France: Courseulles-sur-Mer/Juno Beach

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Walking through town

While in Normandy, we used Courseulles-sur-Mer as our base for traveling. It’s a small town on the coast famous for its oysters (25% of oysters in France come from Courseulles-sur-Mer) and June Beach (one of the 5 D-Day beaches).

The town is very lovely and relaxing. When I researched Courseulles-sur-Mer before booking, I read it’s mostly a resort town with the houses owned by Parisians. I wish we had planned more time to enjoy the city – so beautiful and the seafood and fish are outstanding!

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France: Mont Saint Michel

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Arrived at Mont Saint Michel

Every since I studied in France in 2008, Mont Saint Michel has been on my mother’s and my wishlist to visit. Even though I’ve seen many photos, Mont Saint Michel still took my breath away when I saw it in person.

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France: French Open

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Family photo at the French Open

Ever since I moved to Belgium, my dad has wanted to attend the French Open aka Roland Garros. So this year we made it happen! We bought seats on the Suzanne Lenglen Court, named for the French tennis player who many regard as the greatest female tennis player in tennis history. La Divine (the Goddess – a nickname given by the French press), was the first female tennis celebrity / international female sports star and won 31 championship titles between 1914 – 1926.

I really love the colors of Roland Garros – the burnt orange with green and purple. So when it started raining and we had a 1 hour rain delay, I didn’t mind too much purchasing the French Open ponchos!

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France: Giverny (Visiting Monet’s House)

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Walking through Giverny

Because Versailles is closed on Mondays and I already booked the French Open for Tuesday,  we needed to find something to do inbetween. We’re lucky enough to have all been to Paris before, so I did some research for possible day trips and found out that Giverny is not too far away (1 hour).

Giverny is a beautiful town in Normandy most famous for being home to the impressionist painter Claude Monet. I was so excited about seeing the water lilies and green bridge in person! May was such a perfect month to visit because all of the flowers were in blossom. I cannot recommend enough!

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France: Château de Versailles

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Arrived at Château de Versailles

I don’t get to see my parents so often – only once or twice a year, so when they planned their trip to Belgium in May, Koen and I wanted to take them on a special trip to France. Specifically the highlight is the French Open in Paris! But first things first, the Château de Versailles. Everyone in my family has visited Versailles with the exception of my mother, so of course we set out to change this!

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cowfish restaurant (Brussels)

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Mom in the garden of the Mont des Arts

Because I’m now working in Brussels, I thought it’d be fun to spend an afternoon exploring the city with my parents and seeing where I work. My dad was too sleepy due to jetlag, so my mom and I headed to Brussels! We didn’t have too much on the agenda – just wanted to walk around and enjoy a nice lunch at cowfish restaurant. cowfish is located right off of the luxury shopping street, the Boulevard de Waterloo, so it was the perfect location for us!

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Belgian Vineyards with Hannah

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Exploring the vineyards

Every couple of months Koen and his friends have a Boys’ Weekend. This time Koen was the host, so I was very happy to escape the boys and stay with Hannah in Leuven for the weekend. We had beautiful, sunny weather and decided to explore the Belgian vineyards of Hageland.

We visited the heart of the Hagelandse wines – Wezemaal (Rotselaaar). They have a visitors center in a 19th century neo-gothic building where you can learn about the Hagelandse landscape and watch a video of the winemakers themselves sharing their passion. We didn’t realized you needed to make an appointment and were lucky we were able to join another group!

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