Bring on Ile de Re´ and a Big Change of Heart

We woke up in LA Rochelle to a travel day.  We were making our way to our SECOND to last sleep before heading back to Canada. That sleep would be back in the quaint little hotel we stayed at in Orléans (at Brodies request).  Although it was a bit of a stretch from La Rochelle to Orléans (about 4.5hrs on the A10), it actually was the perfect spot before heading back into Paris for our last night before our flight back to Canada.

We made our way down for the fabulous breakfast, packed up the room, packed up our little (full sized) car, and checked out of our quaint little hotel.  Since we had some time befoer we “needed to drive on”, we decided  to check out the surrounding area. We talked to the hotel concierge about places to see and the recommendation was Ile de Re´.

When Mike booked La Rochelle he said it “was a place where people from France go to vacation”.  Now while I thought La Rochelle was a pretty little town….. I wasn’t 100% sold on the fact that “THIS is where the French go to vacation”…… That is, until we were directed to Ile de Re´. Now….. at this point in the vacation… knowing it was coming to an end quickly, and living out of a suitcase for almost 7 weeks, with not many laundry facilities close at hand….. I will admit (shamefully so) that I was looking forward to unpacking my bags on Canadian soil, and settling in for the duration of the summer in our Yaletown condo.

Bring on Ile de Re´ and a BIG change of Heart.

Ile de Re´….. a beautiful 30 km island connected to mainland France by a 3 km bridge with beautiful sandy beaches.  It sounded devine.  We said our goodbyes to La Rochelle and made our way to Ile de Re´ and all it had to offer.

As we were driving over the bridge I thought to myself… that “YES….. THIS is where the French go to Vacation!”  It was maybe about 30 minutes from La Rochelle.  There was a hefty toll to get across the bridge but it was only a one way toll (thank goodness). The beauty and quaintness of Ile de Re´ caught me right away.  The island is filled with cabin and bike trails…. really if you were staying here that would be the best mode of transportation you could be on.  We made our way to one of the many beaches on the Bay of Biscay, with nothing but water between us and North America.

With the waves rolling in, the quaintness of the small town and island life, it really reminded me of Tofino, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.  The waves were huge and constant, and with that magical sound as they crashed upon the sandy beaches.  The 4 of us were in HEAVEN!  It was ashame that we hadnt known about this the day before as there probably would have been no melt down…. just a picnic lunch and a lot of sand digging!

It was at this point I said to Mike, forgetting totally about my earlier desire to get back to Vancouver and clean clothes….. that we should call the airline, change our flights, and add another week to the vacation.  I was more that willing to stay in France another week or so…..Ile de Re´ is just that MAGICAL!

We spent a fair amount of time on the beautiful sandy beach, but we had to say good bye to the ocean and make our way for lunch, so we wouldn’t be driving to Orléans in the dark!  We made our way to the other side of the island where there were more restaurants and shops, than sandy beaches. It was later in the day so our first restaurant of choice was closed until dinner service.  We then found a cute little pizza “pirate” place in La Flotte that was open.  After a quick bite it was time to hit the road and get on our way to Orléans.  After all the playing in the sand and surf both kiddies (and Mike) were looking like a nap would do them some good!

Back over the 3 Km bridge, we made some good time driving the toll roads towards Orléans!  There were number of “Pit Stops” all which included automated coffee machines, but we were happy to arrive back at our little hotel “just off the highway” in Orléans in time for dinner.

The kids were super happy to see the hotel and the grand backyard over looking the Loire River, where races would be run around and around the Merman fountain….. I was pretty happy that there was unlimited wifi, and that this would be THE final organizing of  the kids, and my suitcases before our flight home!

It was time to curl up and sleep before our last travel day and our “do over” night in our old ‘hood on the streets of Paris and I couldn’t wait!

Enjoy your (not so) Daily Dose.

Xox

B.

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3KM Bridge to Il de Re

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Bridge love

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Sandy beaches to the left

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Sandy beaches to the right

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Heading to the Bay of Biscay

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Beach awesomeness

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Wow…. so AMAZING.

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Lets dig a hole……

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Beauty and the beach

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The Little Miss

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I *heart* Paris too!

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You go girl!

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Mr Man

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Beach vastness

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Hello Gorgeous!

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Family Love!

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My Man!

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The kiddies!

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LOVE

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No pants!

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Ummmm…….

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ahhhhhhh…. the waves crashing in!

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RACES!

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Syd wins!

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Me and my Kiddies!

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Beauty!

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Two favourite boys!

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Family Love

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Paddle on in my friend!

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Island life!

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another carousel…. it was closed when we saw it!  😉

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Island travels

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Island travels

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Lunch spot!

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Lunch time!

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…. of course

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Bye bye, Il de Re… thanks for your hospitality!

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do people actually still use these?

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Hahaha… LOVE this!

