France, the fifth day

I must admit, day two of 6 a.m. wakeups really affected all three of us this morning and by about 10 a.m., everyone (me included!) was grumpy and whiny. We were alone again this morning and I wasn’t sure what we were going to do with our time. But the attitudes and misery called for some exercise and, you know, pastries. We took the lovely walk down the hill again to the old center to Axelle’s favorite bakery. It is closed on Mondays and I need to try her favorite bakery here, of course, so what better time for some paztries? (This time pain au chocolat, brioche au sucree and essentially a pain au chocolat with orange pieces, although I forget exactly what it was called.) They were perfectly buttery and flaky and delicious, and the view from the tables in the courtyard was truly French.

We returned home with a baguette hanging out of the stroller basket and full bellies. On the way up the hill, we stopped at Axelle’s favorite wine shop so I could get her a bottle. Much to my pleasure, I was able to communicate to the owner in French that I wanted to buy a bottle of rose, I was a friend of Axelle’s, and that she had told me that he knows what she likes, so I wanted him to help me pick out a bottle. I can still speak just a little French, but it has been so fun to try to use it when I can and to discover the things that have stuck with me all these years. It has also been a nice change from Munich, being able to speak in the local language with the local people. I’ve been inspired to maybe try to pick up French again – maybe just reading a little every day, but I’m trying not to make huge demands on myself considering what is coming up in the near future.

A new road is being built around the corner from the house, so John Henry has been especially pleased to discover that bulldozers do, also, exist in Europe.

A pre-lunch swim and then a nap put everyone in better spirits for our trip into the center of Montpellier. We picked Alina up at school and then headed to the Place de la Comédie for dinner at the new fast food restaurant that has been the talk of the town. You can imagine the kick I got out of discovering it was Popeyes. We have a Popeyes around the corner in South Bend and I’ve never eaten at Popeyes in my life. It seems like a good story, to say I had to go to Montpellier for my first taste.

I have fond memories of exploring the center of the city with EA, just the two of us, years ago. We ate macarons from Paul on the benches among these trees.

After dinner, I loved watching the kids dancing to the street performer and throwing their balloons around. Whatever Alina is doing, Edith is trying to do too, and JH is copying Edith. It is quite a magical place for some Popeyes and balloons.

It truly has been a vacation for these kids, with swimming every day, lots of food to eat, and staying up past their bedtime every night. It can make for some more challenging moments and attitudes, but I’m so glad we can make these memories together. And Edith now has a French BFF.

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