Keen on Caffeine

Coffee lovers, rejoice! Wine is, of course, Bordeaux’s signature attraction. But, there is more than one locally distinguished beverage to be found in this city. Bordeaux is home to several artisanal coffee shops, cafés, and roasters, or les torrefacteurs.

Today, I present to you Bordeaux’s Coffee Map or “Porcelain Trail,” if you will. This map marks Bordeaux’s most authentic, exceptional, and inventive coffee establishments. Each offers outstanding service, aesthetic atmospheres, and true craftsmanship in every pour. This map has aided me greatly in discovering some truly remarkable brews, so I had to share! 

Among my personal favorites are Café PIHA and SIP Coffee Bar, as well as Books & Coffee and Saint-James (which are not featured on the map). 

I like to judge a café’s quality on its humble espresso, “Un café, c’est tout!” But, Café PIHA’s signature drinks are concoctions of pure genius. If you’re tastebuds are adventurous, then this is the place for you! 

With their loft seating, WiFi, and laptop-squatter friendly attitude, SIP Coffee Bar is perfect for afternoons spent studying. Their unique cafés filtres are a must try. And, their carrot cake is amazing.

Books & Coffee is the coziest hole-in-the wall café. Curl up with a cappuccino and a good read during their quiet hours, or gather the ladies for a phenomenal, affordable brunch feast on the weekends. I can’t recommend this spot enough!

Next door you’ll find the very stylish venue of Saint-James; decorated with chic tiles, hanging plants, and modern industrial fixtures. Stop here if appearances are your priority. The stained glass windows offer fantastic lighting. Do it for the ‘gram!

I hope Bordeaux’s Coffee Map guides you well. But, when in doubt, follow your nose and follow the locals. They know best!

Images Courtesy of the Instragrams of Café PIHA, SIP Coffee Bar, Books & Coffee, and Saint-James FR (left to right)

The Wine Capital of France

As a wine enthusiast myself*, I am of course thrilled to be living in the wine capital of France. And I’d be lying if I said Bordeaux’s rich history of wine wasn’t a deciding factor when selecting a study abroad exchange. There are countless different ways for international students and foreign travelers to absorb the knowledge and delight that the Bordelais wine industry has to offer. Below, you’ll find descriptions of my most wine-centric experiences, all of which I highly recommend!

Make Like a Scholar and Study Wine

Incorporate wine into your academic life by enrolling in business electives. Examine and analyze the oenological industry. By studying Wine Marketing, I was able to gain major specific credit all while learning of the fascinating ins and outs behind Bordeaux’s wine economy.

Fine or Fair Dining

Wine is an integral part of la vie en France, especially for the Bordelais, especially when paired with great food. A glass of red sipped with a delicious dish is both routine and celebrated. One of the best ways to immerse yourself into the world of wine is to simply partake! Taste and discover for yourself! Treat yourself to a prestigious grand cru classé at a one of Bordeaux’s finest restaurants or go the more affordable route and order from la carte du vin at a casual apéro bar. A personal favorite of mine is the Vintage Café, featuring an ambient atmosphere, fantastically low prices, and cozy outdoor seating with a view of la Garonne. 

Tour La Cité du Vin

La Cité du Vin is an absolute must see! This interactive museum will expand your wine vocabulary tenfold. Rise to the top floor and finish your tour with a rare, affordable tasting of an awarded wine of your choice. 

l’Intendant Grands Vins de Bordeaux

Take a gander up the narrow spiral staircase of this renowned wine cellar. Feel free to just browse; looky-loos are welcome. The boutique is an attraction in itself, trading bottles upon bottles of terroir specific wines. There’s a bottle for everyone. Some are dry reds. Some are sweet whites. Some are novelty sized, both small and large (well massive really, you’d need a trough to drink bottles of that size). Some are priced at shockingly high numbers, literally climbing into the millions. And some are promoted as staple Bordelais souvenirs. Before you go, be sure to catch the view of Bordeaux’s Grand Theatre from the highest story. It makes for an Instagram-worthy shot. 

Châteaux of the Bordeaux Terroir

One of my most memorable excursions from Bordeaux includes a sunny day spent in the village of Saint-Émilion. Here, I toured the marvelous grounds of Château de Pressac. There are countless more châteaux within the borders of Bordeaux’s wine production region. You can tour the cellars and vineyards of these castles for a fair price, where a travel guide and wine tasting is always included.

