France on the Go

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If anyone had told me I would be writing about Pokemon on the blog a while ago, I would have laughed, but it has taken France by storm. Yes it may all be rather silly, but there is so much tragedy in the world and so much horror that I thought something light-hearted from the school summer holidays, (rather like the hanging umbrellas in Rochefort) far removed from everyday normality, might be fun and if that means getting involved with the children and helping them find some rare Pokemon then so be it!

Roddy’s attitude towards this latest internet craze may well reflect many people’s thinking. Grumpy at first, going on about how the technological age is ruining our children and generally making derogatory comments, his eyes opened wide halfway through the second day after the launch of the new game when he found no one in the house, yet again. When I told him the children were all out and about in the village and surrounding countryside catching Pokemon, his eyes narrowed thoughtfully. I could see his thought processes at work. I said to him blithely, “Think of them as electronic conkers, or small trout in a stream, perhaps field mushrooms or blackberries. Perhaps…” and I eyed his camera in an obvious manner, “…some unusual insect you need to photograph?”  My suggestion was instantly met with an understanding grin.

Kids out and about when they wouldn’t normally be is a good thing in the right circumstances, and whether Pokemon Go was designed for this reason or not it has proved to be a terribly clever way to get children moving, walking, running and enjoying the great outdoors, even if they’re still attached to some electronic device,  which is the part I don’t like so much. It’s a simple concept but also a very clever one and the value of Nintendo stocks have gone through the roof.  The children and I have gone all over the place and in the past week we’ve explored a local 12th century Château which is apparently a Pokemon gym! (Don’t ask, I really don’t understand either;  I am just happy being the chauffeur and loving the excuse to go out and about, act like a tourist and take photos).

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P4840017It is quite infectious and 20 year-old Izzi was every bit as excited as the others. Yesterday I took Gigi to St Palais Sur Mer to play tennis with a girl from Paris of her own age and skill level; she and her family are here on holiday and they met at a tournament recently and instantly became friends (I love the way 9 year-old’s make ‘best’ friends in the blink of an eye). Normally it would have been just Gigi and I, but we were joined in the car by three more of the children and whilst Gigi thwacked balls at breakneck speed over the net the others ran around the park catching Pokemon and ‘hatching eggs’ – at least I think that’s roughly how it works, I’m still getting the hang of this. What I have learnt is they have to walk a certain distance for different eggs to hatch, this is no mere quick stroll around the garden, a 10km walk will contain rare Pokemon, a 2km one will be far more common; Jack is claiming to have covered 20kms in the past two days alone! I think I’m being a responsible parent by showing sufficient interest while still asking silly questions which create great hilarity as the children fall about laughing at my stupidity!

On the hour the news popped up on the radio, and quelle surprise, Pokemon Go was the lead story; the big cities, Paris, Marseille and our far more local Bordeaux were all mentioned and it appeared the game was causing a huge stir.

“Can we go to Bordeaux for the day, or perhaps Paris?” came the immediate requests from my young passengers. “No” I said firmly, “but I will take you into Rochefort for an hour or two after lunch.”

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I was crazy enough to lend Hetty and Gigi my mobile phone to walk around the town with on the strict instructions they could not drop it, as both are too young to have their own cellphones. Call me stupid, but when it comes to children having fun I’m a total pushover! They walked and captured strange creatures with their teenage siblings as Izzi and I relaxed with coffee and watched the world go by.

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During a break in the hunt, we went up in the Ferris Wheel, a temporary summer attraction right in the heart of the Place Colbert that offers the most incredible views over the small city.

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This was followed by ice cream, naturally.

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On the way home, someone shouted “Quick – there’s one on my radar, in that car park over there!” In a whirl, I duly indicated and took a swift right-hand turn, and we drove around the car park three times in our quest!

The dogs are also loving this latest craze; they are going for so many walks, several times a day, through towns and villages,

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out in the country; there are Pokemon in the middle of nowhere.

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It’s probably at this juncture that I should mention that our little Evie is actually named after a Pokemon; it’s meant to be spelt Eevee, but I didn’t follow the rules and spelt it just as I would a girl’s name! Needless to say the children were the ones who named her this time last year, and yes, we’ve had her with us for a year now, how time flies.

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I’ve been places I’ve never been before and while they walk about chasing the beasties, snapping Pokemon, I make good use of my camera and snap pictures; it’s a win win all round.

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They’ve even found them on the beach; the smile on Jack’s face reflects the capture of a super rare specimen that was very unexpected, apparently.

