementaire Jules Ferry
Teacher:  Mlle PLUMET    Principal:  Monsieur LO BELLO
8 1/2 years old
et "La Grimace" (make a funny face picture):

Friday, November 07, 2014

end of October Toussaint vacation

Last week of school vacation.  We rested a lot, ate, slept, went to the park, enjoyed Halloween and the new zoo.

Alex went to work with JD one day last week, and really enjoyed eating in the work cantine.  Halloween windows and hanging the Christmas decorations in our town.

Park, a nice meal at a really good restaurant in Levallois, "Je L'M",
Halloween - since we left 2 years ago, more people of France seem to be celebrating Halloween by dressing up and getting candy from the cafes and restaurants.  Good thing we had our costumes from the US.

Parc Zoologique de Paris, a trip across town to the brand new Paris Zoo in the Bois de Vincennes and a beautiful, warm, sunny Saturday.  Then a walk back through the Gare de Lyon and Bastille area and a stop for hamburgers at "Starvin Joe".

more zoo

back to school

Friday, October 24, 2014

Loire Valley

A nice vacation to the Loire Valley.  Alex and Vincent have two weeks off for Toussaint (All Saints') so we decided to take a few days this first week and go back to the Loire Valley since we enjoyed our last trip there in 2010.  We were able to visit three Chateaus including Chambourd, Azay-le-Rideau, and Le Clos Luce where Leonardo da Vinci lived for the last four years of his life.

We stayed at Chateau de Pintray, managed by a nice couple who also have their own vineyard and wine production.  We had a wine tasting the first night we arrived and met two other couples, one from Geneva and one from the Basque region.  Alex and Vincent enjoyed the pool table at the chateau.  We had some wonderful meals including ris de veau (sweetbreads), pigeon, squash soup, doe, cream of celery root, escargot, couscous, duck with armagnac sauce, and regional cheeses.

Rental car, driving to the Loire, lunch at Chambord, touring Chateau Chambord, arriving Chateau de Pintray.  Dinner in town in Amboise at L'Alliance.

Chateau Azay-le-Rideau.  Dinner in Tours (closest sushi we could find). 

Chateau Clos du Luce, the last residence of  Leonardo da Vinci.

"The Château du Clos Lucé brings to life the Master’s botanical drawings, geological studies and landscapes. Spread out over a hectare, “Leonardo’s Garden”, a real outdoor museum, has been landscaped and planted in the spirit of the paintings and drawing of Leonardo da Vinci. Cross the two-level bridge created and designed by Leonardo, follow the botanical walk in his footsteps, enjoy the fast-flowing waterfalls and the mists that rise mysteriously from the lake. Canvases, thematic panels and sound posts all explain the link between Leonardo and nature – the nature that made him say: “Everything is there ”."

last of the pictures

Monday, October 20, 2014

October in Paris

"The warmest mid-October in Paris in 60 years".  Sunny and warm this weekend, in the mid-70's.  We enjoyed 2 picnics, one in our town on Saturday, and one in Paris on Sunday.  We then visited the Rodin Museum and Garden.


Walking to school, park, Salon de Commerce at the Mairie, including a bounce slide for children.

Sunny Sunday, picnic, Musee Rodin, walking through the 6e across the river to Les Halles and back home.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Auvers-sur-Oise (Vincent Van Gogh)

A nice day in the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, the town where Vincent Van Gogh spent the last two months of his life.  Other artists also lived in the picturesque village.  We took the train about an hour outside of Paris.  The weather cleared and we had nice day, a big long lunch at the Auberge Ravoux, the inn where Vincent Van Gogh lived and died, toured the museum, including the Absinthe Museum which was really cool.  Also, the walk up the hill to the cemetery where Vincent is buried next to his brother Theo showcased the farm fields from Van Gogh's paintings.

more Auvers-sur-Oise pictures

A nice birthday, an abricot tart, and an "eyeglasses" cookie that Vincent ate all of.

School, park, dinner.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


mmm, tapas (left) and goat cheese and red pepper potato chips!
Park, piano, soccer practice, Vincent's activities in school (they went to the library, played music, and the escargots ate the carrots), lamb shoulder for Yom Kippur.

More snacks, park, school, soccer practice.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September winding down

more pictures
Food, Vincent, Lincoln, WW1 exhibit at the town hall.

