When we were making plans to go to France for Solene and Chris’s wedding, the big question was, “where will we stay?” I knew that my French family’s house would be packed with Solene and Chris and Batiste and quite possibly some other immediate family, and while I consider us “family,” we are in no way “immediate” – rather, we are “sort of, by invitation.” Which is probably the best kind, anyhow.
We were kindly offered space with Guillaume and Soizic, Solene’s brother and sister-in-law, about fifteen minutes from Nantes. The family also includes three children, Salome (12, whom I once babysat in 2001 when she was quite small and cute), Simon (8, whom I saw when he was about 12 hours old), and Philemon (4). Salome graciously gave up her room to us, and the connecting wall was about 12 inches thick, so Jamie crying all night long didn’t bother anyone. At least, not too much.
As I’ve mentioned before, this trip was less about sight-seeing, and more about spending time with people we love in a country I’d like my children to think of as their second home. Perhaps one day we will be able to spend some serious time here, like, a whole summer in a rented cottage in a small town on the coast. Until then, these short bursts every few years should do the trick. We certainly don’t feel like we missed out on anything by not spending our days driving from ancient castle to gorgeous church.
Trains are a universal small-boy language.
We spent a lot of happy mornings and evenings “en famille,” enjoying conversation and good food.
Mmmm, brioche with honey
Luckily for Tony, both Soizic and Guillaume speak English, and I really don’t think that Charles and Philemon quite understood that they spoke different languages. I mean, not really. Charles will tell me that the only words he knows in French are “bonjour” and “merci,” but it certainly didn’t stop him from communicating just fine with the boys.
Simon was so solicitous and patient with Charles
I know that Jamie won’t remember the trip at all, but Charles still talks about his friends “Phimelo and Simon.”
So thank you, Guillaume, Soizic, Salome, Simon, and Philemon, for showing us a wonderful time. I cannot stress how incredible their hospitality was. Perhaps we’ll be able to return the favor one day.