Monday, 3 September 2018

i cried when i crossed the border

this last week we've been in France. Normandy to be exact. Valliquerville to be even more exact. and we had a wonderfully relaxing time, enjoying the good food and relaxing environment of French holiday living.

we've been on many family holidays with the little one, and each time, even from his youngest age, he's loved to travel and be away from home. we make sure to pack well, and plan even better. you can see some of our previous travelling with toddler posts here, here and here, and here for my essentials checklist for our toddler.

this time we bought Pete's mum along with us, and we road-tripped there and back through the Eurotunnel. which all went pretty great, other than on the way over he burst into tears the second he saw the train we were driving on to and didn't stop throughout the whole time in the tunnel - i think he was confused about the sort of train it was, as well as tired, and he thought it was too loud. anyhow, the way back he loved it!

and also the second we came off the tunnel and landed in France i started crying because i just really miss our life in Belgium and all the people there, and i was wishing we were driving the other way instead.

but France isn't so bad...

we stayed in an AirBnB in the grounds of a chateau. we got a good deal and it was a really beautiful location in the middle of nowhere amongst fields of potatoes and sweetcorn. the house was stunning and cosy, and there were plenty of animals to keep the youngest and oldest amused.

we were thankful for the fire, because the weather was a little chilly round the edges and windy some days too. so a few days we lit a fire in the evening and it was just what we needed - which helped give us something to look at as the wifi didn't work and the television was all French channels.

we did a good lot of looking around the local area at some of the tourist spots, but we also spent a good lot of time at home, reading, playing, cooking, eating and bible journaling (for me).

some of the places we did visit in Normandy:

 - Caudebec-en-Caux, a cute town on the Seine, which has a glorious church, fab museum, lots of boat tours and (arguably the most important) the best bakery of our whole trip

- Monet's Garden in Giverny - i've visited before, but it was half my life ago when i was a teenager. now with a finer appreciation of beauty, as well as a greater knowledge of flower varieties, i enjoyed it more than i could've imagined. totally worth the wait.

 - The Chapel Oak in Allouville-Bellefosse (Le Chene Chapelle) - this was a cute surprise one, as it was just down the road, but i've never seen anything like it before. it's two little chapels carved into a tree, and then with this big staircase going up around it. it's a pretty little village to walk to as well.

 - Honfleur & Deauville - these two places on the coast were lovely little towns, and we took one morning for each, and got to go over the Pont de Normandie twice.

Deauville is the best place we visited for clothes shopping, if that's your thing. i wasn't in need of anything so i just enjoyed window shopping! the beach front is huge and very famous for its boardwalk and beach-huts named after celebrities. the architecture is so well preserved and unlike anything i've seen anywhere else in my travels.

Honfleur is a quaint little tourist town, with lots of artists and patisseries and good places to eat. there's also a great old wooden church and this fabulous carousel, which our little one thought was amazing...

- Velo-Rail to Etretat - on the last day of our holiday we all took the railway down to Etretat, which was so much fun on the "bike", as you can tell from our sons face.... it was all down hill so mummy was also smiling!

the line was short and stopped in the pretty coastline at Etretat, where we spent a good few hours walking the boardwalk, eating cake, playing in the park and my husband walked the cliffs with the toddler on his shoulders.

it ended up being a very relaxing holiday, despite doing something every day, there was plenty of time to relax and enjoy doing our own things. and Normandy was a brilliant place to visit with our toddler - i would recommend it to anyone with children. the only caveat i would have would be that the French people in Normandy did not like to speak English, so if your French is limited i would stick to the more touristy places like Deauville and Honfleur.

thank you for reading, i hope you have a lovely day x