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Behind the photo: The Couple

We had arrived to Bordeaux with my heart full of excitement. I had been here before and was eager to do all the things I had loved to do, but this time with my family.

One such thing was photographing the sunset, which are some of the most beautiful I have ever experienced in the country.

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Family Vacation Destinations in France

In my hope to help you plan your own family vacation through France, I have shared details of our own trip.

So far, I’ve shared tips on how to rent a country home in Renting a GÎte in France. Then I’ve shared tips and lessons learned while Planning a Family Vacation in France.

In this post, I want to highlight the fun places we visited during our trip.

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Behind the photo: Feed the birds

When I took this photo, I had just found out that I had gotten to the next stage of several interviews with a casting director for a travel network. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. A part of me was really excited, another part of me was confused, concerned even, to what something like this would mean to my life – if it ever came to be (it is quite possible at this point that it probably, most likely, will not).

As a travel writer there’s something really wonderful about being given the opportunity to share your stories in as many mediums as possible. But I often wonder what freedoms we lose in telling the stories as we see fit, as we want them told, once under the control of advertisers and promoters, ratings and managers. Enduring it from editors at times can be hard enough.

It hit me, this realization, even as I pushed the past few unbelievable hours to the back of my mind.

We decided to tour with City Wonders to access the Eiffel Tower and cruise along the Siene. In doing so we not only got a lot of the information and history about the tower, but also skipped past the crazy long lines to get to the second level. For the top level, unfortunately, there is a line that you can't skip, but the ticket is included in your tour costs. Cruising the Siene at sunset after a sunny day is the absolute best. Paris is a beautiful city, made if more so when viewing it from the water.

Planning a Family Vacation in France

Our recent vacation to France has only been our second trip outside of the country together.

It’s expensive to travel internationally as a large family and though I want to encourage those with kids to travel together, I also understand if you want to wait till you feel the time is more ideal, especially if your kids are still very little. We don’t have family overseas that we can stay with or visit, we don’t even have friends who will host me and my kids, or  to hang out with us and show us the best spots for local families. Like most people, we are winging it on a budget.

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Facing My Insecurities through Travel

It is difficult to talk about my fears and insecurities before I face them while on the road because a part of my building up the courage is in convincing myself that the little trembling inside is insignificant when compared to my courage.

But, once I have taken it on I find myself in my hotel room overwhelmed with what I have just done, playing the images in my head over and over as if they were scenes in a movie I’ve just seen, and not an actual moment I just lived.

To many readers I am so brave and strong, and I think this is true to the extent that I don’t allow my fears to stop me. But all the while, I am fighting against something bigger. 

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An afternoon in Paris

I have a lot to share about my time in France, including our lovely family vacation in Paris.

While I work on all my stories, I wanted to take a minute to share with you a quick little video my family and I put together to give you a glimpse into a day in Paris with us.

It’s not professionally shot, most of it was my teen or me, or whomever was willing to hold the phone because shooting video of a family vacation is darn difficult, y’all.

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Renting a Gîte in France

When my husband and I decided to vacation in France with the kids, we knew immediately that we would want to rent a house or large apartment.

As our family gets older and with all of us wanting more space, vacation home rentals are just the way to go. They are also huge money-savers from not having to eat out all the time, be entertained all the time just to get out of the hotel, and the needing an extra hotel room to accommodate the kids.

When it came to lodging during our week at the Midi-Pyrenees, we had several options: hotels, many of which would need more than one room to accommodate my large family, an apartment in the center of the city, or a gîte. I chose a gîte, which was the most costly upfront, but eventually balanced out in what we saved from not having to eat out every night, especially in Toulouse which is pricey.

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Our #Storybook Family Aventure in France

It’s been 22 days since I last saw my family – well, that is if you don’t count the endless hours on Facetime and Skype. It’s been the longest time that I have been away from them, an incredible endurance test for my husband who has juggled work and children, last days of school, emergency doctor and dentist visits, and missing me. It’s been new for me, buried in work, though on the surface it may seem I had it easier.

Regardless, it’s been hard for us being apart. We are an incredibly close family and we have missed each other dearly. What has kept us excited through it all has been our upcoming family vacation here in France! For fifteen glorious days we will be traveling through France make sure we discover, eat, and spend time together.

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Bordeaux from the river on a Uniworld Cruise

I recently went on my very first river cruise as the guest of Uniworld Cruises. This cruise took me back to my favorite French city, Bordeaux, where I was able to visit some places I fell in love with during my previous visit to the region.

I was traveling on my own, a strange experience in an environment where most travelers are there as couples or families. And unlike the bigger cruise ships, these cruises are less crowded, making the entire experience even more intimate.

We sailed on the River Royale and set off from Bordeaux on an 8-day excursions to wineries, chateaus, and villages in and around Pauillac, Blaye, Bergerac, Saint-Emilion, Cadillac, and back to Bordeaux.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Cruising, as I have experienced on bigger ships has been fun, but not always my favorite experience. River cruising is a bit different from the cruise ship experience…and a luxury river cruise, such as the one I was on, was unlike anything I imagined.

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Wine Adventures through The Loire Valley, France

The Loire Valley in Central France is often called The Garden of France due to its many vineyards.

Celebrated for its architecture, wine, and historic destinations – many of which are UNESCO Heritage Sites – this is a beautiful area to visit if you love wine, nature, and don’t mind driving to get to either or both. That is because many of the towns that make up the valley, such as AmboiseAngersBloisChinonOrléansSaumur, and Tours, are not all easily accessible by train and to get a glimpse of their lovely castles and caves, as well as their vineyards and wines, you must do as I did and rent a car.