Moi et mon Fraser (aged 11 in 2015) cruising on the Seine!
Guest: Fraser Nicholson
Other Loulabelles links:
I have travelled with my children in France a number of times. Each visit has been so amazingly rewarding and the ability to look back together on our experiences has bonded us closer together as they grow older.
I chatted to my youngest son Fraser in this podcast episode about his recollections of our travels. He is such a keen traveler. He and I are always planning our next trip somewhere!
We first travelled to France as part of a big European tour for our family back when he was still in primary school! We met up with 20 of our family in Paris and spent a week together there. We saw all the big touristy things but even though he was only in Grade 5, Fras remembers many more intricate details of our time there. Interestingly other children from our family who attended with us on this trip who were a little younger don’t have the same clarity of memory. They also didn’t have the stamina to power through the day as Fraser did at about age 10 or 11. That is an important consideration if FrancoFilers are planning to travel with younger children.
After a week together, we left Paris by train and travelled with the huge family group to Chinon in the Loire Valley where the little kids all had much more freedom than in Paris.
On this huge long trip that went for 7 weeks, and where we spent most of our time in France, I asked everyone to put forward once choice that they definitely couldn’t miss. Fraser had a request that I never thought of. The Motocross of Nations was being held whilst we were there in a little village of Ernée. We walked the track and met the Motocross riders. We chatted in French in ways we never thought we would too!
We then drove across to Villers-Bretonneux which is a very special place for Australians visiting France as it was Australian troops who liberated the village from the German’s and our home city of Melbourne supported the village to rebuild after the devastation of the First World War. Fraser and I both recall visiting the primary school there and it had a lovely message written across the top of the lunch shed. N’Oublions Jamais Les Australiens, Never Forget the Australians. It was such a very moving place, and the people treated us so specially as we’re Australian.
Fraser had another very unique and significant experience in Paris as a young teenager. In 2017 I went on an immersion trip to France and one of the other women on the trip was a beautiful friend of mine. Fraser together with my older son, my friend’s beautiful mother and my friend’s two sons who were also older than Fras (and had some terrific French language skills!) flew over to meet me after the immersion had finished. The boys had a bit of time in Paris before we met up with them. The opportunity to explore Paris with other boys, albeit quite a bit older than Fraser, was a life memory he will always cherish. How many kids get to hang out in Paris with their mates for the day!?!?
Fraser’s fave French food is actually more of a drink but his favourite is the classic French chocolat chaud, the hot chocolate served in some Parisian cafés.
The place where we had the chocolat chaud served as a jug of pouring chocolate was at Cafe St Regis on the Île Saint-Louis. The velvety chocolate texture and flavour is like something I had never had before my visit to Paris. David Lebovitz has a fabulous recipe I have included in the hyperlink above which uses whole milk, the best quality bittersweet chocolate you can buy (finely chopped) and light brown sugar. This recipe will help immerse us FrancoFilers in the flavours and smells of Paris cafés with every mouthful!
I highlighted rap in this episode as it is my son Fraser’s fave genre.
French culture is ever evolving and it’s important to celebrate the current emerging culture as well as the past, so thanks Fras for introducing me to the rap genre which led me to Niska’s song!