France

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 13:55
strangelover: (France)
[personal profile] strangelover
I've always had a strange, distant relationship with my family, but after the trip to Australia to see my mother, it only seemed right to take a trip to France to meet with my father. It was a much shorter trip and the time passed quickly, but I enjoyed the time I spent there and expect to return again.

Notre-Dame

My flight was early, I was up before 6am, a rarity in my life! I was able to sleep on the flight, arriving at CDG, catching the train into the city, and finding a nice little cafe in Bercy Village to grab a coffee in, as it was too early to check into my hotel. Once I was checked in, I headed back out to explore the city. First stop was the Eiffel Tower, before I walked through the city with the aim of ending up at Montparnasse Tower. I got up there and the views were great, though the skies were quite cloudy and there was a storm rolling in as the sun set on the day. I realised how hungry I was and as soon as I was at street level it started to pour with rain and I had no umbrella! Thankfully the restaurant I wanted to eat at was only around the corner, but I still arrived soaking wet. However, the food was delicious, as was the cider with kir I had to round out the meal. I went back to the hotel to dry off and grabbed a wine at a nearby bar before heading back to grab some much needed sleep.

Observatoire Panoramique de la Tour Montparnasse

Between the thin walls and noisy neighbours, the construction works behind the hotel and housekeeping knocking on my door despite the Do Not Disturb sign, I was up bright and early. I made the most of it by checking out, storing my luggage and exploring the city some more. First stop was Notre Dame cathedral, as it was early, there was no queue, and the cathedral was relatively quiet. I'd hoped to go to Sainte-Chapelle, but unfortunately I was short on time and the queue was long. Instead I walked around the Île de la Cité, then to a nearby independent bookstore (where I couldn't' help but buy some things!), before returning to Bercy, grabbing my suitcase and then meeting with my dad - and seeing him for the first time in twelve years! - for lunch. After that, we hopped on the train for a three hour ride to Vichy, where my step-mother met us and drove us home to Le Mayet-d'École, the village where they live. Shortly after, my two half-siblings arrived and we met for the first time. We spent the evening sitting around chatting and eating food, which turned in to the common theme for my visit.

Le Mayet-d'École

Another tradition for my visit, was being woken with a fresh cup of coffee and a croissant every morning. I was definitely liking France! We went to a nearby village to grab some groceries, visited the beautiful medieval village of Charroux, wandering around for a while, looking at the abbey (first built in 785!), a little candle store, an art gallery and tea house, as well as a mustard shop, before returning home where I cooked a Greek meal for everyone. All in all, a nice, relaxing day.

Charroux

The next day we all headed into Vichy for lunch at L'Escargot qui Tète, where I tried snails for the first time (not as bad as I thought!), some excellent beef flambéed in cognac and lots of local wine. We then wandered around the town, having a look in some of the shops, before heading back home to relax in the evening with a good selection of chocolates. It was nice to sit around and hear stories about my family, things I'd either forgotten or not heard of before.

Le Mayet-d'École

My last full day we stocked up on cheese and sat around chatting through the afternoon and evening. The following morning, we were up early to get to Vichy to catch the train, arriving in Bercy around 2pm, catching a taxi over to Gare du Nord, finding a nearby place for lunch, before Dad returned to Brussels and I made my way back to the airport, and ultimately, home to Athens.

Gare du Nord

Although the trip was quite short, it was filled with a lot of conversation, as you might expect, having the first in person contact with my family members for many years, so there was little time to play tourist or even bother with taking photographs, but there's always next time...

The full set of photographs are here on Flickr.
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