Salut, my name is Charlotte Bonnet and I am a sophomore on the Earlham France Program 2013. After spending two weeks in Salies –de- Bèarn (located near the French Pyrènèes) doing ceramics, I returned to Paris by TGV with the other students from the group. When I arrived in Gare Montparnasse, my aunt was waiting for me on the platform. The rest of the students in the program were staying at the FIAP, a youth hostel in Paris. While I was walking with my aunt to her car, I could not stop talking to her about adventures in both Nantes and in Salies-de- Bèarn.
That night. I started my vacation by going to see a movie with my aunt on the Champs-Èlysèes where we saw the new Woody Allen movie, Blue Jasmine. When I walked inside the theater, my mouth started to drop because it was huge and there were so many people. When I sat down to take my seat on the soft chair, I was ready to watch the movie in version française in order to practice my French. When the movie started, I was disappointed that the actors were speaking in English and at the bottom of the screen there was French subtitles. When the movie was finished, I thought that the movie was really sad because the main character did not know what she wanted in her life: to be in love or not to be in love.
On Tuesday afternoon, I took a backpack and a handbag on the TGV headed to Avignon for three days. I was visiting Caroline, one of my dad’s college friends, and her family. In Avignon, I attended her youngest daughters’ theater class at her high school. I enjoyed participating in the different kinds of acting games and I was also pleased to get a taste of how a typical French high school class functions.
During my stay in Avignon, I tried to visit the Palais du Pape and the Pont d’Avignon, but I arrived at the closing time. I was not disappointed that I did not get a chance to see those two important monuments in Avignon. I am going to have a second chance to the see them during the first weekend in November with the Earlham group.
In Avignon, there is a medieval wall that surrounds the city, which was build by the romans. On my first day in Avigion, I walked inside the medieval walls where I discovered small narrow streets and I found a beautiful church with a huge empty space with benches. I sat on one of the benches and took a moment to explore my surroundings: a middle age man with tattoos walking his dog and young people taking aperitifs in a open café nearby. On my last day in Avignon, I went with Caroline to the “chic” neighborhood of Avignon, which was called Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. Caroline took me to this beautiful garden that was on a hill and there it was, a breathtaking view Avignon. I saw a gorgeous view of Palais du Pape and le Pont d’Avignon.
For my second week of vacation, I went again to the South of France to visit my grandpa from Paris. He lives in a small city called Nimes, which is very close to Montpellier (the 8th largest city of France and known to have many universities). Nimes is in the region of Languedoc- Roussillon and is also in the department the Gard. Romans once occupied Nimes and today there are still roman monuments and buildings. On my first day in Nimes, my grandpa took me to the Jardin de la Fontaine, which is a beautiful garden with marble statues.
The following day, I went to Montpellier where I saw my former babysitter, and I spend two nights with her and her partner. In Montpellier, I explored the city with my former babysitter’s friend’s daughter who was 16 years old. She took me to a kebab restaurant for lunch, which I really enjoyed. It was my first time tasting kebab in France. After lunch, she took me to an indoor shopping mall and an outdoor shopping mall. The outdoor shopping mall reminded me as an American shopping mall because it was very big and spread out. I came back to Nimes by TGV on Thursday afternoon and went back to Paris on Friday night to come to the FIAP on Saturday.
Being in the FIAP, I am beginning to reflect on my two weeks of fun and exciting adventures I had in the South of France. Finally I can say, “I did the Tour de France not on bike, but by train!”