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
Until next time ~