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iPad in hand

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Other iPad in hand!

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Ile de Re´

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Thank You Tourism La Rochelle… Thank You!

We woke up La Rochelle, to mixed weather.  It was partly cloudy with a cool breeze, which would be prefect weather to spend the day walking around La Rochelle.  We made our way down for the breakfast buffet.  One thing I love about staying in European hotels is that breakfast is usually included with the price of your room and it is usually delicious. What a great way to start the day. Fresh baked bread, yummy jams, deli meats, amazing cheeses, and who could possibly leave out the pain au chocolat. 😉

We packed the day packs with everything we would need for touring around the city and headed out. La Rochelle is a small town, with pretty little shops and tons of restaurants.  We spent a bit of time shopping, and a whole lot of time meandering around neat little courtyards and side streets.  We eventually made our way out of old town and walked around the marina.

The plan for the day was to do a walk about, grab lunch, and then tour the towers that were the entrance way to the marina.  We found a cute little restaurant on the marina and sat down to a shaded table next to a retired couple from USA.  We chatted to them about their trip and ours. It was funny that while we were travelling in a clockwise direction they were doing almost the exact opposite to us.  At the end of our lunch we said our          good-byes, but not before they told us how well-behaved our children were.  Mike and I thought this was so sweet, and on the whole our kids are well behaved, but we sure chuckled once we left the restaurant knowing all the crazy meltdowns and episodes that had transpired before that day!

It was getting on in the afternoon, the clouds had parted, and it was becoming hot and muggy. I knew we might be pushing it with the little Miss by heading to the towers for a look around, since this is what we were here for…  off we went!

We arrived at the museum to a small line up to pay for admission. This is generally not a problem, but since we were lined up in a “gift shop” to pay for admission, I knew that something was going to go down….. and it was probably going to be Sydney!  True to form, and the time of the day, that little gift shop caused us the biggest headache.  Sydney’s little world now revolved around some random trinket that she JUST HAD TO HAVE! Uuugghhhh…. here we go people.

We managed to get the tour started with hopes that she would forget about said random trinket that she just HAD to have, but alas we were wrong! It was a tantrum to end all tantrums.  It actually ended my tour of the tower when I just had to get her out of the tower so she wasnt disrupting EVERYBODY’S  tour.  I had the sweetest english couple come up to me and told me that their 18-year-old daughter was “just the same” 16 years ago…. and told me not to worry about what people thought… and that the little Miss was just fine!  They helped brighten a dark moment that day with out a doubt.

Mike and Brodie continued the tour while I took the little lady outside so she could calm down.  In order to get her outside I had to pass through the very gift shop that was ultimately the cause of this very meltdown…. uuggghhh!

Now, I totally get the whole marketing to tourists, and getting people to part with their money for things that they “think” they need…. but seriously to have to walk through it twice! Thank you tourism La Rochelle… thank you!

Sydney finally tuckered herself out with the tantrum, and fell asleep as I carried her.  Mike, Brodie, and I ended up watching a boat festival while the little Miss slept.  She was in better spirits when she woke, and seemed to perk up a bit more at the thought of getting a bowl of yummy ice cream at a cool, little ice cream shop. I was just super thrilled to sit down and have a yummy cup of coffee. EnRoute back to the hotel we decided to stop at the carousel for “just one ride”.  Seriously… had we not learned ANYTHING from the days episode?!?  We did get the “3 ticket” special, and she rode twice.

We ended our day at the hotels outdoor pool since it was so smoldering hot outside.  After about 5 minutes at the pool the wind picked up, the clouds rolled in and we were hit with a surprise rain storm that sent us running for our room.

It was a crazy way to end a great (but partially) crazy day!

Enjoy your (not so) Daily Dose

Xox

B.

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Starting out the day just like how they ended off the night before…. side by side! *love*

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Looking from our room into the courtyard… love French hotels they have so much character!

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Out and About in La Rochelle

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Pretty La Rochelle

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Mike and the little man

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Me and the monkeys in the heat of the day.

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Lunch stop

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Pretty marina and shops

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The little Miss sat on EVERY ONE of those posts.

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Finally at the end…..

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…. to reach THE bIggest ice cream cone….. EVER!

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La Rochelle Tower

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biggest anchor EVER!

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Inside the tower

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Mr. Man

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Firing arrows or practicing his “Usain Bolt” moves

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That is one steep staircase

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Oh France… how I love you so!

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View from the top of the tower

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View from the top of the tower

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View from the top of the tower

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Mr. Man

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much. needed. sleep!

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still sleeping

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more superhero sightings

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Spidey is watching you!

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Fun retro dessert shop

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Loving the retro ice cream pics with the springy legs!

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Hey… it’s a carousel!

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The little Miss….

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Now just one more ride!

The Day Started in Spain

It was time to say good-bye to San Sebastian, our beautiful sandy beach and warm water.  We were in our last week of our extended holiday, and making our way towards Paris for our flight out later that week.  Our second to last stop before Paris was a small coastal town … La Rochelle.

After packing up our room and fitting everything into the car, we spent the morning at the Barceló Coast (ice-cold) pool, swimming, and soaking up the sunshine before having lunch and making our way north towards La Rochelle.

Funny thing about San Sebastian is that it is literally 20 minutes from the border into France.  Had we not had to pay a toll, I just may have totally missed even entering France….. it was that quick!

Our drive took us north on the A63 through one of the most famous wine regions in THE ENTIRE WORLD …. BORDEAUX.  I seriously had to laugh.  Here we were…… 4 of us in a car driving past some of THE most fabulous vineyards and wine in the world, without even the slightest desire to stop! HA…… Mike and I were on a mission (and with 2 kids 5 and under… I guess it was reason enough NOT to stop) get to La Rochelle….. QUICKLY!  Sigh…… the vineyards and wine of Bordeaux will have to wait for another trip!

It was about a 5 hour drive to La Rochelle from San Sebastian, and driving on the toll roads…. well……. it’s never a cheap day on the toll roads of Europe! We arrived late afternoon and were directed precisely to our hotel by Darth Vader and our trusty Tom Tom app on MIkes phone.  The hotel was super cute and was everything you would expect in Europe….. an old non-descript stone building, that once you entered, blew you away with all its loveliness!  There was nowhere to park on the tiny road that lead us to our fabulous hotel so we were parked half on the sidewalk. Had we been on our first week of the trip we would have totally stressed over the situation of “where to park”…. but after 6 weeks we were starting to  feel like locals and pulled “kinda off the road and half on to the sidewalk”…. It just seemed like the normal thing to do.

What a fabulous room we had. Mike had been booking a lot of our accommodations off of Trip Advisor, and this one, like all the rest, (the exception being Lourdes) did not disappoint. We looked into the courtyard and had a tiny view of the old town.  After the long drive we decided to get cleaned up and head out to investigate the town and find a yummy place for dinner.

La Rochelle is a pretty little town.  Tons of restaurants and shops in the old town with beautiful cobblestone roads and walkways.  Leaving the “gates” of old town, there was a great little night market, with tons of artisans showing their goods. We did a little walk about while looking for a place to eat with the kiddies.  There were so many amazing options. Walking along the street surrounded by all these amazing restaurants it was hard knowing after we looked at the menus that there was really nothing that the kiddies would eat…. Uuuugghhhh….. so frustrating knowing that we were missing out on some AMAZING food.  We had almost lost hope on where to eat when Brodie spotted a sushi restaurant.

If you know the Bain Family…. you know that we are addicted to sushi… kids included! Seriously… we go for Sushi every Friday (or Saturday) since the kiddies were born.  Sushi was not really something we had come across during our adventure, so with Brodie begging to go there for dinner, we went and got ourselves a table.

The restaurant (I think it was called Koi) was a funny one.  From the moment we arrived not one person looked happy or smiled.  Mike and I assumed it was because we had 2 kids with us, but as time passed on it was clear that the waitresses just were not happy people…… they were treating every table the same…. no smiles and just plain crabby!  I don’t really remember the sushi and if it was good or not, but I do remember being quite happy that the kids weren’t eating pizza or pasta! Since this trip I have noted that the kiddies will do well eating in Italy or Japan!

After our sushi experience we decided to do a walk about and look at the towns military towers that were so pretty all lit up.  Afterwards we headed over to investigate the night market that was happening just outside of old town.  As we were walking through the tree covered night market we heard a crazy squeaking sound.  It turns out that the trees covering the market were filled with bats just “hanging out”, and Brodie thought this was über cool.  After our bat experience we decided to hit an ice cream shop for a “before bedtime treat” and made our way back to the hotel for a good nights sleep.

It had been a long day of driving and the kiddies were holding up rather well given that the day started in Spain!

So much to do….. so much to see!

Enjoy your (not so) Daily Dose

Xox

B.

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Loved this hotel!

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Why must little Miss  always sleep perpendicular to me….. that girl does laps in her sleep!

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hanging poolside… topless of course!

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This pool was ICE COLD!

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Hello France (and toll booth)… we are coming!

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Bordeaux

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Bordeaux

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HAY… in Bordeaux

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Sunflowers…. in Bordeaux

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More Sunflowers…. in Bordeaux

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Shocking… another toll booth!

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Our Hotel…. SO AWESOME!

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Would totally stay here again… so great!

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NOT Super happy… its been a long day!

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La Rochelle…. Old Town

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Koi…. Interesting little Sushi Restaurant!

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Wanted to take home Kois’ Bar statue… she was so cool!

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Restaurant row at dusk… Old Town

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La Rochelle Tower

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Clowning around just outside “Old Town”

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After a long day…. chilling together!  *Love*