Happy New Year to you all, I hope 2015 brings health, happiness and lots of time spent in France, or at least reading about France!
It’s the 7th Day of Christmas and my review today is for by Bonnes Vacances: A Crazy Family Adventure in the French Territories by Rosie Millard. This is a travel memoir of an epic family voyage around the French overseas departments - it's France, but not the France I know.
Rosie and her brave and adventurous family decide to boldly go where few have gone before and spend three months visiting the French overseas departments that are spread out over the five continents of the world. Many of them don’t get huge numbers of tourist visitors, so arriving with a young family in tow and trying to film a low budget documentary along the way proved to be quite a challenge, especially for their four children. It was a real adventure for the whole family and each chapter started with a diary excerpt from one of her daughters. I thought this was a lovely touch, as it was nice to read their thoughts as well as Rosie’s. Whilst she gushes with the romantic ideas of turning up at their next gîte or auberge, the reality often means employing the British stiff upper lip and grinning and bearing the sweat encrusted pillows, bare light bulbs and cockroaches. I’m not sure I could have stayed in some of the places they stayed. One memorable evening saw their daughter disturbing a burglar while they were dining at the home of the chief of police in Guiana where iguana was being served in their honour and they came very close to losing all their valuables. It was certainly a trip packed full of experiences.
I learned a lot about the history, geography and culture of the French Dom-toms in this entertaining read, but I’m not sure it has made me want to jet off to embrace the outré-mer life. I don’t think it is the France for me, I’m more an Ardeche gorges and Bordeaux city type of girl.
Bonnes Vacances! is published by Summersdale Publishers and is available in paperback and ebook format. Links to Amazon are below.