Stepping off of the plane and into France felt surreal to say the least. After orientation, visas, and discussions I could not believe I had finally arrived. The first day of the program everyone was a little jetlagged, but that did not stop us from grabbing a baguette and exploring the hostel’s neighborhood. My friend, Rosie, and I found a beautiful park nearby which was a perfect place to sit and relax a bit before the busy and exciting days ahead.
The next day, we separated into small groups of three or four and were sent out on a scavenger hunt! With a metro Navigo pass in hand, we took off into the city to search for various destinations. My group was assigned to visit L’Opera National de Paris. While in the metro, we got a pleasant surprise as we rose up out of the darkness and over the Seine catching a perfect view of La Tour Eiffel (It didn’t dawn on me that the metro isn’t always underground)! I tried to hold myself back from being a complete tourist and saying “Oh my God, how amazing!” but the view truly was amazing.
As we stepped out of the metro, L’Opera National was right across the street! The grandeur of the building was absolutely stunning. Just one of the many beautiful sights of architecture to be found.
With the images of the opera house still fresh in my mind, the third day in Paris was even more exciting! We were able to go and explore Paris. A few friends and I decided to walk down the Champs-Elysees, which, little did we know, ended up in a long and scenic walk across the Point Alexandre III to the Eiffel Tower. (Our surroundings definitely made up for the long walk across)!
As the days in Paris came to a close, I find myself in Nantes. It’s hard to imagine I met my host mother just hours ago! I think I speak for everyone when I say there was definitely a good amount of nervousness going around before meeting with our families. However,my warm welcome from Marie-Claude Cheval quickly made those nerves go away as she and her neighbor took a few of us around Nantes. We visited Le Chateu des Ducs de Bretagne as well as the Cathredrale Saint Pierre et Saint Paul. After everything I have seen so far, it was no surprise that Nantes was also a beautiful city.
Look back at all I have done in just four days in France, I can rest tonight confident and excited for the many adventures to come!
— Lili Guzmán