In January, Moms, Pops and I were invited to join Mr. John, Miss Kirsten, Jack and other friends in France. Miss Kirsten's parents, Mr. Neil and Miss Diana, have a home there. Gram graciously donated some of her frequent flier miles to us to fly over first class. On Monday, August 16th we left PDX and flew first to Phoenix, then took a redeye to London and finally a quick flight over to Paris.
In first class you get slippers, fancy blankies, and this cool kit with all kinds of overnight supplies.
It will also get you this bassinet which is great, if you're 2 months old. Needless to say, I didn't fit.
So Moms and Pops made me a bed on the floor. It was great, until the flight attendant said I couldn't sleep down there.
I got moved up to the seat, which was cool except Moms worried I would roll out of it. I slept okay but once I woke up I was a little freaked out by the unfamiliar surroundings and made a bit of noise. I finally fell asleep on Pops' chest.
Our first night in France was spent at the Sheraton Paris Airport. The hotel is right inside the airport--no shuttles required. The next day we got up early, walked out the front door of the hotel, and took an escalator down to the train station. We hopped on the train and three hours later we were in Avignon. You can see Avignon in the southeastern part of France on the map to the left. We were met by Mr. John and Mr. Parrish, and headed into Avignon where we met up with the rest of the gang: Miss Kirsten and Jack, Mr. Matt, Miss Anna, Mr. Jordan and Miss Kristen. We had a bite to eat and walked around a bit, then some of us peeled off and headed to the house.
This map to the right shows the area we spent our time in. The house is near Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. You'll recognize some of the other town names on this map as you read through the rest of this page.
Our incredibly gracious hosts
Monsieur Neil and Madame Diana have three animals: one "chien" named Bessie (who is a world champion tennis ball fetcher) and two "chats." I am only able to provide photographic evidence of one of the kitties. The other one, knowing there were two toddlers about, kept a pretty low profile. Shu-Shu, pictured to the right, was not really scared of me or Jack. She would just hiss and swat at us and we knew what was up. She's cute, though, and therefore hard to resist.
The Amazing Accommodations
The lavender lined driveway
Pictures of the pool and poolhouse from a few different angles.
The door to our secluded room.
The side of the house our room was in.
Our red room. This is a picture taken by a professional before the Moawads moved in and unpacked.
Day 1: Paris to Avignon
After a long train ride, one MUST carb-load!
Once we ran out of carbs, I got desperate. Those French do not see any urgency in serving toddlers. Big mistake.
Pas-TUH! Pas-TUH! (Seriously, Frenchie: where's my pasta?)
I was definitely in one of those moods where I STRONGLY PREFERRED my Pops
Pops was having some weird allergies there, but he still packed me around like a champ
After a three our train ride, lunch, and a walk around town, it's safe to say, I was beat.
Day 2: Roussillon & Gordes
For our first full day in the South of France, we headed east to the towns of Roussillon and Gordes. As you will see from the pictures, both towns are up on hills and have amazing views of the valleys around them. It was market day in Roussillon. Pops got a fancy French Slurpee and I got to try it. It was really good!
Me, Moms, Pops, Mr. Matt & Miss Anna
After Roussillon we strapped into our carseats and headed to Gordes
Checking out the town from the view of my Deuter
Jack sporting his Moms' shades
Mmmmmm.. Quatre Fromage Panini
The view of Gordes from a neat patio outside of a cafe
Photos looking back at Gordes; Mr. Parrish, Mr. Matt & Miss Anna
Jack's parents are significantly cooler & braver than mine. No way my parents trusted me to hold still for a cool shot like this. They're probably right.
As has already been mentioned, Jack's parents are way cooler than mine. Looking for further proof of this assertion? He got to stay up and have dinner with the group every night but I was put to bed before that. The result? Jack enjoyed Madame Diana's gourmet cooking when it was fresh...and I had leftovers the next day.
But I admit, even the next day the stew and spaghetti were delicious! I learned a new skill in Provence--saying "mmmmm" appreciatively when taking a bite of something delicious.
Miss Kirsten meets new friends everywhere she goes
She also learns that when you already found your prince, you don't need to kiss frogs
Day 3: Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Strapped into the carseat for the next adventure!
My first time wine tasting, I really liked the ECHO-O-O-o-o-o
Domaine de Marcoux Wines--from what I could tell, it looked good
Our second destination, Caveau
I wanted to continue to check out the echoes, but Pops felt like our companions deserved some wine tasting silence so we sat in the rental van.
Looks like they had a good time without me
Day 4: Uzes & a Night Out (for some)
The next day was market day in Uzes, a town about 45 minutes away to the west. It was also the first full day that the McMillan Family was added to our ranks. Mr. Jason, Miss Becca, Delaney & Campbell joined us. I was so excited to see Delaney & Campbell again--I met them when Jack was born, but that was brief and I was much younger.
Uzes was a pretty neat town, but the weather was HOT and our group was large. SO after checking out the market some of us peeled off and found a cafe on the way out of town while others stayed behind and did a bit more shopping.
Back in the saddle again...
Holding Pops' hand made the ride even better
We took separate cars so Mr. Parrish could have a little quiet time away from yours truly
Waiting for the group to rendezvous
Snack break at the Cafe
A much needed break!
On the way out of town the papparazzo caught me and Miss Anna--"No autographs, please, I'm with my sexy American Girlfriend."
