This time we left David, kids and boyfriends at home. It was just me, my sisters and my Mum and Dad. Which was kind of unusual for a family trip to France - we always try to pack as many in as possible! I felt a little bit bad about leaving people behind, but then do you know something? I stepped onto the plane and completely forgot! It had been a long time since we were all on a holiday, just the Bradys. And as someone pointed out when I got home, it was so nice to be the kid again for a change.
We spent an incredible four days together doing something we all adore - basking under the glorious French sun. We've been on numerous holidays to France together including camping holidays when I was younger. I remember having a brilliant time in water parks and kids clubs. But it wasn't until I made my first trip as a Mum myself to Grimaud in Autumn 2006 when Ross was three months old that I totally and utterly fell in love with it. We spent a week in the gorgeous medieval town perched high on the lush French hills with my Mum, Dad and two sisters and had an amazing time. Since that holiday we've visited the same part of France countless times and all still love it. Having David's Mum and Dad's place over there makes everything a lot easier and even more enjoyable.
Now, anytime I think of France instead of kamikaze diving and tennis tournaments I dream of all the other great things... rippled roof tiles, painted shutters, emerald green hills next to sapphire blue skies, hairpin turns winding their way to magical hilltop towns, crispy baguettes, flowers dripping from balconies - breakfast, lunch and dinner alfresco - and of course rosé. Everything Grimaud cemented in my mind nearly 10 years ago. My next thought is usually how can we get as many of the Bradys and Lawlors over at the same time to enjoy all of these things together!
Our holiday to Mougins, a place I'd never had the pleasure of discovering properly before, absolutely lived up to my perfect picture. Thank you so much Pat for sharing your beautiful home with us.
When we stepped through arrivals in Nice this pair were waiting... Ha!
Starting to look a little French having already been there a week. And so began our holiday of epic proportions. We had the glorious weather I've come to expect at that time of year and as usual not one of our meals was indoors.
My favourite French lunch has always been the smorgasbord of cheeses, hams, salamis, patés, tomatoes, salads, baguettes, olives (and anything else that's around!) prepared by Mum and Dad, and that was exactly what we had back at the house. The best bit about it is it can be eaten at any time of day - it can be breakfast or dinner too! It's always eaten under the warm French sun and always includes a glass or two of the local rosé.
I didn't really document this trip very well - I was enjoying our time together far too much - but I did remember to take lots of photos, so here's our holiday, mainly in pictures..!
We headed to the club for a drink (another one!) after lunch.
And that evening Dad barbequed.
Côte de bœuf, cooked to perfection served with fresh salads and vegetables.
And as always so delicious!
The next morning we woke to the impeccable French sunshine and headed to the beach, stopping off on the way for a delicious breakfast of crusty, hot croissants and apricot jam.
We spent our beach day in beautiful Cannes.
Where this happened as I was gazing out to sea.
A little nudge possibly? From someone somewhere reminding me to appreciate and take in everything around me. As usual I snapped some photos first though!
Then Le Cabanon for lunch...
Where we had a magnificent meal listening to live music and watching the regulars boogy the night away.
The following day we headed to wonderful Valbonne.
We had our delicious petit dejuener in the delightful square.
Afterwards, we explored the lovely meandering town centre, which that day was home to their weekly market. Forget shops, markets are by far the best way to spend an afternoon in the South of France.
On our way back to the house we picked up some delicious fish opting for lunch on the terrace that day. We knew it would beat any restaurant especially if Dad was barbecuing!
That evening, after lounging in the sun for the rest of the afternoon we drove up windy corkscrew roads to Mougins town and had a wonderful dinner in Resto des Arts.
And I finally had my soupe de poisson.
Along with rosé - fish soup served with rouille (a thick sauce you can spread onto croutons), steak tartare and moules frites are an absolute must when I'm in France. I still need to work my way up to enjoying escargot but give me time!
After, we had a lovely walk through the stunning town. The setting on my camera was all wrong so I've no good photos to show apart from these at the very end just as we got back to the car.
On our last day we had one of my favourite French breakfasts, 'smorgasbord lunch for breakfast!' on the terrace. Then it was sadly time to go.
We stopped for one last drink at the club overlooking the stunning golf course before we left for the airport and said our goodbyes - Mum and Dad were staying on. Me and Emily got a little teary as we all hugged goodbye, I'm fairly certain it was because we really didn't want our holiday to end!
Thinking back over everything, our trip to Grimaud all those years ago is definitely one of the reasons why I love this part of France so much. It was the beginning of our family trips spanning over three generations. And while remembering holidays of bygone days I've discovered exactly what it is about France that's captivated me and makes me want to go back time and time again. I used to think it was that impeccable image of sunny skies and beautiful sandstone towns. The picture that started in the wonderful little village high up on the hill nearly 10 years ago. But what I've come to realise is, it's family. France reminds me of family. All the rest is just the really pretty icing on the cake.