Date Night

Aaron and I love Uzès and we love to spend the evening dining out in this beautiful village. A few weeks ago we strolled along the quaint streets before finding a delicious Thai restaurant.  We are trying to fit in as many leisurely strolls as we can with the time we have left.  Oh, how I will miss Uzès!

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Château d’Allègre

Château d’Allègre is a favorite family spot that we discovered 6 years ago.  It is the remains of a fortress that housed 12 knights dating back to the 1100-1200’s.  It sits high up on a hill and is open to anyone passing by!  We spent the early evening there on Sunday.  AJ had control of the camera and he did a pretty good job capturing the beauty of these remains.

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Château d’Allègre is 20-25 km north of our house in Sanilhac.  As you can see from a few of the photos, the fortress is right above a road and the Château is marked by a very small old sign.  I love that one can be on a back country road and discover such beautiful things!

Le Spectacle “BATUCADA”!

Jack and Sophie had a school musical “spectacular” in the Batucada genre.  I didn’t know what this was until I did a little research.  Batucada is a mix of African and Brazilian samba usually played percussion style.  All the children in the Sanilhac school had been practicing their songs and music for months.  Jack would always note when it was lundi, monday, because that is when they had music class.  Sophie would come home singing a little tune that none of us understood, except for her and Jack!  The children were so excited for their performance and were saddened when it got cancelled last friday night.  Le spectacle was taking place at the centre ville because in this style of music it is performed while walking. So, the program was for the children to begin at la mairie and work their way through the little village and stop at 2 other places, la place du château and la place du Four, while playing their instruments and singing.

It was raining all day friday.  In fact, we had flood warnings again in our area so the children obviously could not perform in those conditions.  Jack and Sophie were so sad the fête, party, had been cancelled.  They wanted to get their “costumes” on and show off what they had learned! :(

On monday when they returned to school it was announced that the spectacle would be mardi soir à 18h, tuesday night at 6pm.  Hooray!!!  Tuesday we woke up to beautiful sunny skies.  You could feel the excitement in the air when I took the kids to school. Around 4pm dark clouds rolled in and it started raining!!!  Jack and Sophie would look out the window every 5 minutes to see if the rain stopped.  It would rain, then stop, then rain, then stop, then sprinkle, then stop…  Around 5:45pm the rain stopped and we knew we had to get the kids to la mairie.  Sure enough, the whole town was there and all the school children were ready to perform, rain or shine!

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When we arrived Jack was trying to locate his instrument that he had made but he could not find it amongst all the others.  He was able to grab a tambourine.  Each class was dressed in a different colored shirt.  Sophie wore white, Jack had green, our neighbor Thomas has blue, our friends Adrian, Rudy, Marie, and Marius had on red shirts.  It looked really festive when they were all marching down the streets together.  Jack and Sophie got to wear colors around their waist, neck, wrists and Sophie had a purple flower in her hair.

I loved watching Jack and Sophie sing, dance and interact with everyone!  I had to pinch myself as I was watching them perform, in the rain at times, surrounded by old stone houses and narrow stone streets.  AJ, Austin and Tristan all knew people and/or friends from the village.  We feel a part of this community and there definitely were tears as I thought about leaving this beautiful place in just 6 weeks.

IMG_3132 Sophie’s teacher, Mâitresse Sylvian

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IMG_3134 Principal Gault

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Great Roman Games

Saturday, May 2nd we had the chance to go see a reenactment of the ancient Roman Games in the Arènes de Nîmes.  The Nîmes arena is a Roman amphitheatre dating to 70 AD.  We have visited the arena on a few occasions but this time was awesome (despite the mile long line and heat)!  Jenn and John were still in town so we all got to have a new experience together.  The spectacle is performed by 500 participants from around Europe. When we arrived at our seats, each person received a colored program with a red handkerchief.  This “red” was our team and whoever was in the arena competing, the respective color would be waved in the crowd.  The team colors were red, green and white.  This Roman Games was based on the famous military commander, Hannibal. Hannibal was considered one of the greatest generals of antiquity.  He played an important part in the history of the Mediterranean area.