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At this stage the girls lost interest, the lure of the sea and their body boards stealing their attention.

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I’m not sure this guy was catching his Pokemon the correct way.

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If you’re still totally confused, welcome to my world, because I am too.  But in the end I think it’s just another way of seeing this beautiful part of France and l hope you have enjoyed sharing a little bit of my life as mother of five Pokemon Go crazy children!

82 thoughts on “France on the Go

  • I think this has quite possibly been one of my favorite blog posts of yours Susan, a little bit of humor during a tough summer, just what we all need! My girls are huge fans of pokemon as well and I found myself being dragged around a city park approximately 4 times yesterday on the hunt for a charmander, all for a good cause I suppose!

  • Ha! I came upon my first group of Pokémon Go players just last night in my home town! I was returning from a visit at my mom’s house & came down a hill into our lovely park just at dusk. At the bottom of the hill, I came upon about 100 folks all standing looking at their phones or wandering around looking at their phones! I had the oddest feeling, like I was seeing a group of robots or peOple under a spell… I rolled down a window to ask what this was & sure enough they were playing the game! I can see how one could walk off a cliff, as has happened already, They were so absorbed in the game! My niece plays & she says it’s great fun,. I’m happy the more sedethery kids are getting out more but I fear it’s only directing them to something they already spend too much time on: their phones… I just hope they don’t try to play while driving cars. I’m probably being an fussy old lady. Just go have some fun & get outside, I say! Thanks for the, as usual, great post!

    • Hi Chris, I can see where you are coming from, there are, as with most things, pros and cons. Of course it’s just a game, and very sadly one that is dependant on mobile data and phones, but we cannot escape the age we live in. I can see how it could be dangerous, but then so can most things used the wrong way, if it becomes an obsession. If it is simple lighthearted fun, then I think it’s fine. As for playing whilst driving, it’s scary, I see adults texting whilst driving, it’s so dangerous, it freaks me out totally. As a parent all we can do is advise our children to play sensibly, to be responsible. At the same time allowing them to live in the age they were born into and enjoy it. Chris you are so right, let’s just get outside and have some fun, even if it’s not totally old fashioned!!! Have a great end to the week, Susan x

  • I think this came out here in the USA before you, I’ve watched it unfold for a week or more. I can see good and bad, more dependency on electronics to provide entertainment, but I suppose it does get them out.

    • Hi Jane, yes and can see the good and the bad too, I was totally sceptical, but we cannot change the age our children were born into, no matter how much we might want to, used responsibly I have no problem with it, it’s fun and light hearted. Hope you are having a great summer Susan x

  • I agree with all the above comments so far, but with children myself, I think it is just fun, lets not look to deep, lets just accept this is the age we live in and lets just enjoy it. Bravo Susan yet again!

    • I totally agree Lisa, there are risks, but there are risks with everything. I just take it as the light hearted fun it is meant to be, and when one of my children shows me a photo on their phone of the Pokemon they caught on the beach I just laugh, if you can’t beat them, join them!!! Susan x

  • I don’t call you foolish, I call you a very smart mum – the best advice I ever had (from a dear Irish friend and father of 3 all several years older than my eldest) ‘go with it’ by which he meant not give into every demand they make but rather go on the journey with them rather than fruitlessly resisting. Everything changes, nothing stays the same and letting them be part of the cult of the moment rather than giving yourself a headache banging your head against the wall seems pretty wise to me. And the gentle logic you applied to your husbands resistance by speaking his language – my dear, you are utterly a genius of a woman. Chapeau to you and happy hunting 😉xx

  • I have seen many people playing this game lately; I think it’s a great way to get kids outdoors and a great way to forget all of the recent tragedies in the word.
    Go Pokemon Go!

  • My kids are also playing Pokemon Go and getting out of the house and about the town a lot more! They are also talking about Pokemon the way they used to years ago. I’m enchanted by and delighted with the game. Great post!

    • Hi Sally, thanks so much. Remember those first pokemon, Pikachu? it was indeed the first time around and the excitement it caused! I have loved all of ours playing the game, they’ve been out and about, walking, meeting friends, chatting, it’s been very social. Susan xxx

  • Thanks for this insight into the craze. I wonder if getting people outside and exercising / seeing the world was an underlying aim of the game’s designers or if it is just serendipity?