February views of Château de Pressac’s vineyards

* Please note that due to the US’s restrictive federal regulations, I have only consumed wine in countries where in which I was legally of age

La Petite Ville des Quatre Saisons

One of my most memorable excursions from Bordeaux includes a sunny day spent in Arcachon, France. Arcachon is a charming little village along the southern Atlantic coast nestled in Le Bassin d’Arcachon. Coined La Petite Ville des Quatre Saisons, this fishing village is a favorited destination among the locals of Bordeaux. Only an hour long train away, Arcachon makes for a lovely single day well-spent for international students. Featuring oysters, sand, and humble aesthetics, Arcachon will have you breathing easy between studies.

For your connivence, I offer a simple itinerary to guide your travels. This itinerary combines my own time spent in Arcachon as well as other experiences of my fellow étudiants étrangers.

Arcachon Itinerary

8:00AM Train Departure from Gare St. Jean | Start your travels early, morning birds, and make the most of your day. Tickets can be purchased last minute, hassle-free at station kiosques for just over 10.00€

9:00AM Train Arrival in Gare Arcachon | Simply board the shuttle for a mere 1.00€

10:30AM Brunch Atop La Dune du Pilat | Treat yourself to a pique-nique of bread, jam, and cheese after conquering the barefoot trek up Europe’s tallest sand dune. Sunbathe at the peak, or tumble down the slopes towards La Plage de la Corniche. Whichever you choose, the view is spectacular and free of charge! Return to the city center by shuttle or by bike. 

2:00PM Stroll the Streets of Le Ville d’Hiver | Arcachon is known for its unique division of districts, each one representing a season. Make your way to the central coast by starting further inland. Find your way through Winter Town’s maze of leafy streets. The unique architecture of Winter Town is a free attraction in itself, but if time permits, visit Parc Mauresque or the Sainte-Cécile Observatory.

4:00PM Golden Hour in Le Ville d’Été | Just a few short blocks from Winter Town is Summer Town, the heart of Arcachon. Pop in one of the many boutiques or saunter down the boardwalk. Finish with a perfectly lit photoshoot at the end of one of Arcachon’s many piers. 

6:30PM A Dinner of Oysters Galore | Follow your nose to a restaurant for an early bird dinner. Taste the Arcachon specialty: oysters. Lovers of seafood will be amazed by the spread of freshly caught fish. Le Pitt and Le Cabestan come highly recommended.

8:30PM Train Departure from Gare Arcachon | Arcachon’s station closes sooner than you’d think, so be sure to catch the last train to Bordeaux! 

Bay views over the Great Dune of Pilat

Qu’est-ce que la bise?

As an international student and a foreign traveler, it’s important to be familiar with local customs and traditions. One of the more culturally unique customs of France is la bise: the common greeting gesture of a simple, bright *smooch* against one’s cheek. 

This gesture is an essential part of la vie en France. It’s how the French greet their nearest and dearest and even how they approach their newest acquaintances. La bise is often portrayed and romanticized in cult classics and French cinema. So, it’s not an unfamiliar concept. Perhaps you’re thinking, “After all, if Audrey Tautou can fait la bise, why can’t I?”

For an additional pinch of complexity, the details of la bise vary across France. To master la bise, you should become familiar with the specific etiquette followed by the locals of your particular region. In some cities, folks lean toward the right cheek, in others, folks lean to the left. In some cities one kiss is placed, other cities go so far as to place four. It all depends on the region. For your convenience, I offer the details of my experience with la bise in Bordeaux. This includes regional specific instructions as well as my own personal words of advice. 

In actuality, the concept of la bise is trickier to grasp than you’d imagine. In fact, it’s frequently a cause of culture shock among foreigners. Many find la bise to be too intimate of a gesture in relation to the casual manner in which it’s used. 

