Posts from France
- Bastille Day & The Second to Last Week. on July 22nd, 2012
Let’s start with Bastille Day (Sat. July 14th) since that’s about where I left off in my last post…We went to Nimes! (Except you don’t pronounce the ‘s’) What a day! I have never seen so much roman architecture in real life, especially in France. We visit the Arena after a walk through the gated gardens and holy cow, it was like being in Rome but France’s version. The walk up the stairs into the stadium was amazing. They staff there was actually getting ready for a Radiohead concert during our tour. It was awesome to think there were once great gladiator battles right where I was standing. Not many people can say that! Afterwards we then headed to a huge aqueduct at Pont du Gard. I have never seen anything like it or even something to measure to it’ size. A couple of us got to swim in the river that flows underneath it, the water was cold! Unfortunately we didn’t get to walk across the top of it but we got close. The view was amazing from the mountain side though.
I have never seen so many people out and about in Montpellier! The trams were backed up and my personal space was violated numerous amounts of times. In the end, it was totally worth it, the fireworks or in french talk “feu d’artifice” were better than any Grucci show I’ve seen. The spectacle lasted for 20 minutes or more and the locals were going crazy. Afterwards there was a live band playing american songs, french style. The group I was with decided to take the party elsewhere and we went to the Australian Club. It’s a great place that plays music I KNOW! Also it was free to get in so, good deal. It was fun celebrating another country’s independence holiday while in the country itself!
Sunday was a lazy beach day, under the extremely hot Mediterranean sun. I had to put sunscreen on twice! The water was a bit chilly but it was worth it to cool off. It was about a 45 minute trip between the 2 trams and a bus…twas an adventure.
On to Semaine Trois! Tuesday (July 17th) we went on a tour of Sete, the Venice of the Sud de France. It reminded me a lot of Chatham, MA and Cape Cod. It was nice getting to see all the boats and walk around down by the docks. Some people even tried raw oysters…NO THANK YOU! As always the excursion ended with a lovely visit to la plage. Wednesday (July 18th) was French Sing Along night. Let me tell you, I’ve never been so excited to sing “Champs D’Elysees” and the song from the Lion King en français. We even got snacks in between songs! Everyone had so much fun, even the boys! Thursday (July 19th) was an unproductive day for most of us, just some shopping and class, not me though! I went and saw The Lorax at the cinema, since it had only come out the day before in Europe. Mind you, I have already seen it 3 times, but now I’ve seen it in french. What an experience!
Friday was a sad day, I had to say goodbye to a lot of my new friends because their stay was up. I was especially sad that my friend Irina, from Moscow, had to go because we became very close. We exchanged contact info and are going to be pen pals, which will be fun! It wasn’t a late night for me though so I only stayed at the Friday Festival for a short while. I had to go to bed early because I was getting up and going to Paris solo in the am…more details to come in my next post tomorrow about my crazy France life!!
Bonne nuit de mes lecteurs.
- Castles, Cathedrals, and more Montpellier! on July 12th, 2012
Salut c’est moi!
Alors, this past week and a half has been off the hook, as you can tell I had no time to write. The Institut Europeen de Francais has been fantastic. Even though we are learning at a fast pace the professors work with us to make sure we all understand. This program, I feel, is so unique because I am going to an international summer school, instead of a regular faculty led program. There are people in my classes from all walks of life. I now have friends in Singapore, Russia, Turkey, Switzerland, Canada, Spain, Venezuela, and Germany. It only hit me at the beginning of this week how amazing this experience is. All these different people with different backgrounds and first languages, all learning french together. This lets us then converse with each other, where otherwise we couldn’t. We all get along so well and are so interested in each others ways of life and cultures. By learning this new (in my case brushing up on) language we have a gateway to become friends. Not many people can say they have friends in all those countries I listed above!
