We are en vacances
We arrived in France on Saturday and have explored the local area. Today, having made it to the bakery we like in the local village early enough to buy croissants before they sold out (PK having already made quite an impression there on Saturday when he marched in and loudly asked “un pain au chocolat s’il vous plait!) we set off along the coast to Saint-Josse, about 65km away, to a fabulous looking theme park sort of thing – inflatable obstacle courses, mazes and labyrinths and all kinds of things. Unfortunately, we didn’t realise until we got there that it doesn’t open mid-week except in the school holidays.
Refusing to be disappointed, we instead went to Boulogne. We knew from the selection of leaflets we picked up on Sunday that we’d find the Nausicaá National Sea Centre there and thought the children might enjoy it. We had lunch in a local cafe before heading into the centre. It cost us a little over €50 for the five of us and it was well worth it. It took almost three hours to navigate all the areas (there are 21 separate areas, each dedicated to a particular area of the world, or a particular species etc) and although it’s laid out on three or four floors, all areas are accessible thanks to lots of lifts placed strategically.
Rather than the standard aquarium offering, there was a lot of conservation information, in several languages, and an entire area dedicated to “The Sea of Man”, which showed how many people depend on the North Sea, and gave you a taste of what it’s like to be on a trawler – and what it’s like being on the bridge of that trawler in rough seas; that was a little too realistic, with the moving floor. I felt a little seasick after that!
We had a great time in there, and after an obligatory trip to the gift shop (where we bought a pack of Happy Families cards, featuring marine animals, along with information and about them in French and English) the sun was still shining, so we took a walk on the beach and had ice cream. Bean and Plum took off their shoes and walked the almost half mile of sand to the sea, and paddled. And yes, it was very cold. PK amused himself playing with the sand and chasing after the ball, which the wind kept blowing away from him.
After the drive home, the kids continued playing outside until long past bedtime for Plum and PK (with a quick break to eat) – the sun was still shining and it seemed a shame to call them in, so we left them to it until PK announced it was bedtime.