La Bise in Bordeaux: Instructions

In Bordeaux, you begin by placing your right hand on your opposite’s right shoulder so as to firmly ground yourself. Gently place your right cheek against your opposite’s right cheek, making a *smooch* sound before switching to to place your left cheek against your opposite’s left cheek, following with another *smooch* sound. After my many awkward attempts before mastery, I share with you six areas of advice: 

  1. La bise is not a cheek kiss. Your lips should never touch your opposite. There should only be cheek-on-cheek contact.
  2. La bise is traditionally practiced between pairs of two women and pairs of one man and one woman. Men traditionally greet one another with a handshake.
  3. Following the rules of the T – V distinction is a good rule of thumb when deciding who to greet with la bise. Those who you address tutoyer, fais la bise! Those who you address vouvoyer, ne fais pas de la bise!
  4. When in doubt, take it slow and steady with deliberate movements. You don’t want your lips, your hands, or your head (yes head, I’ve accidentally knocked skulls with someone) to accidentally fall somewhere else. 
  5. The sound of your *smooch* should be loud. La bise is just plain weird if it’s not audible.
  6. If you’re truly not comfortable with la bise, know that a handshake is a perfectly acceptable alternative. I’ve adored adopting the gesture of la bise to greet my close, personal friends. However, as someone who is more physically reserved, I find la bise very uncomfortable in the early stages of relationships, especially with men. Often, men have attempted to pressure me into la bise. This has actually been the cause of quite the controversy concerning the etiquette of this gesture. Given my own unpleasant experience, I felt it was imperative to share with any other fellow female travelers that, even as a foreigner, you are by no means required to practice la bise. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten the argument, “Oh, but you want to be as the French, non?” Oof… in short, I’ve found insisting on a handshake diffuses the situation with ease.

All in all, I very much recommend trying your hand at la bise while in France. With practice, this greeting can become a noteworthy achievement of your French cultural emersion. But remember, you must find your own personal balance between new and exciting foreign customs and your own native customs.

9 Things I Didn’t Expect When I Came to France

I had studied French during all four years of high school and learned a decent bit about their culture, so I figured I had a decent idea of how France would be like before I studied there. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. Here are nine of the things that I wasn’t really expecting before coming to France and some tips to help you overcome them!

1. Clothes: Everyone wears jeans and only jeans. And if you’re a girl, its high-waisted jeans. I tried this for the first few days, then I realized I hated being so dang hot 24/7. I really don’t know how they do it. What’s even crazier is the fact that they are usually wearing jackets too. Absolute madness!!! Now, I just wear my nice shorts and welcome the stares from everyone(may or may not be because the shorts).

Tip: Bring at least two different pairs of jeans if you want to fit in and not get the endless stares like me!

2. Appearance: I really stick out in a crowd. Everywhere I go, I always get many people staring at me. It could be the shorts, could be the fact I’m about a foot taller than everyone else or that I look like I’m from the USA(some have thought Netherlands). I didn’t expect that everywhere I went, I would constantly get stared at because of my appearance.

Tip: Don’t be tall or wear colored, pastel shorts like me.

3. Driving: The drivers here are CRAZY!! They weave in and out of lanes, dodge motorcycles that seem to have no rules and do it all while staying calm, cool and collected. Not to mention, they actually let drivers over when they have their signal on, and they do all of this without undercover cops patrolling the streets to hand out tickets(they use cameras). The best way to describe their driving is organized chaos. It is 10x worse than anything in the USA, trust me.

Tip: Don’t drive yourself unless necessary. Take the metro or walk and burn off those calories from the cheese and bread!

4. Food: Before I came to France, I assumed I’d be eating a lot of French food. Crazy right? But everything in Paris and the major cities has been Westernized and it was like eating back at home, except not as good. Even when we wouldn’t be in residential areas it seemed like all you could find were burger shops and Italian restaurants. Of course, you can go get an amazing crepe at just about any place you go, but you’re hard pressed to find restaurants with truly French cuisine. Don’t fret though, you can still find great food(like the fish and chips above) you’ll just have to search a little harder.

The main thing I didn’t expect when it came to food, was the fact that the seafood tastes could be so different in France than the USA. When I stayed at Mont St-Michel, I ordered a Fruit de Mer(fruits of the sea). I was looking forward to eating some scallops, shrimp, fish, mussels and crab. I was in for quite the surprise when they brought me out a plate with only one of those. My first reaction was to literally throw the plate across the room. Yeah, a little over the top, but it was warranted. It was one of the most unappetizing dishes I had ever seen. I gave it the ol’ college try and had some of these alien snails, prawns that had their insides explode on my hands and much, much more. If you’re like my brothers right now, you’re thinking I’m just a picky eater. That might be true, but even my parents couldn’t choke down this food. Needless to say, it was the worst food experience of my life and it still gives me the heeby-geezies thinking about it. Don’t worry too much though, I had fantastic lamb after that and the best vanilla ice cream I have ever had for dessert.