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The Games lasted 2.5 hours.  It was a long time to be in the sun, but we did eventually get cloud coverage and it cooled off a little.  This was a performance I am so happy we were able to participate in.  I don’t know if we will ever get a chance to see a reenactment quite like this in a 2000 year old structure!  We were all interested as chariots came roaring out in the arena and started “fighting” each other, or seeing the “fights” against the barbarians of different lands.  It was very entertaining and we had a fascinating afternoon imagining life in times past!

Versailles

One of our favorite places to visit in Paris is Versailles.  Aaron and I love going and spending an afternoon in the gardens.  We took Jenn and John to Versailles and we spent quite a few hours there.  The grounds are massive, around 1,976 acres of land!  We all had a fun time visiting the Château, Marie Antionette’s hamlet, the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon and the extensive gardens!

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La Famille Jerôme

We returned yesterday evening from our wonderful trip to Switzerland, Germany and Austria, which I will write about in the next few weeks.  I am just getting caught up with laundry and cleaning and will be back on track as soon as the children return back to school on Monday.

Tonight we were invited to our friends, Benjamin and Claireline Jerôme, house.  They live in a town, Garons, about 40 minutes from our village of Sanilhac.  They are kind friends and we really enjoy their company.  Today was a beautiful sunny day so we went to a park close to their house, played croquet, threw around a football, fed some ducks and went on a playground before we went to their house.

Aaron had been to the Jerôme’s house before and told me how much I would love it.  So, I was eager to see their home.  Aaron was not kidding.  I love their little home.  Everything about it was old, unique and french!  It has so much character!  I had to come home from our fun evening and share these few photos.

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Maison Carrée

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The Maison Carrée is another ancient Roman artifact that we see often when we are in Nîmes!  It was built in 16 BC and is one of the most best preserved Roman temples to be found anywhere in the territory of the former Roman Empire.  It is beautiful!  There is currently a little theater inside that shows an informative film of the history of Nîmes. We all had a wonderful day exploring this historical site with Alexis!

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Arènes de Nîmes

Nîmes is the largest closest city (20km) to our little village of Sanilhac.  Nîmes has a lot of Roman artifacts and history associated with it.  One of these is Arènes de Nîmes.  The Arènes de Nîmes is a Roman amphitheater dating back to 70 AD.

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It is a magnificent structure that we drive by quite often when we are in Nîmes.  It currently will house bullfights and concerts.  There are Gladiator Games coming up in May that we would like to go see.  I love that France has history dating back to the time of Christ.

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The Arènes is in the old part of the city, which means beautiful architecture and ambiance. The streets surrounding the Arènes are filled with the “French romantic flare”!  I love it! Below are a bunch of photos we took while visiting the Arènes and surrounding streets.

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This massive fountain is found in the Esplanade just next to the Arènes.  It is the Fountain Pradier and it was constructed in 1851 out of white marble.  Aside from the large center statue, it has 4 large personages, 2 men and 2 women representing the 4 major sources of water coming into Nîmes.  It reminds me of the beautiful fountains in Rome, Italy!

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I feel so lucky to be living in this beautiful country and to be sharing these experiences with my awesome husband and children!

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Jack and Sophie were so cute holding the device for the guided tour.  They were actually listening while we were exploring the Arènes!

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This historical site is a death trap waiting to happen.  There were no railings to protect anyone from falling over the ledges or falling down the steep stairs.  We had to watch Jack and Sophie like a hawk!  When we did reach the top of the Arènes, the views were incredible!  I have vertigo so when I got to the top I had to sit down and breath deeply!  I immediately got a pounding headache and felt nausea.  It was difficult but I endured it to say I did it and I even took pictures of my kids at the very top overlooking Nîmes (with no protection from falling)!

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The church in the background of a few of these photos is the Sainte Perpétue Church. Also, Alexis loves rooftops!  Any chance she gets to capture a rooftop, she is a happy girl! I love her innocence!

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We all fell in love with the building in the back ground!  Typical French beauty!  Love, love, love!  Also, you might be wondering why all the children are not here in the photos.  Well, Julia couldn’t make it back to France for the holidays, Tristan was at school because he did not want to get behind in work and AJ was at the skate park with his roller blades!  So, it was Aaron, Alexis, Austin, Jack, Sophie and myself for this lovely afternoon!

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This Matador statue is “the” place where photos are taken.  But, the statue is a little scary if you ask me!  Maybe it is the French way of expressing love?  Or maybe his jock strap came out of position?  Weird!!!!!  LOL!