Route of the Chouette

In Dijon there is a path you can follow around the town to see the major and important sites. It is marked on the ground by these brass triangles imprinted with an owl. When you get to the site, there is a large square with an owl facing the site you need to see.

I snapped this picture, but I have no idea what was so amazing! We were standing in front of a government building with some pretty flags.

Along the way you can touch a carved owl on the side of the cathedral with your left hand and it will bring you good luck.

Here is a picture of the kids getting some good luck:

Later that day Sam said, "Mom, are we having good luck yet?"

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Life in the City

I wish I could have changed the title to something that rhymes with city, but I'm sure you'll get the drift after I have a little rant.

Every day we walk at least 2-3 times from the flat to the Hotel des Ducs in Dijon so that we can 1) use the internet 2) get free drinks and 3) let the kids make pyramids with the sugar cubes at the bar.

Along the way I see an inordinate amount of dog poo. I mean, it's unbelievable. What are people thinking? I'm going to take my dog for a walk, let it poop on the sidewalk so that the 200 people who walk down this sidewalk every hour can step in it or must walk around it.

We've only had one incident so far, but luckily the pile Carter stepped in had a crusty outer shell so when he stepped in it it didn't actually get into the grooves on the bottom of his shoe.

This picture has nothing to do with dog poo, but it's a nice picture taken from the top of a city building in Dijon.



This beautiful roof is a typical style in Burgundy--they're not everywhere, because they are very expensive, but representative of the region.

This one is in Dijon.



Off They Go!

The night before Jean Paul and Virginie left for the States, they stopped by the flat to say goodbye.

Virginie and JP looked great because they had been fighting with each other all day. That's what you do when you're about to move to another country for a year and you have so many things to do you think you might explode: you fight with your spouse.

I look awesome because of the aforementioned beauty of the flat. I decided we're not actually going to the house in Mougins , but rather we're going to stay in the flat in Dijon forever.

In case you've never seen it, this is the house in Mougins.

At Last They Meet

The gang is all here! The kids FINALLY got to meet Margaux, Max and Benj. We all met at their hotel (literally, they OWN the hotel), and walked to this great place called Flunch.

I mean, the name says it all, really. F-Lunch.

That's about how good the food was, and really inexpensive, too, just like everything in France. For a measly 7.90 Euros you can have a hamburger patty cooked to your liking (bien cuit? No problem!), a carbonated beverage (no refills, please!) and as many vegetables as you like. Just fill up your plate with mushy, sauce covered broccoli, dried out mashed potatoes, weird tater tot things, corn, soggy green beans cooked (with an orange vegetable of some sort that are at just the right temperature warming under those red lights) over and over again.

And the kids will flip for 2 fish-shaped fish patties, loads of those same yummy vegetables and an apple juice, all for just 5Euros. Oh, but they do get a balloon for free!

Although the food was pas gourmande, it was great for the kids to run around the play area together and warm up to each other. Dave, Virginie and I had a nice time talking and preparing each other for the swap. Virginie speaks excellent English, so it was fun to talk with her about home.

Countdown to Mougins begins! 3 days . . .

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So Tired . . .

of living out of our suitcases! We less than one week of living out of our suitcases before we reach our final destination in France.

Now that we are in Dijon, we are not quite as comfy as in Nantes. In fact, we're not comfortable at all. Here were live in a hotel/apartment thing that has no wireless internet. So everyday we walk or drive down to the hotel of our friends so we can access their wifi. So Dave and I must take turns using the computer.

Needless to say the kids are going through Webkinz withdrawl as they rarely get an opportunity to log on to the internet.

I was thinking about the pile of laundry on the floor this morning, missing the small and very slow washing machine in Nantes.

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To Dave's Credit

This is a picture of the house in Nantes. The house is on the left, that yellow building. To park the car in the driveway you drive down the lane in this picture, then you have to turn left into that driveway that you can see. I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but it's a fairly sharp turn. Dave was backing out of the driveway when he scratched the front of the deBricourt's van. Maybe the 90 degree turn in a 10 foot area had something to do with that.

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Too Many Pictures?

Who can resist taking a million photos when you're on vacation in a foreign country? Pas moi!

We went to this beautiful Abbey and the kids ran all around, having a great time. Abby and Dave also got a chance to practice some archery.

After the death glare from Abby I stopped taking pictures that day!

