Monday, March 26, 2012

Why I love Sunday Afternoons - Parc de Majolan

Parc Majolan

It's Sunday afternoon...on a beautiful sunny day here in Bordeaux.  I thought it would be a lovely afternoon to take the kids out for a picnic and afternoon walk in a park.  My husband had a lot of work to complete this afternoon so it seemed like a good plan to be out and give him some piece and quiet.  Now this is one of the reasons I adore Sundays here in France...nothing is open past noon - so you are limited to just enjoying the great outdoors!  I love this concept and it's peacefulness.

So off we went today to explore another park in Bordeaux area.  I chose one I had hear a lot about - Parc de Majolan near Blanquefort - North of Bordeaux.  It's wonderful as it's only about a 15 minute drive from our house!  So I packed our lunch cooler backpack and off we went.

I was so impressed with this park!  It was stunningly beautiful and so different than any other park I've been in.  Not only was it the normal park, spread out over acres including wide walking trails through the woods and along waterways, but there were also some unique things to discover.

First we encountered some very friendly otters swimming in the water along the walkway.  They were obviously use to being feed bread as they were swimming right up to the shoreline looking up to all of us onlookers.  The kids loved watching them swim in circles.  I don't think we have even seen otters in the nature that come this close.

The friendly otters

The girls watching the otters
Right up to the shoreline

As we walked further into the park, we came upon the Grotto or the caves.   This structure was man made back in the late 1800's.  I was so fascinated by the park that I returned home to search about it's history. This park was only recently acquired by the town in 1984.  Prior to that it was a private garden that was created and designed to demonstrate different garden styles and architectural wonders of the era.  It was also designed to mix buildings & structures in harmony with nature.  The grotto or caves designed to show how water can flow around, and through and be natural at the same time.  The gardens were also styled to be more English at the time - in harmony with nature as opposed to a French garden with a more ornate and sculpted feel.    The following photos hopefully show off this beautiful spot.

These structures were truly fascinating and so fun to take photos of..  Due to the age, one can't get all the way in and under but there were still many fun tunnels, lookouts and underpasses that the kids and I explored.  Again, this is why I love Sunday here!  I know that it often is easier to think about errands to do...but since everything is closed, it's great just to enjoy nature!

As we walked through the park, the kids also enjoyed perching on rocks, walking in some of the rock beds, and walking through some caves.

Of course, like many parks, we found a playground to stop at and also a fun area to eat our lunch.  We ended the afternoon at the cafe with ice cream!!  Great way to spend a Sunday!  Looking forward to finding more parks - but this one will certainly be hard to match.  I know we will definitely return for more exploring and hanging out.

I have to say the weather also made it also very special...end of March and almost 80 degree Fahrenheit!  Relaxing to return home to have a nice dinner and unwind.

Look at us...inside a cave
On top of a ledge - my three sweethearts!

Sisterly help

Ice cream is always a great treat!

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