Beyond the friendships we are also having so much fun together! On July 5th mes amis et moi learned how to French Folk dance. Our excursion directors Nicholas & Jeremy taught us the steps and then followed up with music from an accordion, it was a hilarious sight to see. I got to be partners with Irna, my new friend from Moscow, Russia!
This past Saturday (July 7th), was a very exciting day! We got to visit the medieval castle and cathedral of Carcassone. I finally got to touch my first real castle! The architecture of these structures is amazing and the view from the top of the castle walls was breathtaking. As I walked down the halls all I could think was, wow, kings and queens walked this same path like a thousand years ago, as I am right now…holy cow! The shops and cafes surrounding the castle were so quaint and one store even sold medieval swords.
On Tuesday (July 10th) we got to visit St. Guilhem le Desert, which is a famous church in the south of France. The small town surrounding it had stone walkways and narrow corridors all rested among the Pyrenees Mountains. Every corner you came to had it’s own small fountain with fresh, drinkable, spring water. It was delicious, especially since it was so hot out! After a tour of the church it was time for the real fun, cliff jumping into the French Rivera. The water was cold and the jumping was thrilling but it was so refreshing. We have some daredevils amongst the group.
This weekend is going to be a fun one, tomorrow (Friday) Les Estivals will be taking place as it always does. Once a week the local wineries bring out samples of their wines and with a small 5 euro fee you get a glass and 3 wine tastings. I have finally found my wine of choice! There is also food and crafts to buy as well. But the best part of the weekend will be this Saturday (July 14th) aka Bastille Day! We will be venturing to Nimes for the day as well as viewinf the fireworks at night…this makes up for us Americans missing the 4th of July.
- Bonjour de Montpellier! on July 3rd, 2012
Hi from Montpellier, France! My name is Nicolette Broda. I am going to be a senior this coming fall semester at Stony Brook University. I am majoring in Environmental Design, Policy, & Planning with a minor in Sustainability Studies. I am from Manorville, a town 30 minutes east from main campus, and I grew up in Center Moriches, just south of Manorville. I have never been over seas or in Europe until now!
So to start, my voyage over here was a bit rough. I had just came home from a family vacation in Jamaica Saturday, June 30th and had to get back on a plane Sunday, July 1st at 2pm. At least I was well rested, so I thought. The departure at the security gate was heart breaking between my mom and I, it was literally a scene from a movie. My first flight was from JFK international to Reykjavik, Iceland, where I had an hour layover. Normally when you go on a study abroad program you go with the group, but unfortunately I had to make the journey alone since my vacation overlapped the scheduled flights. Mind you this was ALL new to me! After the wait, my next flight was from Iceland to Paris. At the Charles de Gaul airport in France, I had literally 1 hour until my train left for Montpellier. I was freaking out watching everyones bags come out and counting the seconds while I waited for mine. All in all I rushed to the next terminal and finally made it on my train. The ride was about 4 hours to Montpellier, which is in the south of France. I kinda slept most of the way. Then at 11:30am July 2nd, I arrived in Montpellier. I was so proud of myself, I never thought I could do something like this, especially on my own.
My first day in Montpellier (July 2nd) I met up with the group, which was so happy I’d finally made it. We took a walking tour of the city and had a small history lesson. I had missed the morning classes because of my travel so today (July 3rd) was my first day. I am studying at the Institut Europeen de Francais, taking classes in French language. The teachers want you to learn well so they only speak in French. The first 30 minutes or so of the class I was lost! It’s slowly coming back though. I can’t wait to just think automatically in French, not English to French.
Our first excursion was today as well, we visited la Cite medievale des Marais. It was originally built in the 13 century and was part of the last crusades. The architecture was divine and even came equipped with a moat, since all medieval cities should have one. We climbed the tower where they kept the Protestant slaves during the wars and the view from the roof was amazing. After the tour we went to la plage aka the beach. It was mine and many of my companions first dip into the Mediterranean Sea! It seemed just like a Long Island beach to me. I can’t wait to explore Montpellier more and hopefully become confident with my French speaking as we go.