France free association & family

The latest Mach’ was (Do Something) challenge is dedicated to “France”.Β  What to do with France? Yes, the European Soccer Championships are there now but, while we do watch it, I’m not so much a soccer fan… so, no more references to that! My mind now goes into free association mode… What else do I think of, when I think of France? Well… there’s Paris and the Eiffel Tower… There’s baguette and wine… oh wait, I know someone else who had that association once as well, back in November 2014…

RA Paris nov 2014

Another association I have when I think of France is Simon Baker. He seems very popular there. Is it because his character Patrick Jane in The Mentalist drives an old citroen?

He also makes commericals for Givenchy…

Oh boy, that smile of his! So joyous, infectious and heart-stoppingly beautiful!

And last week on the Graham Norton show, I saw this French singer (Christine and the Queens) perform and was fascinated! The original is completely in French, but she has translated most of this song into English.

I also think of Edith Piaf, who I used to listen to quite a lot.

And I think of some favourite French movies like The Artist, Intouchables, or Il y a longtemps que je t’aime.

I could probably expand on all of these topics above, but most of all when I think of France, I think of my husband and kids. We had a motorhome and now have a caravan and on our summer holidays we travel with it to countries that aren’t too far from the Netherlands. In the past 15 years we’ve travelled with it to Belgium, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Italy,Β  England, Czech Republic and yes, several times and most often to France! More specifically the northern areas of France, which are only a day’s drive away.

My son was two months old when we took him on his first summer holiday (in September). One of my most vivid memories of that holiday was that I was in the garden of painter Claude Monet’s house in Giverny (Normandy), sitting underneath a tree with my baby boy in my arms and he was staring up in wide eyed wonder at the leaves moving above him. We also bought a baby carrier so my husband and I could take turns carrying him against our chests.

2001 ARVIDI~8

Two years later in 2003, we were back in France, this time in the middle of the country, and I was expecting my second child. It was super hot that summer, I remember being so grateful for any air conditioned place or cathedral to enter where it was nice and cool. Being pregnant and dealing with a heat wave is very uncomfortable! But we enjoyed ourselves and my 2 year old son loved running around everywhere and climbing all the stairs he could find.

Another two years later (in 2005) we were back in France, this time in the Alsace Lorraine region…

2005 22 Ribeauville en Riqewihr (38)

And in 2008 we finally ‘did’ Paris with the kids. To the north of Paris, at an abbey, one of my favourite ever pictures of my kids with me was taken, where we were all 3 giggling uncontrollably.

It took another 5 years to get back to France again. This time, in 2013, we did the Champagne region.

And the next year, 2014, we were back again, this time for Verdun, the Somme and surrounding areas. It was a very WWI themed holiday, we saw remnants of trenches and of course graves…

When I look at all these France pictures, I just see the kids growing up right in front of me, right here on my laptop! They are growing so fast and when I think of France, I think of us a family a lot. Not too bad an association, right?

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24 thoughts on “France free association & family

  1. Nice free association, Esther. Here are my free associations in reply to yours: First image of L’Armitage Francais is actually a manip by much missed blogger Agzy. https://iwanttobeapinup.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/stereotype-sunday-je-taime-richard/ Simon Baker and France: Wasn’t he also in “The Devil Wears Prada”, and finally gets ditched in Paris? And wow – I am really impressed at the your holiday experiences in France. Looks great, and in any case, holidays are generally good memories. How lucky for the country to be associated with happy thoughts!
    And where are you taking the caravan (and the family) this year? Any plans yet?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the source link to L’Armitage Francais! LOL!
      Yes, on Simon & The Devil Wears Prada. πŸ™‚
      This year we’re thinking Poland, near Krakow and close to where Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia meet. We still need to look at campsites and see if we can find something nice…

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      • Oh, that is a beautiful part of the world. The region to the West of that, is where my family comes from, and I have been on several holidays there. Great mountain hiking there, lots of things to see. You’ll enjoy that, I am sure. Unfortunately never went camping there, so no recommendations.

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        • I think my family may originally come from a region not far from yours, many generations ago. My ancestors are from the “Erzgebirge” (Ore mountains), south of Leipzig near the Czech border. We visted that area some years ago and actually saw the plot of land that once belonged to my great-great-great-something grandfather. Our family name is still relatively common in that area (the German family name, not our Dutch one they changed to after the family came to The Netherlands). πŸ™‚ I always wished my dad could have been there with us, he would have loved it, but by then he wasn’t well enough to travel anymore.

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          • The Erzgebirge is very nice – especially in winter. And then they make all those beautiful Christmas decorations there… My family is from a little further East, a mountain range called “Riesengebirge” (Giant Mountains).

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            • My husband read your comment and just informed me that my ancestors moved to the Riesengebirge after they left the Erzgebirge and only after that did they move to The Netherlands. My husband is a bit of a history & ancestry nut and remembers all this stuff right off the top of his head… πŸ™‚

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  2. Awwwww. I love seeing these pics again of you and the kids and all of those wonderful trips. πŸ™‚

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  3. What a nice post. What a wonderful treat it must be for you and your children to be able to just drive from one culture to another. Like Guylty, the French-looking Armitage makes me miss Agzy. Her POV was zany and refreshing, but she also was a no bull-s-t blogger if issues arose. I was thrilled to see her selfie with Richard after The Crucible, and read about her experience. My experience in France, what stands out the most when I think about it, is (ahem) going topless on the beach in Cannes, and a ridiculously huge bouillabaisse of about 7 courses of fish, which had to be ordered a day ahead. And the streets of Paris. It is such a beautiful city.

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    • I wasn’t reading blogs back then, so I didn’t know about Agzy’s blog. She sounds great. πŸ™‚
      Nice experiences in France! Before we had kids we also travelled with a rented motorhome to the south of France (also Cannes), so I have memories from there too! Most notably that our motorhome broke down and we had to find a garage in the middle of nowhere and explain what we thought was wrong with the thing and our French is, well, not so great. Some sort of pump needed fixing and the people spoke nothing else but French and we kept on saying “Il ne pompe pas!”and they kept on looking at us in bemusement with no clue what we were on about! In hindisght terribly funny.

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  4. Oh, this was nice! Thanks for sharing your memories with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. squirrel.ààèé

    Thank you, to make a praise for holidays in France. The country has got many tourist geographic or historical areas , I hope you will descover the atlantic west coast, well discribed in “ladybutterfly”s blog

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    • I have been to Bordeaux once, in my teens. And also to the Bretagne, but never to Nantes or thereabouts. We do still want to do the the west coast some day, thanks for the encouragement! πŸ™‚

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  6. Awww! Lovely post! Thanks for sharing your France, etc. travelogue and kid pictures. You make me yearn to go to France–well, that yearning is always there, just not realistic. And your kids are adorable!. Beautiful pix of you and your baby toward the beginning! Cheers!

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    • Well, who knows, maybe one day you can go to France. I hope so for you. Beautiful country and so much history!
      Thanks for the kids compliments. I’m quite partial to them myself. πŸ˜‰

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  7. Thank you for participating and for sharing these lovely memories with us!!!
    And a post with RA and Simon Baker in it it always a great post πŸ˜‰

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  8. Thanks Esrher!
    I know all these places. i’ve been living near Paris for 20 years – in Alsace during 2 years …Visited north, south, etc…
    And as Squirrel said, I now live in the West.
    Ah, “il ne pompe pas”? lol

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