Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Champagne region, Hautvillers

day 1
Quick three day trip back to the Champagne region and Hautvillers, the town where Dom Perignon discovered how to make champagne.  Leaving Paris on Thursday it was a little gray but warm.  We drove through Meaux and on to a small town, Montceaux-lès-Meaux. for a delicious lunch (duck, steak tartare, brie de Meaux) before continuing to our destination and rented house for the weekend.  We drove into Epernay for dinner and decided to have some old school Chinese which was really good.

day 2
Friday, a nice walk around town, to the church where Dom Perignon is buried, then a drive south through the Côte des Blancs champagne vineyards.  Back to a town called Ay for lunch at "Le Vieux Puits"on a terrace overlooking a garden.  The food was amazing, our best meal, and we had champage from Lallier which we then decided to go find for a tasting.  During the tasting we met some nice folks from Wales who knew the tasting host, and we got a private tour of the production area.  Back to Hautvillers, a walk around town and dinner.

day 3
Breakfast in our rental, games before leaving, a last walk around town, playing in the old town lavoir (this is where they did the laundry in the old days), stopping at an overlook on our way out of Hautvillers, driving the scenic way back to Paris, sushi lunch in Château-Thierry, stopping at a the American WW1 monument to France (which was closed for repairs), and back to Paris.

JD's camera

end of August
We had some very hot days at the end of August, you can tell from the pictures.

Can you see the sweat in addition to the glitter? It was even up his nose!

I love this picture of Vincent jumping:

Monday, August 29, 2016

sunny 3 day weekend in August

Jardin du Luxembourg

August 15 is "fete de l'assomption", or the when the Virgin Mary ascends into heaven....a national holiday in France.  As awful as this year has been for France. and last year - weather, terrorism etc. - at least finally there has been some sunny weather in July and August.  It happens so rarely, folks actually enjoy it and don't complain of the heat.  These two months have been a gift.

Sunday, we headed out to catch one of the few buses running in Paris (Sunday, in August, try finding public transporation that works for you!).  Luckily the 82 is near us and has a great route past the Eiffel Tower to Jardin du Luxembourg.  But of course it stopped before the normal destination so we had to walk a little.  We wanted to find out if the British bar was showing the first Manchester United game (of course they were duh) but while waiting we found a great restaurant in the Latin Quarter for lunch.  Little did we know we would make fast friends with the owner and some guests and return later.  We had some wonderful chicken pate, and the escargots were amazing and huge.

Thankfully Manchester United won their first game with the new coach.  We headed back to Au Doux Raisins and met some really nice folks from the Champagne region, who showed Alex and Vincent a game of putting the escargot shells in the street so cars could crush them.  As we waited for our Uber home, the sun setting over the Pantheon was amazing.  Charles gave the kids glow sticks which were so much fun.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

enjoying summer in Paris

courtyard of Palais-Royal

We've been enjoying the nice summer weather in Paris and lack of crowds - the Parisians have left town for the South, and the tourists are noticeably fewer this year.

Vincent's first real outing since his tonsillectomy on July 20.  End of July, we headed into town, metro to Bourse (the old stock market), a walk through one of the cool covered passages left from about 200 years ago, through the Palais-Royal with the famous black and white column art installation, past the new Les Halles which is still under construction, past the Centre Pompidou, through the Marais which was packed and made us want to hustle out of there, through Place des Vosges, on to our favorite little bar Le Temps des Cerises for some wine, charcuterie and cheese, quick stop by a playground, metro back to our side of town, and finally stopping at a cafe since Alex was craving onion soup and Vincent needed some escargots.

Vincent continued his tonsillectomy recovery at home, enjoying his Play-Doh.  Mickey arrived in a special package from Grannie since we accidentally left him in the States.  Vincent was so very happy to have Mickey back.

A nice visit with JD's friend Josh (they were co-workers 1998+  in DC) and his wife Debbie who were in town with their 3 children from New York.  Amazing rental apartment in the 2nd arrondisement with a terrace.

A visit to JD's friend's cheese store in Clichy to buy some cheese on a pre-vacation sale!  Lunch outside in the town square.

Sunday, meeting Josh and Debbie and their children for a picnic in Jardin du Luxembourg.  So much fun!  Vincent made friends with Stella and held her hand all the way back.  And of course, one last meal for the day.

Big news - Vincent is now sleeping in the bunk bed!  He was very excited to climb up the ladder and sleep up high.

Another day in Paris, Saturday, nice walk through the streets of the 2nd arrondisement, another covered passage, shopping, delicious Indian meal for lunch, making our way home via the bus, and watercolor time.

to be continued...

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

US trip July - rest of pictures

in the Air France lounge at Dulles watching the planes

We did so much we are just catching up on downloading all the pictures.

Sprinkler fun at Grannie's house, zucchini casserole, and visiting Z & GG at the Cherry Hill RV Park.

Meeting up in DC with Shana, drinks and cheese and wine, back to the RV park for more visiting.

July 4th
Cheese and grilling with old friends.

All the hotspots in Montgomery County - Wheaton Regional, the merry-go-round, the train, Mi Rancho, duck pin bowling in White Oak, Monster mini-golf, and finally, Sky Zone Trampoline park!

trip to Wilmington
...and France losing the Euro Cup to Portugal.

Exercise class, the Tesla showroon at Montgomery Mall, Pacci's, visiting with Mabel, trying to recreate a French meal at Petits Plats (eh), and more Sky Zone!

On the last weekend before we flew out, a quick trip to Carlisle, PA to visit cousins Marjorie, Bruce, and Daniel (David and Dougie were not there of course).  Some fun in the pool, wine and cheese, a nice dinner, and Alex made French toast the next morning.  Our next visit will be longer.  We are so lucky to have such nice family we can visit with a quick notice.  Marjorie, you rock.

National Harbor on Saturday to have cheese and wine at Old Hickory Steakhouse at the Gaylord. Feeding the kids before at the Italian place.  A storm rolled in with such strong winds the outdoor furniture was blown off the Gaylord patio.  Then the weather cleared nicely.  Last time we will see Spencer before he leaves for boot camp in September.

Back to Paris after 25 days!  Alex and Frank-Eli went to the Air and Space museum and rode the flight simulators while I packed.  Then it was off to Dulles.  Carrie and David kindly gave us a ride around the Beltway and we had a nice meal at Los Toltecas before we flew out.  Upgraded seats for a little more room.   It was warm and sunny when we arrived in Paris.  Lincoln was very happy to see us.

Dinner for JD's birthday at Cornelius on the hottest day all summer - 96 degrees!

more coming...