Once we had finally arrived safely at our B&B in Antibes and had a good night’s sleep, we were ready to spend the next 10 days exploring southern France. In addition to Antibes, we spent time driving the Moyenne Corniche through Nice, stopping in Eze, and oohing and aahing over Monte Carlo. We then spent time a little further north in Avignon before heading down and over to Montpellier (where I lived over 20 years ago), Carcassone and finally Sarlat.
So, what did we learn during this part of our adventure? Here are 15 of our top findings traveling with kids in southern France:
1. Kids find figuring out SIM cards and cell phone plans boring.
Especially when Mom and Dad drag them to 3 different stores. Which takes an entire day since everything closes for a few hours at lunchtime. Orange, however, became the clear winner as they had the coolest games.
2. It is HOT in southern France. Really, really HOT.
3. If you really want to beat the heat, find a friend with a boat.
Fortunately, our B&B owners had a boat, and they took us out on the water for the day, complete with a picnic on a small island. Definitely a highlight of our trip.
4. French highway reststops are fun.
Especially in the summer when there are free “animations.” A man walked up to JJ at the playground and handed him two sunhats, CDs, card games and sunglasses for him and Missa B. Because that’s just what they do there.
5. Souvenir coins are destined to follow us everywhere we go.
For 2 Euros each, they are actually a great to way to find a small souvenir at every destination. And, they are prolific in France. I am still unpacking them from boxes and pockets 4 months later.
6. The Pont du Gard is beautiful.
It is as spectacular as I remember it from 20+ years ago. However, it is also now extremely commercialized. Entrance fees, cafés, and souvenir shops were some of the shocking things that greeted my eyes. But we did appreciate the museum which gave us a ton of information on the importance of the aquaduct.
I had never taken advantage of swimming under the Pont du Gard as I didn’t really know about that on past trips. It was an amazing way to beat the 99+ degree heat. Missa B., being the daredevil she has been from the time she was born, took to jumping off the rocks immediately.
7. Old friends just get better with time.
Cathy was 16 when I last saw her. She is now a mom of two awesome boys and an English teacher.
8. New friends can teach us so much.
Meeting Franck and Isabelle was a delight. And when “grandmère” brought over her homemade soup for us to try and insisted we eat the tomatoes from her garden, we fell in love with her.
The stories we heard of how Isabelle’s parents had to house Nazi soldiers on their property when the troops came into Antibes brought WWII to life for all of us. She thanked us, as Americans, for allowing her family to regain their property.
This was a place we found hard to leave.
9. We can do cobblestones!
10. It’s worth staying up late for views like this.
11. Clapping on someone’s birthday is universal.
And this girl LOVED having an entire restaurant sing “Joyeux Anniversaire!”
12. There are substations all over the world.
And Hubs insists on stopping to take pictures of them.
13. If you can afford the TGV first class, it’s worth it.
14. Street performers are fun.
Sarlat was full of street performers, and the kids loved going into the pedestrian area at night.
15. Pillow walls may not be effective.
And Missa B. may not have been exaggerating when she said it was difficult to share a bed with JJ.