  • Lovely post, I have been out and about with my grandchildren
    playing Pokemon, what fun and excitement. Best of all
    they are outside. The Pokemon game was a brilliant idea.
    ps I have it on my phone and have been know to be
    out looking by myself. lol

    • Hi Mary, I loved reading your comment, I think this is just as it should be, you out playing with your grandchildren and enjoying it so much you are playing it yourself too, a game that caters to all ages. Hope you continue to enjoy it together and have a lovely weekend. Susan x

  • I’m going to share your post with my 23 year old daughter! The first weekend the game launched she had me out hunting Pokemon late Sunday evening. We walked around our local harbor to a shopping area with outdoor seating and coffee shop that was literally packed with 20-30 year olds staring at their phones and giddy with delight. Apparently it was a Pokemon hotspot! At that point my daughter turned to me, giddy herself, and said “I just know I’m going to meet my future husband playing Pokemon Go!!”. It was hilarious.

    • Hi Julia, Please keep me posted and let me know if she does indeed meet her future husband, or even if she meets someone? I am assuming you are in the USA? We are not in a hugely populated area but we have seen people playing even in our little village, and friends keep bumping into other school friends, it’s terribly social. Our son even caught one at the top of the Ferris Wheel! It’s all been great fun and our children are loving it! Please do remember to tell me if it leads to a date! Susan x

  • It hasn’t officially been launched here in India and we have no date for it. But thousands, millions are playing, linking to USA or UK accounts, it is hugely popular, it has taken the country by storm! Love that your posts are very current and up to date!

    • Thank you so much Varsha, there were many people in France playing it before it came out here as it was released in both the UK and USA prior to its release in France. Izzi our eldest, could have played it sooner as she has an English App Store account but she decided to wait until her siblings could join her, it seems to be very sociable! Susan x

  • I admit to being one of those people like Roddy, Susan. I thought the whole thing was a waste of time too, until recently when the sheer joy on some small people’s faces that I’ve seen walking about town and on the beach tells me otherwise. It obviously really does do a lot of good to some people. I also understand that it is becoming a very good resource for many people who suffer from various forms of mental disabilities. I think as long as its use is monitored where applicable then it’s a fine thing. Love the photos, and the fisherman on the beach obviously should be using a lure (so my grandson tells me).

    • Hi Phil, I will show Roddy your comment, I am sure he will agree with the fisherman needing to use a lure! I think we were all a bit sceptical about the game before it arrived, but played responsibly it is a lot of fun. Susan x

  • You know what, I love this, people may criticise it’s safety, but anything can be unsafe in the wrong hands. It’s just a game and a good one too. What I love though is your blog, and I love your obvious incredible relationship with your children, they are very lucky kids indeed. xxx

  • You really have brought back a true sense of nostalgia to me remembering when my older children played the very first generations of the game. I personally think it’s so wonderful that they have found a way to introduce it to the new generation whilst getting them out and about! Very good photos today Susan! What sort of camera do you use? Just out of curiosity.

    • Hi Helen, I remember those old days too, all of a decade or so ago! Our eldest, Izzi, loved Pokemon back then, Pikachu, was the only one I ever knew! I used to use a Canon, but my husband gave me a Panasonic Lumix G6 for my birthday last week, it’s a huge step up and I am loving it. I still have a lot to learn about how to use it though!!! Susan x

      • Ooooh that sounds very exciting! That’s a very nice camera, I’m sure it will get put to good use!

      • Thanks Helen, it will certainly get plenty of use, I am so loving ‘playing’ with it, taking lots and lots of photos and learning all of its functions. I feel like a very very lucky girl! xx

    • My thought entirely, anything that gets children out of the house and out exercising, even if it is just walking, is good. They have to cover quite long distances in order to achieve anything, that is what is so clever about it. Susan x

    • I tend to agree. In a way it is a shame that for many it takes an electronic game to get them outside and exercising, but if that’s what it takes, then so be it, as you say, anything that gets them out and about, anything instead of sitting in front of the tv or computer screen. Susan x

  • Photos are beautiful, as always! Seeing the “creatures” in some of them is very cool!

    I’ve never allowed myself to develop an interest in electronic games – I’m probably in the minority, I know. I have a son-in-law who seems totally absorbed some of the time in whatever game he is playing. Re the latest Pokémon craze I thought what fun and how clever but then heard reports of injuries to people distracted by their zeal – sad and unfortunate. And a spot on the national news recently of a policeman wearing a body cam who jumps out of the way of a driver that slams into his parked patrol car. The driver admitted being distracted by the game – but he captured his prey! Some consolation considering the fine he may be facing. As others have said in their comments anything can have risks, it’s up to the player to be aware and take care.