-more beautiful weather, exhibit at our town hall on Levallois during WW1, lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant "New Mathura"

-a friendly cat at the vet, finding Alex's old friends in the park afterschool, sushi, bracelets, Rosh Hashanah, more park

-Alex's first Saturday soccer practice game

-picnic in the park, walking around the town, food, fits, Alex soccer practice

more picnic pictures

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September - more school, great weather

Mairie de Levallois

We have had amazing weather so far, clear, blue, sunny skies, high 60's-low 70's, much different than the end of August which was gray and cool and rainy.  Alex loves school, Vincent is adjusting to his full day.

Eating, more school, school pick-up, eating at our favorite Italian restaurant "La Trattoria", Alex and his steak tartare, park, Vincent's lunch cafeteria (cantine).

-Alex's first soccer practice, every Wednesday 5:45 - 7:15 p.m at the stadium in our town.
-A much needed haircut for Vincent. He was very tired it was right after school, and they put gel in it for him.
-Dinner at Sebillon, a fancy old Parisian restaurant with Lisa Stevens who was in town for work.  It was Thursday night so Alex and Vincent were very tired, but they still managed to eat the escargots.
-Back to school night for Alex's class.

JD took the train to Nice for an industry conference.

more Nice

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

La Rentrée (Back to School)

école Jules Ferry, Levallois-Perret, France

Alex            8 yrs old  CE2  (third grade)
Vincent        3 yrs old  petite section

Alex and Vincent were both very excited to go back to school.  We all enjoyed the seven block walk to their school.  The elementary school is right next door to the maternelle.  Alex went for the entire day (8:30 - 3:30), but Vincent only went for 40 minutes this first day. Vincent didn't want to leave the class though!  Alex said his teacher is very nice.  It was a very good day.

Alex and Vincent

Vincent's class
First we went back home, stopped by the market, then back to Vincent's school for 40 minutes in his class the first day.

more pictures

Sunday, August 31, 2014

back to rest of August

Some pictures from before our Burgundy vacation.  We had some nice sunny days in Paris, including a Saturday when we walked all over the city.

Reading, eating, market, park, L'Anjou, more park, ice cream.

A long Saturday walking around Paris, Place de la Concorde, Tuileries for trampoline and playground, Rue de Rivoli to Palais-Royal, to bar to watch United game, through the Marais to Place des Vosges, stop at a quaint restaurant for some cheese and wine before walking through the Ile Saint-Louis for some cheese, then heading home.

Jardin du Luxembourg, St. Sulpice, St. Germain,  snacks in the 5th, Notre Dame, park.

end of August
-celebrations for the 100 year anniversary of the Liberation of Paris
-eating, park, shopping, eating

Friday, August 22, 2014


A quick three day trip to the Burgundy wine region (3 hours from Paris) before school starts September 2nd.  JD found a great chateau to stay in outside of Beaune, which is right in the middle of the two wine regions - the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits.

Alex loved the rental Fiat 500L, the trampoline at the chateau, and the escargots.  Vincent didn't like his uncomfortable French car seat (but put up with it anyway).  Vincent did enjoy running around the chateau and throwing rocks in the fountain.  Vincent also perfected his skill of falling asleep on the table after eating on this trip.

fyi - setting on camera allows for 4 "art shots" that is what you will notice on some of the photos that are duplicates.

Drive down to Beaune, stopping in Saulieu for lunch.  We had to stop playing the "My Cows" game there were so many cows.  Arriving Chateau de Challenges.   Dinner at local restaurant.

Breakfast delivered to our separate "round house" hotel room in a picnic basket through a secret door in the closest!  A visit to Chateau de Savigny-lès-Beaune, the most unique museum with a massive historical race car, fighter plane, motorcycle, helicopter, fire engine, wine harvesting machine collection you have ever seen, laid out among the countryside and vineyards.  Who doesn't enjoy a MIG fighter jet, a Sikorsky,  and a chateau?  The kids loved it.  It was really cool. Then off to a nice sushi lunch and naps.  Dinner in a wine cave in Beaune.  So good.  When can we go back?

Funny pictures of Alex and Vincent in the hotel bed sleeping.  A quick drive through some vineyards and small towns, then a picnic before we left Beaune to head home to Paris.  A quick stop at IKEA Evry for some lamps (no pictures) but the cheap price was worth the stop!

JD's pictures of the airplane-race car-motorcycle-chateau museum

trampoline and Aloxe-Corton (small town in Burgundy with cool chateau)

Thursday, August 14, 2014


One of our favorite places to go is Chantilly.  It's a 20 minute train ride from Paris, and a nice long walk to the Chateau and gardens.  This time, we ate at the restaurant in the Chateau (only a 3 hour meal) and then enjoyed the gardens.  We also visited the Chateau museum, but didn't make it to the horse museum yet.  Vincent loved taking the train and running, running, running around the park, and throwing rocks in the water.