Tip: Try and ask locals where the best restaurants are and try and eat outside of the touristy areas. Also, try and clarify what exactly you will be getting and don’t assume it is the same as at home.

5. Language: They. Talk. So. Fast. When I listen to them speak it is like one long word that never stops. Add in the fact that they are speaking a foreign language and you’re completely toast figuring out what they are asking/telling you. And before you say, “Well why did you go to a country you don’t speak the language”, I DO!!! I am not fluent, but I know enough to be dangerous. Hopefully by the end of the summer I will be proficient enough to understand everyone and communicate much easier.

Whenever we went out my parents would typically ask them right away if they spoke English and typically the waitress/waiter did. We were at a nice fish and chips place(Poissonpare, highly recommended) on the Loire River in Nantes and my parents went through the usual routine and found out our waitress didn’t speak English and really didn’t seem very interested in having us eat there. So I stepped in and starting using my French skills to ask questions and order all the food for us. Everything changed after that. Our waitress was peppy and sweet, and no longer looked like she wanted to throw us into the Loire. When I went to pay, she was very sweet and was trying to tell me something in French, but I couldn’t understand what she was saying because she was speaking a million miles an hour. After, having her repeat it multiple times, she ended up telling me in broken English “congrats on your French, it’s very good”. HA! I didn’t even understand her complimenting me on my French. So much for being very good… In all seriousness though, it made my day. Let this be a reminder to always try your best to use the local language when visiting a foreign country because you never know what can come from it.

Tip: Know some French before coming. Also, make an effort to show you are trying and they will typically be helpful and speak in English.

6. Beaches: France has some amazing beaches… and they’re not even on the Mediterranean. I usually associated Italy, Thailand and Fiji with having nice beaches, but France definitely had a surprise in store for me!

For my parents last day in Nantes, we drove 1.5 hours outside of Nantes to Ile de Noirmoutier on the Atlantic Coast. What I thought would be an okay day trip turned into us discovering the most beautiful beach I’ve ever been to. It had nice sand, a great town around it, nice blue-green water and many trails that led to semi-private, picturesque beaches. I may not have been able to get into the water because it was still too chilly, I can say with confidence it is one of the best beaches in France and everyone should go soak up the sun on the beautiful Les Dames beach of Noirmoutier.

Tip: Don’t skip out on the Atlantic Coast beaches. They may not be as famed as the Riviera, but they are just as beautiful.

7. Smoking: I had no idea how many people smoked in France. I am used to seeing a few people a day back at home, but when we were going through France about 50% of people smoked. No, I’m not exaggerating. It was absolutely mindboggling for me, because I now see more people smoking in 5 minutes than I would in an entire day at home. Basically the only place they can’t smoke is inside the restaurants and hotels. If you have issues with smoke, COME PREPARED!!

Tip: Eat inside restaurants if the smoke bothers you.

8. Tourists: I hate being ‘that tourist’, but there are just too many of them out there. We came when it isn’t even peak season, and I completely hated some of the places(Palace of Versailles) that I knew I would like, simply because there were 10x too many people there. I couldn’t enjoy the palace, the Musee Orsay and many other places because you would be packed in like sardines with people who don’t care that you’re trying to enjoy the moment.

At one point in the palace, some short little kid was bumping into me and I had mumbled something like “Watch out little guy”. Turns out it really was just that! An extremely short man, twice my age.

Tip: Visit main tourist attractions during the middle of the week. Also, plan your visits outside of the peak season of June, July and August.

9. Markets: Before I came here, I assumed everyone did their shopping like we do in the USA. I couldn’t have been further from the truth. First off, everyone here has to have their own reusable bags or a cart and if you don’t they will make you buy one. Secondly, most people walk to the market just about every day. They’ll get their fruits and veggies, protein for the day and a delicious baguette. When I realized this, I was thinking, “You mean they don’t hoard away 17 years of food in their basement fridge? Weird.” After going shopping a few times, I realized I definitely like this better. You always have fresh food. You get to exercise and burn off all those calories from the cheeses and baguettes. You just feel healthier.

Tip: Buy a few reusable bags and enjoy the daily ritual of walking to the market for fresh produce.

This list is by no means all inclusive of everything that I didn’t expect, but it highlights the main topics. Be sure to follow the tips to help make your time in France easier and more fun!

