My first trip to France was the first holiday that wasn’t to visit grandparents. My father’s parents lived in the cold North of England where everything smelled of damp; it was an unusual day when it didn’t rain and nothing ever had time to dry. My mother’s mother lives in Trinidad where it is never cold. So a trip to France was definitely an adventure and more so as it was a country whose native tongue was foreign to me.
Now we are all in the south of France for a family holiday. We brought the children to Paris last year and they both thoroughly enjoyed it, and we brought Ella to this part of the world twice when she was much younger. She has no memories of those trips sadly, but knows the stories we tell of a restaurant meal where I hid her on my lap under a tablecloth as we enjoyed five courses (she was just eleven weeks old) and how she liked to do puzzles on our return trip when she was two. This time Ella and Miles were both unsure if they would like to spend a week in France and I tried to convince them that they would enjoy tasting the bread and pastries, soaking in the heat and laughing as their parents spoke French. We have rented a lovely house in our usual haunt, the village of Uzes in south-east France, where we have spent particularly hot days by the river, as the locals do, visited the local Roman sites whenever possible. (The Romans left lots of ruins behind in this part of France.)
I wonder which memories our children will choose to keep; will it be the scary descent down the rapids with her godmother for Ella? Will it be the dead scorpion they both found in the paddling pool? Or maybe the laughter they shared with us when they performed their “Circus Show” complete with vanishing act? Interestingly I seem to have chosen to tone the pictures to give them a dated feel, I suspect in memory of my own trip all those years ago. We will be back, that is for sure… but first we head for Tuscany.
Here is the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct over our nearest river.
We also visited the Gorges de l’Ardeche where Ella and her godmother had quite the adventure kayaking down the rapids. While we waited, I stuck Miles in some flare, which added that je ne sais quoi!
Here she is on her arrival on shore again, relieved to have returned safely and with both shoes!
Of course we went to taste wine….at my favourite vineyard in the whole world, Domaine de Durban. Not only do they make the most delicious muscat ever, but the vineyard itself is in the hills and is as near to heaven as possible on this planet.
Ella drew in the vineyards while we tasted the wine.
Of course we visited the main square in Uzes where Miles was stunned by the choice of toy cars.
And we returned in the evening to see the lights come on and play in the fountain.
…and this was the sunset from our terrace.