22 April 2011

Wonderful Day-Trip to Soissons

Soissons is a town of roughly 30,000. It is one of the oldest towns in northern France and dates back to before the 3rd century. For a long time it was even the capital its own kingdom. Lots of history in this town. I have included this link if you want to find out more. It was run roughshod over for millennia, very notably in the last century when it was on the front line during World War I and again saw action during World War II.

My husband reconnected with someone from his childhood who currently lives in Soissons. She is a lovely person and an amazing hostess, and she shared this interesting and beautiful town with us.

We spent the better part of the day just walking around and talking. It was one of the highlights of the trip. Those spectacular Parisian 'attractions' are amazing, but connecting one-on-one with someone and really seeing something from a more personal perspective really make the trips for me.

After a bite to eat, we headed to the local playground and park where everyone had a great time.

Head first down the slide... is there any other way? Miss C doesn't think so.

For a teeny playground in a teeny town, the collection of trees was incredible. There were over 20 different types of trees... this did not include the shrubs... in a planted area about the size of a smallish city block. Tulip poplars, larch, douglas fir-ish ones, weeping willow, copper beech, weeping beech, chestnut, cherry, ginkgo, norfolk island pine-ish one, some species of 'regular' pine, variegated holly, a couple of species of maple, a couple species of oak... it was like a mini arboretum. My horticultural education was screaming with excitement! (yes, that was my major in college... don't make fun of me).
We couldn't have picked a more lovely and perfect time to take this trip. Everything was blooming and green. The temperatures were perfect for walking around and being outside.

Here, Daddy made the flowering cherry "snow" on the kids...

We then went for a walk through town and wound up on the banks of the Aisne River.

The swans on the Aisne can apparently be quite aggressive. The kids were enchanted and, fortunately, did not fall victim to any swan-assault. The kids did, however, assault each other... or their chuthers ;-)...  because they each wanted to touch a swan but kept freaking the poor birds out. Every time one of the swans would swim up pretty close to one of the kids, a sibling would come charging over to try and touch it, too, which pissed off the first kid who would then scream at the second kid who would still not back away which necessitated a getting punched. Yay. During the melées, the swans would swim away... of course.

This is the historic cathedral in Soissons. I encourage you to click the link to learn more. It is very rich in history, and there is too much to say for me to write it all over again :)

The cathedral was halfway between the vicious swans and this abbey.

L'Abbaye Saint-Jean-des-Vignes is in ruins and has been for over 200 years. Again, I encourage you to click the link here to read more about it. It isn't a long blurb, but it is a bit much for me to try and summarize.

You can see it was a lovely day!

Above, Baby X is making shadow puppets on the lawn...

And below, the kids are finally frolicking ... amongst the ruins of a medieval abbey.

As my husband often says...

It doesn't get any better than this!


  1. Thanks for stopping by :) I'm following back :)

  2. Thanks for tthe mini vacation you provided mevia your blog, I am really enjoying it

  3. You do the town justice. What amazing pics, too!

  4. The cathedral! Gorgeous! Fun to follow your journeys! What memories!

  5. Ahhh, it doesn't get any better than this! Wow! These pictures are great and what a trip! So wonderful. Thank you so much for showing us around a bit today. You're just as wonderful if not more in person than on your blog! So great to meet you!

  6. oh and I was going to ask you what you majored in at Cornell...You told me before but glad to see it here again...Horticulture huh? neat. :)

  7. what a lovely park! and cathedral!

    looks like the kids had a fun time~


  8. Wow. That Cathedral is just amazing ... breathe taking.
    Happy Belated Birthday to X !

  9. Beautiful! The cathedral is incredible too....i love history so much, I would love to get to Europe one day to really soak in some of the amazing things there!
    And "vicious swans" totally made me think vichyssoise. :P

  10. I hadn't heard of Soissons before. It is beautiful, and your photos are wonderful. Thank you for sharing this with us.


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