Monday, July 20, 2015

Champagne region

view of Hautvillers, France

Three day vacation in the Champagne region of France, a two hour drive from Paris.  We visited Epernay in 2009 and loved it, more than the larger city of Reims in 2011, so we decided to stay in a small town outside of Epernay called Hautvillers.  Dom Perignon (the monk who discovered how to make champagne) is buried in the church in the town.  We found an amazing bed and breakfast we highly recommend, Le Clos Des Armoiries.  We drove through many small towns, a ton of vineyards, military cemeteries, the forest and mountains of Reims, and of course ate and drank as much as we could.  We literally started tasting champagne at Mercier at 10:30 a.m. on Friday and kept going all day! No headaches the next day either.  That's some good stuff.

Leaving Paris, lunch at Auberge de l'Omois in Baulne-en-Brie where we were the only patrons, and the chef told us which neighbor supplied which ingredient for the meal.  It was probably the best meal we had.  Checking into the bed and breakfast chateau in Hautvillers.  Drinks in town, then dinner at a fancy restaurant which was not as good as we had hoped.  But the wine and cheese were fantastic thank goodness.
Breakfast in the courtyard, touring the Mercier champagne cellars in Epernay, driving through the vineyards, lunch in Ludes, back to Hautvillers to visit the church and tomb of Dom Perignon ( and the bones of a Saint from 650!), another champagne tasting across the street, a walk through town for more tasting and snacks, back to the hotel, more snacks and champagne, then dinner in town at a pop-up bistro.
Breakfast, drive through Champagne route to a botanical garden (Jardin de Presle) where we spent an hour walking through the various gardens, forest, and flowers.  Those orange and red berries are poisonous!  Then more vineyard touring, stopping at the British war cemetery, lunch at a restaurant in Sarcy which happened to be a motorcycle bar with an American, Harley Davidson, and Jack Daniels theme.  Then back to Paris.  We were sad to leave the region, but know we will be back soon.

JD's camera

Saturday, July 18, 2015

La fĂȘte nationale 14 Juillet (Bastille Day)

We went to watch the parade and military plane fly-over from the other side of the Champs-Elysees. This year the parade was smaller than last year and the public was not allowed to view the military vehicles after the parade, due to security etc., but it was still a fun time.  Nothing beats the fly-over and all those military planes.

more pictures

list of type of airplanes that flew over:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

beginning of July - hot, off to camp

Monday July 6th Alex left for 2 weeks of camp outside of Dijon.  He took the train from Gare de Paris Bercy with the group.  We have seen some pictures and heard from the counselors that Alex is having a great time and there will be more pictures when they return.

The first week Alex was gone, JD had to go to Romania, so Vincent and I enjoyed some leisurely days of going to the park.  We even saw his friend Sandro.  Saturday we walked into town and had a nice lunch at a bistro in the 17th.

Monday we went across town to the Canal St. Martin, then walked into the Marais.  We had lunch at a much written about taqueria restaurant called "Candelaria", which was good and legitimately spicy. The guac was good, the chips too dark and thick, the green pepper taco the best, followed by the cactus taco and then chorizo.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

end of June, end of school

End of June - before the heatwave.  School, drinks outside, Vincent celebrating his June birthday at school.

Some time in the park before it got too hot.  A cat in the apartment across the courtyard on the second floor cooling on the ledge.

Last day of school and the heatwave
End of CE2 (third grade) for Alex, petite section (preschool) for Vincent.  We've had a terrible heatwave here for the past week, the hottest we've ever experienced while living in France.  It was 102°F on July 1st and in the 90's the rest of the time. But we survived and it is supposed to be cooling off soon. Lots of underwear time for the boys and cool baths each night.

Saturday, finishing up errands before Alex goes away to camp on Monday.  Lunch outside at a new bistro, Alex went to a soccer birthday party, and got a haircut for camp.  Packing for camp and Alex's favorite dinner, salmon with broccoli and rice.

potato chip flavors in France and the UK (Marks and Spencer store), yum!