Summer in France

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We had the most amazing vacation in France.  Luc joined us and we travelled through Paris, Lausanne (Switzerland), Lyon, Rayol (Mediterranean coast), Guillestre (Alps), and Serre Barbin (Alps).


Maureen, Luc and the kids spent a week in Paris while Cobus was still working. We stayed with Marie Odile and Etienne in Garches. The kids were excited to see the Eiffel tower, so that was the first stop. We also visited the gardens of Versaille. We had a great dinner with my cousin Anne-Laure and family in Meudon and another night a beautiful dinner with Jean-Luc and Emilie in Meudon. The weather was cold and rainy most of the time so we were glad we were going to be coming back later in the trip so we could see Paris in the sunshine.


We visited with Vivian and Didier in a small town called Grancy and also visited with Nicolas and Helene. We visited a medieval castle called Chateau Chillon which sits right on Lake Geneva. It was full of cool places to explore including a spooky dungeon and fantastic displays of ancient weaponry. We checked out these beautiful vineyards that are terraced above the lake.


Stayed with Mark and Marie in a suburb of Lyon called Anse. The next day we drove down to Valence to visit with my cousin Seb and his family for a beautiful Sunday lunch. Kids enjoyed a dip in the pool.

Le Rayol

Stayed with Michel and Francoise in their beach house.  Jean-Luc and his family were also there so we had lots of family time. We arrived just in time for Bastille Day and great fireworks. Everyday, Cobus and Jean-Luc biked to the next town over to get the boat and picked us up at the beach nearby the house. We boated to different islands, beaches and coves. Also spent some quality time at the beach club where we had cocktails before heading back to the house for showers and dinner. Cobus picked up croissants every morning and we bbq’d every night. On our last night all together we went to a fun restaurant at the top of the mountain for beautiful fish and pizzas for the kids.

Here are some nice portraits of the family


Stayed with Nel and Catherine.  Etienne and Marie-Odille were also visiting. Every Monday there is a fantastic farmers market. Not only was there amazing food, but great shopping too.

Chalet at Serre Barbin

Stayed with Dominique and Marie-Jean.  Fun to see Juliette and Victor again for a few days (both stayed with us in Napa in previous summers). Good to meet cousins Martin and his family as well as Florence and her family. The house was full of kids and every night the kids played out in the little village just like I did when I was a kid. They loved it! We celebrated Dominique’s 77th birthday and the kids enjoyed a camp out on the porch.

Rope Course

There was this cool rope course among the trees very close to the chalet.

Hike – Col de Granon

Hiked down 3,000ft from the Col de Granon back to the chalet. The kids did great, and we picknicked along hte way.


The chalet is very close to Briancon so we went there for an afternoon.

Hike Galibier

While Cobus biked the Col de l’Izoard, the rest of the family went back to the Col de Galibier to hike and play in the river.

Dinner on the Mountain -Col de Lauteret

Last crazy night! We hiked to a refuge in the mountain in the rain… a 45 minute hike up the mountain! Had a wonderful simple meal (ginger pork stew) and walked back down in the rain and darkness… very memorable.


I had to do it. Biked up the Galibier. It was freezing cold and the headwind up the Lauteret did not help. The top of the Galibier was very cold and wet. I was definitely a bit underdressed, but happy that I made it up this iconic mountain.

And I managed to fit in another ride! This time up the Col de l’Izoard, which is about the same elevation as the Col de Galibier, and also was the highest point in the 2014 Tour de France, which passed over it just a few days before my ride. There were lots of riders on the road and it was one of my favorite rides yet. You realize you are in trouble when you find relief in a stretch of 8% grade.

Beaune and Paris

Cobus flew back to Houston from Geneva, and Maureen, Luc and the kids drove back to Paris for a week with a stopover in Beaune. Checked out the Hospice de Beaune to see if we could find some cuvee Cyrot wine. We succeeded! Then we spent a day being tourists in Paris. Took the BateauBus to Notre Dame and checked out the Arc de Triomphe. Kids were tired after that, so I spent some time window shopping and finding a birthday present for Mom. Had a wonderful time with Marie Odile and Etienne. Finally it was time to pack and fly home. It was a wonderful vacation!


  1. Ouma

    What an experience!
    Spent some time journeying with you through Europe ( in the spirit)
    Thanks so much for sharing this with us.
    I know it took a lot of trouble to organize everything and let us have it in this form.
    Believe me when I say that it wasn’t in vain.
    Feels as if I have had some heart-to-heart contact!!!!!!!!!!!
    Hope the thrill of it all won’t fade away too soon.
    Lots and lots of love,


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