As you probably know, in August much of Paris shuts down and the Parisians flee the city for the annual 3 – 4 week summer vacation. Despite my wife just returning to work from her six-month maternity leave, she was basically strong-armed into taking a minimum of 2 weeks vacation this August.
I’m pretty sure France is one of the few countries in the world where this would happen. C’est la vie, non?
For a last-minute vacation, we decided to head out to our friend’s house for a week near Beaune, in the middle of Bourgogne (or Burgundy) – home of some of the finest Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs in the world, not to mention some to-die-for mustards and the requisite plate of garlic and parsley-coated escargot.
If you’re a fan of Napa Valley, then Bourgogne is the place to be, particularly in August when the sun peaks out, the vineyards are lush and the grapes start to hang heavy on the vine. When the baby is having a hard time taking a nap, it just makes walking him around in the stroller that much more pleasurable!
Perhaps the best part of this one-week excursion was the afternoon out. Our friends insisted on babysitting Zef so my wife and I could sneak in some quality adult time during our one week in Bourgogne.
After nearly six months of Zef being in our lives, this is something we haven’t gotten a lot of. Neither of our parents live in town and we haven’t enrolled him in daycare or even explored babysitters yet. We’re pretty content spending as much time as we can with him and, when either of us needs a break, we’re there for each other. It’s nice to have an occasional break from taking care of the baby, but still, we haven’t gotten too many breaks together.
As we walked past the Hospices de Beaune, holding hands like teenagers, discovering the little shops and restaurants along charming, cobblestone streets, we got a chance to reconnect as adults, without any talk of how well Zef napped or how big his poop was. Instead, we learned about the fascinating history of mustard on a tour at la moutarderie of Edmond Fallot where part of the tour includes making your own petit pot of mustard to take home and a mustard degustation!
The mustard tasting opened up our palettes for lunch and we found ourselves hungry in the way that only happens on vacation.
I called for reservations at Les Pôpiettes, a place that was highly recommended and, by chance, the owners (two sweet Italian ladies) are friends of our friends and had come by the house we were vacationing on the night I made Tex-Mex – complete with my homemade salsa – which they loved. Unfortunately, Les Pôpiettes was booked for lunch. We decided to walk by and say a quick hello anyway and, as it turned out, a table opened up right when got there!
Over black-truffle risotto, duck rediscovered as a tataki-styled dish, a tasty Chardonnay from nearby Maçon and a mirabelle tartelette replete with warm crème anglais and homemade vanilla ice cream, we chatted away a couple hours discussing more adult stuff and made a few new friends around the restaurant. When lunch wound down to a slow close, we knew our date was over.
On the way back to Zef and our vacation home, I had the realization that being a good dad also means being the best husband you can be. This means sometimes taking your wife out on dates.
It’s a good thing that we decided to fly our mother-in-law into town for the second week of vacation. I see a few more dates in our near future.