Je voyage, tu voyages, elle voyage …

August 20, 2009

The time has come to start thinking about going to France again.

One of the decisions I made from the start was that I would get Piaf to a “real” French-speaking environment for a minimum of a week each year. Last year we satisfied that with a family holiday to Arcachon, near Bordeaux, chosen because we could get there without flying with a four-month-old; this year, we’ve been to Turkey and the week I was going to take Piaf on an ultra-cheap trip, just me and her and a no-star hotel, to Paris or Normandy, has somehow metamorphosed into a week’s self-catering à trois in Dorset and visiting Monkey World. Need I add that her maman has taken a hand in this?

But perhaps it’s for the best. After all, is she really ready to spend a whole week away from her mother – and is her mother really ready to spend a whole week away from her? Do I have the skills yet to entertain her on my own resources for seven whole days – especially if France has no Monkey World? So Plan B is to do two long weekends (just me and her and a no-star hotel, blah blah), one probably to Lille, one to Marseille.

I have only ever been to Lille once, in what is technically known as “blackout”, so to say I don’t remember it well is an understatement. I do know I was intending to go to Boulogne and that I bought a beer in Lille station, but the rest … I’ve heard it’s charming, though, and much more memorable when one is sober. It’s also on the Eurostar route, so quick and cheap both get ticks.

I’ve only been to Marseille once, too. I was sober then – it was a few months before Piaf was born. I was alone, for reasons I may go into later (you probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you.) I wanted to buy Piaf a gift, I remember, but I didn’t know she was Piaf then – we didn’t know her sex until she got here – so French baby clothes were out, and the only suitable thing I could find was a long-eared, white toy rabbit from Petit Bateau, with the words “mon doudou” on his chest. (He now goes by the name of “Laurent le Lapin” or “Bruce the Bunny” depending on who is speaking.)

Apart from that, I remember it being colder than I expected (it was November, mind) and it was also the first time I met my friend’s daughter, who was then a little bit older than Piaf is now. The thought of seeing her and Piaf play together, and hanging out with her dad for a few days, is a key factor in Marseille’s attraction.

And that’s about as far as I’ve got, really. I’m not a great organiser. Any advice welcome – flying (as in, cheap flying) is now an option. And I thought I should set the scene now, so I can blog about it more easily as it all unfolds (or doesn’t.)

And if you know any good slides or sandpits in Lille, don’t keep it to yourself.


2 Responses to “Je voyage, tu voyages, elle voyage …”

  1. Emmanuel Bavoux said

    Trés content d’avoir l’honneur d’apparaître dans ton blog mon ami ! Tes articles sont un bonheur à lire.

    • papaetpiaf said

      T’es le bienvenu – tu es sur que tu veux t’identifier ainsi, sas te cacher derriere le fameux “Pruff”?

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