Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Carcans Maubuisson - Great place in Southwestern France for some fun family time

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Lac Carcans-Hourtin

Fun in the Sun - Afternoon on the Lake

The other afternoon we met friends of ours out at Carcans Maubuisson.  We chose this lake, located close to the Atlantic as a break from the strong crashing Ocean waves.  Carcans-Maubuisson is a township composed of 5 smaller villages - Carcans bourg, Le Pouch, Maubuisson, the area of Bombannes and Carcans Plage.  The town of Maubuisson sits on the edge of  Lac de Carcans-Hourtin.  This area is stunningly beautiful and its has been developed with families in mind.  At the end of the lake there is a wonderful gentle beach, where on can sunbathe and swim. There is also beautiful long tree-lined walking path all along the Southern Shore.   For the more active soul, there are rentals of windsurfers, catamarans, sailboats along with paddle boats. This area is highly prized among Europeans for sailing practice and learning!

We arrived in the middle of the afternoon.  It was already busy, but it was a Sunday.  Even though there were no spaces in the Public parking area next to the beach, we had no problem parking a couple blocks off the beach area, near the tennis club.  It wasn't more than a 5 minute walk to bring all of our gear to the beach.

The beach area at Maubuisson
We settled in and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon in and out of the water.  I loved this beach especially for my youngest as it gently increased in depth.  She could walk way out and still be able to touch.  The water was a great temperature - comfortable but refreshing.  It was fun to look around and see all the fun things we could do.
Many kinds of boats to rent



Catamarans - Great family recreation area

After the kids got tired of playing in the water and swimming, the fathers decided to rent a paddle boat and venture out into the lake.  I loved these paddle boats!  They all had a built in slide for playing in the water and plenty of room for up to 6 people!  Some of the boats even looked like cars!
The Dads take the older kids out in a paddle boat

This was a deluxe boat - room for 6 & a slide for water fun!
My youngest decided that she wanted just to watch the older kids play.  She was having her own fun time making friends and building sandcastles!

The youngest just enjoyed floating around

She also loved playing with new friends on the beach.

This particular afternoon was bittersweet as these good friends are headed back to the States and this was our last family outing with them.  My older two children have loved having "American" friends here in France and will miss them very much.  
Best Friends!!  So glad we live in the modern technology age, so these two can keep in  touch!
After we had our fill of the afternoon sun and sand, we headed into the town of Maubuisson to find a restaurant for dinner.  I love these adorable French towns with all their cafes, awnings and terraces.

Wandering around town, looking for the perfect restaurant - so many to choose from!
Sample menu - salads, lots of grilled choices & traditional fare
If one was staying in this area for more than a day, there are bikes to rent
Bikes for all sizes!
We finally settled on a lovely cafe with local fare and we all enjoyed salads, seafood and excellent desserts!

The other set of Best friends!!  We will miss you guys!!
After our meal, we headed back out to the beach area for an after dinner walk.  The tree lined path was so inviting.  It was a great way to take in the sunset and peacefulness of the evening.

Time for a walk - after dinner!
The lake was quiet, with all the boats moved onto the shore
Loved the quietness of the beach after sunset!

Paddle boats - all lined up - ready for the next day

Quiet and peaceful time


Even the moon added it's own characteristic
Finally, the adults were done with the water....but not the children!  They rolled up or took off their clothing and headed back into the water for one last time, before heading back home!  Nothing like a 10 pm swim!!
Yes, that would be my children...heading into DEEP water.  I laughed at their choice of  place on the beach - My adventurers!  They keep us on our toes!
(As my oldest pointed out, it's doesn't say No Swimming, it's just pointing out a drop off!)

I look forward to returning to this area, it's about an hour Northwest of Bordeaux and a great spot to just hang out and relax!!  Hope everyone is enjoying their summer - as the heatwave has settled here in France, we are certainly enjoying being so close to water!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lege - Cap Ferret - A Hidden treasure & great vacation spot for families!

Cap Ferret 

Cap Ferret is at the end of the peninsula, situated at the North side of the Bassin d'Arcachon in the French department of Gironde. This headland takes the form of a spit, which separates the Atlantic Ocean from Arcachon Bay. At the same time, the entrance to Arcachon Bay separates Cap Ferret from the resort town of Arcachon. This area has historically been a resort area for the high French society and remains a trendy destination for summer holidays for all. It's also perhaps one of France's best kept secrets from International travelers.  Cap Ferret is famous for its lighthouse and as an up-market resort that has retained its natural feel at the heart of the Landes of Gascony and the Pays de Buch.  It's family friendly, natural and carefree.  A lot of people will rent vacation homes or camp out on the peninsula and just enjoy the relaxed beach style life.  As beaches surround this whole headland, it's easy to be near a beach and walk or ride to it.

As an American, this area reminds me of Cape Cod, with it's narrow access, the feeling of being surrounded by water on both sides, beautiful beach charm along with it's quaint villages, bike paths and long beaches. Cap Ferret is accessible by road from the north, and by passenger ferry from Arcachon. 
Walking to the lighthouse

The top or cap of the lighthouse (photo credit to my oldest daughter)

View from the lighthouse

View looking back onto Cap Ferret

Last August we headed out to explore Cap Ferret with friends.  We drove out the main road, enjoying many of the cute villages along the way and stopped at the lighthouse. The kids had a blast going to the top.  We then settled down for the afternoon on La Plage de la Pointe - at the very tip of Cap Ferret.