Train to Chantilly, walking to Chateau, the meal.

After the meal, lots more walking and enjoying the park.

more pictures
From JD's camera.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

end of July, into August - more sun, more food, more Paris

End of July - park, Anjou, grocery store, bus into town to buy Nespresso capsules, a visit to Alex's afterschool program (Centre de Loisir), butcher, awesome lunch at Cornelius one block away (Alex had the sardines and lamb).

A hot and sunny Saturday.  First two pictures are of the apartment building directly across the street from us.  We first went to JD's office to pick up his computer.  Then we went to the Parc Andre Citroen which is built on the site of the old Citroen automobile factory.  Then we headed to the Marais for drinks and snacks before going home.

JD was in Toronto for the week.  We went to La Defense to find Alex a desk lamp.  We spent lots of time in the park, even though it was very hot towards the end of the week.  And yes, that's truffle sauce on the hamburger at the end.  Yum!

Lunch in the 19th before walking around the Parc aux Buttes Chaumont.

First, a tent in the salon.  Then, two administrative days - a visit to the US Embassy, and the Prefecture to take care of some paperwork.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Manchester, England: All the Duncans

We went to Manchester for a quick visit last weekend.  I had not been in 5 years exactly, Alex and JD were last there in April 2012.  We stayed at our favorite Arora Hotel on Princess Street in the city.  Of course there were fish 'n chips, mushy peas, and beer.  We got to spend time with Duncan, Callum, Tiernan, and some other folks from MUST - Paul, Mark, Ian - that Vincent called "all the Duncans".

Flybe to Manchester, arriving our favorite Arora Hotel, walking around, lunch, tram to meet Duncan and everyone at the new MUST offices by Old Trafford,  a walk around Old Trafford, and dinner with everyone at Croma.  We were lucky it was a warm and sunny day, very unlike Manchester.  Alex loved riding backwards in the taxis, and Alex and Vincent both loved the trams, and the hotel, of course!

JD's Birthday!  MUST AGM meeting while it rained, lunch at The Bishop Blaize (with pancakes on the dessert menu), a walk around Chorlton with Duncan, stopping for tapas, and then beers (note the menu - there is a hot dog craze in Manchester), and dinner with Allie, Duncan, Callum and Tiernan. Then we crashed a 50 year olds birthday party where Vincent danced and we watched the slugs come out of the garden.  Sadly, no pictures of the last part.  And no pictures of the "urban fox" we saw, which was really just a fox with mange.

A walk around the City Center and visit to the new National Football Museum.  A long lunch at The Alchemist them back to Paris.

Taking a walk by Alex and Vincent's school 8 blocks from our house, the park, investigating the new shopping mall in our town with a "hypermarche" (=Costco), eating at the "Happy Days Diner", bath, L'Anjou, running by L'Anjou(it was hot, 90°F), dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant.

Vincent is enjoying his trains, more park, trying out some Mexican food with grocery store ingrediants, getting Lincoln his food and a scratch pad.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

a few more - last of the US

Finally downloaded some more pictures from right before we left the US.  The lens was blurry because I dropped hummus on it, oops.

JD saying goodbye to Carrie at Parthenon, swimming at Carrie's pool, eating, playing, making faces, U-Haul to Goodwill and the dump, lunch with Grannie's friend Mabel at her apartment, and having a delicious meal at Black Market Bistro in Garrett Park.

Arriving at CDG Roissy July 5th.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Settling in - Paris again

Pictures from the first week, getting settled in the apartment.  The weather was gray and cool and rainy the first week.  Little did we know there was a heat wave coming!

New apartment, cooking, eating, putting together Alex's bunk bed.

Eating at L'Anjou, seeing the jets practive for Bastille Day, buying vacuum cleaner, dinner at L'Anjou.

More apartment - playing, reading, eating, new vacuum.

First full Saturday in Paris and the sun eventually came out.  We went into town and walked a bit through the Tuileries and across the Seine into the 6th arrondissement for lunch.

Sunday lunch from the market, a walk around our town after some rain, walking over to the river to see the set up for pre-Bastille day celebrations.

Bastille Day
We walked over to the Arc de Triomphe to see the end of the military parade.

more Bastille Day
More helicopters and tanks.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July - Bonjour Paris!

