Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dreaming of living in France again!

Some days, I feel I would gladly give up the security invested for my old age just to buy a place in France to live. I'm hoping that we can at least rent something for a year or something. But for fun, I often peruse the realty offerings in Languedoc. What you can buy for $150,000 is A LOT. Mais helas, who has an extra stash that big for a dream?

I did find this American lady who sells shares of homes she hand picks and renovates. It's sort of like a time share, but not really. You own 4, 5, 6 weeks a year, sometimes more. It's like a little association. And she has some "shares" available that make my knees go weak!

Some amazing pictures of her trip around Languedoc.

I think she's crazy about France as much as I am and she's very nice, I've corresponded with her.

Ok, I need to pack...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Le Chateau de Versailles

This is one of the sites our family will definitely go see while in "Paris". St. Cloud, where my Aunt lives, is between Paris and Versailles so it will be quick to get there.

I have not gone for a long time, but remember how, like Le Louvre, it's way too big to do the whole thing in a day. That's why it's great to visit the web site and pick out one or two main areas to see and not get so totally exhausted and overwhelmed by the experience.

And upon visiting the website, I see they are having a strike and so some of the Chateau is closed. Really, if you love the French like I do, you have to accept them for who they are. They love to strike! Whenever you visit France, you must accept that something you want to do will be FUBAR because of the French genetic need to strike. Accept it and work around it!

I have a very funny memory of visiting the Grands Canals at the Chateau. I was 16 and staying with my aunt and uncle for the summer. Since my aunt was madly busy getting ready for a huge party she was throwing (might it been the one where I was forced to mingle with ambassadors?) Anyway, she also had a 17 year old English chap staying at the house too - my aunt's house was always busy with comings and goings.

So my aunt needed us to "be gone" and so she quickly packed up une pique-nique and drove us to the Chateau de Versailles. It seems as though she slowed the car and let us jump out - although I'm sure she actually stopped - and left us to ourselves for the day. With no money for going into the chateau, we spent the day in the gardens and at the canals. So I have this very picturesque memory of a very proper young Englishman rowing me around the grand canals for an afternoon! How romantic!!

Later, my aunt picked us up again and then he went home to England again at some point. It's really all I remember about him! I wonder what he's doing now??

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Our house is like a packing frenzy!

Although Megan's been mostly packed for weeks, the rest of us are trying to catch up. Last minute trips to the CVS, the mall, the book store, etc for whatever we realized we can't live without. Everyone's had hair cuts, last minute dr. appts, end-of-school performances, etc.

I've never travelled with high-tech devices before. Realizing how many things we'll be plugging in and recharging, I bought a cool power strip.

Mike's got the conversational French book out and is asking me for pronunciation. He's at the point where he can see the relaxation of a much needed vacation. I'm seeing all the details that I might have muffed up - Aaaaaah!

Mean while, Emily is working hard to try to get all her work done on time. At her school, they do not average grades, you must meet the standard for everything. (and I've pretty much ruined her life - some days - by taking her out of her wonderful life for 3 whole weeks and forcing family time on her!) Megan's not so badly off though, being in elementary school. She's excited and ready to leave NOW!

We got our cell phones - they are tiny!! But so glad to have them. Now let's see if I can figure out how to install sim cards, etc. Hey, I used to install internal modems in PCs, so maybe....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cell phones in France!

So, I just ordered our cell phones and service for the trip. I got two basic Nokia phones and the needed sim cards to use them in France.

I get to keep the phones, so obviously I'll have to go back to France again soon to make the investment more economical!! They don't work from the States though.

It was a good price and we get free in-coming calls and $.39 for dialing most of Europe and the States.

Here's the link: