Chateaus and Catacombs: A trip to France with my family

In the summer of 2016, I travelled with my family to France for 2.5 weeks. Getting the opportunity to go to overseas with my family was a once in a lifetime trip I won’t forget anytime soon.

Our journey began from Minneapolis, Minn. at 9 a.m. when we flew to Washington D.C.

I used this flight as a way to catch up on the sleep I missed the night before. The 8.5 hour flight from D.C to Paris seemed much shorter because of the timing of the flight and arrival.

We left D.C at 7 p.m. and were in Paris the next morning at 9.

Many people, myself included, opted to sleep their way through the flight so they could wake up in Paris.

From Paris, we made our way to Amboise, a small town in the heart of France.

Once we arrived, we made our stay at a small Bed and Breakfast run by an American family. They were very welcoming and have lived in the area for upwards of 10-15 years, so they helped guide us and give us tips.

We also learned that if you ask, in French, if they can speak English, you learn quickly many of the locals have a small grasp of the language.

The next two days in Amboise were spent learning about the chateaus in the region. A chateau is a large French country house or castle. The two we went to, Chateau de Chambord and Chateau de Chenonceau, were absolutely breathtaking to observe and learn about the history within these buildings. Many of these chateaus have the information posted in English, so no need to break out Google Translate.

After Amboise, we headed to Normandy and Mont St. Michel. Mont St. Michel is an island off of Normandy that is used primarily as a monastery, but during the summer months is an attractive tourist destination. Normandy was a more sobering experience, however.

Learning about World War II and history surrounding it was extremely interesting and humbling.

Paris, however, was a truly amazing experience. We spent the next week in Paris taking in all of the history Paris has to offer.  From the Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower to even the Catacombs, Paris has an abundance of historical museums and exhibits that can keep even the biggest history buffs busy for a while.

To finish off the trip, we went down to the south of France, and spent time in Marseille and Nice. The south of France offers many cities that have a lot of Italian influence, and are usually filled with more resort-style vacationers. Besides Paris, Nice also was very good about understanding broken French and English, which was very helpful.

In the end, I had enough fun and learned enough about French culture to last a lifetime. France is a beautiful country and you can have a lot of fun if you do it right. Be safe out there, and don’t forget to pack extra underwear.

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