Friday, August 16, 2013

Bastille Day

Our last full day in France also happened to be Bastille Day, the French national holiday. The morning started with a highly anticipated (by Thomas, at least) viewing of the military parade.

Jamie was rather less impressed than his father. He was much happier playing with Grammy and going into the village to get bread one last time.

Thomas desperately wanted to start a bonfire, but that idea was shot down (for good reason). He did get to grill though, so there was at least some fire in his day.

Jamie is keenly aware that we don't eat treats very often but that we do eat them on holidays. He asked for an ice cream in the afternoon, and when I initially turned him down, saying we'd had them just a couple days ago and we'd had pastries at lunch, he replied very seriously, "But it's Bastille Day." Ha ha. So we had ice cream.
more fire for Thomas
Jamie and Mommy (sad my eye got squished, this would have been the cutest otherwise!)
Jamie and Grand-Mamy
Jamie and Grand-Papy
The other big part of Bastille Day is fireworks. They didn't start in the village until it was completely dark (11:00 I think) but I really wanted to take Jamie to see them. He had never seen fireworks before. Everyone thought I was crazy for waking him up to take him with us, but I figured no matter what I did that night, his sleep was going to get messed up by the early wake up and all the traveling the next day. So we woke him up and walked into the village. He was so sleepy and cute at first, but he really woke up and got excited by the little parade they had beforehand (there were firemen! carrying torches!). He didn't like how loud the fireworks were, but as long as I covered his ears tightly, he was very interested in watching them. Later he told me how much he liked them and the way they lit up the sky. And when we got home, for several days his new favorite game was pretending to be a fireman in a parade carrying a torch.
(I didn't bother trying to take pictures of the fireworks. They never turn out and I wanted to stay more focused on actually seeing them and seeing Jamie's reaction.)

We got back to the house around midnight and went to sleep for a few hours before getting up at 4:00 to get ready for a long day of traveling home. That was the last sleep I got until I collapsed into my own bed in Knoxville at 10 pm Eastern time--basically 24 hours later. Jamie only slept about 3 hours the whole day, and every time I started to fall asleep on the plane, he would poke me in the eye. I have never been so happy to be home...

And I am finally caught up on our trip, hooray! We are so lucky to have spent that time in France and England, and I'm so happy that we weren't apart from Thomas for the entire 2 1/2 months he was gone. We're so thankful for all our family members and friends and random strangers who helped make the trip go so well through all its parts.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Jamie goes to a castle

Yes, I am still posting about our trip... but just one more post after this and I'll be done, I promise.

One of Jamie's birthday presents this year was a French book about knights and castles. He loved it and requested it over and over, so we felt it was only fitting to take him to see a castle before we left France. A few days before we left, Thomas, Jamie, and I went to the ch√Ęteau in Sully-sur-Loire, which is extremely close to Dampierre. It was the perfect castle for Jamie--it had all the parts his book described, it was not too big and not crowded at all, and, as I mentioned, it was only a short drive away. We had a lot of fun touring the castle together, and he was actually disappointed when we got to the end! 
Jamie and Daddy on the ramparts

probably Jamie's favorite part


Monday, August 12, 2013


Versailles is one of the places I'd really wanted to visit since the first time I went to France but I just hadn't made it there yet. Finally on this trip, Thomas and I were able to go together. It was amazing! These pictures really can't capture the scale of the place. It was just so stunning/grand/ornate/gilded...Just fill in any superlative adjective. 
Hall of Mirrors
the King's Chamber. An unbelievable amount of gold in here.

Library of Madame Victoire. We love libraries.

Meanwhile, Jamie played with Grammy and Papy on the banks of the Grand Canal


On to the Grand Trianon...


And the Petit Trianon, part of Marie Antoinette's estate...

And finally the Queen's Hamlet (possibly our favorite part)...