What a fun time we have had with my sister! Kim arrived yesterday morning into Paris from Chicago. She took the train to Caen and Andrew picked her up from the train station and brought her back to our apartment. We had a great family lunch together. Kim then unpacked some great surprises for the girls - toys, scarves that were sent from their Great-Grandma Anderson, and best of all old sporting and club outfits of ours. The girls were dancing around in colorful scarves, Ella was doing gymnastics in my old gymnastics uniform and she was doing cheerleading in Kim's old cheerleading uniform. Quite fun!
After Andrew left to go back to work following lunch, the girls and I took Kim out for a mini-tour of Caen. I knew the key to beating her jet lag was to keep her up until bedtime. So I walked her around Caen for about 4 hours, making stops at parks here and there for the girls to play. We arrived back at the apartment around 4:30 and she took a shower to revive. We managed to keep her up until 9ish and she reported this morning that she slept like a log - the hardest she has slept her whole life - until 6am! Mission accomplished.
Today, after I dropped the girls off at school, I came back to the apartment to pick up Kim. We grabbed some coffee and almond croissants and then headed off to see a chateau. The weather was pretty awful - rainy and cloudy and humid. But if people let the weather stop their lives here in France, the place would come to a halt! So on we went. We arrived at the Chateau de Balleroy around 10:15am. I chose this chateau for a few reasons. First, I have never seen it so Kim and I could discover something new together. Two, it is relatively close to Caen being only 30 minutes drive. And three, many people have recommended this chateau. I think the most interesting thing about this chateau is that it one of the rare buildings that were not destroyed during World War II. As a matter fact, it remained in wonderful condition. The current owners of the chateau are the Forbes family - of Forbes Magazine - since 1970. Malcolm Forbes was a hot-air balloon enthusiast as well as a flyer of those balloons. That is why there is also a hot-air balloon museum located on the property of this chateau. Kim and I really enjoyed the tour and walking the grounds. It is an impeccably preserved chateau that we thought was also cool because the Forbes family comes and stays at this historic chateau many times per year. Can you imagine staying in such history?
After the tour, I took a look in my guide book to see if there were any restaurants recommended that were located in walking distance by this chateau. You won't believe the gastronomic experience we had between the hours of 12:00pm - 3:30pm today! It was truly divine. The restaurant was called Manior de la Drome. After a closer look at the description in my guidebook after arriving at what seemed to be quite a fancy establishment and menu, we discovered this was a Michelin-starred restaurant. We decided to go for it if this place was actually open. It turned out it was open and Kim and I dined for about 3.5 hours, course after delicious course, sipping tasty wine and catching up. It was a surprising yet very pleasant meal and well worth the splurge! The restaurant has an outdoor patio with blooming flowers, a small pond with koi and it sits on the River Drome. We took a small stroll out there before heading back to the car. Our waiter was very nice and fun and made us feel very welcome. What a treat the afternoon was! We arrived back at home just in time to pick the girls up from school.
Tonight we hung out at home. We let the girls play dress up and dance around for us - something I think they would do for 2 weeks straight if we never made them go to sleep! I know they had fun with their Aunt Kim, showing off their moves, cuddling with her on the couch.
Just when Andrew was putting the girls to bed, Kim and I left to grab a drink and maybe dinner somewhere close by. We ended up at Chez Patoch and were so stuffed by the time we left. Our meals were so tasty, the atmosphere was fun and friendly, and now we have just arrived back home stuffed to the gills and very tired!
Tomorrow we plan to go for a run after we drop the girls off at school. After that we will head up to some of the Normandy Beaches to see some history about the D-Day landings and maybe eventually head to a casino later in the evening! Fun times. I love having my sister here! I'll keep you posted on our adventures, but for now I have to sleep. Too much fun today ; )
Pictured above: Chateau de Balleroy; the chateau's gardens; Kim and I after our fance lunch at Manior de la Drome; Ella in Kim's old cheerleading uniform; the girls putting on a dance performance.