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So if you say "Cheese!" when you smile for the camera in the U.S., what do you say in France? "Fromage?"
Of course not . . . you say "Ouistiti!" (wee-stee-tee).
This is a picture of a Ouistiti.



Just Dang Cute

This picture doesn't have a spectacular story, but it is so cute I had to post it anyway. I only wish Carter were in it!

Dave did say I must mention that we were at the beach in a town called Pornic, and that there were topless women there. I'm just relaying the message.

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Dave is a good driver

This is the van that we have been using for the past month. As you can see, Dave has taken extra care while driving.

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French People Hate Americans

One night near the beginning of our stay in Nantes, Dave and I decided to go to dinner without the kids. They were at home with the babysitter and so off we went. Guillaume de Bricourt (the homeowner) had given us some restuarant suggestions as he has written a guide to the restuarants in town.

We programmed the address into the GPS in the van and were doing rather well, until we landed ourselves in a private roundabout (we followed someone in without realizing we weren't supposed to be in there) that is for pedestrians and business owners.

We were trying to get ourselves out of the mess when these two guys asked if they could help. We told them our troubles and that we couldn't find the restaurant. They started to tell us what to do when one said (in English), "We're going that way, do you mind if we just get in the car and show you the way?"

Brilliant! We were saved. Guy and Christian turned out to be very nice and showed us the way to the car park, then walked us to the restaurant. It turned out that it was closed for "vacances" as many, many places are in France in the summer. So Guy and Christian found us another restaurant, made a reservation, took us there and got us settled. We had a soda with them (well, they drank wine, of course!) and Dave gave them his e-mail address.

We had a great dinner . . . Dave had the frog legs and I had something safe. We had a hilarious time making jokes with the flamboyantly gay waiter and by the end of the night we were eating molten chocolate cakes and laughing with him and the other patrons. (Well, they were probably laughing AT us, but we couldn't tell!)

A week or so later we met them at "Chez Oscar" for an excellent french meal and some interesting conversation. Guy speaks English, Portugese, German and French. Christian spoke a little English, so he and I had a good time speaking Franglais.

A few days before we left Nantes, Guy and Christian invited us to have dinner at their place on the river. We enjoyed looking at their antiques, elephant collection, and much to Dave's delight: old books!

Guy made a great dinner, which went as follows:
  • Melon with ham
  • Salad
  • Chicken, potatoes & green beansCheese and bread
  • Chocolate dessert
I am not kidding when I say every meal we have eaten with other people has gone much like this. I think my jeans are a little tighter!

We were so happy to meet such nice people who were willing to unselfishly share their country with us!

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French Women Don't Get Fat

Do I really need to say anything else? I guess I could say that perhaps she is English. And that Dave needs a tan. Badly.

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New hobby?

We're technically on vacation, but when you are staying in a house and you know you have several weeks to tour around, you don't always have something planned to do. Like the other weekend we seemed to be dawdling around the house all day and Dave could tell I was getting restless.

"Why don't you try riding the motorbike?" he asked
me. The french family has a little mini motorcycle/scooter that they use to zip around town. Seemed like a good idea. Until I got out on the street and realized there were lots of things I didn't think about before I hit the street. Like, why were my side mirrors folded in so I couldn't see behind me? What do I do when a car is really close behind me? How do I signal?

Luckily there wasn't too much traffic, so when I was turning and forgot to slow down there wasn't anybody there to hit. But of course there were like three cars behind
me when I stopped at a red light on a slightly sloping street and just fell over. The motorbike didn't actually fall on top of me, as I gave a heroic effort to stop the fall and stay upright just in time for the light to turn green.



Mt. Saint Michel

Everyone should visit Mt. Saint Michel. Judging by the number of cars and the line to buy a ticket, I think that might just happen. This is one of those places that cannot be described in words. Enjoy the photo!
(You can see me, my mother, Abby and Sophie walking toward the walled city in the foreground.)
The Abbey of Mt. St. Michel was founded by a clergyman in the early 8th century and has been continuously improved since then, to make the incredible place you see now. You can read all about the history of Mt. St. Michel here.



Our New House!

Well, not exactly . . . the heating bill would be a little high! This is the Chateaux Chambord, which even the kids enjoyed visiting.

They are all castled out now, but the day we took this photo they were still enthralled and willing to participate.

This could quite possibly be the most boring post ever created, but what a nice picture!

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