Bonjour! We finally made it to France!! Vang grew up in France so naturally we had to visit. He still has siblings living there. I was excited to not only visit France but be able to meet the rest of his siblings. We wanted to wait until the boys were big enough to be able to travel to such a big and busy place. As well as being able to handle the long flight.
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Last spring was that time. We booked a non-stop flight to Paris with Delta Airlines for our 14-day vacation. The eight-hour flight went pretty smoothly. We just made sure that we brought things to keep the boys occupied.
Our sister picked us up at the airport and took us to our brother’s home just outside of Paris. Our first day there was recovering from the long flight. There is a 7-hour difference so while it was morning there, our bodies were telling us that it is still night time in Minnesota and we need to get some sleep.
The next morning, we borrowed our brother’s car for our road trip across France. We love road trips and going on a road trip in France was a chance in a lifetime.
Can you see the excitement in them? Another road trip?
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in southwestern France. Known as the wine hub of the world, we wanted to visit some of the vineyards but will have to save that for our next trip there. There is so much history and the buildings are gorgeous.
Driving on the cobblestone roads was definitely an experience. We rented an apartment in Bordeaux and had difficulty finding it with all the one-way roads. We were fortunate to have our hostess come out and meet us where we were and escort us to the apartment.
While in Bordeaux, we walked around and explored the city. Loving how the bare trees behind us looked against the backdrop of the rain and fog.
At first sight, we thought the Silver Man was a statue until he stopped us and asked if we wanted to take a picture with him.
We had to stop for some french macarons. Yummilicious!!!
We stopped for a carousel ride in the middle of the city. And continued to stroll in the city into the night.
Something about the rain that makes the city lights up against the wet grounds is so beautiful.
Gouffre De Padirac
Heading to Rocamadour, we stopped to check out Gouffre de Padirac. Gouffre de Padirac is one that I would not have picked out see but so glad that Vang suggested it. Definitely a winner! To start the tour, they gave us each a headset to listen to the tour guide.
With our headset in place, we start our descent into the wonders. Essentially, we take the stairs down to the underground. What they call, where the outside world meets the underground world.
We were not allowed to have a camera once we entered the cave. So glad for that as it is pretty wet down there. Such a marvel sight to see and experience.
After the cave tour, we drove to Rocamadour. Rocamadour is a small clifftop village in south-central France that towers majestically over the Alzou canyon. It has got to be one of the most picturesque places I have ever seen!
Driving into town is like setting foot into a movie scene. We checked into our hotel and set off to explore the area and its shops.
The next morning we went for breakfast. This is our view before the fog lifted.
Rocamadour is famous for its sanctuary and more importantly for its Black Virgin. Every year, it attracts a large number of visitors and pilgrims making it the second most visited place in France after Mont-Saint-Michel.
Chateau de Chambord
We decided to visit Chateau de Chambord in the Loire Valley. What a beautiful castle! It is one of the most recognizable chateaux in the world because of its very distinct French Renaissance architecture which blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Renaissance structure. Did you know that Chateau de Chambord is supposedly the most visited tourist spot on the Loire Valley?
Blois is a hillside city on the Loire River. It is the capital of the Loir-et-Cher department of central France. While there, we visited Chateau Royal de Blois.
Throughout our visit here, we learned of the tragedies, shenanigans and power games. The Royal Château de Blois filled us in on the secrets of the French court. There we discovered not only the royal apartments but also the Fine Arts Museum and many other sites that have left their imprint on the Château’s history.
Beautiful flower garden! And a great space for the boys to run around.
Here is a view of the city from the rooftop! Loving the many different architectural and styles of all the buildings!
Mont-Saint-Michel is the most visited attraction in France and it is easy to see why. It is an island and common mainland in Normandy, France. You have the Mont-Saint-Michel abbey on the top and the village below.
Doesn’t this just scream, “Please come visit me!” One of the marvelous wonders in the world, I might say.
Here we are on top of the abbey during our tour overlooking the bay.
Throughout the village below, there are many shops and restaurants to visit.
This marks the end of our road trip across France. We headed back to Paris to meet up with our siblings for a nice quiet dinner and explored Paris.
What I loved about being in Paris is that everything is accessible by subway, train or walking. We were so fortunate to have our family as our tour guides to assist us in getting us on the right subway or train. If you were to ask me which subway did we take, I would respond back “no idea, I just got here” We probably would’ve been able to figure it out ourselves but would’ve just taken us more time.
Definitely a tourist spot! But while in Paris, gotta see the Eiffel Tower! We decided to get to the Eiffel Tower and go up to the top. Can I say, “what a view!” Paris is such a beautiful city just walking around but to see it from up above, is definitely an experience!
Avenue des Champs-Elysees
Known as the most famous avenue of the world, we had to take a stroll here.
Boat Tour on the Seine River
Notre-Dame de Paris
On this particular day, it rained pretty hard with high winds and thunderstorm. But that did not stop us or the other tourists from visiting Notre-Dame.
Chateau de Versailles
We took the train out to visit Chateau de Versailles. What a splendid sight to see! Not only the palace but the entire estate.
Don’t skip out of the row boat ride! It is a must do here at Chateau de Versailles!
The Louvre Museum is the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris. It is also one of the world’s most visited museum receiving about 10.2 million visitors in 2018.
We had to see the Mona Lisa painting as well as the million others there. Can you see the boys are ready to go? No more pictures please!
When you love Disney, you have to make a stop at Disneyland Paris.
Can we get a decent picture please? They are Disney’ed out.
This was the only ride the boys wanted to ride over and over again!
We were able to trek out of France for a few days to visit our sister in Switzerland. We took the train from Paris to Vaud, Switzerland. A three-hour train ride, we arrived in the early evening.
The next day, we drove out to Vevey, Switzerland and spent the day at Nestle Headquarter for their Easter special and learned of the history of Nestle.
We then took a walk on the boardwalk at Lake Geneva. Is that the Swiss Alps? Such a beautiful sight!
We ran into a few characters here and asked to take a picture with Spider-Man.
Can you reach to the top of this fork?
Gotta take a picture with Charlie Chaplin statue here in Vevey. Vevey was home to Charlie Chaplin from 1952 until his death in 1977.
Next to Vevey is the town of Montreux. Known for the annual Montreux Jazz Festival in July. We stopped there briefly and snapped this picture of the Freddie Mercury Memorial statue. This is where he recorded his last album Queen – Made in Heaven.
We stopped in Lausanne on our way back to our sister’s home. Here is the Thai Pavilion in Denantou Park. What a lovely gem to see this in a
We had a blast on our trip to France and Switzerland! Springtime in France is rainy. We have had to dry our shoes on the heater of our apartment or hotel room every night. It was quite an experience and wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
I knew taking on this trip would be epic but did not realize that I would learn so much here. A huge plus was being able to spend time with family! Can’t wait to make another trip our here to visit family. Hopefully in warmer weather.