July 23, we arrive in Paris and are picked up by our friend Jacques - Jacques and Florence welcome us into their home the next few days. Jacques runs a fever the entire time, but that does not deter him from showing us a really good time. It's a 2 1/2 hour drive from the airport to their home in Nogent Le Rotrou.
Nogent Le Rotrou:
Max tends to the BBQ while Joe visits with neighbors:
July 24, Melanie makes homemade Nutella Chocolate Macarons: She gave us a jar of homemade Nutella to take home. Joe in their newly remodeled kitchen:
We visit with Joe & Jacque's friend Andre in Chartres:
Macarons for sale:
An old Butcher's shop in Chartres - notice the much worn cutting board behind the butcher:
The outside of the historic butchery:
July 25, Jacques, Florence, daughter Melanie, Joe & I go on a road trip to Omaha Beach. It took our breath away. 10,000 lives were lost between 6/6/44 and 6/8/44. 9400 soldiers are buried here:
There are large holes made in the ground from the artillery:
July 26, our last day with Jacques & Florence:
Pierre (policeman neighbor) with Joe:Train station - we went from here to Paris Gare de Nord via TER train and took a bus to Gare de Lyon in Paris to catch the faster TGV train to Grenoble:
July 27 - We stop by Eddy (nephew) & Valerie's - here's their eldest son Joey (6) - named after Joe? Their youngest - Matys (3): Eddy:
We also stop by Karl & Valentina's and meet their Lisa (2) for the 1st time:
Off to niece Karine's for dinner:
Michael & Jeremy:
Charles (far right) with his kids and grandkids:
The grandkids- twins Jeremy & Michael (8), Joey (6) far right,and we got to meet for the 1st time Lisa (2), and Matys (3):
Karine & Jean David treat us to a BBQ featuring a large rum steak:
July 28, golf in Uriage. Prior to prepping for this evening's Family Reunion Celebration, we get in 9 holes of golf with Charles and his son-in-law Jean David. We have a lovely lunch at the golf course too. Golf courses usually have pretty good food.
July 28, We prepare for a big outdoor Family Reunion in Charles' backyard:
Note the kitchen knife Charles is using to make kindling:
Ta Ta Arlette (Joe's Mom's sister), Joe, and Arlette's daughter Nathalie:
Cousins Nathalie & Marie Antoinelle, Arlette:
Cousin Gilles' son Julien & Family:
Gilles' daughter Sabrina & newlywed husband:
Cousin Marcel, Carol, and daughter Margo: Family:
Valerie (nephew Eddy's wife), Jean David (niece Karine's husband}, & nephew Eddy (Charles son): (Whew!)
Couisn Lionel (Arlette's son) & Sylvie:
July 29: Charles pretending to cook: Eddy & Valerie bring lunch:The day before, in preparation for the party, we had bought large bottles of bottled water. The first glass I drank yesterday tasted funny and my sister in law pointed out to me that the water was meant to be drank by those on diets, as it contains lots of magnesium. Joe ended up drinking an entire bottle during the night and consequently was running to the bathroom all night long. This afternoon it hit me, and I missed a great Spa appointment in Uriage with Valerie. Luckily, we hadn't served any of this water to our guests.
July 29, cousins Laurence & Bruno (siblings) and families come to Charles to visit: Laurence's spouse Wally & our niece Karine:
Bruno's 4 children & Karine's twin boys:
Uriage, the small town where Joe's brother and niece and nephews live near. Nephew Karl manages the Casino, which was robbed at gun point last month and the source of the ensuing riots in Grenoble. Uriage is known for it's Grand Hotel and thermal water and luxurious Spa.:
We drive up to the Chamrousse Ski Resort, where our sister in law, Marie Christine lives. Chamrousse was home to the 1968 Winter Ski Olympics at which Jean Claude Killy won 3 gold medals.
Grenoble in the background:
Charles & Marie Christine: Their 2 year old granddaughter Lisa (Karl & Valentina's) and Papy: Chin Chin Mamy!
