Monday, 25 July 2011

The South

All my jobs finished at the end of June, but I decided to stay in France until the end of July, to profite a bit. Earlier in the month I went to Brussels again, which was great, but I've been there before and didn't take many photos. Brussels is rainy and not very picturesque and we spent a lot of it eating deep-fried food and watching old Harry Potters. The only noteworthy thing we did was see the Deathly Hallows premiere which was ridiculously entertaining, even if having it subtitled in French and Flemish was a bit distracting. Then after that I went down to the South, to visit another friend from Warwick, who is spending the summer waitressing in Pezenas after doing a Year Abroad in Strasbourg. 

We stayed in the offices of a charity (long story) which had two balconies!

Pezenas is an old town, and has rooftops like this.

The countryside outside the town looks like this.

Languedoc-Roussillon is full of vineyards.

The town used to have a train station but it's defunct now. It makes it difficult to get there, but it's more of a hidden gem. There is tourism, but not too much. 

We went to a workcamp in the countryside with people Alice knew from volunteering, near to a tiny village called Alignan-du-Vent. Someone had decorated the fence around their property with shells. 

Alignan was partying the night we went! There was a covers band  in the village square, who covered everything from Rihanna to Metallica, by way of Lady Gaga and that French song with the chorus that goes "Ca! C'est vraiment toi!" I wandered around the village when I got bored of the music, it had a butchers and a bakers and a pharmacy and that was literally it. Then I went back and danced in a circle to Katy Perry's "Firework" with a bunch of 17 year olds from every corner of Europe. And I wasn't even drunk! 

Look at this guy working it in an all-over Dalmation-print costume! 

We also went swimming in a river one day.

Pezenas is pretty small now, but it was the capital of the region back in the day, hence why it has such beautiful architecture, and even a Jewish quarter, which was just one street. 

Last thing, Pezenas is also famous for being the base for Moliere's theatre troupe for several years, the Illustre Théatre travelled around the provinces for over a decade, but it was at Pezenas where they really became famous before moving back to Paris. I think. We actually stumbled on the headquarters of the theatre troupe while out on a walk.

Je suis restée chez Alice, qui était la premiere copine que j'ai faite à Warwick - la semaine m'a bien rappellée pourquoi on s'est devenues des telles bonnes copines (basically we had TONS OF LOLZ). It's so strange to think that all of us Year Abroaders will be back on Warwick campus next year. 

It was great to go to the South. The weather was wonderful, the accents were entertaining, and the people seemed so much more friendly than Parisians, it's bad how surprised I am now when a waiter/shop assistant doesn't treat me with active hostility, especially if I pronounce something wrong. I swear the woman at the CoinCafé in Vincennes RER station actually rolled her eyes when I stumbled over the word viennoiseries

I'm leaving on Thursday & I don't know how I feel about that. It'll be exactly 10 months since I left Britain, and of those 10 months I've spent less than 2 weeks at home. France doesn't seem foreign anymore, although I don't know if my French will ever be as good as it was at the end of April. I'm actually a bit nervous about doing dinner in French tonight. Dinner with two friends tonight, Paris Plages (the beaches set up by the Seine) tomorrow, seeing Ally on Wednesday, and then home on Thursday. And then it's my birthday on Friday! 

Last thing, the Tour de France also passed through Pézenas while we were there...

Off to buy cardboard boxes at Mr. Bricolage and start packing up my room...

Thursday, 21 July 2011


is full of beautiful things like this:

Even the name of this region is gorgeous.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Petit dej

Ok, so the "blog post a day" thing didn't quite work out.

But this is worth noting: I had breakfast under this structure this morning! I stayed over at a party in the area last night, and stopped off at Monoprix this morning on my way back to the metro for some much-needed juice and pastry products. Where nicer to sit than on the steps of the Grande Arche, with a view over the trajectory which stretches down to the Arc de Triomphe, then onto the Tuileries and the Palais du Louvre? I could see all the way to the Champs Elysées.

La Défense is nothing like the rest of Paris; it's the business district filled with skyscrapers that they placed out of town because hello? Imagine this next to the Marais:

It's really impressive though. On a sunny weekend morning the esplanade feels like a cross between a gated community, full of healthy people wandering between food outlets, and a futuristic metropolis.

And this afternoon I did a treasure hunt in the 20th.