Sunday, May 27, 2012

Another May Park Festival...Le Mai Talencaise

Le Mai Talencaise - Parc Peixotto

Another long weekend in France...We don't celebrate Memorial Day here - but it is Pentecost on Monday - so it's a holiday.  What I'm enjoying about Bordeaux is actually the same thing I loved about Saratoga Springs, NY (where we moved from) - you can always find something to do.  As I was riding on the tram earlier this week I saw a billboard advertising a park festival - Le Mai Talencaise.  Talence is another suburb of Bordeaux, right next to our town, so very convenient.  This festival featured a lot of great artists, food vendors, family activities, and country charm.  It was actually a 3 day festival - we ended up going twice - once on Saturday night and again on Sunday to enjoy the majority of the activities.

Saturday night featured Bootleg ABBA - a British tribute band to the 70's band ABBA.  Now, I love ABBA's music and fell in love with the movie/Musical Mama Mia - so I was all over this event!  Unfortunately, as we are in France, it didn't begin until 9:30 at night.  It was held outside in the park and free to the public.  After some discussion and a low key day - we decided to take all the kids to this event.  (My 4 year old managed to fit in a dinnertime nap which I think helped her survive the evening!).  Needless to say, it didn't disappoint - we met friends of ours there and we were entertained for the rest of the night!  The band was excellent and we all had a great time listening, singing and dancing.  I have to say, you know you have a preteen when she and her 12 year old friend roll their eyes when you start dancing and singing to the music!  It didn't stop us though - and we all had a blast.  Below, are a few photos from the concert - it was extremely well attended - so much fun!  I was honestly amazed that this kind of event was free to the public.  We definitely saw all generations enjoying this event.

After this wonderful concert, everyone was further treated to a beautiful display of fireworks!  One would think this was the 4th of July or for the French Bastille Day (Independence Day July 14).  The display was one of the most beautiful displays I have ever seen.  The whole display was choreographed to music and was a musical and light journey around the world.  The story was you were in a balloon floating around to the world experiencing the different countries and continents and the music matched the cultures.  This was amazing as at times the fireworks were icy like Antarctica, or blue like the sea, glittery like India, Red -dragon like for China and Stars and Stripes for the USA.  Quite the experience and I know my description does not do it justice.  Below are a few examples.

So we had this feeling after that wonderful night that it should have been the climax or end of the festival - but there was another whole day left.  I decided to take my kids back on Sunday to experience the day -time events.  

As we entered the park, Sunday afternoon - we saw the farm area first.  There were cows, chickens and goats.  It was fun that the kids could get so close.  My middle daughter who is my animal lover enjoyed petting one of the cows.  She even wanted to name it Maisey.  I think she might have stayed there for a long time if we didn't have so many other things to see.

After we walked through the farm area, the girls wanted to head over to the family activities.  There were areas set up to play lawn games - mini soccer, balance beams, and giant connect-four game and even an obstacle course to follow.  In addition to those free activities, there was the carousel, pony rides, mini-motor bikes and trampoline jumping.  I gave my girls a choice as there were lines at many of these latter activities. Families could easily spend all afternoon or most of the day here.   My youngest daughter decided she wanted to enjoy a few turns around the carousel- while my middle daughter (8 years old) decided the trampoline jumping would be a lot of fun.  We have seen trampoline jumping before - but never had an opportunity to do until now.  I was excited that she was feeling so brave.

I have not walked around Park Peixotto before this festival - Although each time I ride the tram into the city, we go by it - so I have seen it from outside the fence and always wondered what it was like inside.   It is a beautiful park situated in the center of the suburb of Talence.  Like the other parks I've found in Bordeaux - lots of nice walking/riding roads and small lakes and playground for the kids.  This park also houses a beautiful chateau in the middle of the park.  It's a charming place to spend an afternoon and even if this festival wasn't going on - it would be a very pleasant place to just enjoy.

