Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Parlez-vous Kiwi?

When you receive an invitation to a wedding in the South of France you may as well take a few extra days out there to get a feel for the place right? Well, it would be rude not to.

And so we did.

How do I sum up four marvellous days in the South of France?

J'aime pan au chocolat
Oui oui merci au revoir

Austin was unfortunately working over the weekend so Luca, Beni and I travelled with the boy's "surrogate" parents, affectionately known as Batty and Sezzy. My sister and brother from another mother.

And oh my goodness do I love them!

Like with any family, they take us as we are, they know our good points and bad points, they know our children can be incredibly cute as well as incredibly annoying. We don't put on the airs and graces for them, they get the raw reality and yet they still love us and actually want to spend time with us! They are precious, amazingly wonderful, invaluable, unconditional people who have enriched our lives. Seriously.

And so, off to the South of France we went to a little town called Bollene. Very cute. Quaint. French.
We arrived on a Wednesday and the wedding wasn't until Saturday so had a few days up our sleeves in which to do anything that took our fancy. And there was actually heaps of things to do in and around the area.

Our first evening was spent by the banks of the river Lez... 
Eating fresh baguette, cured meats, olives, cheese, fresh and 'oh-so-full-of-flavour-you-think-you might-forget-to-breathe' tomatos. And of course vin rouge to wash it all down. 

Our mornings were generally spent with an easy stroll into the little town to partake of fresh pastries and coffee. Then we were ready to explore! 

Our first port of call was Pont Du Gard which is the remains of a 50km aquaduct that ran between Uzès and Nîmes. The aqueduct was constructed by the Roman Empire in the middle of the first century A.D. It was constructed entirely without the use of mortar. The aqueduct's stones – some of which weigh up to 6 tons – were precisely cut to fit perfectly together eliminating the need for mortar. *Thank you Wikipedia*
It's pretty darn impressive and it was amazing to see and be able to touch something that is nearly 2,000 years old. I was quite smitten.

We were able to swim just upstream of Pont du Gard so even though the water was rather on the chilly side Luca stripped down to his undies and there was no stopping him! 
Stones were skimmed. 
Stones were thrown at little French girls who dared to wander close enough... 
And then there was cuddles in a nice comfy dry towel in the arms of two of Luca's favourite people in the whole world.
With our awesome ability with the French language eating out was.... interesting.

I thought I ordered three Kronenbourg (beer), but we were given this...
... which is a crumble of some sort... must sound like Kronenbourg I guess...?
We had to laugh.
We had to eat it.
It was very tasty indeed but not ideal for starting off a night of 'fine dining'...
A waiter who spoke english came up to us at the end of the evening and asked us why we ordered dessert first... I was tempted to say that's the way we eat in New Zealand, but had to admit it was because we are terrible at speaking French.
He laughed.
He went and told all the people inside.
They all laughed.
So we did the haka and left.
(not really, but that would have been a good comeback huh?)
The day before the wedding we went somewhere especially for Luca - a Crocodile Farm!
This freaky little white guy is an albino crocodile. There are only 25 of them currently in existence and 2 of them were at this particular Croc Farm.

I was expecting there to maybe be about 3 or 4 decent sized crocs in a big glass cage or something similar.
What I was not expecting was the 100+ maHOOsive crocodiles in a very large glass house where you actually get to walk over their living space on wooden bridges and pathways....
They are freaky, lazy, ancient creatures with lots of teeth and bad tempers. But Luca LOVED them!

Beni was of course keen to get in on the action as well. Fearless he is. Fearless.

And how could you leave without a momento? Fortunately this is a much less frightful version of the real thing.
Henry the Crocodile (said 'On-REE') is now a firm part of the family. Luca has never been a soft toy boy, but he is now. Even when he goes off to sleep he asks for his muzzy and Henry. Woah. I hope that croc realises what a priveleged toy he is.

And our next rendezvous? Well, when in France...
Chateauneuf du Pape = Heaven on earth.
A very expensive Heaven on earth.
My husband's favourite French wine.
Unfortunately, because we flew with only carry-on luggage, I couldn't bring a bottle back for him. So I got him the next best thing - Chateauneuf du Pape chocolates! (all the women cheer!)
They are still sitting unopened on his bedside cabinet.
Men really are from Venus.

For dinner that evening we had Kebabs with an 18 Euro bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape.
Classy. Very classy.

As luck would have it our very dear and gorgeous friends who are living in Texas just happened to be in the South of France for another wedding that same weekend. Through numerous text messages and phonecalls we eventually managed to meet up with them and their wee baby bump in Orange (it's a town...) for a very quick but oh so very sweet catchup before we each had to dash off to our different weddings.
Random but AWESOME to see them.

Because Pango and Anna-Kate are two of Austin's favourite things I once again had a very envious husband stuck in the UK paying Heavy Metal bands (which, coincidentally, are two of his least favourite things. That being paying people and heavy metal music...)

And so, The Wedding. A very beautiful wedding. The occasion that gave us the excuse to spend four magnifique days in France.
Set in the outskirts of Bollene, the wedding was held at a homestead with beautiful big grounds and trees all around.
The day was hot.
The sky was blue.
Champagne flowed freely.
The bride was radiant in a gorgeous white dress.
The groom was handsome in suit and stripey socks.

Beni had all the ladies at his beck and call when he turned up in his pinstriped waistcoat and trousers because it was too hot to wear a shirt and shoes. He looked like he was a Boy Band member. TOO CUTE!

Luca had Henry the Crocodile with him so he was happy.

I had my best friend and the odd glass of champagne with me so I was happy.

After nearly 8 years of being in London I am still in awe of the fact that you can just pop over to any European country for the weekend. It's awesome.

And as the summer sun starts smiling on England and the rest of Europe, so my heart and soul are smiling within me at this good and wonderful life I have with my beautiful family and friends.


  1. Wowee Brigitte! Beautiful photos, what an awesome weekend!! Looks AMAZING!

  2. So great to read Brigitte..and funny! x love jen hi'n'dry


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