Family · Travel

France revisited as an adult

When I was eleven, the whole of my year at school went on an art trip to Paris. It was a hellish, long coach journey in a less than desirable hotel chain. The sights we visited were under direction and decision of our teachers and mostly they did ok, apart from the food.

It was dire. The memory of which marred the whole trip for me. Think clammy charcuterie, bland baguettes and flaccid frites! It’s not the memory I would like to have of such a country renowned for its food and drink, to me it would be just as important for us to learn about this too!

I would absolutely love to do it all again but to make the most of sampling the well known cuisine that France has to offer and saviour it all.

I would love to take my little family of four and start it off by staying in some of the wonderful homes for rent in France. This would give us massive flexibility in where we wanted to stay around planning our trip and in what sort of accommodation. I could have peace of mind that I had a family friendly place for the kids too so that we could all feel comfortable when kicking back and relaxing.

Cities and towns

Although my school trip was all based in Paris, we didn’t really delve into the tasty depths of what the city had to offer such as it’s wonderful bakeries or quaint cafes for a perfect Parisian croissant. I remember seeing the cosmopolitan hubub as we drive around in the coach and seeing all the vivid shop fronts and paper wrapped goods.

I don’t think I would necessarily go back to Paris as default as I would like to taste the variation in regional foods too. Normandy is famed for its wonderful Apples for instance, or how about one of my dreams being fulfilled and heading down south for a proper cassoulet. I have never wanted to try anything more than a proper cassoulet, especially the Toulouse sausage and white beans contained in the slow cooked dish. It’s even available in varying degrees of quality as a tinned version. Having tried the famous poultry in the UK, a special trip for me would be to Bresse to of course sample a Poulet de Bresse in its home turf, wonderful!

There would also be some many longed for whistle-stop tours of the city restaurants, from budget to blowing the bank to taste some of their specialty dishes and wines. Whether they focus on locally sourced, specialty diet or pride themselves on Michelin star quality, to imagine the different genres available blows my mind. We might have to fit a different restaurant in every few hours to ensure we had enough diversity!

Coastal

I would most definitely want to visit the coastal areas to try some fresh, delicious sea food, especially as our whole family enjoys fish and shellfish. Charming maritime treasures that are centuries old still encapsulate traditional methods of catching, preparing and cooking seafood dishes. It would be so interesting to see all the little villages and witnessing the days catch as fresh as you could possibly get. I’m sure my husband could get a few fishing tips too as they certainly wouldn’t go amiss!

On my wish list is Marseille for a traditional, fragrant Bouillabaisse.

Brimming with an abundance of sea sourced delights, it’s one I wouldn’t be able to pass up. It has a wonderful rich colour and scent as it is jewelled with saffron. Pure opulence. Served with a perfect wine, exquisite view and a baguette to soak up the stock. Immense!The Côte d’Azur or the French Riviera would also be a must for me. My husband would love to see Monaco, it’s famous race track that he has seen so often on television and it’s fantastic Casinos whilst I enjoyed the local fish dish Stocafi. I’m sure the boys would relish the sweet Fougasse pastries too!

Rural

To me, the best places to eat are the areas that the locals keep to themselves, little treasures that have been untouched by time or change and keep traditional ways of being made and served. Little back street cafes, family ran bakeries or butchers shops, even little market stalls that have always had the same produce, year after year. I’d love to watch the locals do their weekly shop and see what they buy from the stalls to feed their families.

Seeing goats on hills apes that are kept for milk to make aged ripened cheeses or the age old bountiful fields that contain the most precious and sought after Cavallion melon. Provence has a bounty of all these things and nestled against a purple hazed back drop of lavender fields, the fragrance must be mesmerising. I would definitely take a big butch Home for my mom and my sisters as we all adore lavender and it’s relaxing scent. How enchanting it would be to leisurely eat and drink the evening away with delights such as chicken in cider, cured pork or prune dishes, with a wonderfully sweet wine. This is just the perfect idyllic for me and I would love to witness my family, especially my small boys, enjoy these French wonders, just how they have always tasted. It’s definitely a history lesson I would enjoy and I’m certain that they would too.

This is a sponsored post. All words are my own.

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