Page 4 of TheMcNamaras Travel Blog Posts


Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris July 14th 2011

Today our little girl turned 12. And what a day it was! We started with with a Muse Clues Tour of the Louvre - a birthday surprise. After our customary pain au chocolat for breakfast, we wandered over to the Arc du Carousel to meet our guide Davinia. It turned out she was English, with a degree in art history and a particular focus on architecture. She was an absolute gem - warm, friendly and she very quickly had the measure of our children. To begin with, we walked straight past the queue and into the Pyramid de Louvre (an advantage of being on a tour). I had goosebumps as we rode down in the escalator. Our first stop was a beautiful sculpture, Puget's Milo de Croton - a man being devoured by a lion. Perfect ... read more
Parade July 14th
Birthday Fireworks
McNamaras with Venus de Milo

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris July 13th 2011

Ispahan, Millefeuille Fraise, Fraisier, Macaron Divin......... So many cake choices, so hard to choose! We arrived for our afternoon tea booking at Laduree and were seated in the middle of a wonderful room which took us back to the days when Chinoiserie was all the rage in Paris. The furniture, painted walls and ferns all combined to make it very special - and that was before they brought the cake! We were very impressed - even the bottles of lemonade were re-branded to match the crockery. Frank decided that he needed to try one of the ice-cream sundaes on the menu, and I've never seen anything so huge - he definitely needed some help to eat it. I chose the Ispahan - rose flavoured macaron with fresh raspberries - and it was perfection. Hugo still rates ... read more
Ispahan!
Good times, good friends, Laduree
Waiting to go in, Laduree

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris July 12th 2011

Ever since Isabel was 4 years old she has dreamed of going to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. It must have been all those Madeline books we read. Anyway, her dream has become a reality. She and Genevieve made a pact to climb the Eiffel Tower together this holiday and keep the bff photos forever...... It was a bit drizzly when we woke up, so we jumped into a taxi and arrived bright and early to meet the Mathews family and begin our climb. At 8am the queues were not disastrous if you wanted to walk up the first section, and we had already decided that this was the best plan. We stood in the line eating croissants and drinking coffee until the ticket booth opened, and then, amazingly, the children RAN up the stairs. ... read more
Hugo and the Telescope
Dining Room at the Musee D'Orsay
The gang before our ride on Vedettes Pont Neuf

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris July 11th 2011

I don't know how we will go past L'Orangerie as our favourite so far - this gallery is such a gem, and perfect with kids as it is so small and peaceful. We hopped on our trusty velibs and rodein the sunshine through the Tuileries gardens this morning on our way there. The avenues of trees are truly beautiful. I ignored the fact that the restaurant in the gardens is a tourist trap, and took my time enjoying a cafe-au-lait and watching the people go past. With our Paris passes we skipped the queue at L'Orangerie and were admitted very quickly to the gallery, which only allows a small number of people to enter at a time. I had no idea that L'Orangerie had been built expressly to house Monet's paintings. The beautiful colours of the ... read more
The waterlilies, L'Orangerie
Lunch at Le Deux Magots
Isabel and Gitte, Montmatre

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris July 10th 2011

What a way to see Paris with kids! This morning dawned a bit grey, but warm. The rain had disappeared, and the view from our balcony down the Rue St Honore was an exciting invitation to get out and explore. We met the Mathews gang (Who had come in on the train from their campsite in Versailles) at the Bikeabout Tours headquarters in the carpark of the Hotel de Ville, and headed off on our long awaited bike tour of Paris. This had been a bit of an organisational feat, given that we had many children to organise the right-sized bikes for, so I already felt I knew the crew at Bikeabout quite well after months of them patiently answering my questions via e-mail. Our guide knew so much about Paris - things I could never ... read more
The Bike Gang
Imi, Isabel, Gen at the Louvre
The Velib

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris July 9th 2011

The funniest thing about our drive to Paris this morning was the stop at the roadhouse. It was almost our first rainy day of the trip (How well timed was that!) and we set off a little sadly from our lovely Tamnies house with the skies heavy and grey. We puttered our way through lovely little towns on our way to the main road, and then it was 5 hours of boring highway driving. At lunch time we pulled into a huge roadhouse to re-fuel the car and us. Imagine our delight at finding the imagined fast food disaster was actually a Paul patisserie - complete with quiche, baquettes and macaroons! If only roadside eating in Australia looked like this...... Today was also the day we said good-bye to our faithful Peugeot. After all this time ... read more
First Glimpse
Fountaines de la Concorde
Leaving Tamnies

Europe » France » Aquitaine » Beynac-et-Cazenac July 8th 2011

After our big night last night we pottered around the house for a while today, then went for a drive to Beynac to explore the area around the river. Hugo has been asking for a ride in a hot-air balloon, but after investigating at a couple of local operations, we decided that he had better wait to do it on another holiday, when he will perhaps also remember it better. It would be incredible to float over these magnificent castles in a beautiful balloon, so I can understand why Hugo fancies it. We went exploring down lots of little roads looking for a good spot on the river, and had a funny time in some farmer's paddock. His tractor access showed up on Google maps as a 'road', but it became apparent as we got closer ... read more
Looking across to Beynac
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DSC03666

Europe » France » Aquitaine » Vezac July 7th 2011

We got organised and packed a picnic today rather than picking up food on the way - potato salad, jambon, all sorts of tapenades and dips, magnificent terrine (Oh, and the potato chips which were the highlight for certain children!). The orange label in the fridge was also flashing invitingly, so we took along an esky and the bottle of Veuve Cliquot we had bought in Alassio. Our destination was the "Hanging Gardens of Marqueysacc", set high on a clifftop at Vesac. It was another pretty and easy drive South, through Sarlat (Framboisiere time) and over some gentle hills. When we got there, we discovered that as it was Thursday, if we waited a couple of hours, we could enter the gardens after normal closing time for a special "Candlelight walk". That sounded too exciting to ... read more
A Toast to Balmy nights
Candlelight walk Gardens of Marqueysacc
Looking up to Castelnaud Castle

Europe » France » Aquitaine » Dordogne July 6th 2011

We went off to the market in Sarlat this morning to go hunting and gathering for our next couple of days. I think if I see one more Foie Gras I'll turn into one. The produce was more repetitive than at the market in Uzes, but we picked up some really fantastic strawberries, raspberries and cherry tomatoes as well as more olives (of course!) and olive tapenade. I bought 2 different types of foie gras, but I wonder if we are at overload already....... There was a lovely couple at the Charcuterie stand who translated for me as I tried to tell the stall holder 'thinner', 'more', 'stop' etc. as he sliced jambon and bacon for me. We all had a big laugh at my sign language. The supermarket has been an experience - finding fresh ... read more
Dramatic backdrop for chasey
The tower from the garden
Chateau from a distance

Europe » France » Aquitaine » Tamnies July 5th 2011

We can't seem to wake up early here - partly because it is light enough to read a book outside at 10pm, and the best part of the evening seems to be after 7pm so we don't go to bed until well after midnight. I can't remember the last time I slept until after 10am. Today the girls were keen to cook, so they looked up a recipe for a true French omelette and went for it. I was a little sceptical about the combination of red and green peppers, porcini mushrooms and parmesan, but I had to eat my words when I tasted the end result! It was magnificent, and looked as good as it tasted. I am so impressed by their 11-year-old culinary skill. As it is taking Frank and I so long to ... read more
The famous Omelette
Montignac
Enjoying the Omelette




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