Ah, Provence!

Class is in session...

Class is in session…

From Toulouse we made our way east towards the walled city of Carcasonne – a UNESCO World Heritage site. We have played the board game, Carcasonne, so the kids were familiar with the name, but I don’t think they ever quite anticipated how truly magical it is. Walking along the walls and ramparts was absolutely wonderful, but as many others before us have pointed out, the central part of the city is completely overrun with tourist shops selling all manner of things. The kids were highly critical of this, but when I asked them what should otherwise be there, no simple answer was put forward. We talked about the need for a city such as that to generate revenue in order to maintain itself and there was subsequently general agreement that perhaps capitalizing on the tourist trade might be the only viable option.


Phys Ed: once around the castle.


Drama: re-enacting scenes from Monty Python.

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Cruising South in France


The blue slate tiles of Trélazé.

The beauty of France is that everywhere we go, we find interesting buildings and sites. Case in point is the little town of Trélazé, just outside of Angers, we stumbled upon when looking for a place to stay. Not a town that would otherwise have drawn our interest, we were intrigued to learn that it was famous for its blue slate. Extensively used throughout the region, it could be seen on the roofs, paths and in the garden walls of the houses and chateaus for which the Loire Valley is famous. Continue reading

Ice Cream Around the World – Part 1

Eva here.

I have had quite a lot of experience with ice cream in Toronto, but it is nowhere near as good as the ice cream in France (mostly Paris). My first ice cream cone was in Paris at Berthillon on Ile St. Louis. Sadly we did not get a picture of the ice cream cone.

The next day we went for ice cream again at a place called Amorino and took a picture this time. It was shaped like a berthillonsmflower and it was mango flavour. amorino2sm

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The North of France


Michel et Elizabeth: dwarfed by their house and their hospitality.

Michel et Elizabeth: dwarfed by their house and their hospitality.

North from Paris, from a one room apartment and millions of people to a large stone farmhouse in the tiny village of Villers Chatel near Arras in the northeast of France. It was bliss – from shared space to our own private bedrooms. Our Servas hosts, Elizabeth and Michel, fearing that we spoke no French, had invited their bilingual cousin Andre (30 years ago he lived in Quebec) to dinner that evening. We had a wonderful meal together and pored over maps to plan an 18 km bike route to the memorial at Vimy Ridge. Continue reading