    • Hi Steven, I don’t play any electronic games either, far too many things to do which I far prefer! I have heard the reports of injuries too. But there are surely risks with any game, there are huge risks with people texting whilst driving, like anything it has to be used responsibly. As a parent, I have of course told the children all the pros and cons. They don’t play it all the time, they love it, its fun, but they are not obsessed. they are playing it just for what it is, a fun game for an hour here or there. Susan x

    • Hi Cecelia, and does it get very competitive? I wonder with lots of friends playing is the a race to get the rarest Pokemon? It’s something I hadn’t even thought about, I shall have to ask my children if they are comparing what they have found with their friends! Susan x

  • Too funny! I read an article about this, and it has become not only an incentive for exercise, but a means of socialization and meet-ups for young adults. Very interesting! So much fun to see how your gang is enjoying this activity!

    • Hi Nancy, it is indeed very social, great exercise and it gets everyone outside. It’s big news here and I can only imagine therefore how huge it is in the States. Even in our small village we see kids out “hunting” every day! susan x

  • I personally think it’s a great way for kids to get outdoors and your family seems to be loving it! It’s interesting how modern technology is seemingly becoming one with older culture, like with your pokemon gym chateau!

    • Hi Sam, I love that the 12th Century Chateau is a gym. When we were at the beach yesterday, the lighthouse in the photo was also a gym. It’s terribly interesting the places we have been, pokemon in these ancient streets and houses! Susan x

  • I actually read yesterday that because of the Pokémon Go craze it has saved injured animals that no one would have ever seen had people not been playing. A wildlife rehabilator said he had never seen anything like this before. Because someone is out hunting fake monsters, they find real injured animals. I think it’s cool!! 🙂

    • I had not heard of this, how fantastic, what a terribly positive uplifting side to the game. I think it’s great, it’s fun and it is getting kids and teenagers and adults out and about and walking. susan x

  • Fascinating post, Susan. When our kids were children, they never became interested in electronic games because they were fully engaged in their “real” worlds. Now that they are in their 30s, they are even more engaged in life all around them, so no Pokemon Go that I’m aware of. Not having been educated about Pokemon Go by them, accordingly, I appreciate your telling us about how your family is enjoying the game…it sounds like lots of fun! Speaking of fun, I hope you had a great birthday!!! Looking forward to what you create with your birthday present, Leslie

    • Hi Leslie, how many times have I said to my children,”when I was little…” Of course I was outside on the farm, always finding something to do, there were no electronics and we were never allowed to watch TV in the daytime, something actually I still stick to now, old habits die hard. But phones, games, yes they have crept into our lives, I don’t play the games, but it would be stupid to ban the children, they would find a way and it would all end up being very unpleasant, better to go with the flow and promote its good points. Fortunately ours don’t spend hours every day playing, just the odd one here and there, so I am fine with it! Thank you I had a fabulous birthday, spoilt rotten by all the family and we had Millie’s sailing friends and godmother staying, she returned the day before, so it was quite a celebration! As for the camera, I am loving it, but still need to learn how to use it properly if only I could find the time to sit and do so!!! Susan x

      • Susan, I certainly meant no criticism by my comment. I am glad to learn about this game, and its positives, from you (a parent for whom I have the utmost respect). Have a lovely weekend, Leslie

      • Hi Leslie, gosh I never imagined you were criticising I promise, it never even entered my head. Probably my reply was not worded too brilliantly, I was rushing to get out the door on time! Holidays, children needing to be here, there and everywhere and summer traffic makes everything take twice as long! Believe me, I wish there were no electronics, I probably wish this several times every day, but what can one do? It’s impossible really not to go with the flow, we just have to limit their use. It’s such an easy option though, kids don’t make their own fun as a general rule, and if they are bored, there is something there for instant entertainment, I hate it! Actually I loved reading your comment, I think we are both on the same wavelength. Xx

  • I fancy in the long run the Pokemon Go craze will have more advantages than disadvantages. Love the photos, love the story too – you always seem to know what we want to read.

  • What a really fun post!! You have opened my eyes and mind to Pokémon Go. I loved it when you said that you are such a pushover for the children having fun…………. how LOVELY!!! That’s how it should be!!
    Enjoyed the education and lighthearted summer fun, on a completely unexpected topic!!
    You are an inspiration to us all. Many thanks!!!

