Sunday, 14 July 2013

Our day trip to Lille (part 2)

So, picking up from where I left off the other day (see part one here)...

We walked back towards the main square, taking a slightly different route, looking at all of the shops and cafe's on the way.

We had a look around a supermarket as Chester really wanted to see if it was the same as Asda! After having a good look around, he decided it was not like Asda at all. However, he did like it because they had different Pez machines!

We were a bit unsure of where to go for lunch, we really wanted to try some local dishes so we took our time looking at the menus and seeing what kind of food was being served up. We found a really nice Brasserie just off of the main square called La Chicoree it had seating inside and out and seemed busy with lots of happy locals. We were seated inside, which suited us, it was cool and relatively quiet. I am not sure if the language barrier was the problem or they simply did not have highchairs but Millie had to stay seated in her pushchair. It was not really a major drama and the waiter did bring round some bread which kept her entertained whilst we were waiting for our lunch.

I really wanted to go for something local so I chose La carbonnade flamande, which is a traditional flemish stew (flemish food is considered local here) made with very tender chunks of beef in a sauce made with beer, brown sugar and gingerbread. O.M.G it was delicious! It was served with chips and portion size was massive, I could not finish it all! 

Craig went for La bavette grillée à l'échalote which is grilled steak with shallot. Not so local but something that he liked the look at when it had been brought out to other tables! Craig said his was delicious too. Chester and Millie shared a kids meal, the portion size was so generous there was no way they could of eaten one each! Chester was slightly horrified when his burger came without a bun. But he was soon happy again when explained this is how they eat in France. The burger was lovely, nothing like you get on a kids menu over here at all. It was pure minced steak, really lovely. 

We were so full from our mains but there was no way I was coming to France and not experiencing pudding the French way! I opted for Creme Caramel, Craig had apple tarte and Chester had an ice cream. Millie was still busy scoffing chips and bread! All the desserts were lovely, we all agreed that Craig's was the best!

After our lovely lunch we decided to do some more wandering and see if we could find a market or maybe even the natural history Museum I had seen in the guide book. 

A short walk and we came to a shop selling slushie drinks outside, Chester and Craig were in their element! They both love slushie drinks and this shop was selling about 10 different flavours! Chester asked nicely for the green one and the shopkeeper happily taught him that green in French was Vert and that the particular green he wanted was pomme flavour. So Chester now knows how to say Green Apple in French! 

We came to a shopping mall so had a look around. Millie spotted some toot toot driver cars (she has a toot toot drivers garage, its one of her favourite toys), she did look a little confused when they were singing the songs in French but nether the less she was happy!

We carried on walking and came to a beautiful archway and gardens on a roundabout.

Then Chester spotted a park so we had a little play in there before heading to the museum, which actually was just around the corner from the park.

The Natural history museum was very quaint, in was a really old building with a lot of original features, such as spiral staircases and lovely high ceilings. There was no lift and Millie had fallen asleep so we took it in turns to go upstairs. There were a lot of stuffed animals and skellingtons, including several whale skellingtons suspended from the ceiling. It was lots of fun reading the information in French and trying to translate into English. Chester spent a long time asking us how the French say Whale and so on! 

It was getting a little late now so we decided to head back towards the station, stopping off at the few patisseries we had seen along the way! Millie had woken from her nap and Chesters little legs were starting to get tired now, he had done so well walking everywhere since we arrived at 9.30am! So I decided to let him sit on Terrance (the Trunki) for a bit, with me pulling him along. The Trunki is a super invention, and it certainly helped us out that day! 

On the way back to the patisseries I spotted a little book market hidden away in a courtyard, It was very quaint with lots of old and traditional books for sale. 

I finally managed to get my traditional gaufres à la vanille from Meert and it was yummy! Very very sweet but and a real treat! 

We had spotted another patisserie earlier that day that looked lovely, full of French specialities. So we popped in there to get some goodies to take back home. We picked up some cookies, some pastries and of course, some french bread! The French bread was warm when we got it and it actually did not last very long, it was delicious and we all could not resist nibbling at it on the way back to the station! 

We had a little time to spare when we got close to the station so we decided to stop by EuraLille a big shopping mall just next to the station. WOW it was big! We headed to the hypermarket and picked up a few things from there, mainly water and a re stock of French bread! It was massive I could've spent all day just browsing! We then went to a little sandwich shop ate some giant chocolate brioche and watched the world go by! Sadly I was so busy watching the world go buy that I forgot to take any pictures! Most unlike me!

Our journey home was stress free, in the eurostar waiting area they have an xbox and kinect so Chester was very happy to pass the 20 minutes wait time on those! On the train Millie took lots of pictures of herself and then 'played' the games on the kidizoom camera. Chester and Craig got very engrossed in a game of snakes and ladders, Chester was very quick to point out when Craig forgot to go down a snake! 

We arrived home just after 9pm uk time, exhausted but extremely happy. Our day trip to Lille, France was just amazing. We learnt so much about Lille, a place we had not really known anything about before. Chester was brilliant, he really wanted to get involved and connect with the locals. He tried his hardest to speak in French and understand what was being said back to him. Millie just loved the new sights, her favourite part of the day was probably the Zoo. 

So Actimel funded this trip for the theme connect, do I think we did them proud. Yes I do! Not only did we all make a great effort understanding and connecting with the locals, we also connected as a family. It was a great day with loads of conversation and questions. In fact the questions are ongoing as Chester is asking us to teach him different French words on a daily basis! Today for instance he wanted to know what paddling pool and Castle were in French. 

A massive thank you to Actimel family well being index and a special thank you to Aaron who organised all of this for us. We truly had a fantastic day out, one we are not likely to forget! 

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