So we got wet at Easter after amazing weather for Euan’s birthday weekend. Then we went on holidays. We went to Greece for 10 days…..
…we had beautiful weather – unseasonably warm so we are told by the locals. More about that in another post!!
Then we went to the UK where we had to have the heating on it was so cold. There was sleet and hail and hard frosts……and we went camping.
That was the frost on mum’s tent in the morning. Brrrrr. So cold but at least the sky was blue and the sun came out. Again, the camp deserves a separate post!! We had a great time. Despite the cold.
When we arrived back in Maisons-Laffitte it was incredible. We went from mid winter to mid summer in a train journey. The sun was out, all the horse chestnut trees in our car park were in full leaf and green, the flowers in our garden were incredible.
It was amazing – the colour and the scent of the flowers was superb. And we had some crazy alien plants growing in the lawn – like mutant grass. Dad and me we had to do battle with it!
But it didn’t last for long. The rain started. And didn’t seem to stop for most of May. Maisons-Laffitte was flooded. The Seine was at its highest level for years and years. Here are some pictures of the once in a lifetime scenes…
These pictures are of the Hippodrome in Maisons-Laffitte before and after! Any races here would need the horses to swim. And playing in this play park was more for the ducks!!
We were spared rain for our camp – hooray!! And last week we had some respite but the forecast for the week is not great – lots of rain. The School fair had to close early on Saturday because of a torrential downpour and it rained loads on Sunday. The river level has gone down and we can nearly see the hippodrome completely. Fingers crossed the river doesn’t rise again.
The weather began to show us what it would have in store for a lot of the Spring at Easter although we had a nice day on Easter Sunday and went on a bike ride but oops – it didn’t start well…
…..can you spot the problem?? No chain!! We were a little way away and snap goes Dad’s chain. Mum walked the bike back to make a yummy Easter dinner and we went back to the lake we have been to before. It was a a lovely ride.
After dinner we had special pudding – nids de paques or Easter nests. They looked pretty
but they were soooooooo sickly sweet. None of us could manage more than a quarter of one so next year we will skip them!
In France, we don’t get Easter Holidays – there is no day off on Good Friday just Easter Monday. We missed our cousin’s 18th birthday in Gloucester because we couldn’t miss school. I hope Kieron had a fun birthday – we were sad to miss it..
So on Easter Monday, we went on a trip into Paris to see something new. We went to see very famous Parisian landmark – Le Sacre Coeur. This beautiful white church sits on a hill and can be seen from all over Paris. The part of Paris that it is in is called Monmartre and it is also very famous and very pretty – even in the rain!! We got very wet as we walked around and very cold when the wind blew, it was very windy up there that day.
Here are some pictures of a very beautiful, if a bit wet and windy, Monmartre. The sun did come out in the end and the Sacre Coeur is beautiful with a blue sky background.
We walked up and down steep hills and stairs. We found art on the walls – this area is famous for the street artists and all the famous artists that hung out here. We found a tiny vineyard nestled in amongst the pretty buildings and round the corner from the Sacre Coeur there was a lovely old church that was empty of tourists (the Sacre Coeur was full to bursting!!) – really special little church with a statue of the saint who despite having his head chopped off carried on preaching until he reached the site where the church is now. The grand doors in the picture above is of this little church.
We watched the rain fall on the Eiffel Tower and it was ghostly sight through the rain. Despite getting a bit wet we had a fun day.
It has been a while and so much has happened. It went from Winter to Summer in a week for a start. We got back from a visit to the UK where we had the heating on every night to blazing summer with windows open and the summer fruit appearing in the market. But more about that later. Before we can tell all about our spring holidays we need to share some photos of Euan’s birthday. And yes that was in March and yes we are now in May – like I said, it has been a while!!
So we went off on an adventure. It was a surprise. Mum picked us up from school and whisked us home to change and grab our bags. Then off to Gare Montparnasse to catch a TGV to somewhere. We found Dad at the station and off we went, have we mentioned how much we like the fast trains! That was a fun surprise by itself.
We got off at a station called Futuroscope – funny name for a station! Then we got a little bus to a hotel close by for the night. After breakfast in the morning off we went to experience Futuroscope.
