Europe Part Duex

Monday morning Rollie and I hopped on a train to Nice from Paris to meet up with the Downers and Lily of course.  It was about a 5 hour train ride through France.  We read, relaxed, and had a little lunch.  Once we got closer to the Mediterranean it was beautiful to see the coast.  We arrived around 2 and the Downers met us at the train station with all the kiddos.  We all hopped in a taxi (they had walked over) to our apartment on the promenade.  We were 5 minutes from downtown Nice and right on the water!  We relaxed for a bit and then took the bus into Old town Nice for an early dinner.  Our meal time was a bit different than the 2 prior kid free nights in Paris :)  We all shared different pastas.  After dinner we had gelato next door at this place with over 100 different kinds.  The atmosphere and cuisine is much more similar to Italy in the South of France.  We packed up the kids and took a bus back to the apartment and then us adults caught up and drank some vino.

Lily & Audrey with their babies :)

Our view 

Old town Nice


Gelato! 


Dancing in the streets




Tuesday morning we woke up and surprisingly got everyone out of the house by 9:30.  We headed inland towards St. Paul de Vence.  After a few wrong turns we finally found it, and it was worth the drive!  No cars are allowed inside the villages walls which was really nice for the kids.  We strolled, shopped, and had an amazing lunch.  The restaurant, Le Sierra Rempart, was perched on top of a hill overlooking the most amazing view.  We started with escargot, and I actually tried it. I had a delicious salad and then we all shared a bottle of rose and creme brulee for dessert.  I picked up the cutest linen hand embroidered dress for Lily and some really cute hand towels too.  We wanted to visit one other little town so we decided on Gourdon.  Even higher up in the mountains the views did not disappoint.  The weather changed drastically quite a bit though and we were all freezing and the girls had yet to nap so our visit was short and sweet.  I snagged a really cute sweater and Lily had her first lollipop too.  We headed back to Nice where the boys dropped us girls off in town to do a little shopping.  Amy and I both had great luck a Mango.  That night we picked up some pizzas and just relaxed at the apartment.

St. Paul de Vence








Our only group shot the whole vacation! 


Love them! 



Our lunch spot

Gourdon






On our third and final day in the South of France we headed to Monaco by train.  It was only about a 30 minute train ride into town.  We got off the train and walked about a 1/2 mile to the Palace to watch the changing of the guards.  The views looked fake from atop the palace walls.  The guys took the kids to a cute playground to play while Amy and I shopped around a bit for some souvenirs and then we all met up for a casual lunch of Princess Grace Kelly is buried.  Lily was having a mild meltdown by this point but we decided to power through and walk to the famous Monte Carlo casino.  It was a couple miles walk but we walked by all of the yachts which was surreal to see.  There were boats parked in the garages of the yachts that we could never afford. The casino and surrounding area was beautiful and of course loaded with wealth.  We spent 5 euro in the slots and then called it a day.  We walked back to the train station for Nice.  Before dinner we took the elevator up to Castle Hill in Nice, which is a beautiful overlook of the whole city.  We had dinner at 6 Merche and had the sweetest waiter.  We shared a bottle of red, frog legs, olive tapanede.  I had steak au poivre but it didn't even come close to the one I had in Paris.  Although Chris, Amy, and Rollie's dinners were amazing...lamb, gnocchi, and veal puff pastry.  We were all exhausted so we got on the bus and headed home.







waiting for the changing of the guards 




Cathedral where Princess Grace Kelly tomb is



one day...



besties

Thursday we spent 8 hours in the car with a 4.5,2, and 1.5 year old.  Yikes!  Actually Jackson and Audrey were great...Lily not so much.  I think she was getting 2 teeth in.  We powered through the drive and then stopped about 90 miles from the Downers for dinner in a really cute town, Strassburg near the border of France and Germany.  Most of the town was closed but it was still super charming.  We had dinner in a back courtyard (which was nice to have all to ourselves for the kids).  We all shared a couple types of Flamkucken (German flatbread) and we were in the capital of muenster cheese...stinky but delish, and some dry Riesling of course.  Lily and Audrey discovered their love of connect four (thank you Europeans for being so accommodating to kids!).  Don't mind our 'traveling' comfy outfits.

leaving Nice

packed like sardines











Our last day in Europe we lounged around, unpacked, did laundry, and repacked before heading to a castle just 10 minutes from the Downers house.  We had schnitzel and it was sooooo good!  We walked around the castle, which the kids of course loved.  Chris was working that day so we went on base and visited him afterwards and grabbed a few things for the plane ride home (snacks) from the base mall and Rollie found a really cute hat.  We also bought a case of Riesling and Ice wine from the wine merchant that Amy and Chris will bring back for us when they move back this summer!  It was such an amazing trip with great friends and we can't wait for them to be back in Cali! 














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