P.S. Most of this is applicable to every country I visited in Europe, so be prepared regardless of where you go!

5 Reasons You Should Study in Bordeaux, France

I am Morgan a senior economics major here at the University of Louisville. In Spring 2016 I had the chance to study abroad in Bordeaux, France and had the time of my life. I will save you the ‘my entire life changed’ story because that’s not what happened. I will say that it was a blast and being in Europe for 5 months before starting my senior year, and was one of the greatest experiences in my college career. So here are the top five reasons that you need should seriously consider studying in Bordeaux for the semester.

  1. The business school in Bordeaux is ideally built for juniors or seniors to get masters classes while still in undergraduate studies; it gives a very intriguing perspective on classes that you may see in an MBA setting. That does not necessarily mean that the classes are infinite times harder, but they can be challenging. The class schedule is also unique for the masters program because each class is a month long, meaning you can focus on one or two studies at a time. One last note on the classes are unlike anything you can take at UofL including sustainable marketing, economics of real estate, and my personal favorite wine marketing.
  2. City living was honestly one of the best parts of being in Bordeaux and the housing options were beautiful. While the school doesn’t have the traditional on-campus housing options and you can still do the homestay with a French family. However, what I did, and what I would do again, was find someone in the program to live with (via Facebook) and stay more in the city center. This not only gave me a good chance to get to know people that I was studying abroad with, but I also got to actually fulfill my dreams of living in a city by myself and exploring something new everyday; my new experiences were endless including restaurants, wine bars, coffee shops, boutiques, the new neighborhoods, and the different public gardens. This was a unique experience to studying in Bordeaux because most programs require some kind of homestay or on-campus housing.
  3. The French lifestyle is THE best honestly on any given day you will see everyone outside enjoying the beautiful waterfront area and all the indoor/outdoor restaurants. Especially in Bordeaux you can see how leisurely life in France is. Even on days that you seem to have run out of entertainment or items to keep you occupied, or you just want a day without stress; you can embark on ‘getting cultured’ and soaking up the ease of the French lifestyle.
  4. The access to travel not only in France but also to other countries is super easy. Bordeaux has there own train station and airport, and they are working on an even faster train to Paris (seriously less than three hours) for even more accessible and cheaper travel! Some of my favorite places to go were Marseille, Nice, Paris, Dublin, Ireland, and Marrakech, Morocco.
  5. You didn’t think I wouldn’t mention wine, did you? Part of the French leisurely lifestyle is enjoying all of the culture that Bordeaux has to offer. Bordeaux is one of the largest wine exports in France and its largest economic product surrounds so much of the culture. You will see people enjoying glasses of red during lunch and people carrying bottles of wine around the city. I would definitely suggest visiting chateaus and vineyards to really soak up the experience.

A Survival Guide to Paris Public Transit

Hey there! Before I start with this post, my first in a series of survival guides for life here in France, I thought I’d introduce myself. I’m Ariel, a junior marketing major studying at ESSEC, a business university in Cergy, a suburb about 40 minutes north of Paris.

That being said, I take public transport all the time. I use it to get to and from class, get down into Paris, and travel around France. I’ve used probably every form of transport available here, from buses to the RER to the Metro. I’ve also had the *lovely* opportunity to get to deal with maintenance being done on the train tracks, resulting in a partial shutdown of the RER, which is how I get home.

So yeah, I consider myself a bit of an expert on navigating Paris’s public transit system. Since Louisville doesn’t really have public transport, the system in Paris can be a bit confusing at first, especially if you don’t speak French. I thought I’d help clear up a few things. Here are my top 5 tips when riding Paris public transport.

1. Vianavigo is your BFF

Vianavigo is an app that helps you navigate the Paris public transit system. You put in your destination and the app uses your location to figure out the best route for you to get from Point A to Point B. There’s also a map of the entire train system and timetables, both of which have proved quite useful for me.

My favorite thing about it is that it lets you know if there’s any kind of issues with the transit you’re going to be taking. That’s how I found out about the work being done on the RER.

2. Follow the crowd

If you don’t know what you’re supposed to do, watch everybody else first. For example, when coming home from Paris one night, the train I was on suddenly stopped and everyone got off. I had no idea what was going on, but I followed the crowd to a group of buses that were apparently set up to get us to various train stops. I use the “monkey see, monkey do” rule a lot when I’m traveling, especially if I don’t speak the language of that country.