View looking into the Bassin d'Arcachon

Blues - The color of the ocean, water & so many nautical things!
I loved the colors of the signs at the lighthouse.

Looking toward the Dune du Pyla from the lighthouse.

I loved this beach for many reasons.  It had spectacular views of the Dune du Pyla and it was beautiful to see the Atlantic Ocean and also the Bassin.  On the day we were there, the Ocean waves were fun and very manageable for kids. They were big enough to enjoy riding on them with board, but not too strong for younger children.  

On the beach - always nice to have boards to ride the waves.

Sitting on the beach, viewing the Dune du Pyla

Great beach for the kids!

Our spot on the beach

More Dune du Pyla

My middle daughter loved having the waves spray her as they crashed on the shore.

After our afternoon on the beach, enjoying the sun, the surf and the peacefulness of the salt air, we head back up the peninsula to have the traditional French summer dinner of Moules & Frites (Clams & Fries).  This, along with a glass of wine was the perfect way to end this relaxing fun day!!  

I look forward to having many more days like this one!

Refreshing and divine!

Moules!  Love them!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Guest Post - Your Expat Child - Preparing Kids for an Oversea's Move

Over on Your Expat Child today -  

Good Day everyone,
I'm happy to share today that I am guest posting over on Your Expat Child

Your Expat Child is a wonderful resource for families who are moving abroad.  I only recently found this site within the last year - Wished I knew about it before we moved.  She has so many great resources for families and such great advice - for expats, by expats.  If you are considering an international move or know someone who is, I highly recommend this site!

In this post, I talk about how we prepared our kids for our oversea's move.  At this point, it was 2 years ago this month that we made our decision to move to to France from New York State.  I can't believe it's been 2 years already - in so many ways it feels like yesterday.

Moving overseas is exciting, adventurous, overwhelming, nerve-wrenching, scary and fun all at the same time.  There are probably many more feelings but this just names a few of how we felt.   One of my biggest concerns of moving was to understand how the kids felt and help them the best we could.

Hop on over to Your Expat Child - Preparing Kids - Overseas move - One Perspective - Enjoy!!
My girl's who are enjoying traveling!
Let me know what you think - either over there or here on my blog - I would love to hear from readers out there.
We have enjoyed many rainbows here - such a peaceful sign!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Happy Bastille Day - France - le 14 Juillet!!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Place Charles de Gaulle
Eglise - Place Charles de Gaulle

Independence Day in France!

Today is France's Independence Day - the day the power went to the people!  This day, similar to July 4th in the States is celebrated with military ceremonies, community balls and of course, fireworks.

This year, le 14 Juillet (as the French call it!) falls on a Sunday.  This means that the whole weekend has been full of celebrations!  Since we only get to enjoy this holiday but once a year, we decided to take the girls to see the fireworks.  (Remember, in France, in the summer it doesn't get dark until after 10:30 pm)  Most fireworks begin between 11 pm and 11:30pm!  Since my middle daughter is leaving for camp early Monday morning - going tonight wasn't going to be the best plan.  So I looked around for towns that were celebrating on Saturday night - and lucky us - the town, next door - Merignac had it's community celebration last night.

Le Bal - with the Orchestra and everyone dancing!

More of Le Bal

What fun we had!!  They began celebrating with a military demonstration at 7 pm, followed by an outdoor "bal" or dance in the town square.  They had vendors selling food, face painting & balloons for the kids and tables lined up for seating.  On one end was the grandstand where a band played all evening and everyone could dance!  All ages, all kinds of dancing, slow, fast, traditional, cha-cha , line dancing...you name it, the French do it!! Everyone was having a grand old time - the evening was warm and clear and perfect for being outside!    (We joined into the festivities closer to 9 pm)

So much fun - perfect setting for this kind of event.  These "bals" as they call them in France are very common and are held outside in town squares or open areas conducive for larger groups.  They are free and open to the public.  For me, it's nice to watch everyone come together and have a great time.  On older gentleman even gave my middle daughter some impromptu dance lessons.
Traditional group dancing

Participating in a French version of a "Reel" dance

Under everyone goes...

Father/Daughter dancing

Sisters dancing

A little resting and modeling!
I think we are having fun!

At 11 pm, the music stopped and the whole crowd paraded out of the center of town to the local stadium.  This parade was led by a circus performer on stilts who was twirling sparklers as he lead everyone the 15 min. walk down to the where we would be able to see the fireworks!  Other performers were interspersed within the crowd, lighting sparklers, fountains and firecrackers along the way - colorful and noisy - but lots of fun!  The girls loved being in the "parade" and found it fascinating to watch the light show as we walked!
Papa is always good for a ride, when little one needs a break!

The Circus performer on stilts - leading the parade!
Sparklers light the way down the road

As we arrived at the stadium, we settled down onto the grass outside the stadium and watched for the next 30 minutes -a fun firework show set to music!  It was definitely a fun filled evening!!
Watching the fireworks!

Sometimes...a little too loud - but fun to watch!

So Happy Bastille Day France - May the day be enjoyed by all who celebrate!  We were thrilled to be part of your special day!

Popular Posts