Friday, September 14, 2012

Craps, Caps & Chocolat… Holidays En France

It's Friday! This means I'll be in Albany and chilling out at my inlaws' house. Now it's either completely shit house timing or a sign that we're terrible company, but a heap of our Albany friends are in Perth this weekend... did they wait until they knew we were coming?!

Anywho, the delightful Catherine is the next guest poster. She knows a few French words. So do I. Except mine are all from that Lady Marmalade song. Vive le France!
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I grew up in the south east of England… (shhhsh Essex) home to rolling green fields and ancient hedgerows, quaint little pubs, winding country lanes and er… the Lakeside shopping centre. I suppose it would be fair to say we enjoyed a typical middle class lifestyle; two cars, Chinese take-aways and an annual family holiday… abroad.

Due to its convenient location, just a hop skip and jump across the English Channel, we often visited France. We would drive to Dover, board a ferry for a short (albeit choppy) crossing to Calais and then merrily drive on to our destination. If we were holidaying in the North we would plod on until we got there, but if we ventured further South we would break the journey staying the night in various hotels along the way.

I wasn’t terribly keen on the ‘road trip’ element of the holiday. I suffered dreadful travel sickness and despite trialling a variety of antidotes, invariably ended up vomiting into a polythene bag. Such happy times.

When I started learning French at school my parents encouraged me to speak up and practice, I would stumble over the words embarrassed and self conscious, probably getting it all wrong, but having a go anyway. I don’t remember much French at all now. Just the really important stuff like…

“J’ai voudrais un glace au chocolat*’’…


“Ou est le plage**?”

I have so many memories of our holidays in France… we ate chocolate crêpes in Arles at the very same Café Van Gough captured forever under a starry, starry night. We strolled along the promenade in Niece. We climbed to the top of the Eiffel tower (we didn’t really, we got the lift… have you seen the Eiffel tower?). We traveled down the Seine passed Notre Dame and took a tour of Monet’s house.

Cafe Terrace at Night

Of all our holidays in France the trip that stands out most was the week that we spent at La Petite Maison Blanche. It wasn’t the best holiday and it certainly wasn’t the worst… nothing remarkable happened and it rained… every… single…day. But we were together. Just hanging out. Enjoying a glass of wine (my father very much embracing the philosophy... when in Rome… (or in this case… ‘when in France’) and playing endless games of gin rummy.

We visited a town called Ginggump… just because it had an amusing name… Ginggump? No? Just me then… I insisted that I needed a traditional fisherman’s cap and spent the rest of the holiday wearing it with the sort of pride I now reserve for Chanel. I fell face first into a sand dune (much to the amusement of my younger sister) and we even had snails for dinner. Ok, Dad had snails for dinner… I had a cheese omelette…and it was delicious!

Ooh la la!
Now that I live in Australia trips to Europe with my little family will be slightly harder to arrange. But I know that one day my daughters will tread those same steps, stumble over the pronunciation of ‘crêpes’ (hint. It’s not ‘craps’), enjoy French food and have a très jolly time indeed. Although, if I’m totally honest, I could do without the Fisherman’s hat next time round.

* I would like a chocolate ice cream
** Where is the beach?
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Catherine Rodie Blagg Lives in Sydney with her husband and two small daughters. In her free time she blogs at Cup of Tea and a Blog about the challenges of modern motherhood. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. She drinks an alarming amount of tea.


  1. Funnily I like the fisherman's hat. Before I met him, Dadabulous spent three years in Paris working for a major French telco. He learnt the language through the highly effective horizontal method (he had a local girlfriend). Some time after our wedding he mentioned that he would have liked to take me to Paris for our honeymoon. Unfortunately P1 was 9 months at the time so lived it up in glamorous Noosa instead.

  2. I'd love to have a weekend with my hubby in Paris - It is such a beautiful city. Noosa is a lovely honeymoon destination! we had a mini-moon as we couldn't afford a proper holiday after paying for the wedding, plus I was 20 weeks preggers with G and not keen on flying with my morning sickness.

  3. Your sister has a "The Commitments" t-shirt !!! I loved that movie! I think I saw it like 5 the cinemas alone! And you look oh so suave in your gorgeous fishermen's cap! Vive le France !

  4. Oh! Great experience you had and will be touring the same soon. Holiday Messages

  5. Actually my sis reminded me that there are some very rude words on the back of her t-shirt! We loved the movie too - still do!


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