Kids · photography · Travel

Sandy Beaches Sound Pretty Great Right Now

I’m slowly sifting through photos from our trip to France last summer (yeah… months and months ago…) and it’s honestly kind of nice to get to relive those sunny days during this freezing cold snap! Since our snow day last week temperatures plunged into sub-zeros so we’ve been shut in at home, and reliving this trip is helping!

We sadly didn’t get to the beach nearly as much as I would’ve liked this summer — in part because we had some gloomy weather for quite a bit! On one day we set off for a boat ride in the bay and it was lovely, but we were covered up in sweaters and jackets to fend off the cold wind.

But. We had one beach day that was absolute perfection.

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It was blazing hot, so coming out of the water didn’t even feel uncomfortable, we had the beach almost entirely to ourselves (minus a few nudists…) and the most perfect, gentle waves, and we spent it with a childhood friend of mine and her two cute kids who are close in age to ours! (You moms out there know how dramatically having other kids around can improve your day and make your life simpler, ha — plus my friend’s parents were with them so we even had babysitters!)

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There were even little pools left after the high tide, including the most perfect kiddie pool for the babies. It could not have been a more splendid beach day ❤

(The beach is called Montalivet, it’s a bit north of where we usually went growing up (Arcachon), but it was worth the drive if only to fend off the crowds! This one was a “secret” beach, my friend led us over some dunes and through some trees to get to it. She and her family were camping there for their summer vacation.)

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(We’ll just forget the drama in trying to actually get there… ha. Poor Andrew had just flown in the day before, had to drive stick for the first time in a long while in bumper-to-bumper traffic only to realize an hour or so in that the GPS was taking us the wrong way and there was a much better road to take… we made it eventually but it was already afternoon and everybody was a little cranky. Once we got to the beach and stepped into the waves, though, it all melted away.)

Maud and I became good friends when she joined the american section program in 9th grade — she’s 100% French, but she was just that hard of a worker that she managed to get into a bilingual program out of sheer hard work and perseverance. We took the same bus line to school (AB Chemin de Leysotte!) and I have plenty of good memories with her. She was one of those kinds of friends who isn’t afraid to be smart or ambitious or silly, and doesn’t make you feel like you needed to change who you are to fit in. Looking back, I was really lucky to call her a friend at a time of my life when I was pretty easily influenced.

She ended up getting married around the same time I did and we have kids that are close in age, so it was awesome to get together again years later! Her daughter Chiara even brought a sweet little gift for Adelina, a necklace with her name on it that she still cherishes today, even though she has put it in her mouth so often the text is rubbing off… ha. (She’s wearing it in all these photos, of course!) Chiara is older than her but they still became fast friends and loved those waves ❤

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Yeah, I’m pretty sure the ocean was a smashing success 😉

My friend’s dad played with the girls a lot, they loved going crazy in the waves and waiting for the last possible minute to jump up. Chiara showed her how it was done and Adelina picked up very quickly: before soon, she was bravely running straight into the waves!

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She also learned the meaning of the expression “boire la tasse” (to drink the cup) that day… oops! Ha no worries, she got over it quickly.

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The guys even got in a good nap in the shade!

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(Don’t look too closely, but there are definitely nudists in the background of some of these photos… ha ha. This beach is near a nudist colony so I guess they tend to spread out to the other beaches… oh well, when in France! Andrew’s special moment of the day was when one fully nude man came up to him to ask him something — the time, I think — ha!)

That water felt so good. It was what you call a “mer d’huile” (oily sea) that day, meaning the waves were very tame, so it was perfect for little girls and really pleasant for us adults too. I’m not the super adventurous body-boarding type, so it was perfect!

That kiddie pool was so fun too, the kids loved it and the water was extra warm from sitting in the sun all day, so it was perfect.

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Sadly the only picture I got of my friend and me was a phone shot, but it’s only because we were all having too much fun — and I definitely enjoyed a chance to get out the camera 🙂

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I only wish I had handed it off more so I could be in the photos, that’s the challenge with being the “designated photographer.” It’s something I love doing and I got great shots that day, but I wish I were in more (any) of them. I’ve taught Andrew some basics but I need to be better about setting the camera up and then asking him to get me in the photo.

Either way, we had a blast.

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Truly, a perfect beach day.

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And a great way to kick off the rest of our mini-vacation-within-a-vacation… Switzerland! More to come soon…

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