Thursday, 28 July 2011

Our French Family Holiday

Holidaying with an energetic, insomniac toddler; an on the go 8 year old; a 15 year old musician who can't go a day without her guitar; a 19 year old who misses her boyfriend and a highly strung 22 year old (who brings along his girlfriend) is no easy feat.  The two eldest  have flown the coop but they still won't bypass the chance of a family holiday with their younger siblings, returning to the nest ready to become one of the kids again.  Consequently our vacations are not peaceful and relaxing...but they are guaranteed to be 100% fun packed!

Over the years, we have perfected the self drive Northern French gite holiday. This works well with our family of seven, allowing enough flexibility for us to adapt to the trials and tribulations of our slightly manic but highly entertaining family life!

My brood en France!
Last year we headed off to a gite in the Northern French countryside just outside of Le Touquet.  We drove via the Channel Tunnel and were at our destination within a few hours.  No long hauls for us!  However, our destination felt very un-English and a world away from our Shropshire home. The gite which was to be our home for the week was so cute with its shuttered windows and typically French decor.

Our Gite!
I love the freedom of a holiday in France.  If the weather is kind it can be glorious, but last year it was a tad breezy with the Atlantic wind blowing in from the ocean.  But it blew away the cobwebs (and Daddy's hair too!)

The wind in our hair!
We enjoy perusing the aisles of the French supermarkets for goodies that elevate meal times to the delights of foreign cuisine.  Being vegetarian means no snails or frogs' legs for us, but France is the home of  le patisserie.  Exquisite, fancy pastries and cakes are definitely on the menu, which meant we were free to sample the delightful array of goodies on sale.

Eclairs, gateaux, tarts...yummy!
Northern France is home to several war cemeteries and  we paid our respects at one of them at Etaples.  I was amazed at how moving it was to look out onto row upon row of white, marble gravestones, each one paying tribute to a soldier who had fallen at war.  Each one someone's son, father, brother.  It was a sombre moment and I was so proud of my children's understanding and thoughtfulness, especially Kizzy who laid daisies on many of the graves.  Her childish gesture was beautiful and brought a lump to our throats.  It is only right that we should all remember those who lost their lives fighting for our country's freedom.

A Sombre Moment.
Boulogne is home to a huge Aquarium which is a must see when in France.  We went en masse and looked in on an array of sea dwelling creatures.  A day out like this is something we can all enjoy.  Seeing the wonder on our toddler's face when he experiences new things is so heart warming.  He loved looking in on the weird and wonderful fishy friends.  This grumpy trio made him giggle!  Joe's impressions of various piscine creatures had us all in stitches!

Fishy Friends x
We were glad that the owners of this set of jaws was now extinct.  We wouldn't want to meet him whilst going for a paddle!

6 in one bite!
Although we did not have access to a tropical white sandy, palm tree lined beach, we were happy with our rustic coast line.  Trees lined the sand dunes making a magical place to explore, play and pose for a few photographs.  The kids had fun thinking of entertaining ways to pose for the camera!

Forest Fun!
Boulogne has a beautiful walled town containing the cathedral.  Most people just see Boulogne as a port which they travel through en route to more exotic European destinations, but if you stop to explore you will find some amazing architecture and buildings which are reminiscent of Paris.  We lit candles in the Notre Dame Boulogne Cathedral to remember our own lost loved ones before wandering around the ramparts of the old town.

Remembering with a prayer x
Joe's girlfriend behind bars!
We may not have the most impressive location for our holidays but we love to explore, discover and have fun together as a family.  We share so much laughter and make so many memories.  Our holiday time is priceless. Whether we stay in the UK or jump across the channel,  the change of routine and the fun of being together in a new environment puts us into a real holiday mood.  We love having fun together - nothing beats those moments when we laugh until the tears stream down our faces!  We always make a memory scrapbook of our adventures, sticking in photos, drawings, funny cartoons and stories from our day.  It makes something wonderful to look back on.  I hope this year's summer scrapbook will be as full as last year's!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...