Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Coast Of Cassis And Puking In France

Matt and I can only take the "big city" for so long, so after a day in Marseille we packed the kids up in the Volvo and headed east along the coast to the town of Cassis.

That's better.

Cassis is a small commune located in a little bay east of Marseille on the Mediterranean Sea. The water was blue, turquoise, aqua, and crystal clear to the bottom. Tall cliffs called calanques sheltered the small town. 

I left Matt and the kids exploring the tide pools on this rock and I went for a stroll by myself.


The view during my walk.

An interesting fact about Cassis is that this is where the stone for the base of the Statue of Liberty was quarried. Thank you, France.

I had shed my jacket during the walk because the temperature had climbed all the way up to over 60°F. When I rounded the corner, I saw that my boys had shed some things too.


After getting my boys dressed again, we ventured into Cassis and got Provençal sandwiches which consisted of warm chicken, olive oil, cheese, and tomatoes on a fresh baguette. So good!

Our view while eating our sandwiches. 

And of course, what is a visit to anywhere in France without going to the bakery to load up on eclairs and tortes.

Yes, please. At this bakery it was a point-and-hold-up-your-fingers-for-what-you-want situation. 

I found this French rooster pitcher here in Cassis. It was made nearby in Provence. Love the bright colors.

We went back to the rental house and enjoyed our French treats and fell asleep to dreams of blue Mediterranean waters, ancient towers, and delicious food. The next day we were planning on going to Cannes, Nice, and Monaco. And then on the third day Avignon.


Little did we know that we would see those delicious Provençal sandwiches and delicious baked goods again later that night. But in a slightly different form.

I awoke at 4:00 am to the sound of my child throwing up in the bathroom of the rental house. After cleaning this child up and cleaning up the floor I finally got back in bed at 5:30 am. At 6:00 am I heard a different child throwing up in bed while their bedroom partner asked "Do you want me to go get Mom?"

Oh... for heaven's sake.

I cleaned this child up. Puker #1 then came into our bedroom to say that they still didn't feel good. And then they puked on our floor.

Puker #2 was throwing up every 30 minutes, but at least they made it into the toilet.

This was so not turning out to be the day I had in mind.

Now remember, we are in a rental house, in France, and the owners speak hardly any English. We had exhausted our supply of sheets and towels that they have given us to use. Matt went downstairs and tried to explain to them that our kids were sick and could they wash these pukey sheets and towels so that A- the entire house didn't reek of vomit, and B- so that we could continue to contain the situation. They didn't understand what Matt was saying until he pointed upstairs and pantomimed throwing up and made fake retching sounds. I knew they got it when I heard "Mon Dieu!" and "Sacra bleu!" 

Our plans had definitely changed for the day. Our sick to healthy ratio stood at 50-50. The first two pukers were finally resting comfortably. I didn't want to waste the day. Matt suggested that I take the two non-pukers on trip around Aix en Provence to see some sights, have some lunch and then return to see how the pukers were. If they were better, we would go somewhere close, maybe the beach, where they could rest and just sit in the sun. 

Matt took a nap with the two healthy children because we all had been up rather early. Right as I was getting ready to wake the healthy children for lunch, the next child, who was asleep right next to Matt, sat straight up and puked all over our bed and Matt's arm. 

Oh geez. There go my Aix en Provence plans.

I realized that I wasn't going anywhere. Puker #3 was now lying on the bathroom floor silently weeping that they were going to die. I checked Puker #1 and Puker #2. They had fevers and were still throwing up. They complained they were thirsty and French tap water wasn't going to cut it. I needed to get out and get some fluids. 

This was a Sunday and grocery stores are not open in France (or hardly anywhere in Europe) on Sundays. Gas stations close too. I got in the Volvo and started driving all over Aix en Provence looking for an open gas station where I could get Coke, or Sprite, or juice, or anything. It took 45 minutes and five tries before I found something. I found a BP petrol station. I stocked up on clear fluids like apple juice and Sprite and mineral water. They even had fresh bananas!! I went to the check out and placed my items down. After checking out the items, the clerk looked at me and said something like this "Je na pada la la la je ne blah blah."

Should I even point out that I had no idea what he said?

Most of the time in Europe I make an attempt, albeit a small one, to understand what people say to me in their language. Not today. I was tired. I had cleaned up puke from three kids. And I was in France. I looked right at him and said "Je ne parle pas français." I don't speak French. At all.

He looked at me, smiled, and in perfect English said, "Can I get you anything else today ma'am?" 

I almost wept in relief.

He then told me my total in English. €11,50. He even said "Have a nice day!" 

The rest of the day progressed pretty much how you imagine. Three pukers, soiled towels, backs rubbed. Sips of apple juice going down and coming back up. The last child still wasn't feeling sick and when I returned Matt took pity on this child and took them to the French McDonald's out in town. Probably not the best idea.

We saw that cheeseburger again at 8:00 pm when the last child standing became Puker #4. This one then threw up all through the night. In the bed, in the hall. And do I even need to mention that I did the majority of the throw up cleaning by myself? My husband has a severe puke aversion. You can read about the first time I found that out right here. See - Wedding Day Vomit.

We finally left Aix en Provence the next morning. The owners of the house weren't that sad to see us go. Cancelled our plans to see Avignon and zipped home on the autoroute (French freeway) as fast as we could.

So that is why you will see no pictures of Cannes, or Nice, or Avignon here. At least not now.

As we drove home, all four pukers were quiet in the car. Most of them slept all the way home. Me? I just stared out the window and thought of this.

My happy place in Cassis.

When we got home, we told our story to our friends. They laughed and said, "Well, it sounds like you've had The Trip."

What's The Trip? It's the trip where something goes horribly wrong. We then heard stories of broken bones, car accidents, severe food poisoning, lost passports, and flights delayed for eight days. Oh what fun to be had.

I don't think it was food poisoning. The kids didn't eat anything that we didn't. But Matt and I were so scared that we were going to get sick while we were there that we went to bed Sunday night without having dinner because we figured it would just show back up again. When we got back, we heard that there had been illness going around the schools. Sounds like a virus. Luckily, Matt and I never fell to the Great French Puke Fest of 2013 as it shall now and forever be known.


  1. Oh no! Nothing worse than sick kids on vacay!

  2. Ha ha ha! LOL! So sorry though!


  3. Thanks for sharing ur is very informative.

    Europe coaches Venice offers you all kind of transportation services like Venice minibus rental, charter bus rental, limousine service, affordable charter bus provider.

    charter bus service

  4. It's great to be able to find somewhere where you can let your kids enjoy themselves on their own. It looks like such a beautiful place and it sounds like you had so much fun!


Tell me what you think...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...