Metz, France daytrip 07 April 2012

On Saturday before Easter we took a day trip over to Metz, France.  LOML and I have been having some serious cravings for real French baguettes, butter and cheese ever since we left Paris in January.  The more we travel over here with kids, the more it is becoming about food and culture, as we can’t go into many museums or do a lot of that kind of activity.  A baby and a toddler are just not conducive to those kinds of things.

We talked about leaving the house before 9am.  Ha.  That was a funny thought on our part.  We forgot to set an alarm and didn’t even wake up until after 7.  Oh, well.  It was nice to sleep.  We got out of the house around 10:30, I think.  The drive over was uneventful — the girls both slept just about the entire way there.

Our first experience with Metz resulted in us driving down a pedestrian only street.  Because the GPS told us to.  And we were following a bus.  And we ignored the Do-Not-Enter sign on the bollard.  Oh, well.  We were cautious and courteous to the pedestrians and made it through with no police ticketing.  We found a parking spot and started our walk of the downtown Metz.

LOML had about 3 places he specifically wanted to go and programmed those into the GPS so we could walk there.  1.  A butcher shop recommended by the Cookin’ With Class people in Paris.  2.  A cheese shop, also recommened by them.  3.  The covered market building.  4.  The cathedral.  I guess that’s 4 places now that I write it out.

Spring has sprung in France, too.  : )

It was no surprise, really, but no one spoke English (or would admit they spoke English) at the butcher shop.  LOML got a tiny bit of foi gras and when they handed him the bag there was a little container of clear gelatin cubes.  We had no idea what it was.  (Googling it later LOML found out they use the gelatin with molds to shape up the foi gras all pretty like.)

On our way to the cheese shop we we forced to stop in about 4 chocolate shops.  Yes.  Forced to stop.  LOML loves fleur de sel chocolate and was on a mission to find it.  In at least one shop we asked about it, they said no they didn’t have it, and then we saw it on the shelf.  Oh, well.  In one shop I also found some amazing French maracon cookies.  Those are amazing.  If you all live in Phoenix, you need to visit essence bakery (www.essencebakery.com) in Tempe and try them.  Pricy, but So. Worth. It.  ((I never got to eat any as we ended up giving the package of macarons to our Landlords as an Easter present, but that’s ok.  It just means we need to go back to France.))

We found a bakery and bought the good baguettes.  Then we got lost on our way to the cheese shop, but found it rather quickly.  LOML got a few different kinds of cheeses and we also got fresh butter.  After that we wandered toward the market and cathedral.

The market is a building that has many stalls of people selling fish, meat, cheese, produce, tea, flowers and plants, and a could of restaurant places.  I needed more Earl Grey tea so I bought a big bag of loose tea leaves.  LOML got another chunk of cheese as the first cheese shop didn’t have the specific morbier cheese he was looking for.

fish

candied fruit.  I have never seen so many different kinds of candied fruit before.

Big Ive sipping some juice and eating fresh French baguette in front of the cheese shop while LOML got his morbier.

Little E sucking her thumb in front of the cheese shop.

Then we went in the cathedral, which was right across the square from the market.  I was unsure how Big Ive would do in there.  Little E was asleep in her car seat carrier in the stroller (big surprise, right?).  We walked in and got Big Ive out of the stroller and explained to her that this was a special place where we needed to be quiet and respectful of people praying.  LOML took her throughout the entire cathedral and showed her the great big colorful stained glass windows, explaining that they have stories on them like her books because most people couldn’t read words back then.

She. Was. In. Awe.  Completely in awe of the place.  LOML said she walked around with her head back so she could see the ceilings and all the way to the top of the windows saying, “Wow” over and over.  She did so well in there.

Great shot of Big Ive and LOML walking hand in hand in the cathedral.

Time for a late lunch before leaving.  On our way home we passed through a small French village and saw a sign for an English Cemetery and followed it.  There is a large cemetery for American military that died in Europe right near where we were.  The cemetery we found was not it.  And we tried to find it by going to the town it said it was just outside of, but we weren’t able to find it.  Maybe on another trip we can get a better address and put it in the GPS and find it.

Dance time at lunch.

Us girls in the restaurant after lunch.  Blurry, but I liked the photo, anyway.

The girls slept almost the entire trip home, even with our detours and added time.  It was a great day trip for our family.  LOML and I really enjoy taking these drives to places and spending time together as a family.  We’ve gotten some great conversations and discussions going during our drives and walks.  Yeah, it’d be fun to get into museums and explore more in-depth all of these places we’ve been, but our life isn’t that right now.  Right now it’s leisurely walking down streets with a gigantic double stroller, corralling a toddler, watching a baby sleep, having good conversation and working on our family.  In Europe.  I’m not sure we would be able to do this living at home.  Our lives would never have changed to this extent to allow/make us spend this intentional time together as a family, strengthening that relationship.  It’s not always a walk in the park living over here, but times like these help to make this season in life definitely worth it.

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