Valentina & Joe:
Marie Christine prepared a lovely lunch of veal in a Roquefort sauce that was delish! Pat, Joe, Cousin Georges & Marietta -dinner @ Charles:
July 31, Joe's cousins planned a huge Paella Party at cousin Marie Antoinette and husband Gilbert's in La Mure at their large estate. They had invited many of Joe's childhood friends. It was really special as they hosted this huge party and were leaving at 5 am the following morning on vacation! Gilbert:
Joe's brother Charles and friend JC:
The paella pan caught on fire:
Sylvie & Cousin Marcel:
Marie, Cousin Lionnel & M.Antoinette:
Cousin Lionnel & his wife Sylvie and 2 of M.Antoinette & Gilbert's granddaughters:
Retired Gilbert's hobby is restoring cars and motorcycles; here is one of his restored Citroens:
Charles is a kid at heart:
Cousin Marcel's son's girlfriend, son Mikael, and daughter Mylene:
JC & daughter Jennifer with Joe: The Little Marcel design was all the rage in France, from shirts, luggage, flip flops, etc.
Cousins Marcel, Lionel, Charles, Cousin Gilles, and Joe:
August 1, we celebrate Karine's 39th birthday: Karine, Pat, Valentina, Marie Christine, Lisa, Valerie, & Justine (M. Christine's mom):
Valerie, Pat, & Marie Christine chez Jean David & Karine:
Karine prepared red peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and zucchini a la farcie:
I taught Lisa the "spoon" game:
3 year old Matys with his Dad, Eddy (34)
August 2, off to Perpignan via TGV train: Our luggage:
Sunflower fields were abundant:
We had a great time with our dear friends Pascal & Christine, who we hadn't seen for 2 years, but it felt like only yesterday since we'd been together.
Chrstine & son-in-law Seb, a paratrooper in the french army, recently returned from Afghanistan:
Pascal & Joe enjoying Christine's cuisine:
Seb, grandson Noa, and their daughter Marjorie:
August 3, go the Beach Market and buy sausages and olives:
Christine is holding her American born Yorkie Charly in her arms:
Joe, Georges (Christine's Dad) and Pascal: Babette, Pascal (Christine's brother), and Marine:
(Me, Christine, & Babette):
Family - Christine, Pascal, Corrine, and their Dad:
Sunset photo from their house - most evenings you could see and hear an owl on that chimney - it made me think of Wesley (our grandson) and how he loves owls.
August 4th: a neighbor walking his dog (horse?): Christine & I spend the afternoon in Carnet:
Their 5 year old grandson Noa takes a jump into the water - it appears that he walks on water:
Dinner out this evening @ La Sorciere Restaurant for moules/frites (mussels & fries):
Evening spent at the beach Disco in Ste. Marie:
August 5th, morning walk on the beach before the "Beach Markets" open. On Tuesdays and Thursdays in Ste. Marie there are markets where there are stands of fresh fruit, sausages, olives, clothes, tablecloths, etc.Afternoon "apero" chez Pascal & Christine:
A trip to Carnet for bait for fishing if the wind dies down:
August 6, Christine's brother Pascal & wife Babette treat us to a luncheon feast chez George (Christine's Dad):
15 friends & relatives attend the Perpignon/Paris rugby match - Paris won by 1; we all go to a Beach Disco that night, which is owned by one of the rugby players.
August 7, awake to a beautiful non-windy day. George takes us out fishing on the Mediterranean. We use sardines as bait to attract mackeral. Unfortunately we didn't land one fish all morning; but it was a wonderful experience.
We were stopped by the marine police on the way back into port - all OK, papers & lfejackets all in order:
Afternoon swim chez Pascal & Christine:
Bike ride to the beach:
Ice cream treat for Noa:
Joe demonstrates his secret way of cutting a watermelon:
August 8 - return to Grenoble via train:
We love the cheese from here: August 8..After getting picked up from the train station in Grenoble, Charles takes us to see Joe's Uncle Richard (between Joe & Charles):
Their view of the surrounding Grenoble mountains: August 8, our last night in France. We were thrown a surprise dinner party by Joe's childhood friends, Louche & Marie (son Roman in middle}:
This is their view:
August 9, homeward bound via Amsterdam: All in all it was a great vacation spent with family & friends.