Our Week in France- Fontenay Abbey

 

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A day trip to Abbaye de Fontenay was a nice closing to our time in France. Warm weather, beautiful sunshine, a simple picnic, and plenty of fresh air. The Fontenay Abbey is a 12th century Cistercian Abbey and a Unesco World Heritage site.

The abbey is peaceful, meditative, and serene. It felt like the perfect way to end this trip. A nice slow down before heading back in the car and beginning the journey home. There were so many fun moments on this day. Here are a few that stuck out in my mind: Opa cuddling his grandkids on the picnic blanket during lunch; trying to to keep the children quiet inside the abbey; admiring the clean architecture; large, but simple, fountains; beautifully blue skies and warm sun; and by far my favorite– Opa leading his family in a 3-part round of a movement from Mahler’s First Symphony inside the abbey. Other visitors were so amused, they even joined in. It was a perfect meeting of like-minded choir nerds. Musically, I was quite impressed. 🙂

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Our Week in France– VĂ©zelay

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Perhaps the most relaxing day of our week in Burgundy was our day trip to VĂ©zelay. The Oma and Opa creche was up and running and we were off for a day without kids. My main goal was to have a relaxed lunch of yummy French food. Mission accomplished.

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We had a delicious menu for lunch outside on the main street. I just love how everything tastes better in France. It was so nice to chat with Jaap and Mieke and have a relaxed meal without having to entertain small children. My coffee and accompanying sweet treats was a great ending. These tiny homemade pink marshmallows were delicious!

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Afterwards we took in some sites, visiting the basilica and checking out the views. VĂ©zelay is a tiny town situated on a top a large hill and the few from top was beautiful. I’m so grateful my in-laws were willing to give us this relaxation time. Whew.

Our Week in France–A day for the kids

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A first for Flora– pony ride!

This vacation could not have been planned better. Luckily we only had one day of rain and the rest was filled with relaxing  days, a little history, French architecture, and of course, a day for the kids. The owner of the gite recommended this zoo park and it was the perfect activity. So, if you’re ever in the Burgundy region looking for kids activities, this place was great!

Here’s a link: Parc de l’ Auxois

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Thibault and his cone

I have very few pictures from this day, which probably means I was having too much fun to check my phone. I had so much fun watching Flora have fun with her cousins. I love this age. We saw lions, zebras, camels, and more—but the kids were most excited about the playground and carousel rides. Flora had her first pony ride, Thibault had some good naps, and everyone was happy.

Perhaps my favorite part of the day was our outdoor BBQ. Back at the gîte, the kids were swimming in the pool and Jaap was behind the grill. I love this photo of Jaap. It was the perfect ending to a fab day. Another win for the Jansen family!

Our Week in France—Family Time

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Exploring Chateau Bussy-Rabutin

We visited Château de Bussy-Rabutin as a family day trip during our Burgundy trip. We enjoyed a cozy family lunch at a local cafe complete with local cheeses, meats, and wine from the region. We had packed a big picnic lunch, but forget half of it back at the gîte. Ooops. At least we were able to laugh about it and we made the cafe owner very happy with our visit.

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The chateau turned out to be a fun family activity. Exploring the interior and running around the grounds. The sun was shining, Flora was exploring with her cousins, and Thibault slept on Jaap most of the time. It was a successful family day trip.

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Our Week in France

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DELICIOUS peaches—market in Reims

We have recently returned from our vacation in France. It was fantastic! Traveling with kids is not an easy feat, but I kept my travel expectations low and reasonable for these little ones and ended up having the greatest time. My (amazing) in-laws invited us for a week in Burgundy with them. In the end, my sister-in-law and nephews came and we had just a fabulous time.

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Notre Dame Cathedral in Reims

We spent one night in Reims en route to our gĂ®te to break up the travel time. We wandered around the city, I let go of my dream of champagne tasting (next time!), and enjoyed the good food, architecture, and sunshine! Despite an AWFUL (!!!) night’s sleep, our vacation was off to a good start.

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Flora channeling Joan of Arc

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Location of our picnic lunch