Talking Story: A Frantically Fantastic French Vacation

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In my first installment of an occasional series called “Talking Story“, we had just returned from the sunny, slow, and seductive North Shore of Oahu. The pace of life picked up dramatically upon our return home; barreling through the end of junior year, middle school, SAT testing, and my speaking engagement at BlogHerFood. Not surprisingly, no time was left to plan a summer getaway.

Paris, France

The view from our Paris living room – 18th arrondissement just below Sacré Couer

As the kids’ summer activity calendar percolated with fun, the week of July 4 finally popped up as our big chance to have a last-minute warm weather getaway. With little time to plan, we thought we’d get in the car and enjoy the beauty of our home state and see what part of the coastline would capture our fancy.

Provence region of France

The grand entrance to the main street, the Cours Mirabeau, in Aix-en-Provence.

Then @dormantchef informed us of another business trip to the South of France leaving on July 8, forcing what might be an abrupt end to our little getaway. With a twinkle in my eye and only half-serious, I suggested that perhaps we should accompany him on this trip…maybe our remaining airline miles might cover three flights. Not really believing they would, we logged on and took a quick look and well, the rest is now travel history.

Booking the flights was not an easy feat, but little did I know how heroic one must be to find a place to stay in Paris with just over a week’s notice, in July, for four people that need three beds. (and who are travelling on a budget). With the help of many friends including Mardi of eatlivetravelwrite.com, Cathy of  MrsWheelbarrow.com, and a former co-worker, we found an apartment in the 18th that could just squeeze four people, booked through a lovely rental agency called Paris Rentals by Ruben.

Paris, France

The Living Room of our Paris apartment, photo thx to @dormantchef

With the rest of the arrangements organized by @dormantchef’s French office, all that was left was packing and the myriad logistical details that always precede time away from a very hectic household.

It was not our first trip to Paris with the kids but it would be our first time in the south of France. We decided on four nights in Paris and five nights in Aix-en-Provence – a central location for exploring the hill towns and magnificent Cote d’Azur as well as the home base for many of @dormantchef’s business meetings.

Paris, France

Clearing skies above the Louvre. Photo thx to @techsavvyteen.

Our hope for this visit to Paris was to explore the streets of different areas and expose the kids to more of a food-loving perspective of the city. When last we visited we explored mostly major tourist attractions and the kids frequently stayed back in the apartment for evening meals, missing out on many outstanding food experiences, (for which they have never really forgiven us – the downside of raising kids with an affinity for eating fabulous food).

South of France view of the Mediterranean

Stunning view of the Mediterranean in Antibes, Cote d’Azur, France (photo thx to @dormantchef)

Though we barely scratched the surface of the food and culture of Paris and the South of France in the short time we were there, in upcoming posts I will share my perspective on what we did discover in our search for pastries, chocolate, great restaurants, food markets and more. I hope you’ll follow along for all the installments of our Frantically Fantastic French vacation.

Have you ever planned a last-minute vacation (an oxymoron?) How did it turn out? Would you do it again?

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13 Responses to Talking Story: A Frantically Fantastic French Vacation

  1. pattyabr July 25, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    So jealous of your travels. I have several friends who went to France this year but alas I have never been. I will live vicariously through your experiences. One friend brought me back macarons and I made a more confident batch this past weekend after taking a formal cooking class.

    It was nice to have met you at the BlogHer Food conference in Seattle. I was the Mic Wrangler for your presentation. Happy Summer.

    • Beth (OMG! Yummy) July 25, 2012 at 9:25 am #

      Well I am jealous of your confident baking abilities to be able to make macarons! Wow! We finally understood the wonder of a macaron in Aix-en-Provence when we finally tasted a fantastic set of them. The crunchy exterior, creamy interior and the burst of flavor. Wow!

      Thanks for mic wrangling and reading my blog! Enjoy your summer and I’ll look forward to hearing what you think about my future French food posts! Hope my posts provide a suitable vicarious experience for you :-)

  2. sandy corman July 25, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Great pictures and story Beth except for the one with the pyramid in front of the Louvre. Ugh! To spoil such nice architecture with a glass monstrosity.Imagine. Even the French hate it. Are you going to do a blog re our N.O. trip with all that great food and pictures?

    • Beth (OMG! Yummy) July 25, 2012 at 9:57 am #

      Why don’t you tell me how you really feel about it? :-) I have a backlog of stories to write – will get to N.O. eventually.

      • sandy corman July 25, 2012 at 10:56 am #

        dont think you want to know what I really think of it.

  3. casacks July 25, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    Lovely shots, Beth! Can’t wait to read more about the trip.

    • Beth (OMG! Yummy) July 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

      If we could only double each day to 48 hours, I’d have all the posts done by now, I’m sure :-)

  4. Cooking In Stilettos (@cookinstilettos) July 25, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    Beautiful pictures Beth and I love your spur of the moment traveling. Can’t wait to read the next installment!

    • Beth (OMG! Yummy) July 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

      Think I’m going to start with pastries… getting hungry just thinking about it! Thanks for popping by in your high heels and all.

  5. Kassie July 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    What a great trip! I can’t wait for my kids to be older so I feel like we could handle trips like this. I’ve been to France twice, and it is my most favorite place that I’ve been to.

    Thanks for stopping by on my SITS day!

    • Beth (OMG! Yummy) July 28, 2012 at 7:47 am #

      It is nice to be mobile on short notice with the kids but don’t wish away the young years – the teenage years will arrive soon enough!

  6. Kim October 24, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Hi Beth! I think I found you through Andrew and #octoberunprocessed. Regardless, hi! While we were dating, by husband and I toured through the South of France, fell in love, and when we arrived home, decided that we were going to live a Provencale lifestyle. How’s that for romance?! I love everything about the region, the people, the food, the weather, the wine… I love it all!

    And to answer your question, yep, we’re really good at planning last-minute vacations! We just used miles to plan a last-minute getaway to Maui last month. Because it was last-minute, we were able to get into the Ritz for less than $200 a night, which is a STEAL and cheaper than the Hilton. So sometimes, it pays to not plan ahead! I would definitely do that again.

    [K]

    • Beth October 24, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      Wow – the RITZ for $200 a night! Score! We love Hawaii – been to almost every island and my hubby has relatives on Hawaii and Oahu. Love how low my blood pressure goes the minute I step off the plane there.

      And yes – that is super romantic! Thx for sharing a bit of your special trip to France. I can only imagine how wonderful it was during your courtship. I thought it was pretty romantic even with two teenagars in tow :-)

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