Yesterday was my birthday and I got to spend it in France with my amazing husband, Aaron, our sweet children (minus Julia and Alexis) and wonderful friends!  Aaron had been in Paris Thursday and Friday getting Alexis off to BYU Hawaii.  When we picked him up at the Nîmes train station Friday afternoon he had the infamous green Ladurée bag in hand!


My mouth immediately began to water and I thought to myself, “How can I wait until tomorrow before He gives that bag to me?”  After running a few errands in Nîmes we returned home and Aaron handed me the bag and said, “Happy early Birthday!”  Yeah!!!  He got me an assortment of macarons in one of the beautiful pink boxes!  Side note:  I collect these Ladurée boxes.  Any time I travel, I check to see if there is a Ladurée and I have been lucky on a number of occasions, so I pick up a box full of macarons and keep the decorative boxes for our home.  I love them!  Ladurée originated in Paris; our relationship goes back a while!


Isn’t that beautiful?  Almost too pretty to eat!  The Ladurée boutiques are so enchanting.  The only one I know of in the States is in New York City on Madison Avenue!  I have not checked their website in a while so there might be a few more opened in the States.  I love Ladurée for the beauty of the macaron, the experience of the boutique and the great delicacies they offer.  In fact, my all time favorite sweet is from Ladurée.  Aaron and I discovered it last spring when we were in Paris.  It is called “Plaisir Sucre” and it is heavenly!  It is a delicate mixture of chocolates and it is DIVINE!

Yesterday was a busy, fun day.  It started at the church so the boys could practice the piano.  Our house we are renting does not have a piano so we are still trying to figure out a solution.  In the meantime, we will have AJ, Austin and Tristan practice on the church piano a few times a week.  We then went and had our first Steak Frites of our stay here with the missionaries.  Aaron found a little restaurant near the Nîmes Colosseum last week and the owner, Michel, loves Americans!  He has traveled to America once and had a positive experience and he loves meeting Americans.  Aaron, being a very personable man, instantly became friends with Michel and Aaron wanted to return to introduce our family.  So, we went and met Michel and ate his Steak Frites.  They were delicious!

What is a Steak Frites?  Simple, steak or beef and fries.  It actually is a sandwich that consists of a sub roll with grilled ground beef patties and french fries. Then you add the condiments which consist of mayo, ketchup, dijon mustard, or horseradish.  The French do not do French’s yellow mustard, it is always dijon. :)  It is a large and messy sandwich but it can be so good!  The consistency of the bread and fries has to be just right or it can be too dry even with the condiments.  It is an overload of carbs, but so worth it!

Michel was not at the restaurant but his employee called him and told him there were a few Americans that were asking for him.  He went out of his way to come from his home to meet us and talk to us. He is so friendly.  He noticed how well Jack understood French and he told us it would take Jack and Sophie only a few weeks in school to make the adjustment and then they would be speaking so well, so quickly!  Michel helped the younger kids get soft ice cream cones and he handed me a “freebie” since it was my birthday.  It was yummy!  Austin and Tristan tried to talk to Michel and make the ice cream transaction by themselves.  Success!

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After our relaxing lunch we drove the boys to Quissac for a Young Men’s activity (this is when the teenage boys from our church congregation, age 12-18 get together for a fun social gathering).  Quissac is about 40km from Nîmes yet it is a beautiful drive.  The boys were excited for the afternoon because it was an “American Game” theme.  They were told by their leader that there would be American Doughnuts.  AJ, Austin and Tristan were so excited to arrive at Diego’s house.  Diego’s step father is the Young Men’s Leader, who happens to be from California.  Hence, the “American” theme.  There were 4 teenage boys:  Diego, AJ, Austin and Tristan!  The Mormon Congregation in Nîmes is very small so we feel lucky the boys have a few friends from church.  They had a great and fun afternoon, playing Signs, Mafia, doughnut on a string, Fruit Basket, something with water balloons and a few others I do not remember.  Tristan complained that his stomach hurt after eating 5 heavy, deep fried, homemade doughnuts!

Early evening we picked the boys up and we went to the Ribera’s back in Nîmes.  Isabelle and family insisted we bring the children by so Aaron and I could go have a nice birthday dinner alone.  Aaron found a delicious restaurant, Le Carré d’Art.

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The ambiance was perfect, quiet and romantic!  We were nestled in the corner of the lush outdoor seating area.  I had to pinch myself because I felt like I was in a painting!

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The food was exceptional.  Aaron ordered a goat cheese appetizer that had a little salad, that was delicious!  The way the chef combined texture and flavor was A+!  It looks so simple, yet it was full of flavor!

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We moved onto the main course and neither of us were disappointed.  I did not order a tartare this time, but a filet mignon ordered very well done.  We laughed because it was still a little too pink for me, but I just set that piece aside and enjoyed the rest.  The chef made a special vegetarian plate for Aaron with rice and 5 small sides of vegetables.  The presentations were fabulous!

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With ended with a tasty dessert that we shared!

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We will definitely return to Le Carré d’Art for future dates!  We returned to the Ribera’s to get the kids and chat for a little while.  It is great being near the Ribera’s.  They are awesome and we feel blessed to live close enough for the next year!  Sophie enjoyed herself so much she did not want to leave!  We dragged the kids home close to midnight and counted it as a great day!  But, missing my beautiful daughters, Julia and Alexis!

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