Luxembourg Gardens

Tale of two Parisian parks

Travelling with kids can get expensive quickly, especially when the exchange rate isn’t in your favour. Paris, however, is chock-full of gorgeous parks, walks, boulevards,  and places (squares) to wander through and enjoy for little or no cost. During our stay in Paris, we visited a park on most days – sometimes more than one, and often with a picnic.

Parisian parks vary from the grand Jardin des Tuileries to a profileration of neighborhood parks. Often the neighbourhood ones are more kid-friendly – most Parisians live in apartments so outdoor spaces are crucial for giving kids some space to run around.We spent a chilled afternoons the non-touristy park close to where we stayed, enjoying a great play area and space for little Roo to crawl on the grass.

But today’s post concerns two larger parks, with very different vibes, history and attractions.

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Elephants

On Safari, from the tip, with kids…

I’m very happy to share with you Living at the Tip’s first guest post. Bryan Milne shares his experiences on safari with young children.

There are many upsides to living at the tip of Africa, but it does leave you a rather long way from a typical Safari destination such as the Kruger National Park or the many parks in our northern neighbours. We can’t just pop down to Kruger for the weekend as easily as our Jozi brothers and sisters can; for us to get to the “bush” takes some careful planning to make it worthwhile. BC (Before Children) G and I used to travel whenever we could and one of our favourite breaks was to fly to Joburg, rent a car and drive from there to Mpumalanga. We would stay with family and spend wonderful time with them and in Kruger and surrounds.

The arrival of our sons M1 and then M2 put a solid stop to that. Until recently, that is, when a win of the General Tyres SA #AnyWhereIsPossible competition put us literally back on the road again. This entry was chosen as the winner and we were awarded a lump sum to be used on a holiday – yay for competitions!

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Cafe Roux

Noordhoek Farm Village – family-friendly fun for days, and a scenic drive home

This blog has been very quiet, I know – shocking for someone who’s trying to get a blog up and running, I know! No big overwhelming reason, just all the normal little reasons of sick children, holidays, Christmas etc etc

But I’m back, and we’re kicking 2017 off with one of my family’s favorite Cape spots – Noordhoek Farm Village. After Poppet made it clear a few days ago that getting her to the beach was going to be an uphill battle, we refocused on somewhere for brunch that we could all enjoy – and Cafe Roux at Noordhoek Farm Village was an easy choice.

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vergenoegd duck parade

Vergenoegd – a new Winelands market – the one with the ducks!

Last weekend we were up bright and early to fetch new passports for The Husband and Poppet from Home Affairs in Somerset West. Not our favorite activity, to put it mildly … So we decided to follow it up with a visit to a new market at Vergenoegd wine estate on Baden Powell Drive.

If Vergenoegd sounds vaguely familiar, like you’ve heard you should go there for a specific reason but can’t remember what it is, the blog post title and picture should have jogged that memory – it’s famous for the duck parade. Ducks are employees here, paid in the snails and other goggas that they eat in the vineyard.

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Gordes Provence

Perfect Provencal Pair: exploring Roussillon and Gordes

Provence is everything the guidebooks say it is – picturesque villages, views over vineyards, olives, lavender and hilltops. And nestled into the middle of it are arguably 2 of the most lovely of them all. Less than 20 minutes drive from each other, they make for a perfect day in Provence.

Roussillon is noteworthy and unusual for the ochre quarries that surround it. While  most Provencal villages are known for their grey stone buildings and cool blue and purple accents, Roussillon radiates warm oranges and reds, which surround you in the rock quarries themselves and the buildings which clearly drew from their environment for supplies and inspiration.

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Lunch at the Clock Tower District

The Clock Tower District has often seemed like the unpopular kid at the Waterfront club. A small shopping mall with a few tourist-oriented stores and couple of restaurants – hardly seemed worth the effort to walk ALL the way from the enormous, bursting-with-energy Waterfront hub.

But the Husband persuaded me that there was a new playground right next to the restaurants so we decided to try the “other side” of the Waterfront for lunch this past weekend. And I’m so glad we did!

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vienna

Vienna – more than just the inside of your hotdog

Vienna, Austria – land of … well, I wasn’t really sure what it was the land of before we landed. Vague notions of Julie Andrews dancing in hills, sausages, Mozart … but we included 3 days there on our 2010 trip to Europe because we had 2 sets of friends who lived in the city, and it fitted in well geographically to the rest of our trip.

But Vienna is amazing! Land of deliciousness, architecture ranging from Baroque to modernism and beyond, palaces, culture and so much more. Vienna blew us away and makes a fabulous destination even if you don’t know anyone there. These are a few things that I loved – let me know if you agree or can add anything else to my list.

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Spice Route – gem of the Paarl valley

The Spice Route in Paarl is one of those places I’ve heard about numerous times and never been to myself. At almost an hour’s drive from home, it’s quite an expedition with small kids, but made its way to the top of our places-to-go list this past weekend.

WOW – this is a place that really delivers! Visions of Durban spice markets came to mind, but we soon discovered this was an entirely different form of wonderland. Spice Route’s website explains the origins of their name: “Centuries ago, anyone with a desire to explore exotic flavours and experiences would have needed to wait for the seasonal return of the traders travelling the Spice Route.
Fortunately, these days a journey of discovery is right on your doorstep, with the modern-day Spice Route in Paarl – a sensory feast for today’s connoisseurs of craftsmanship and authenticity.”

So what is it exactly?

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Cape Dutch architecture

Stellenbosch (part 2) – a kid-free morning

We explored Stellenbosch for the first time in years a few weeks ago, and I decided then to come back with a girl friend and no kids, so I could properly enjoy the gorgeous shops that abound in central Stellenbosch.

First stop was the unique Schoon de Companje, to indulge my new ice cream addiction at fanny Chanel. What started as a bakery, has grown to encompass an enticing array of coffee, wine, cheese, ice cream and other fresh foods. Definitely worth a pop in or a more leisurely meal.

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The closest thing I have to a muse

I’ve mentioned my love of Paris before – if you have an intense dislike of Paris then this might not be the blog for you – so I knew I wanted to write what will be the first of many posts about the city – but where to begin? There are so many places and spaces I love; but my heart belongs to the most iconic of Paris’ structures, the Eiffel Tower.

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