Tag Archives: Childhood

Monaco for kids

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ok, ok, and accompanying adults.

The fame of Monaco as the world of rich and famous as we know or imagine it: heliports, diamonds, luxury and adults games and playgrounds.

I was on a quest of demonopolizing the adult centered view of this harbor of fun. With this in mind, we quickly found out that Monaco is generous for all ages and spirits.

When travelling with the kid, safety comes first. Security wise, Monaco is one of the safest places. The number of police officers per capita is the highest in Europe. It is one of few places where I, a hand holding mom, let my kid wander away from me.

So, for now, here are a few things to choose from for a long weekend with kids in Monaco:

1. Larvotto beach

Small in length, it manages to accommodate a playground for smaller ones and a sports ground and it still leave enough space for free play and lounges. It is also a birds feeding spot, if you are into this.

The waters of Larvotto beach are part of a maritime protected area so the water quality is monitored daily. You can swim with fish even very close to shore.

2. The gardens: Japanese, Exotic, St. Martin, Rosarea of Princess Grace and more

You can have a fun botanic open air class in any or all of them. Trees are marked and their origin explained, to explore trees from different parts of the world. For long walks, you can embark on a marked trees path throughout Monaco, to discover the most spectacular ones. It can be a new sensorial experience: touching leaves of different texture, listening to the sound of leaves playing with the wind … .

More on gardens https://www.hellomonaco.com/sightseeing/parks-gardens/the-captivating-charm-of-monaco-gardens/?fbclid=IwAR2BHy6KK4k-h_L-nHANr87FqTSfDt6WwRGMjxyfmT0rQ3o8yn9ekzCawfM

3. Oceanographic Museum and its panoramic roof

It is always a pleasure to visit it. I recommend to buy the tickets online and skip the waiting line. It is a world of oceans wonders and a platform to educate young and adults alike. This year, we felt royal to be greeted by the Prince, even if from a screen. Monaco invested traditionally in ocean research for dozens of years. It started with Prince Alberto I and the famous explorer Cousteau. This year expo is devoted to the Monaco Blue Initiative and Monaco’s commitment to ocean protection. Kids and adults can learn through touch screens about maritime protected areas, what it means to eat fish responsibly, what it takes to decide with sustainability in mind.

4. Fontvieille area museums

The small and cosy stamps and coins Museum offers a visit to the monetary and early communication history of Monaco.

The private collection of Cars of Prince H.S.H. Rainier III

We loved to walk around the carriages and cars of 100 years and more history behind. The latest sports cars, official cars of Princess Grace, cars decoration elements delighted kids and adults alike.

The Naval Museum

5. The Exotic Garden, the cave and the anthropology museum

From the Exotic Garden you can descend into a 600 meters deep cave. I would recommend the descend only to kids 8+ and with good shoes on. It can be slippery.

The anthropology museum is small and hosts a temporary expo. This year it was devoted to migration.

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A birthday experience: cakes and more.

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For my birthday this year I wanted a new family experience around something we all love. And that is easy to choose. We are all into cakes and making a cake by learning from a French pâtissier in France sounded just right.

I chose Atelier de Yann in Colmar, Alsace. It is a multi concept store: boutique factory, tea time, ateliers de patisserie, opened in 2015 by Yann Navarro, maitre pâtissier, chocolatier. And it was a perfect choice. The first word which came to my mind to describe this place and the service is i m p e c a b l e from the registration to the class to the unboxing of the products of our hands at home. I am very happy to note how client-oriented are the owner and staff, something of a gem in France. I notice it when I encounter it. I am grateful that they adapted to the presence of my kid, in a workshop otherwise designed for adults. In fairness, she has better self-management and dexterity than many adults I know.

The class was conducted by Yann, the owner of the place. We navigated through the stages of the Succès Pistache & Framboises, under his patient and humble guidance. We all felt at ease with maneuvering, matching and spoiling, tasting and mixing, taste and quantity balancing, regardless of the age and level of baking skills. Now the pastry bag has no more secrets from me. I also loved that we could each manifest our own creativity at the decorating stage without being bound by French pastry rigors. And there are many.

We left with a sense of great satisfaction as all our questions were answered with the clarity of a great master and the generosity of the host manifested tiny yet significant details of the true hospitality.

It inspired us to share the experience with friends over a cup of coffee. No that we could not devour the three cakes at once.

We will no doubt come back for more and warmly recommend this temple of nurturing the love for French pastry, with our best wishes of success and prosperity to Yann and his team! If I would award Michelin stars, one would certainly go to Atelier de Yann.

