One of the things that I love about our summers in France is seeing family and friends and truly getting to enjoy time spent with them without major schedule constraints. For my daughters as well, they seem to like spending time with their family in France without the worries that they usually have during the school year — no homework and no serious extracurricular activities. Though we get to spend some time with my family during the school year, we do not really get to see my husband’s side of the family until the summer. So there is usually lots of catching up with everyone on how their lives may have changed over the course of one year (as in new babies, engagements, pregnancies, new jobs, recent vacation plans, etc.).
Chiara’s sketch while waiting for dinner
We tend to see my husband’s extended family on July 14th, le quatorze juillet, which we refer to as Bastille Day. Please do not make the same gaffe that I did and translate Bastille Day to le jour de Bastille when speaking to a French native. Just as Americans do not commonly refer to July 4th in parlance as Independence Day, the French do not call their big Independence Day as Bastille Day.
The family reunion and le quatorze juillet are often celebrated by my husband’s family with a long and indulgent four-hour lunch, followed by a game of boule or petanque and card games. At night, we usually eat a shorter dinner for about two and half hours. Then we stay up and watch the fireworks, which is usually pretty late since the sun does not set until 10:30PM in this neck of the woods.
Way past their bedtime but in awe of the fireworks