1. Memories memories memories, how I loved this Susan, it was a joy to read all about Lormarin and it's surrounding districts, but then your wonderful recollections of your childhood holidays to Mexico, just delightful, thanks again, Paulx

  2. We traveled to Provence with our two sons when they were about 9 and 12. We rented a gite in Lourmarin and did many of the activities you suggested. It was a very mixed experience for our family. We had to cultivate lots of patience and an appreciation for the fact that the things that are thrilling to parents (seeing a charming village or looking at a stunning view) are often of little or no interest to kids.

    The personality of your child will be a big determining factor. Our oldest was, at that age, very shy and hesitant. We rented bikes for the week so that the kids could explore the village on their own. The youngest was game, but the oldest dragged his feet. We pulled our hair out — it seemed like such a treat to have a bicycle to explore an old French village with money in your pocket for ice cream!!

    Now it is a good family story and we can all laugh about it. My oldest has since been a Senate intern in D.C., taught English briefly in China, and got a Masters degree in London. He's on vacation in South Africa at the moment. So, parents need to realize that their child's behavior or preferences are largely about a moment in time. The only solution? Guide, but keep a perspective and go with the flow!!

  3. Wonderful writings Susan.

    I believe one of the best mothering decisions I ever made was to take my son to France when he was about five. The inspiration came entirely from your daughter.

    I clearly remember visiting you shortly after one of your early trips to France. I had asked your very young daughter if she enjoyed the trip. She simply burst with enthusiasm, for at least a half an hour if not a full one, telling me about Monet and other artists she had learned about, and about the language, the food… I was simply blown away by her brilliance and excitement. I decided on the spot to take my five year old son to Europe.

    Today my son, now 20, is studying International Relations at McGill University. Earlier he was invited to be an "American Ambassador" for the peacemaking group "Seeds of Peace" and has worked with Arab, Christian and Jewish students in conflict zones. He loves to explore different cultures and dreams of someday working in the State Department. His early travel experiences were life changing, and for that I will always be grateful to you and your lovely daughter. Merci Beaucoup, Susan!

  4. Ah, to have been in your families when I was young. It would have been great to have the adventures you both had, although our languorous summers lakeside in Vermont had their appeal and still bring back wonderful memories.

    I think the one thing a family could take away from this post is the world of possibilities they might never before have imagined. Instead of thinking "outside the box" they can think "off the beaten path." What fun everyone would have exploring someplace new. And I love your idea of the kids doing a blog for their friends. A terrific way to hone their writing skills while sharing stories.

    And many, many thanks for NOT sharing the picnic photo from le Forêt de Cèdres! 🙂

  5. If I may, I'd like to add a footnote to Susan's delightfull story of her family vacations. I'll call it "What does it take to scare a big brave man?"

    We had just arrived in our motel room. We were on the second floor with a large open balcony overlooking the assigned parking spots below.

    We looked up and there climbing down the a gigant TARANTULA !!, We all screamed for Daddy to get it down. He turned pale and said he'd call the desk. Within mimutes an employee arrived with a broom. He was laughing and mumbling in Spanish. With one big swipe of broom, he swept the large tarantula off the wall and over the balcony and onto the cars below and ours directly in line !!
    In the morning we were scared to death to check the car. The next leg of the trip was in complete silence. We never knew when we'd get the next leg, black and hairy going up our leg !We were ever fearful that he was lurking among the luggage.
    I am still wondering if he ever got away or just hitched another ride to California.
    We were all relieved when we got a new car !!

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