After we got home from Uzes we all chilled out at the house for a while. Then I was put to bed. I learned later, that everyone else went out to dinner, leaving me behind!!! Don't call Children's Services, though, Miss Yvonne, the woman who takes care of the property, stayed home and promised to rescue me in the event of a fire.
For some reason my parents think that I should stay on my lame sleep schedule even on vacation. Whatever!
Mr. Parrish and Campbell
the Restaurant, in town
Miss Anna, Mr. Jason & Mr. Matt
Senor John tries on Monsieur Neil's hat and glasses...
I hear Jack fell in love
Day 5: A Birthday Party
We relaxed around the house for most of the day, except that Moms, Miss Anna, Miss Becca & Miss Kirsten snuck into Isle-sur-la-Sorgue for a little antiquing.
They came home early, though, so we could have dinner in honor of Jack who turned a year old on our trip.
Given the special occasion, I got to stay up a little bit later AND I got some cake!
Happy Birthday, Jack!
This is pretty much how Pops spent the first 2/3rds of the day
Laying around on the grass...
...this is The Life!
Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday Dear Jack; Happy Birthday to...
Wait! Jack! NO!!!!!
Ummm, yeah, that flame thing is hot. Poor Jack!
Pops decided I should rock my shirt J-Schro style for the cake
Are you gonna eat your piece?
Miss Kirsten wanted a picture of me and Jack in our party hats...but she ran out of cake. No cake, no hat! That's my policy!
The Happy Family
Jack shows off his pro-level pointing skills by correctly identifying the photographer
After hosing the cake off of me, it was time for bed.
Day 6: Another lazy morning & a quick trip to Fontaine de Vaucluse
The next day Miss Anna, Mr. Matt, Mr. Jason & Miss Becca headed back to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to check out more of the town. Meanwhile, we had another lazy morning in the Rose Room, leading us to briefly believe we had been abandoned!
However, we learned it was just a miscommunication, and Mr. John, Mr. Parrish, Miss Kirsten & Jack had just gone on a walk while we laid around. After they came back we had lunch and then we hopped into the van and went to the nearby town of Fontaine de Vaucluse, where the Sorgue springs to the earth. The town is pretty small, and a short walk up a hill takes you to the source of the river. It's really pretty.
Not much, whaddup wit u?
One of the rarest sights on the trip: two babies sleeping at the same time
Do these matching backpacks make our two dads look...French?
Obligatory scenery shot 1: The source
Obligatory scenery shot 2: The River
Obligatory group shot 1: The Moawads
Obligatory group shot 2: The Pynndenders
OJP: Mr. John bought Jack and I fishy balloons. Loved it!
Miss Kirsten's Frog Prince returns, and she introduces him to Campbell, Delaney & Jack.
Day 7: A Little Pool Time
Some days you just need to relax and enjoy vacation...
Pops = World's Greatest Flotation Device
I also enjoyed Bessie's "Chucky" which I used as an oar and a staff.
Later, I joined my Miss Anna on her floaty
Isn't she dreamy?
Day 8: Market Day at St. Remy
Our last full day in Provence was spent at Saint-Remy-de-Provence, to the south of Avignon. It was a beautiful town and when we arrived it was packed because of market day. By the time we left around 2:00 the markets were closed and it was still a really neat place. According to Wikipedia, van Gogh painted "The Starry Night" when he was staying there. It's pretty inspiring!
Reading one of Jack's books to pass the time on the drive to the market
Best seat in the city
In Miss Kirsten's shades on the drive home. I don't think I rock these quite as well as Jack...
Time to hydrate!
The End (sniff, sniff)
The original plan for our last morning in Provence was for all departing visitors to leave together in the van--Mr. Matt, Miss Anna, Mr. Parrish and our family were all going to leave around the same time. That is, until Mr. John put gas in the diesel engine. As a result, Mr. Parrish, Mr. Matt and Miss Anna all left early to catch the first train to Paris, and we left a little later. (A side note: special thanks to Miss Kirsten who woke up early enough to take us, and then had to wake us up!!!)
And now, a thanks to Mr. John, who got home from taking the first three to the train station and then took us three to the train station too, as the sun rose.
After our three hour train ride back to Charles de Gaulle airport, Moms wanted nothing more than to go to Paris and have our picture in front of the Eiffel Tower but Pops said NO WAY, lady!
Instead of going into the city, my parents and I walked around the airport so I could burn off some energy. Here's the best picture of me with the Eiffel Tower.
Also, me with some famous art...sorta
We enjoyed a little shut-eye at the hotel that night and then got up early for our flights: Paris to London, London to LAX, and finally LA to Portland.
London to LAX was a daytime flight. Unfortunately, nobody told my fellow passengers that. They all wanted to sleep while I was ready to P-A-R-T-Y. One guy was even mean to Pops about it, so Moms strapped me into the Ergo, grabbed her iPad, and we spent about half of the flight in the bathroom. I slept a little bit, but really couldn't settle in for a good nap so it was a pretty long day for my parents.
By the time I got to LAX, I was pretty punchy, as this video below shows:
Home sweet Home. Here I am, in my car seat on the way home from PDX. It was a good trip, but nothing is better than crawling into your own crib.
The next morning, Pops got up with me and I showed him that I remembered each one of my toys...I saw my kitties...I saw my doggy. It was good to be back.