I don’t need family therapy to bond with my daughters... I travel to bond... as well as to sip.... to dine and to explore destinations together with them. Last year I planned a trip to France with my two adult daughters, and we were joined by my friend and her daughter. I chose France for a nice balance of big city and small town experiences.
As we headed to the airport, the typical stress of LA traffic caused tension and arguments in the car, as it always does. But I had hope for good times ahead! I love my daughters, but I have to admit that living in a big city, with all of us having busy work and social schedules, leaves little room to relax and enjoy each other’s company. We checked in and found a cafe at LAX international terminal which had live entertainment, and with a bottle of Rose we toasted and set the tone for the start of a beautiful vacation!
After a long flight we arrived in Paris... the girls were so excited as we checked into the Mandarin Oriental hotel, one of TravelStore's preferred Signature hotels, and were treated with a bottle of champagne that we chose to instantly pop and sip in the beautiful terrace of our room. The girls couldn’t wait, so we walked and explored till midnight, excited when we glimpsed the Eiffel Tower, and found a local cafe where we enjoyed late night snacks an a bottle of wine.
Resting at night was just to relax the body for what the next few days of adventures and exploration of Paris would bring. For three days we toured with a private driver on “The Best of Paris.” The driver had so much fun with us that he took us to his friend’s gelato stand, next to a beautiful bridge with views that enhanced our tasting of what he called “the best ice cream!" We made new friends and the girls had fun talking to a Frenchman and an Italian gelato maker.
We had a crash course on art visiting the Louvre, saw the sunset and the city of Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower-- something every tourist should see. It is so beautiful viewing the historic landmarks, and how the new buildings mesh together and make up one of the greatest cities in the world.
We also visited Montmartre and engaged with locals as we sat in a cafe and got to know the young couple who own it - just another great afternoon for our mother-daughter bonding.
Our ‘vacay’ (please note this Cool Mom word!) continued with a train ride to Aix En Provence. This city captures your heart and slows you down as you walk the cobblestone streets, seeing the fountains...so many beautiful fountains. We had the pleasure of wandering the Saturday street market, and bought enough lavender soaps and oils to last us for years! We ate pasta in an Italian restaurant where the waiter didn’t speak a word of English, but it was ok and the girls loved ithe authenticity of the experience. It rained, but we chose to stay under the red canopy outdoors because we were enjoying the moment so much, laughing and talking, which made the night even more memorable.
The next day we took a private tour to see Le Beaux de Provence and St. Remy. We also saw “Carriers de Lumiers,” an art installation in a cave-like setting with 70 projectors displaying images on the rocks. it reminded me of an intricate carpet or tapestry!
Oh, and more wine tasting! Every night in France ended with a bottle or two of Rose.. good laughs... good talk ...and walks in the middle of the night under the moonlight of these beautiful cities enjoying the locals.
We all felt sad leaving Aix En Provence, but excited to get to our next destination, Nice. The train rides were pleasant as we talked, laughed and sipped more Rose while viewing the countryside from the train. Being away from our daily stressful lives we laughed, enjoyed great conversation and caught up on things. Isn't that what family vacations should be like? We checked into our hotel and literally ran out to explore this coastal city. Nice is beautiful, with boardwalks along the beach, and pasta and pizza restaurants along the cobblestoned streets in the old city. This area was once part of Italy and that is why you can feel and taste the Italian culture.
While in Nice we took a private day tour to Monte Carlo and Eze, where we again felt we needed more time to enjoy them to the fullest. At night we walked the boardwalks and found restaurants where we ate great food and enjoyed great bottles of wine. We even bonded with the local restaurant owners who shared their best Limoncello bottle with five laughing American ladies! We took an afternoon train to visit beautiful Cannes, and had dinner in the oldest restaurant in the Marina, enjoying the amazing yachts from around the world docked here.
Our France vacation ended with a beach day in Nice. We had arranged with the concierge to hold the best front row seats at their beach club. We enjoyed this day to its fullest, of course with more eating and drinking.
Packing to return home was dreadful, but we knew this had to end. Our hubbies were missing us, along with some of the home life drama that mothers and daughters bring to a loving home! This was the end of our France trip, but definitely not the end to more mother-daughter adventures to come.