Top Five – Semester in France

With less than a week left here in France, this will probably be my last post for the semester (finals and a flight are really all that remain).  We’ll see though; there may be a bonus.

First though, this week has been pretty chill.  Final presentations, end of semester discussions, and free food.  CEA, my study abroad program, offered a Stinky Cheese Tasting a few days ago, which was a lot of fun and actually delicious.  We had about nine different cheeses I think including the famous ones like Roquefort, Camembert.  We also had a bit of local wine and decorated the Christmas tree in the CEA office.  My school, IAU, also hosted its final wine tasting of the semester, so I got some sparkling wine and talked about Lord of the Rings.  The art school had its end of the semester show, where I was able to see some really good art from my fellow students, and I went out this morning to volunteer with one of the local churches bringing breakfast to some of the homeless in Aix.


And my Top 5 Things About France:

Art – Obviously this is something I enjoyed; it’s part of the reason I wanted to come here.  It has been so incredible to see so many works of art.  I am still amazed at visiting the Louvre and getting excited every five feet because “Oh, I know that one!” “Oh, that’s a David!”  “Oh, that’s bigger than I thought it was!”  And bonus – the Chagall exhibit here in Aix that I wasn’t expecting to see and was able to, so that was pretty great!

Below – A throwback to October and an art installation by the Antibes harbor commemorating Jean Moulin and being very excited to see the Winged Victory of Samothrace


Food – Maybe a bit cliché, but there’s a reason France is known for its food.  I particularly love the pastries and sweets – pain au chocolat, croissants, madeleines, macaroons – but also all the fresh vegetables and very buttery dishes!

Below: My two favorite non-dessert foods of the semester


Rivers – I’m not sure what it is, but I really love all the cities with rivers cutting through them.  It makes for some great pictures, and I also love the architecture of all the bridges.  So thanks to the Romans for loving their rivers too.

Below: Paris, the very nice river in Prague (Vlatava) that I guess shouldn’t go under my favorite French things, but it’s a nice picture, and Avignon


TGV – France’s high-speed train (Train à Grande-Vitesse).  It can be a little pricey, but it’s a super-cool way to travel places really quickly with a pretty low carbon emission, which is always good.  And also I just really like riding on trains.

Below: The Orsay used to be a train station, so these pictures count


Classes – I’ve taken some really great classes while I’ve been here.  I loved my political science classes on the European Union and Refugee Politics.  My class on French Contemporary Identities was very difficult but still probably my favorite because I learned a lot in it, and art history was fun as always.  So, yeah, it’s been a great semester!

Below: Trip to the Grotte Chauvet a few weeks ago

French class on a trip to the Grotte Chauvet

Until next time ~



One Comment Add yours

  1. Kathy Helmick says:

    It’s been an awesome adventure and journey. I’m glad you’v had the opportunity and that you’ve enjoyed it. I’ve appreciated seeing the experience through your eyes. Thank You. Stay safe, especially while traveling home. Kathy


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