My lovely cousin and family are visiting this week from France on a grand tour of the UK, and it’s filled me with nostalgia for our French holiday two years ago. We’re starting to think about where to go on holiday ourselves this summer, very last minute, but we have been too busy enjoying life in our new home to plan that far in advance, not that we ever do plan that far in advance if I am honest. I like to go wherever my head feels it needs to go. I had my heart set on Wales again this summer, as always, it’s my place to go and have a digital detox, and completely disappear, but then Mr A started looking at places in France and I remembered all the reasons I love France.
I will warn you now though, they are largely foodie.
Oh France, the mythical land I learnt about in school through the medium of role play. I always feel as if I have been preparing to arrive/dip my croissants in chocolat chaud/buy a return train ticket/order vin rouge/divulge I have a brother/report mal a la tete, find la gare, for a very long time. It was also the first holiday abroad I remember going on with both family and school.
Ah the joy of watching the white cliffs of Dover slip away at the stern and of breaking the journey to step on a huge floating cafe/entertainment centre/shop for an hour, the perfect time to be at sea, until the French coast appears at the bow.
Oh the joy of French ice cream flavours. Oh the fear of being made to order it in French, but the satisfaction of pistachio ice cream dribbling down your chin as you bask in that rite of passage of finally being understood in another language. Aw the satisfaction of inflicting this rite on your own kids.
Oh the feeling of dewy grass as you pad across the campsite or village to the boulangerie. Ah the smell of fresh baguette, the cheeky bit you steal on the walk back and the pastries and croissants you promise are just a first day treat, but become an every day holiday indulgence. Oh the long lazy breakfasts, and the dunking your croissant in chocolate chaud, because your French teacher told you that’s what French people do. Aw the cake shops, with names for cakes that are as naughty as the cakes themselves.
Oh for cheese, Brie, Camembert, all the other ones whose names I can’t remember.
Oh for the wine, that doesn’t break the bank and rarely disappoints like so many bottles in the UK.
Oh France, you do make me slow down. Simple pleasures, beautiful countryside, stunning beaches and things done properly. Like the aperitifs, gently pressed into my hand by my cousin when we visited, as we slowly wound down into meal times.
Have you been to France as a family? What do you remember most?
For an easy family trip from the UK looking at family-friendly villas, Brittany could be a good option. I’ve got my eye on a Quality Villas place called Breton Manor, near Audierne. Breton is very close to my maiden name, so obviously I am curious! Set on a 15th century estate, this superb period cottage forms part of one of the most important Grand Manor Houses in France, with documented history dating back to 1344. You share the communal swimming pool which is gorgeously rural, yet it is within walking distance of the sandy beach at St Tugen.
It looks a lot like everything I love about Wales, but with more chance of sunshine!
Thanks to Quality Villas for collaborating on this post.