Twins on tour

Hattie and Joe’s French Adventures: Verteillac

In keeping with the kids’ adorably enthusiastic attitude when visiting anywhere new, each outing in France is officially an adventure! After a couple of days at home to recover from our epic journey, it was time to introduce the kids to the local area. Yesterday we went to Verteillac (pronounced ‘ver-tee-ack’), where their Nanna, Pat, has a weekly French lesson. It’s a little village – they’re called a commune around these parts. We were all set for bright, sunny weather:

While Pat learned ever-more sophisticated ways to tell people that the pen of her aunt is on the table, Tristan and I took the kids to the commune’s playground. It was lovely: fenced (and I’m a huge fan of fenced playgrounds), shaded by several mature trees, and with cool play equipment that was different enough to our local stuff to delight the kids:

After a while we left the playground and went to explore the rest of the commune. The kids loved the fountain by the war memorial:

The memorial itself made for such sober reading – one local family lost its first son in 1914, its second son in 1915, and its third and fourth sons in 1916. Can you imagine such grief?

I loved the garlands decorating the square. Traditionally these would be made from crepe paper, which didn’t fare well if it rained, but these days the locals make them from recycled plastic bags. 

We’re planning to come back to Verteillac on Sunday for a monthly flea market. I deliberately went light on the luggage for this trip, so we have space for anything cool that we just have to have. 

We meandered around, checking out the sights. Joe gravitated towards the shoe rack of a local vintage shop:

Both kids insisted on balancing on every low wall and climbing every set of steps, successfully filling the time until we were due to meet Nanna for coffee. 

We even visited the local church, and the kids were enthralled by the statues and stained glass (and surprisingly good about the whole ‘being quiet and reverent’ thing). 

After a quick snack in the square it was time to reunite with Nanna, Grandad (who’d been to the gym in nearby Riberac), and Gogga (who went shopping in Riberac and bagged herself a nice skirt, once again continuing her habit of turning into a shopaholic while on holiday). 

The kids’ big lesson of the day was that delicious French hot chocolate is served without froth (unlike in New Zealand), and with a little biscuit, instead of the standard marshmallows. 

We had a quick stop at the playground on the way back to the car, where children young and old had fun…


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