Note: you’ll see a lot of people jumping over turnstiles or sneaking in behind people. This is because they don’t have tickets. This is illegal and you will be punished if caught. Always have a valid ticket or Metro pass.

3. Know how to pronounce the name of your stop or have it written down

If you need help, go to the ticket window or look for someone wearing an SNCF uniform. However, they won’t be able to help you if you can’t tell them were you need to go. If you’re afraid of butchering the name, have it written down or pull up your handy Vianavigo app and show that to them. They’ll quickly be able to tell that you don’t speak French, so they’ll use hand gestures and, in some cases, a bit of English to get the point across.

4. There will be armed police/soldiers and baggage check points everywhere

Following the terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice, the country has been in a state of emergency. This means that at major train stations and tourist attractions, there will be mandatory bag checks. Just have your bag open, don’t act suspicious, and you’ll be fine.

You’ll also see armed soldiers a lot, at train stations, tourist attractions, and even just in the street. I would freak out if I saw this at home, but here in Paris, it’s totally normal. I’ve even walked to the train station near my apartment and found soldiers randomly walking around. The only time I ever get bothered by the heightened security is when “suspicious bags” are found and the trains are halted until the police have checked it out. Aside from that, I’ve actually grown to like it. It makes me feel safe, especially when I’m walking by myself at night, after class or down in Paris.

5. Public transit is easy to use

When there’s not work being done on the rails and workers aren’t on strike, the public transit system here in Paris is very user-friendly. There’s maps in all the Metro stations, so you can easily find out what train you need (if you haven’t downloaded Vianavigo). There are plenty of signs. And to figure out if the train coming up to the platform is yours, just look at the helpful screens on the platform. You’ll either see the terminus station for your direction or, at some of the larger Metro stations, your stop will be lit up. Easy peasy.

There you have it. My top 5 tips for surviving the Paris public transit system. It might seem unfamiliar, but as long as you have a valid ticket, you observe the people around you, and you know how to read a sign, you’re good to go. Just don’t freak out when you see a bunch of armed soldiers strolling by.

Louisville ~ Nantes

France was never at the top of my bucket list but when I was told that UPS would pay for me to go, I was all about it. I wouldn’t be near Paris, instead I would be studying in a smaller town in Brittany called Nantes. I decided I wanted to stay with a host family so I could get a real, authentic feel of what life in France was like. The closer my departure got, the more excited I got. I have wanted to travel for a long, long time and knowing that we would have 3-day weekends off, I started planning my trips immediately. There were so many places I wanted to visit while I was in Europe and had the chance- Rome, Barcelona, London, Venice, Munich, and most of all Prague. I decided not to plan anything in advance though so I could make plans with other people wanting to travel. I got the time off I needed from UPS, booked my ticket, emailed my host family and was ready to go. My adventure began when I left Louisville and it has been nothing but ups and downs since I’ve been here. First was the flight; Wow, 12 hours on a plane will really get you beat. I landed in my small city of Nantes and took a taxi to my host family’s house. That was my first taxi ride and I was terrified. It was raining and the driver was driving like a maniac and almost ran over a biker and then took the time to yell at the biker when we passed him. We finally got to the house and I was so relieved. Then I walked up to door, rang the bell and nothing happened. I rang a few more times and then started to panic. They knew I was coming right? so where were they? I walked around up and down the street emailing and texting the hosts and my advisors from both schools. I was terrified I would be stuck in this strange city with no place to stay and nowhere to go. Finally, the host mum text me back saying she would be home in two hours, apparently they were expecting me two days later and were just as confused as I was. I don’t know where the miscommunication occurred but I felt like such an imposition and was put on the futon until my room was ready but I was happy just to have a roof over my head.
The next few days were great. I got to explore the city and relax and even take a trip to the beach! Then school started. It was great to meet all these new people and it helped that the class I was in was so fun and had a great teacher. My first free weekend I decided to go to Paris. I booked a train ticket and a hostel and went on my way. When I finally arrived I was so excited to see everything that I decided to walk to my hostel… and hour and a half later I arrived at this small, hole-in-the-wall, home in the middle of china town to a room I shared with 5 other girls. Paris was crazy for me. It’s massive and there’s new things to see and do every time you turn around. I got lucky with beautiful weather and enough time to see all the main spots even though my trips got cut short because of a weird situation with my ride home. Then it was back to Nantes and school and planning for the next adventure!
More to come…