Chronicling the experience of a New England Family spending a year living in the Loire Valley of France.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

La Fête de Vivienne

Each year my kids' birthdays benefit greatly from my passionate enthusiasm for throwing a good party. This year, when Vivi's birthday appeared on the horizon, we discussed our options and determined there was simply no better way to celebrate a girl's birthday in France than with a Princess Party at a castle. (The fact that it meant no mess to clean up before or after was merely a fringe benefit.) The Chateau du Rivau nearby hosts birthday parties, but of course they don't do this until the middle of April, so poor Vivi had to postpone her March celebration a whole month. In the end, this waiting paid off as we had a fantastic time and Nana and Papa (my parents) were able to join in the fun. Below are some images and comments about our extraordinary day. Vivi's comments are in pink.

The Chateau du Rivau
Vivi's special Princess Ensemble purchased at the Market in Chinon
Watch out Rivau, here we come!
The party favors were rose garland crowns and pink candy necklaces. The girls all came in princess attire and looked thoroughly fantastic. We had rented a van for my parent's visit - which meant all the girls could be together for the ride to the castle and back. It was so hilarious and endearing to hear them singing French songs at the top of their lungs, Vivi's voice and perfect accent blending right in.

The princesses getting a tour of their estate.
The birthday package includes a special tour designed just for young princesses and knights. The guide was so incredibly good at her job, that even though I didn't understand *every* word - I still LOVED her presentation. She was incredibly animated and engaging.
The tour continues. Note there were two groups - Vivi's group can be identified by the crowns of roses.

Calligraphy Class - Mandatory for all Proper Princesses.
We were writing our names on pieces of paper with letters that were different than French letters or English letters. - Vivienne
Vivi's referring to the fact that they were writing with quill pens and ink, copying a form of calligraphy. There was ink everywhere! But the girls loved it.
Fencing Lesson - Because a Good Princess is also a Warrior.

We did fencing and it was very, very fun. - Vivienne
This was a riot. The video proves that, I think. You can hear the guide giving instructions on how to commence the duel with the proper 'greeting' - "Below, above, at face, behind and 'enguard'."
Graduation. Princess Vivienne passed with flying colors.
After the tour, the lessons in calligraphy and fencing class, the girls were "Knighted?" errr "Princessed?" or "Princessified?" Anyway - the tour guide used English to say something like, "Well, what can I say about you? I name you 'the American Princess of Rivau.'"

Playing in the Labyrinth with Nana (the girls are too short to see).
Sometimes it was hard to find our way out when we went in the labyrinth. But that was fun! - Vivienne
I think every lawn should have one of these. It never stops being a blast. We even found a bird's nest in one of the bushes!
Toutes les Princesses.
This is a picture of my friends and me. - Vivienne

Everyone celebrated Vivienne with such flare!
My mom said this was one of my presents. It was very beautiful and my first time seeing a peacock with his tail open. - Vivienne

Such a great souvenir de France. I sure hope Vivi remembers her childhood better than I do mine!


  1. Beautiful! What a great birthday celebration! Happy Birthday, Vivi! How old are you now?

  2. Vivi's reply - Seven. Thank you. ;-)