Greetings from Paris!  We are settled in our new apartment and love being back in France.  The last few weeks of June were VERY hectic - travel for work(JD), packing, end of school, getting out of the Lund Place rental house, donating a ton of our furniture, staying with Grannie, saying goodbye, and flying out of Dulles on July 4th!

Some things that have changed since we left 2 years ago:  Paris now has self-checkout at some stores, more loyalty cards and coupons, the food truck craze is going full swing as is the hamburger craze, and sadly, more Starbucks, and bagels everywhere.   Also sad and very disturbing - the trend of putting locks on the bridges across the Seine has expanded to more bridges than the Pont des Arts.  The Roma vendors even sells the locks on the bridge.  Not only is this very ugly, but the bridge walls are starting to collapse under the weight.  See BBC article "'Lovelocks' collapse Paris bridge rail".

end of June
Lunch at Parthenon with Carrie, Alex's last day of school (that's Alex with his teacher Mme Harrington), dentist, playing.

July 4th
Leaving Grannie's for Dulles, Air France lounge, A380 to Charles de Gaulle.

July 5th
Arriving, hotel for two days, jet lag, lunch at the L'Anjou (our friends are still there!), new park and updated playground at Parc de la Planchette, checking out the empty apartment. 

July 6th
More hotel, mopping the apartment, dinner at La Piazzetta (which is much better than when we left), view of Eiffel Tower from our hotel (not apartment).

July 7th
Moving day!  In through the American 4th floor window (it's only the 3rd floor here) of our apartment.

moving men push car that is in the way
I just can't imagine them doing this in the US.

Vincent Potter:

Monday, June 30, 2014


Catching up on some posts since we have been focused on getting ready to move back to France!

Vincent's last day of school, Pacci's Italian restaurant, Moby Dick Sushi in Wheaton Triangle.

Playing with the Squigz, Vincent's birthday present from Z and GG.  Hugging Ms. Debra on the last day of school at Rock Creek Montessori.

Day in DC with Carrie, Mitchell, and Natalie - lunch at Cantina Marina, walking around Southwest DC waterfront.  Playing in the water fountain, Sculpture Garden, yogurt, Portrait Gallery.

House, Grannie, Candy Cane City.

More Candy Cane City, Lincoln at the vet, Grannie.

Lee and Amy's 15th wedding anniversary party.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Alex's class CE1 - end of year breakfast

Wednesday the parents organized a breakfast in Alex's CE1 class (second grade).  His teacher, Mme. Harrington, awarded the class two prizes, first place for writing a book in French in a worldwide Lycee contest Concours Plumes en Herbe "Vantard Le Bavard", and the Silver award in Mathematics "Rallye Maths 2013-2014".


NEW movies - see if links work:




Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Vincent's 3rd Birthday party

A fun birthday party at the house.  Toots, Poppie, Aunt Shana, Grannie, Rose, Beth, Carrie, David, Spencer, Mitchell, Natalie.  A cake made by Aunt Shana, and fun games in the yard.  Carrie gave Mitchell a dollar if he could fit into Vincent's plastic toy car.  He did.

Playing with Z and GG's gift, "Squigz".  Vincent's last day of preschool at Rock Creek Montessori.  Hugging Ms. Debra.

June 8
Mitchell's confirmation party complete with 6 foot blow up beach ball and a candy bar, and Spencer's riding mower Pop Pop gave him.

June 8
Felix's 3rd birthday party at Cabin John.

June 7
Vincent's year end party at Rock Creek Montessori, Sheridan's birthday party, Indian dinner at Kadhai in Bethesda.

June 7
Alex's last soccer game with MSI Lycee Rochambeau team.

June 6
No more furniture at the house - it's been shipped to France (via Baltimore to Le Havre)!  Vincent at preschool.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Birthday Grannie!

Catching up for the end of May.

Grannie's 79th Birthday
A lovely dinner at Pacci's.

Memorial Day BBQ
At Palmer's house.  School. Vincent haircut.

Alex's soccer game May 31

Riverbend Park, VA
more pictures
Because the wait to get into Great Falls was VERY long and this park is right next door.  A nice picnic and hike with the Cahoon's.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Happy 3rd Birthday Vincent!

"I'm three years old today."
"Is it still my birthday?"

Vincent had a very fun 3rd birthday.  A birthday snack at school of apples and strawberries and pears.  A big ole nap, then opening cards and presents.  A yummy steak dinner and cake.  Then we went to Alex's chorus concert at school.

