Along with 5 other families, David, Cathy and Oskar visited France to attend the 2019 Women’s World Cup as part of the KKIFE tour.
We started a little later than the group so Cathy could finish acting in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and missed the first USA game vs Thailand. It worked out fine as USA won 13-0. We met the group in Toulouse in the south of France, and drove to a small village of Saux where we stayed in the Chateau of Saux, which slept all 25 of us. Our home base for 4 days, we visited the winery Domaine des Boulbenes, a protected appellation wine noted for its malbec grape, paddled down the Lot River, known for it’s canyons and homes built into the hillsides, and spent a day in the medieval town of St Cirq Lapopie. St Cirq is a step into the past with cobblestone streets and masonry buildings built over 100 m above the Lot River.
The capital of the region, Cahors, is the home of the the beautiful fortress bridge, Velentre Bridge, which spans the Lot River and is one of the few remaining fortress bridges in Europe. The construction of the bridge started in 1308, and because it was taking so long the foreman made a pact with the devil to expedite construction. The bridge was completed in a timely manner, but regretting his decision, the foreman tricked the devil by issuing a final order to the devil to go and collect water for the other workers using a sieve.
Leaving our relaxing chateau at 4 am on game day, we flew back to Paris, checked into our AirBnB in the Latin Quarter just opposite the Siene from Notre Dame, and made our way to Parc des Princes for USA vs Chile, won by the USA 3-0. In Paris we explored the city and visited a couple of museums and the Eiffel Tower. The Louvre was a zoo, and David ended up leaving early to sketch outside. We split up the next day and David visited the amazing impressionist museum, Museum de Orsay, and Cathy and Oskar visited the Musuem de l’Armee where they were able to see Napoleon’s tomb.
Ending the last evening at a piano bar, where Cathy was pulled on stage, we took a train to Normandy region for our last game. USA vs Sweden took place in Le Havre, but we stayed in the neighboring port town of Honfleur. Honfleur is medieval city spared by WWII as the LeHavre was more industrial and was completely destroyed. Besides the cafes and shops on the incredibly picturesque waterfront, Honfleur has the oldest wooden church in France. The original church was destroyed during the Hundred Years’ War, and St Catherine’s Church was rebuilt with limited funds by the boat builders of the region in the shape of a double hull of an overturned boat.
The game vs Sweden was a chore to attend because of the lack of mass transit, but arriving early we were able to pre-game in Le Havre and witnessed a fun game and a win by the US 2-0. The next day was traveling back to Paris where we stayed near the airport in preparation for our flight home.
A wonderful and memorable trip, we met some great people and shared an epic family vacation in France.