On to the Next Chateau!
We left Chateau Turcan to move down to the coast to Hyeres to stay at Chateau du Fenouillet (www.chateaudufenouillet.com). We were very happy with the rental, nice place with nice terrace and nice pool surrounded by a beautiful view of the mountains and the vegetation.
Monday was our first day, which is usually the day when we get our bearings and do groceries. So we drove around Hyeres, had lunch, went grocery shopping and then went to the tourist information office. The Laforces then brought Noah to the doctor, the fourth one of the trip, because his eczema was not yet under control and he had been coughing for a while. The doctor was super nice. So back to the pharmacy and loaded up again on medication. As Marnie said, we should buy one of those neon green crosses that signify pharmacies here to put on our bathroom. The eczema has been much better since so we have hope… The doctor diagnosed the coughing as Acid reflux and gave us something until we see our doctor back home. I am glad we can help with the deficit of the health care system in France…
After all that excitement, we all took a drive down the peninsula in Hyeres and stopped by the beach. It was Evan’s first time to the ocean (well the sea to me more precise) which was pretty special.
Here is our double decker of babies
Mr. “Goof-a-lot” seemed to enjoy it
Life at the Chateau
Our next stop was Chateau Turcan, a vineyard in a beautiful little town called Ansouis. We were renting half of a large house that was built in 1750. The living room had a gorgeous vaulted ceiling made out of rocks. The staircase was really cool as well – it looked very chateau’ish. That evening we had a BBQ and relaxed a bit by the pool.
On Sunday, we decided to explore the town of Ansouis. We went to the market in the morning and bought some meat and vegetables. We then walked around Ansouis which is a perched medieval village, with a beautiful castle. We had a drink because, as you guessed it, we were a bit hot. We spent the rest of the day enjoying our new pool and getting acquainted with the other vacationers who were renting the other half of the house. It was a really nice family from Paris with three boys. The youngest who was 5 was also named Nathan. He worked really hard to get Evan to play with him as Evan was pretty shy. However the ice did break despite the language barrier and it was cute to see them holding hands by the end of the week.
Since we lived on a vineyard, that night we went to a degustation of Chateau Turcan wines hosted by our gracious host Martine. It was great as we tried the whites and the rosé wines which were very good. Roger enjoyed asking: “I am making Lapin à la moutarde tonight, which wine would go best?” Within their Chateau, there is also a really nice museum with more than 3000 objects about wine-making from the last few centuries. We walked away with a few bottles and had a great meal that night.
I forgot to mention that we had a wonderful view from our terasse onto the vineyard and the perched village of Ansouis and its castle. Here is a picture of one of the gorgeous sunsets we could see from there.
On Monday, we went to Lourmarin, another medieval town with a nice castle. It was a town well liked by painters and now has a lot of cafes and galleries. As Curtis would say, yet another medieval dump ;-). We went up and down the beautiful streets with Marnie and Marjorie working on their daily medieval strollercizing (exercice poussette). At some point I had to stop for breastfeeding so I sat down on some steps looking at this beautiful view.
Then I turned the other way and here is what I saw:
Can you say addicted? I guess we stopped at a spot where there was wifi and everyone was on their iphones!
So we arrived at the Mas Souleiado, our Provencial villa in the town of Goudargues on the Saturday and fell immediately in love. It was a gorgeous 200 to 300 years-old stone house with a great terrace and an amazing pool.
Here is a snap shot:
After their journey, The Johnstones arrived a little tired but excited. Roger cooked us a nice BBQ that night that we ate on the terrace. The BBQ is built Looking through the window inside the house was beautiful. It was like being a movie.
We took our flight back from London to Paris. When we got to the Paris airport, our stroller bag seemed to be missing so we went to the luggage claim and waited. While we were waiting, the police arrived and said they were blocking all access out of the terminal because of a suspicious package. So it was 9 pm and we thought, perfect, no stroller and who knows how long we are going to be stuck in the airport. Thankfully Noah was in a good mood and everything got resolved in good time.
So for those of you who are wondering if we picked up a convertible as a rental this time, no we finally have a family car. We got a nice Volkwagen Passat station wagon – yes 4 doors.
