Lovely Awkward: A Year of Wine, Romance and Life Among the French

Lovely Awkward: A Year of Wine, Romance and Life Among the French

Friday, July 22, 2016

The attack in Nice

The beach in Nice before the attack.
What happened on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice last week makes me so, so sad. The talk about terrorist attacks is always in the background of our lives -- it's always there -- but that doesn't mean that it isn't shocking when something like the attack on July 14 happens.

That day, my husband was still in Nice. He had told me that he was going to the fireworks that night. We'd been communicating over the computer. He'd said he was going on his own (No kids to look after!) and he'd said that he loved us.

Luckily, the wind was blowing that day and when he stepped out of the house, he decided that it might be too windy for the fireworks. He'd stayed home. I didn't know that, however, until I found him 45 minutes after I first heard about what happened.

At first, I'd thought I was just trying to find him after that truck drove through the crowd of people watching the fireworks, that I was just checking to make sure he was OK, but when I finally did find him, I realized how scared I'd been.

I'm sure it was far, far worse for the people who were actually there. One of them, the best friend of our 1 1/2-year-old daughter (who is the same age), had just crossed the street to the other side of the Promenade des Anglais with her family as the truck passed by them. They said everyone around them then started running.

I spoke with CBC TV about my experience last week. (story starts at 2:13) As I said, I'm sure it was far worse for anyone who was there or for anyone who lost a loved one. But it was still a big scare for our family.

Whether you're religious or not, there was a nice line in a story in Nice Matin, the local newspaper in Nice, that said that in the bloody bay, 84 angels (10 of them children) had died. (The number is now 85.) In French, that area is already called la Baie des Anges (the bay of angels). (Note: I don't think I'll ever be able to separate that name from what happened.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Lake swimming in France -- Lac de Saint-Cassien

Some fishing boats along the shore of Lac de Saint-Cassien, near Cannes, France

We took the car to Lac de Saint-Cassien yesterday and rented a paddle boat (pedalo) with a slide.

The day was amazing: sunny, breezy and the water was warm and lovely. This was supposed to be our Father's Day present and it worked out perfectly -- partly because I only had enough cash on me for a half-hour ride (the exact amount of boating fun the kids could handle).

I'm very, very, very glad, however, that I didn't look up the types of fish that live there until we got home. The carp are crazy!

There are a lot of videos on YouTube about the lake: a fly-over and a great number of videos of Germans holding up giant carp or searching out catfish underwater. I'm going to have to do more research before our next trip!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Castles (real castles!) and country life

View from a house in the country near Nice, France.

We've been looking at houses in the country again. And, I'm still torn: the city gives us conveniences like stores and activities for the kids, but the country gives us so much fresh air and space!

I'm still not sure when we'll make the leap, but there are some amazingly beautiful places out there in la France profonde (that description always makes me laugh) -- from huge fixer-uppers to ready-to-move-into mansions. We're probably looking for something in between.

And then there are the non-realistic ideas: There are even castles for sale!

For anyone interested in dreaming along with me, here are a few of the real estate sites in France:

*Note: A viager is an amazing idea, but it's always a risky bet. The houses come with elderly occupants (sometimes they live there, sometimes the place is empty) and can be bought at very low prices, but then you usually have to pay rent. The rent gets paid for either a fixed amount of time or until the occupants are no longer alive to collect it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

French parents don't know everything!

A fort we found near us
in Villeneuve-Loubet.
The beginning of a forest

In recent years, a lot of books have been published about the greatness of French parenting. The French do have quite a few wonderful ideas, I agree, but they're not the only ones!

After getting tired of all of the dog poops on our sidewalks here in Nice (they're particularly bad in our neighbourhood) and deciding we needed a little more nature for our kids (hiking in the steep foothills of the Alps can be hard with toddlers), we went back to Canada for a little flat-land forest school.

The learning style is very different from what we have here in France.

And... we loved it.


I wrote about our experience in Ottawa Parenting Times magazine.

If you'd rather hear more about France and you want a good laugh, however, you can read about how French cities might start DNA testing dog poops ("crottes") so they can fine owners (the article is in French). I can't stop laughing -- probably because my early morning, stroller obstacle course has tired me out. Am I actually in a life-in-the-city dog-poop funk?

I think dogs are awesome, but I really wouldn't mind if a CSI expert gave some of these owners -- particularly the ones who let their dogs poop in front of our elementary school -- a little crap of their own!