Meaningful souvenirs

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Meaningful souvenirs

Bringing staff from trips is tempting. Money is easier spent on vacation. A new item brings into the house the need for space and care. Only thinking about dusting off all those trinkets on shelfs makes me tired. And there is not so much space on the fridge for new magnets. If it is not integrated into your kitchen furniture.

In Amsterdam I discovered a new kind of souvenir – make your own mug. It is proposed by Heinen Delfts Blauw, the ceramics maker.

It brought a new experience of coloring it together with my kid: discussing the colors choices, dividing the work, waiting for the final result while it is in the oven, sharing the first sips of water, … And that is what I call souvenirs.

How Haut Koenigsbourg fortress lost it to Monkeys Mountain

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Not literally, of course.

1 May. Labour Day. France. Family trip plan to one of most famous fortresses in Alsace: Haut Koenigsbourg. Incited by 1 May invitations “all – to the fortresses” which invaded Facebook, I bought the train tickets Strasbourg-Selestat on-line the evening before. They are polite, the French railway: tickets for itineraries offered on line are guaranteed strike-free.

The next morning, Labour Day lesson 1: no buses or trams. They expect you to know that. Especially, after some years one lives in France. So, we do some “kilomètres de solidarité” to the railway station. Some celebrate the Labour Day. Some have to labour it.

The train is on time and we get to Selestat. Labour Day lesson 2: read the small script. The navette driver announces that of all castles only Haut Koenigsbourg is closed today, as he heard himself this morning on radio. I open the facebook event on Alsace castles, click couple of pop-up sites to finally get to the text in small letters: Haut Koenigsbourg is closed today. Merci beaucoup!

The driver’s entrepreneurial spirit comes to rescue. He tells us about La Montagne des Singes on the same itinerary and offers not to charge the kid for the trip.

20 minutes latter we are there, meeting the loveliest creatures. Sorry, Haut Koenigsbourg you lost it to monkeys this time. Without even a battle 😉

Time spent there was lovely: we fed them with pop corn distributed by the park’s employees

watched baby monkeys playing

witnessed a love story

and learned how to stay zen even when surrounded by hoards of curios visitors

The Giving Tree

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I was looking to upgrade our bedtime stories. With Jessica Joelle Alexander’s recommendation http://www.jessicajoellealexander.com I found “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein.

The book was first published more that 50 years ago.

The book teaches the value of nurturing relations in a mutually beneficial way. It helps to explain to children that a balanced give-and-take is a good foundation for friendships they begin to develop.

It is a heartfelt story of a relationship between boy and a tree. At first, their relationship is loving and mutually nurturing.

It is a story about faithfulness and borderless generosity: As the boy grows, so do his demands for entertainment and support. The tree is a constant supplier and satisfies all his needs with all it has until it becomes a stump. The tree demands nothing in return. It is just happy to be there for the boy.

A beautiful story for bedtime reading. For both children and adults.

The sweetness of grandmother-granddaughter talk

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In a doctor’s waiting room, a very talkative grandmother tries to get her granddaughter’s attention. The 15 year old tries to read. The dialogue goes like this:

– You can read your book at home.

– I can read and listen to you at the sane time, grandmother. I finally learned how to do it.

– You can keep your book. In my younger days, I was reading books all night long. I was 18.

– I am 15, grandmother.

– You can still read your book at home. What’s in you backpack?

– School things.

– Look at this! The grandmother seems surprised by the way the girl’s colorful backpack is made.

She then goes on about the lost value of Christmas, her neighbor crazy driving, religious tolerance … .

The appointment was for the young lady. I thought “How sweet! The grandmother accompanied her grandchild!” I almost wished she would never stop talking. I wished she would turn to me to get me to listen while waiting for her granddaughter to come out of the doctor’s office.

Then I got it. It’s their special thing: a 85 year old grandmother – 15 year old granddaughter dialogue, tune, reverberation.

Here is to all sweet grandmothers-granddaughters joy of sharing!

Family time: a walk in the park

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Pourtales Park is at 10 minute bus ride from my home. Yet, our busyness kept it miles away. So one Sunday morning on a beautiful September day, we made it. What a lovely discovery! 

The Palace made it through wars and was reinvented and rescued with private investment by Dr. Leibrecht and his family. It is a hotel and an events venue today. 

The Park’s trails take you to places with surprises. Thanks to my kid’s previous school trip, we knwe what to look for. But it is also fun if you just walk and let the Park reveal itself. Portales: a place where nature meets art.