This time it was a snatched break. And one of the many wonderful advantages of living in Belgium is that we are already on the continent. In other words no painful channel crossings each time you want a break somewhere different. You just pack your bags, throw everything into the car (including wife and kids) and head South into France. [PHOTOS]
Last time we went was a planned camping holiday with my sister and brother in law. This time we booked a couple of B&B’s, one in Nancy (200 miles from where we live) and the other in Dijon (350 miles from where we live). Nancy has special significance for me because my maternal grandfather studied medicine there between the two world wars in the 1930’s. So it was a pilgrimage of sorts. I never met either of my grandfathers, but here at last I had the opportunity to follow in one of their footsteps. And what breath taking footsteps; this city could be the love child of Barcelona and Bath in the UK. The architecture is simply beautiful.
We know my grandfather spent 11 years in Nancy – but nobody knows what he spent so long doing – other than qualifying as a doctor. I am determined to find out and will keep interested readers posted. On this, my first exploration, I succeeded in finding the Faculte de Medicine in Nancy. This was harder than it sounds. No one knew it even existed. This is because it had long since moved to a larger campus outside of the city.
One of the better points of having twins is they entertain each other. So long car journeys, even with no DVD entertainment system, are easy. Varinder (my wife) would occasionally step in when a fight started and distract them by saying:
“Shall we play Shrek boys?”
“YEAAAH!!!” they would shout back
“OK, who do you want to be, Siavash?”
“And I’ll be Princess Fiona… and daddy can be Donkey.”
So for the entire trip I had to play donkey and ask ‘are we there yet?’ for the rest to shout back ‘NO!”
I also wasn’t happy about V insisting I be donkey for 4 days of travelling.
A note about the places we stayed in. France is full of amazing bed and breakfasts with so much character. Our first B&B was a working farm of over a 110 acres around 30 miles north of Nancy. Our second B&B was a Manoir (Manor house) called Tarperon, around 20 miles North of Dijon. The hosts were landed gentry whose ancestors included a Corsair to Louis the 14th (a corsair, for those of you, like me, who didn’t know, was a legal pirate working for the King).
Our final night was spent in the city of Nancy itself but this time in a wonderful medieval hotel. The B&B’s never came to more than the equivalent $80USD per night. The hotel came to around $220USD for all of us.
Enjoy the pictures and I will keep investigating my maternal grandfather’s 11 years spent in beautiful Nancy. [PHOTOS]