    • I like to mix things up a little!!! I was sceptical at first, and I have heard good and bad, but I am convinced that played responsibly it is just fine, an hour here and there whilst walking the dogs really does more good than harm and it is a lot of fun for the children all together, it’s very social. Your words are as always far too kind, but thank you anyway, Merci Mille fois xx

  • Fantastic blog, Thank you. I really enjoyed it. It gets everyone chasing Pokemon’s out and exercising which is great.

    • Hi Brenda, anything that gets everyone out and exercising has to, I agree, be a good thing. Played sensibly it is a great fun game with a lot of positive points. Have a great end to the week, Susan x

  • Hi Susan, my husband has been huffing and puffing about Pokemon Go (our 17 year old, in his Matric year at school, claims it is “addictive”) so I sent him your blog to read, to show him the positive side. May I include his comment: “Seemingly a good thing, Until..… hacked by a new aged “Pokemon Piper” who lures pokemon catchers to their death in droves…” end quote. I loved your post, the photos especially (of course!).
    XXJeanne

    • Hi Jeanne, your husband has a very valid point. But as Millie, our 16 year old, pointed out, (I showed her your comment) there is a risk in anything we do on the Internet, the entire world has risks. This is another thing I shall point out to the children, although I can see this being far more of an issue in big cities rather than our rural little village. I was listening to a friend telling a similar sort of story a couple of weeks ago, not about Pokemon but about a teenager who was lured into a trap online and then killed in the UK. On a lighter note, the game is great fun, but like everything we need to make sure it is played sensibly and carefully. Have a great end to the week, I know your comment is going to cause lots of discussion around the lunch table here, for which I truly thank you and I mean that, I love thought provoking comments. Susan xxx

      • Hi Susan! Millie is wise, no doubt from growing up with discussions around the table – sounds a bit like our supper table. My husband is fond of thought provoking ideas…As the only “girl” at ours, I sometimes have to butt in to ‘improve’ the angle of the discussion. That story of the teenager being lured into a trap… have not heard of it but it is very distressing to know there are sick people out there, living out their horrible thoughts. On a different note, winter finally arrived and the rains have come…. Have a bon weekend ! ❤ Jeanne

      • Discussions around the supper table, aren’t they just the best, sometimes heated but always interesting. I know how you feel, I think Roddy sometimes feels the same, overrun by girls, especially if Jack is away at a friend’s house! Enjoy your rain, it is so dry here the lawn literally crunches underfoot when we walk on it! Can’t water it all, just the potager, but I am not complaining, not at all, I love summer! A great weekend to you too xx

  • It has been fun to spot groups of young folks out and about. Not sure how long it will last but enjoying the beautiful outdoors with old and new friends can’t b all bad. Love the photos.

    • No I’m not sure how long it will last either, probably for the summer months and that’s about it, but it’s lovely to see so many children out walking, usually in pairs and having fun. Have a fabulous weekend, Susan x

  • It’s nice to see that a game can bring the children out of the house and outside.. now if only they’d look up from their phones! I tried playing Pokemon Go for a few days… I guess I didn’t quite get it… you just “catch them all” is what I was told, but my attention span is far too short to catch them all, so I suppose my time with the game is done. It’s great seeing kids out and about again and I think the augmented reality portion of the game is really cool. Sounds like you all have had a nice time getting around time – pokemon go on or not!

    • Hi Angelina, I agree, it is at least good to see children out and about, yes it’s sad they are attached to their phones, but I guess it’s a start! I haven’t played it, I have tried to understand, but personally I cannot see the point in running around trying to catch things on my phone, I’ll leave that to the others, when I’m outside the last thing I want is to be glued to a screen!!! Hope you have a wonderful weekend Susan x

  • Hilarious mash-up of French life with Pokemon. Now I understand what all the fuss is about! Good on you for making it fun for the whole family!

  • I haven’t heard of this game before, but I’m sure that if it gets to NJ, my grandkids will be into it in no time flat. It certainly made for some great photo opportunities, Susan, and sounds like a lot of fun for everyone, parents and Evie included. Love those hanging umbrellas; so colourful. Thanks for another interesting post. 🙂 xx

  • Thank you for the lovely pictures and the lesson in Pokemon. I think this is a good way to get kids outside I just hope they are paying attention to the beauty around them. You live in such an idyllic place, thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Hi Laura, anything that gets children out and about is a good thing in my opinion, like you I just hope they look around them and notice the beauty around them, at least a little! Susan xx

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