Saturday, 9 September 2017


I thought I would write lots about what we did in August, because, unlike in July, we actually did plenty of interesting things. But it's now September, la rentrée has come around and I think I may have to resort to a quick summary of the highlights:

Grandparents Galore
My parents came to visit, then we went out to Brittany to see mamie and papy. SCB loved being pushed on the swings, going paddling, building sandcastles and generally being showered with attention, but unfortunately chose the only week in the year when we had unlimited babysitting on tap to become ridiculously clingy, howling and grabbing our legs whenever UFM or I tried to leave her alone with any of our parents. So there was no "us" time for us, but it was lovely to have everyone together. My mum impressed us all once again with her French conversational skills and papy taught everyone how to play palets, a Breton game where you throw round metal discs on to a board and aim to hit the target.

Beautiful Beaches
As usual, we tested the waters in both the north and the south of Brittany. We went to Carnac, which was beautiful but windy, and Saint Enogat, where, after a picnic and sandcastle-building with granny, SCB suddenly dashed off across the sand to the far-distant sea (the tide was very, very low) and had a wonderful time splashing about in the shallows.

Making a break for the sea

Magnificent Mountains
After Brittany, we spent two weeks in the Alps. Despite only having learned to walk eight weeks before, SCB took to scrambling up mountain paths with gusto. She didn't go very far ( a few hundred metres at a time) but she was happy to be carried by us the rest of the time, so although we were limited a bit by how far we were fit enough to carry her, we managed to do some proper mountain walks for the first time in almost two years.

Our second week in the Alps was spent in Beaufort, the town north east of Albertville famous for one of the most delicious (and expensive!) cheeses in France. The whole area is ridiculously charming. Even the ski industry hasn't spoiled the little villages of delightful wooden chalets, all with flowers in window boxes on the balconies. Even the cows whose milk is used to make Beaufort cheese are more charming than other cows. When Understanding Frenchman told me that the illustrators of Heidi visited the area for inspiration instead of going to Switzerland, I wasn't at all surprised. In practical terms, it was also a good place for us to be, as you can drive fairly high up into the mountains and there are plenty of accessible walks. On the days when we didn't have the energy to hike, we also appreciated the outdoor swimming pool and enjoyed wandering around the village eating artisanal ice cream.

Faithful Friends
After all that fun, we might have been a bit sad to come back to la région parisienne, but luckily two very good friends came to stay for the last couple of days of the holidays.We've always liked having visitors, but since travel has become more complicated for us since the arrival of SCB, we appreciate people coming to see us even more. Having guests was also a good motivation to head into Paris and generally make the most of our last few days of freedom. I was sorry to see them go, but the gourmet delicacies that they brought from their home town of Birmingham (i.e. an enormous bag of Cadbury's chocolate) has been helping to lessen the pain of the rentrée and has been much appreciated!