DISCLAIMER: While we hope this blog will be a way for friends and family to follow our adventures in France, we also intend for it to be a sort of diary of our trip. That said, there will be some minutiae contained herein which you may find totally irrelevant and completely boring. Please feel free to skip and just look at the pretty pictures.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Days Twenty Five and Twenty Six: Homeward Bound

Our last day in France, I had some serious packing to do so Kenny took the girls to play mini-golf:

Samantha was the consummate score-keeper:

After golf it was picnic time:

And then they sneaked into the Aquarium next door without paying. Apparently the French are not privy to our American "Oh, they just have to use the bathroom" ways...

They shipped this ladybug in from Chernobyl:

Kisses from kissy fish:

Obligatory ice cream cone:

And one last evening at home for discovering just one more secret passage in the garden:

After a long day of driving to Geneva and a cozy night in a room the size of an SUV, we boarded our flight back to the States. Eliza mastered the old-fashioned art of listening to airplane music:

Samantha and I were plugged into our computers... Not sure what that woman is doing in the background with that strange paper device:

Eliza looking wistful:

Finally, we made it home. And while we are happy to once again have our puppet shows...

Our scooters...

And our cozy playroom downtime...

We were sad to leave France. It was truly an extraordinary trip and will never be forgotten, except by Eliza and Samantha, who emphatically claim that the very best part was the airplane ride. So, thank you, United Airlines, for giving our daughters this wonderful experience. And thank you, France, for letting me eat all of your cheese.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day Twenty Four: Monpazier and Belves

Today was our last day traveling around as a foursome, so we hit up two towns we had yet to visit. First, we went to Monpazier, a typical bastide town, which basically means it is laid out in a grid pattern.

The girls enjoyed wandering around the alleys:

There was a big open area that one can imagine they use for markets, concerts, beheadings, and other such entertainment:

Next it was on to Belves, which is officialy one of "the most beautiful villages of France."

Although the town itself was charming enough, it was made even more beautiful by these colorful flags that hung everywhere and made a lovely sound in the breeze:

We stopped for lunch in Belves, and had our last meal out in France. Fittingly, it was delicious and with a stunning view:

Finally, we came home for the dance party, which is becoming a daily event. The girls are not yet aware of how embarrassing I am...I give them two years.

Later tonight, our wonderful hosts are coming over for a farewell cocktail. Tomorrow, Kenny is taking the girls out for a day of fun while I clean the house and get us packed. We leave for Geneva on Wednesday morning and will spend the night there. Our flight back to DC leaves Thursday at noon!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day Twenty Three: Cave Castle, Prehistory, and a Ghost

Tens of thousands of years ago, this part of France was teeming with prehistoric activity. Dozens of sites around here are dedicated to early man and there are plenty of caves, including Lascaux, to visit. Today, we visited a cave that was used both in prehistoric times as well as in the more recent past. Maison Forte de Reignac is a newly opened site; a castle that was built into a cave.

The house is actually much larger than it appears on the outside, as it extends deep within the cave.

The first part of the house is a museum dedicated to the prehistoric tools and artifacts recovered there:

Skulls which show the evolution of man, for those crazy people who believe in that sort of nonsense:

If this is what I think it is, sadly there has not been much evolution over the centuries....

The last room of the house is dedicated the wonderful world of torture that existed back then. We decided to leave out the pictures; the torture devices make things like water boarding sound like a Disney experience. After the Maison, we stopped at a nearby prehistoric park. A little cheezy for the adults, but the girls really enjoyed it. And we all actually learned a lot:

Finally, we stopped by the Chateau de Puymartin, a fifteenth century castle with a ghost. As the story goes, the lord of the manor came back from war to find his wife with another man. He killed the lover and imprisoned his wife in the tower for fifteen years, dropping food through a trap door in the ceiling. After her death, he buried her in the wall where she remains to this day. How lovely.

Tomorrow, we will change things up from torture, prehistoric shenanigans and fifteenth century spousal abuse to visit les beaux villages of Monpazier and Belves!