Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Last Hurrah Before School Starts

As our last fun outing before school starts, we went to Parc Astérix.

We watched a funny game show pitting the Gauls against the Romans.

Despite all the Gauls' prowess in every arena, the Romans won. Benjamin was very disgusted, because the Romans cheated.

We had great weather and got to go on a lot of rides.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Dark Ages Museum

Yesterday we visited the Dark Ages Museum, which had been on our list for a while. Finding the museum itself wasn't easy, especially with an outdated GPS, when all the one-way streets had changed directions since the last time it was updated.

But we finally found it after going around the ramparts of the city of Marle.

This is the church of Marle, at right.

The Dark Ages museum is the result of archaeological digs in northern France, yielding 6th and 7th century gravesites of the Franks. The museum showcases the artifacts that were found, including pots, jewelry, belts, and weapons, along with sepulchers and bones.

Outside, there is a replica of a Frankish village. It was hot, hot, hot, and we had the village all to ourselves. The boys tried their hands at blacksmithing and weaving in the different huts.

On the way back, we had to stop for the hay bales photo op.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Guitar Lessons

Noah will start guitar lessons this year, so I told him he ought to ask Grandad to teach him some while he was here.

Medieval Hilltop City of Laon

Yesterday, despite the heat, we visited the medieval city of Laon. We started with the 12th/13th century cathedral.

We saw interesting items in shops as we walked the streets of Laon.

Who knew you needed to come to a city in Picardie to find a Route 66 gas pump clock?

We weren't successful in finding the cloisters, but we did find this Templar chapel.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hidden Gem: Prieuré de Longpré

We woke up to this floating over our neighbors' houses yesterday morning.

We were looking for gardens to visit, and remembered the Prieuré de Longpré (Longpré Priory) that isn't too far from where we live, but which we had never had the opportunity to visit before, since it's not open the entire year. Despite the forbidding-looking gate, we got out for a look, and discovered that we had to ring to be allowed in.

We did, and didn't regret it. It was quite warm the day we visited, but the gardens are beautiful, and we were given a brochure that explained the use of the different buildings (but we could only visit the inside of the church ruins and the courtyard, with one open room).

It was a beautiful place to visit; well worth it, and nearby!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Caverne du Dragon & Vauclair Abbey

My parents arrived last week. We started our sight-seeing tour with the Caverne du Dragon, which my parents hadn't been to before. Here is what the front lines of WWI look like today.

After that, we went to nearby Vauclair Abbey where we had a picnic lunch before going on to see the abbey ruins.

On the way back, we stopped at a chapel and French military cemetery.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Summer occupations

Lest you believe that Benjamin spends ALL his spare time in front of the computer, let me share these photos of his creativity with you.
Helmet, sword, breastplate, and shield! He is ready!

House-inside-a-house; Benjamin now has a Lego-building space in his room.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Visiting Tata and Tonton

Yesterday we went on our annual visit to Frédéric's aunt and uncle, who live a ways south of Paris. Despite the clouds in the morning, the rain held off and we were able to go out for a walk around town after lunch.

With Noah riding Tata's bike, we think this could almost be a photo of Frédéric 30-some years ago.

Noah and Tonton both got into the action at the skate park.

And Benjamin and Tonton tested their balance beam skills.