Monday, August 31, 2015

End of Summer Picnic

As a last hurrah of summer, we met up with some friends in Paris for a picnic. Not much to hurrah about in Paris, in my opinion, but it was nice to see our friends, at least. And it's always a nice reminder about why we love living where we do.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


The boys didn't lose their taste for the water over the summer. It's not easy practicing your butterfly in a pool that's 3 meters in diameter and less than meter deep, but they managed it. They're all ready to re-join the swim team again after the summer.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Visiting Champagne

When Pam wanted to visit vineyards rather than just cellars, I asked a local friend if she knew of any tours (that didn't cost an arm and a leg). Her cousin is a champagne grower, so she got us in touch with her. And her cousin was more than generous with her time - she spent over FIVE HOURS with us!

She showed us the vines, with the three different types of grapes that are used to make champagne (pinot noir, pinot meunier, and chardonnay). She explained how highly regulated the industry is, and how they interact with the vines during different seasons. Grapes for champagne are still harvested by hand. She patiently answered all of our questions.

Then she took us to the co-op cellar for a tour, where she even managed to get a guide for us in English. (Nice for me, to not have to translate!) And after the tour, she took us to see the Château-Thierry castle and park, and then back to her home for another tasting. And her champagne was delicious! They sell the majority of their grapes to the co-op, but do some of their own bottling. We can happily recommend Marchand Delpech Laborie champagne if you are ever in the area.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Historiale de la Grande Guerre

We ventured further afield with Pam this week, all the way to Péronne, in the Somme department, to visit a World War I museum we hadn't been to yet. It's called the Historiale de la Grande Guerre. I found it a bit different and smaller than the museum in Meaux, which we've been to a few times, but we all found it interesting, and I think it's great that we have access to all of this nearby.
I believe these are items found in the area, often by local farmers. The battlefields of the Somme are in this area. You can read more about just how much ordnance is left here.
My three history buffs!
We also took a quick walk around town, through the church and a chocolate shop.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Château de Compiègne

We continued our summer string of visitors with the arrival my high school friend, Pam. She and I visited the Château de Compiegne. I had been to the gardens before, but not inside the castle, so this was a new one for me.

Compiegne is located in a large forest, and was an ideal location for French nobles to go on hunting trips. Louis XV built the castle, and Napoleon restored it after the revolution.

This pink-saturated room was Napoleon's bedroom.
We visited the gardens, too, though it was too hot to wander for too long.