Finally, I was taken with the diversity of vendors at this festival.  There was a separate section for plants & flowers, another section for food products and artisan goods.  I also loved the landscape and outdoor designer vendors who set up lovely displays to give people more ideas of what to do with outdoor living space.  There was definitely a little something for everyone at this festival.  As I said earlier, this was a 3 day festival and in addition to these vendors and activities which I mentioned there were dance & music presentations going on throughout the weekend.  I loved the variety of demonstrations - from classical piano, to reggae, zumba & Calypso music.  This festival will definitely be on my calendar to return to next year. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Life this week in Photos..Parks, Friends and Baking

A little fun, a little sun, a little socializing and baking...

 So we enter into the final long weekend of May...I can't believe how many holidays there have been in France this month.  I was uploading photos from my small camera and enjoying all the parks, and fun times we have had just in the last couple of weeks..

The first photos are at the Site du Bourgailh - This great park in Pessac has so much to offer.  The other day we decided to walk through their tropical greenhouse...needless to say, my youngest enjoyed the hanging moss!

We enjoyed hiking in the Dordogne last weekend - our 4 day weekend.  I'll have to write a separate post on that whole hike in Campagne - a small village near where my in-laws live...but I had to share my youngest daughter just having fun...maybe her mother takes too many photos?

So this week, I spent time getting my oldest daughter ready for a trip with her class called Classe Verte or roughly translated to Outdoor Class - This is an 8 day trip and they are off to the Pyrenees Mountains for some hiking, exploring and outdoor learning.  Needed to outfit her with hiking boots, heavy socks, hiking shorts (not something a fashion conscious 11 year old automatically owns..).  We did fit a bit of time meeting up with new English speaking friends at Parc Bordelais in Bordeaux on Wednesday afternoon.   My oldest loves to order her own ice cream and beverages...I think she has a lot of fun using her French and I get a kick out of listening to her.  I still sit back in awe as I listen to my daughters speak French...just amazes me every time I  hear them rattle off a sentence and/or tell a story in French.

We were quite a group sitting at the cafe stand.  I think we totalled 4 families and 12 kids.  My oldest bring water to her sisters and new friends...and below my youngest enjoying her favorite snack - Ice Cream!  It's been a lot of fun here to socialize with both French speaking families and kids and also meet English speaking families.  My older girls find it fascinating to hear where everyone is from and what they think of Bordeaux.  

One of the fun things about heading off to a city park is to be able to take the scooters, bikes, skateboards or rip-sticks to ride on.  The girls always have a blast riding.  It's still though, funny seeing them on their way to or from riding on the city sidewalks!  City life is definitely different than suburbia!  They can even take their bikes and scooters on the trams - actually you see everything on the trams - bikes, scooter, strollers and even animals.  

Finally I ended my week, having a group of women at our house from the Bordeaux Women's Club.  This club has become my social network and I have met so many interesting women.  Anyway, one of the members held a healthy baking session at my house.  We made the best Banana Bread on earth and also coconut macaroons (not the French kind).  The best thing about these recipes is that they are healthy!  You should check out her blog at Healthy Indulgence - some great recipes and tips!   So as I head into our last long weekend in May - the weather is warm, sunny and lovely!  I'm thinking healthy foods and fun exercise! Looking forward to a fun weekend ahead!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Spring Showers, May of France

Loving the Spring Flowers....

So we have been having a bout of cool weather and rain...(rain, rain, go away).  It's been quite a strange Spring - 85 degrees in March - cool & rainy April - a bout of 95 degree weather in early May and now mid-60's.  I never know what to where each day....sweater, coat, umbrella...all three?

I have to say though, I am admiring all the beautiful flowers around this area.  I have always loved flowers - always marveled at other people's flower gardens.  I have never had the time to create and tend a large flower garden of my own...I'm often lucky if I get a few pots planted for my patio. 

Anyway, it's been great to photograph many of the beautiful plants and flowers here.  My youngest daughter also enjoyed just picking wild daisies on a hike this past weekend.  The fun of just taking in nature.

Just  a short post tonight to share my lovely surroundings over the past week and the beautiful flowers around me.

Hopefully all this beauty will bring warmer weather and sunshine!

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