Saturday, July 18, 2009


Last weekend, my friends Joella and Phill and I explored as much of Provence as we could in two days. We left early Saturday morning and headed to Arles, where we wandered through a bustling market and bought some great souvenirs. We each bought a little knife to carry around, mainly for the purpose of being able to cut cheese whenever we need to, which is pretty often. After a lunch comprised of finds in the market, we walked past a Roman theater and a Roman arena, saw the spot where Van Gogh painted "Starry Night," then caught a bus to Nîmes.

Nîmes was only a short ride away, but it felt distinctly different from Arles. We noticed that each place we visited had a very unique ambience. In Nîmes, we spent the night in a hotel that was directly across the street from the arena, so when we opened our windows, we were looking right over it. We walked past the Maison Carrée, which looks like a miniature Parthenon, then we found the Temple to Diana. The ruins of the temple are in a beautiful park, and we enjoyed walking around the park and watching three different brides having their pictures taken. We had dinner on a square where there was a free folk dancing and singing performance.

When we got up on Sunday, we went to see the inside of the arena, then we ran to the station to get a bus to Pont du Gard. Pont du Gard is a massive bridge that was part of a Roman aqueduct. It is one of the tallest Roman structures, second only to the Coliseum. We wandered around the bridge for a while, then swam and hung out on the bank of the river.

Our final stop was Avignon, which was packed with people because of the theater festival. There were signs everywhere for all the different plays, and actors were walking around in costume to hand out fliers. There were tons of street performers, doing everything from classical piano to break dancing. We walked past the Palais des Papes and saw Pont St. Bénezet, but the most interesting thing about this trip to Avignon was definitely just the ambience of the theater festival.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bienvenue à Grenoble.


I am finally in Grenoble! I have been very busy during the last week and a half, what with meeting new friends, taking classes, settling in at my homestay, and eating lots of French food. The city is surrounded by beautiful mountains, and
has two rivers that flow through it. There are lots of lovely parks, and little markets are set up every day all over the city.

For my homestay, I am living with a young woman named Sèverine in an apartment that is close to the center of the city. She is really sweet and very French, complete with a cat named Neptune. It has been wonderful, because I have gotten to meet a lot of her friends and do things like going out to a concert with her. I always look forwards to the dinners that I eat with her, because she cooks amazing French food, such as ratatouille and quiche.