We had lots of fun and we had beautiful weather – it just got pretty cold as it got darker. We were really lucky with the weather as since then we have had some strange weather!!
We were so excited that it was snowing. We hoped that it would snow loads and loads. But it didn’t really snow that much and it was melting quickly in the morning. But maybe if it had snowed too much we wouldn’t have been able to visit Germany.
We caught a tram (our favorite type of transport in Strasbourg) to the end of the line and then off we went. Heading towards the Rhine which makes the border here. Every now and again we found snow that we could make footprints in which was fun. Then suddenly there was the bridge. One side was France and the other was Germany. Right in the middle was the border. We tried to speak German and french at the same time. Failed, but it was funny and we came up with gutenjour (a mixture of gutentarg and bonjour). Then we walked into Germany itself a bit. Everything was in German but with a bit of french thrown in there and it was funny walking from one country to the one next to it and back again.
When we woke up we had a quick swim in the rather deep and cold swimming pool and a rather relaxing five minutes in the sauna. Dad was on the top bench of the sauna and he was really, really sweaty when he came out (I think at least some of it was just water). We had loads of fun and lots of laughs. After that we went back to our room to get ready to go out in the cold for the day. Oh, yes, breakfast (nearly forgot!) – we stopped off in the restaurant for breakfast. We love breakfasts in hotels. Chocolate cereal (we never have that at home), pancakes with honey, bread and scrambled eggs…it is so fun to wander up and down and get lots of different things.
Then off we went to explore Strasbourg. We were a bit disappointed because we thought it would snow loads but no snow. In Strasbourg it is fun to travel as they have trams. We jumped on a tram and headed to Petite France. Strasbourg has a bit of a German sounding name and we are really close to the border between France and Germany here. The border kept moving throughout history. We took lots of pictures….
It was parent/teacher meeting day so there was no school which meant we could do our homework on Friday and then go on an adventure by TGV on Friday evening. It has been a tough term but we both did good in our reports, even in French and we have only been learning it since September!!
Euan was very excited to go on the TGV – the fastest trains in Europe – I have already been on one to go on my school trip. It goes very fast…..
So we went from Paris to Strasbourg in a bit more than 2 hours and that is about 500km away! Wow!
Strasbourg is an important city for the European Union and there are lots of business hotels near all the European Parliament and other important buildings. But at the weekends they are empty so we got to stay in a very nice hotel with a swimming pool (it was a very cold swimming pool!!) and a sauna – Mum and Dad say they got a really good deal!
After a yummy dinner – the biggest bowls of spaghetti bolognese that we have ever seen – and Euan falling asleep at the dinner table, we went off to sleep in our big comfy bed ready for some exploring.
We didn’t get around to telling you about our trip into Paris to go to Le Palais de la Decouverte which roughly translates to ‘the Palace of Discovery’. It is the Paris Science Museum. We went because Dinosaurs had come to visit. When we got there there was a huge queue so we went to a nearby cafe and had some lunch.
Just a word about Hot Dogs in French cafes. They can be enormous and they are served in baguettes and sometime they are covered in cheese and then put under a grill until the cheese has melted. Euan doesn’t like them like that, he doesn’t like the melted cheese. So if you want a hot dog in a hot dog roll then don’t ask for one in a French Cafe! Sometimes the cheesey ones are on the menu described as Hot Dog Gratinee. Those are the ones that Euan avoids. So Euan ate some after picking off the cheese then everyone else, except Dad of course, got to eat some more and I wrapped some up for later!
After our nice lunch – thank you Uncle Mike – we went back to the museum and went off to hunt for dinosaurs. There was stuff about space (we will have to go back as we didn’t have time to see the planetarium which sounded fun) and we got to see a tiny piece of moon rock given to France by the Americans after the successful trip to the moon. We used pulleys to pick mum up, we saw ourselves filmed by heat sensitive cameras and we found some dinosaurs.
We waked back to Euan’s favourite station along the Champs Elysee which was all still lit up with the Xmas lights and the big wheel was all lit up too. It was very pretty. Here are some pictures…..