After spending the night in Paris we started our descent towards the South, heading towards Limoges to see Martine and her daughter’s (Fanny) family. The GPS almost got us there no problem if there was not a town with the same name 40 km away… During our stay, we visited Martine’s cousins Dédé and Danielle who had prepared a great meal for us with home-made fois-gras and great wines. During the meal, Roger decided to baptize Noah a second time even though he was baptized the day before we left on our trip. During the meal, Dédé asked Roger to open up a bottle of Champagne. No problem – Roger has opened lots of champagne over the years. However, for some reason this bottle decided to start spraying everywhere including all over Noah. Despite his initial screaming from the surprise, he didn’t seem to be traumatized. And hey, there are worst things to be baptized with. All in all, we had a great meal.
For our anniversary weekend, we decided to treat ourselves and go to London to visit our friends Dave and Fiona. We met Dave and Fiona in Vietnam on a cruise in Halong Bay. We met them again a couple of weeks later in Saigon and then again in Cambodia. We had a great time with them every time. Here is us in Cambodia:
We flew to London on Thursday night and Fiona came to pick us up at Heathrow. Noah took a liking to England right away and was giggling the whole car ride home. He had a great time playing with Fiona and Dave the whole weekend.
We took the TGV back form Strasbourg to Paris, no “cacastrohpe” this time! Marjorie and Noah waited at Gare de l’Est with all the luggage while Roger walked to Gare du Nord to pick up our rental car. He came back an hour and half later with a 2-door car. Marjorie was perplexed “They did not have a 4-door car???” Roger: “Heuuuu, well…., they offered me a family car or a 2-door Audi A3, so of course I took the A3…”. Moral of the story: never let the man pick up the rental car by himself! It was our running joke every time we had to exert effort to get the car seat from the back.
So back to our sheeps as the French expression goes, we went to Marjorie’s Aunt’s in Paris to meet up with her cousins and aunt. Marjorie’s cousin Cedric, his wife Celine and son Malo were coming from Normandie and going to Alsace and we were doing just the opposite so we decided to meet up in Paris. We met Malo for the 1st time. He is a cutie, he will be 3 in September. Malo and Noah had a great time. Malo was singing songs and playing with Noah who relished in the attention. As Malo kept pointing out to us and his parents: “ This is my little cousin – insert lisp-“ as he was petting Noah. Too cute.
After having lunch with everyone on the Monday, we drove to Marjorie’s grandpa’s in Normandy where we spent the next ten days. We spent a lot of quality time with Noah’s great-grand-father and his girlfriend Fernande. Papy was very happy to meet Noah, he seemed to be in awe. We also visited with a number of cousins and other family members.
Our trip to Alsace started with a TGV ride from Paris to Strasbourg. It was the first time that Roger and Noah took the TGV and it was pretty cool. The beginning of the trip was a bit rock’n roll as Noah was hungry and a bit unhappy. People around us looked a bit worried… So as he ate, we heard a few diaper explosions and thought we probably had a “cacastrophe” on our hands. Did we ever. Mister had pooped up to his shoulder blades! As Mom sat him up to clean his poopy back, he threw up all over his mother’s lap… He thought it was real funny as he parents had beads of sweat coming down their foreheads. But quickly, everyone enjoyed themselves. Dad and Noah were really impressed at going 320 km/h. He was looking out the window with his huge eyes looking a bit perplexed.
In Strasbourg, Perrine, one of Marjorie’s best friends from childhood picked us up at the train station and we spent the next day a half visiting with her, her husband Loic and their daughter Charlotte. It was great to see them and especially to finally meet Charlotte (who was born on December 23rd). We saw them a couple more time during the week as Roger highjacked their kitchen for a nice meal one evening and they came over for a nice Alsacian meal cooked by Marjorie’s grandmother
Noah and Charlotte had a great time hanging out.
Depart pour la France – 2009
This summer, we have planned an 8-week trip to Europe where we will primarily be in France (with the exception of 3 days in London to visit some friends). This will obviously be Noah’s first trip to France and he is excited to visit his “Mother’s Land”.
Here is our world traveller with his passport:
We took the plane the evening of July 13th and to his parent’s amazement and delight Noah did not make a sounds on the plane as he slept the whole flight except for a few giggles during landing!
Tata Chantal came to pick us up at the airport and we spent he next few days in Paris with Chantal and cousin Florian. The jetlag was not too bad as Noah mostly slept on the plane (his parents not so much). We arrived in Paris at noon and then stayed up until 11:00 pm in order to get ourselves back on schedule. It was a bit hard, as we had skipped a whole night. However, for the most part, Noah started adjusting quite well.