Take me back! That's all I can think right now because this time last week I was once again boarding a flight to Poitiers to spend the week with Tom's family over in France. I probably shouldn't mention that we had consumed 2 double gin and tonics before take-off (and when I say consumed, I mean downed because we were late for boarding!) so we were feeling the affects when we finally made it to the gate.

The first few days of the trip were spent relaxing and enjoying the company of Toms family and dogs whilst playing badminton and table tennis in the garden. On our second day, we went out for dinner at a beautiful Château in Charente called La Grange Aux Oies. Here, we enjoyed a 3 course meal followed by cheese and coffee. I personally had the beef, foie gras and asparagus salad for starter, rabbit and turnip for main course, and a selection of  desserts. Each course was beautifully presented and the waiters were very attentive which made for an enjoyable dining experience. I had the pleasure of trying new flavours that I had not had the opportunity to taste before which I was very grateful for. The food coupled with the view of the Château and the company made it a night to remember.

I always enjoy visiting the quaint little towns in France. Each one has it's own quirks and characteristics which make them so unique and beautiful. We briefly stopped in the picturesque town of Confolens to walk Panda (Tom's mums border collie) and have a little wander around and enjoy the fresh air. 

One town in particular that made an impact on me when we visited was the village, Oradour-Sur-Glane (also known as the martyr village). The village was destroyed on the 10th June 1944 (4 days after D-day) when the Nazis arrived whilst heading north to help stop the Allied advances. Whilst in Oradour-Sur-Glane, they wiped out the entire village (642 people including 193 children) and set it alight. The French president Charles de Gaulle ordered for the village to be left as it was to serve as a permanent memorial and museum.

It really was a tragic event and many people feel unsettled and upset when they witness the ruins of the old village where a community once lived. Sewing machines, pots, bicycles and children's toy prams still remain in the burnt down houses for all to see.

When the Germans arrived, they assembled everybody in the village square to have their identity papers examined - even arresting people just passing through the village that didn't even live there. From here, they separated the women, children, and men sending the women and children into the church and the men into 6 different sheds and barns. When they all arrived, machine guns were waiting for them. Every building was then set alight. Only 6 people survived this massacre.

"Here, for punishment, a group of men were killed and burnt by the Nazis. Remember"
It was truly a haunting experience, but one that I'm glad I got to witness as it was one of the biggest World War II massacres that occurred on French soil. It definitely opened my eyes to the atrocities that took place during the war and the innocent lives that had to pay the price. The history of Oradour-Sur-Glane is widely taught in schools all across France.

Les Bums, a French duo were playing in the local pub one night, so we all decided to pop down and show our support. These two guys were genuinely fantastic and created such a great atmosphere in the pub with everybody jigging and dancing along to their eclectic tunes. They're no stereotypical French band in that one of the guys plays a didgeridoo whilst the other plays his guitar and harmonica. They played a multitude of different instruments between them including foot bells and flutes (If you want to find out more about them, they'll be in my April favourites blog post!) and their sound ranged from cowboy and country, to Australian folk, and Hawaiian. There's no denying that Les Bums are a talented duo that deserve a lot of success in the future! Listening to them was a great way to finish up a fantastic trip and I decided right then and there that I didn't want to leave :( 

I always thoroughly enjoy my trips to France with Tom because I get to see where he grew up and spend time with his wonderful family. It's time that I can use to fully relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the peace and quiet of the French countryside. Which is always nice every once in a while :) 

Are any of you travelling anywhere this year?