Blowing out the jar candle.  Ms. Debra took these.  That's CeCe next to Vincent.

From the entire day - including Alex's Chorus concert.
more pictures

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Alex's Birthday party

May 24
We celebrated Alex's 8th Birthday with a party for his school friends, including a Monster Jam moonbounce.  The weather was warm and sunny but not humid, and there was lots of jumping and running around.  Toots and Aunt Shana came, and Mace, Suzanne, Eddy, and Angie were also able to come.

more from the party

Day after party, meeting Aunt Shana and Toots in DC for brunch at Bistro Bohem.

Party prep, Alex and FE enjoying a day off school.

More gardening, snacks, naps in the car.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


May birthday party
Happy Taurus Birthday, celebrating Marie (13), Mitchell (13), and Beth's birthday at Greg and Vicky's.  JD was there for a bit then he had to go to Paris to handle our apartment etc.

school, car, snacks, playing, sleeping

Alex's soccer game

Enjoying the nice weather, making pizza, Pierre's party at the Wheaton Sports Pavilion.

Hot! 90 degrees, felt like it was even hotter!  Time for the water. And then there was a lot of rain and flooding by Alex's school.

Alex's Spring piano recital.

Alex portraits

Alex's soccer game
Alex scored his first goal!  A very big day.

Gifts from JD's trip to Buenos Aires, gardening with Grannie.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Celebrating Alex's 8th Birthday at school

Madame Harrington's CE1 A class (second grade).

Celebrating cousin Eddy Lee's 7th birthday Go Karting with Mace and Suzanne and friends.

Celebrating Alex's birthday at Villa Maya, and visiting a friend who was away for a bit.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spain and France, The Basque region

Pictures from our week vacation in Spain and France, the Basque region, with a little bit of the Rioja region of Spain.  We had a great time being back in Europe.  The food was amazing (cheese, French bread, Rioja wine) and we saw some fantastic sights.

There were so many highlights it's hard to list them all.  Vincent loved sharing hotel beds with Alex.  Vincent loved to pee in the bidet in the Spanish hotels.  Alex loved counting the cows and sheep and horses.  Both boys became fans of "fizzy water".

Day 1
Arriving Bilbao, Spain via Paris.  Good Friday in downtown Bilbao. Pinxtos (tapas in the Basque region).
Day 2
A sunny Saturday in Bilbao.  Playground and snacks and jazz trio by the Guggenheim.
Drive to Bidart, France via San Sebastien, Spain.  Dinner in Bidart, France.

Bilbao, Spain and Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France

Day 3
Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France.

Day 4

Biarritz, France
Drive to Sare, France and take La Rhune, a 90 year old train to the top of summit, 905 meters.

lunch in Sare, France

La Rhune train up the mountain

Day 5
Drive to the Rioja region of Spain, lunch in Pamplona.  Stopped to see the castle in Olite, Spain.  Checked into Hotel Echaurren.  Dinner at hotel.

Pamplona, Olite, Ezcaray, Spain 

Day 6
April 23, 2014 - Alex's 8th Birthday!
Walking around the town, Ezcaray, Spain.  Drive to Haro, Spain.  Dinner back in Ezcarary.

Day 7
Drive back to Bilbao via Vitoria-Gastiez.  Stay by airport for early flight.  Sushi dinner in Bilbao.

Day 8
Back to Washington via Paris, enjoying the Air France lounge.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring Break and Passover

more Altoona Passover pictures

rest of the pictures


Second night of Passover in Altoona.

To Altoona for Passover at Aunt Adele and Uncle Ed's.

Alex get and Erector Set from Z and GG for his 8th birthday!

Planting daffodils with Grannie.


Fredericksburg, VA and George Washington's Ferry Farm (boyhood home).

Alex's piano recital.

Making lunch.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

end of February...March

We are very behind in posting pictures, we were busy...selling our house in Alexandria!  A complete success, six days on the market.  So what else have we been up to?  More snow, birthday parties, school, the usual.

Pallavi's party
Vincent was invited to Pallavi's party at a gymnastics place.  Alex also got to enjoy the fun.

Nice weather, Grannie, reading, snow.

Enjoying some warm weather - it was 70 degrees!

Valentine's, preschool, snow, nebulizer, warm weather, prom shoes, Bistro d'OC, Capital Yacht Club.

Charlotte's birthday party
At Croydon Creek Nature Center.

more party pictures

Snow, making breakfast, Z & GG stop by, eating, playing.

Alex and Vincent, piano.