While I've already visited some really incredible places (Chateau d'Amboise, the last chateau that Leonardo da Vinci lived in, Chateau de Chenonceau, Chateau de Langeais, etc.) I want to share a little bit about an ordinary day for me in Tours, France.
Tours is a cute little town situated just 2 hours (by bus) southeast (I think that's correct...) of Paris.
Tours is in the Loire Valley which is the area where France's most popular chateaus are found.
Note: pictures of some of the chateaus I have been to can be found in former posts!
I can give stats & facts about Tours, along with maps and photos of chateaus I've visited but that doesn't give much detail or insight into what a typical day in Tours is like for me, as a American student.
So, I'm going to pull some details and photos from the last two days to try to convey the life of "une fille americain en france" in this case, in Tours.
Our schedule changed this week and my "group" was to have class at a later hour for the remaining five days in Tours. Unfortunately for me, class started an hour earlier than I had expected. Thankfully, my roommate woke me up ten minutes before class started. The verdict: I had to skip breakfast. I took advantage of our mid-morning break to literally sprint through a downtown area called "Place de Plumereau" which is very popular for those who enjoy going out and knocking back a few drinks on the weekends.
As I ran down the street, in the rain, wearing my Cole Haan loafers, American Apparel skirt, razor tanktop and my new scarf wrapped around my head... I prayed.
I was so hungry and knew if I didn't eat during my break I would surely pass out during the next two classes. If I didn't pass out I'd end up being a horrid you-know-what for the remainder of the classes until I could eat!
I ran down street after street, straying further from the university until I finally, finally found a boulangerie. Mon Dieu, I thought, "please, please have something quick for me to eat." I scanned the glass casing where the pastries and breads are kept... only little bitty croissants. No way was I about to eat ten (or more?) mini croissants...well, I was thinking about it.
Then, lo-and-behold, a man walks around the corner with a tray full of humongous, warm, flakey croissants.
vive. la. france.
A smile about as big as the croissant spreads across my face. "Deux croissants," I say. One euro and ten centimes later and I am the proud owner of two of the most beautiful croissants I have ever laid eyes on. Sorry, by the time I got back to the institute, there was only one left for me to take a picture of:
Along with my croissant, I have a .40 centime cappuccino (that comes out of the machine that we all hover around at our break) and my phone had to be included as well because it regularly "MEOWS" during class when I receive a text message. I think it's glorious, personally.
Moving on for the rest of my day...
By the grace of Dieu, I have a wonderful professor for classe de grammaire:
The first room that I have class in is not much to brag about but... my discussion class is really something else (and by "something else" I mean "something to brag about"):
All that AND I get to sit next to this stud muffin:
Blake Frederick Goldsborough-Funston
((Happy 22nd Bday on September 8th!))
By the way, the "institute" I speak of... it's not institute as in "institution." *Although some may argue that I should be institutionalized, that is another topic for discussion.* Here is my school in Tours:
(no big deal)
I can usually be found prowling around with this gal:
As soon as class is dismissed the Sweet Briar College students usually break up into pairs & groups for the day to go on little adventures whether that is kayaking the Loire River, shopping, wine tasting or, in my case, sitting around and blogging with Sasha.
Yesterday I had the great fortune to get lunch with my dear, dear friend Elizabeth, whom I sat next to on the plane ride from D.C. to Paris.
On our way to lunch we happened upon:
an adorable floral shop.
It's these little shops that completely and totally make me fall in love with the French all over again.
I walk into the little floral shop and politely ask for permission to take photos and soon after I'm flashing all over the place.
In between the floral shop & the sandwicherie, we almost run into this little box ---->
It doesn't take long for me and Elizabeth to decide on one of the many marvelous sandwich places in the square we are in. I settle for a quiche lorraine and end up picking the ham out, as I've become a vegetarian within the past two months. It is no less delicious sans ham, I promise you.
Elizabeth, Sasha, Alyssa, Jane and I all live very close together and so we all have the pleasure of walking through the jardin coming to and from our activities. I know I have posted several garden pictures but... surprise! I have more from just yesterday:
I haven't taken pictures of the students that gather here in little circles after school, yet, but I would like to.
Although that's probably weird.
Finally, I get to my street after about a 15-20 minute walk from the school & centre de vie.
On my road I have the joy of seeing beautiful architecture and interesting design. Some people are interested in doors... apparently I am one of those people, now:
And finally, my host mother's cute red door:
The food, the smells, the sounds, the language, the people in my program, the colors of the garden and streets, my French professors, the Sweetbriar program and most of all my awesome new friends have made living in Tours absolutely incredible! I am excited that I have had so many loved ones come along with me on my journey through following my blog.
Please don't stop following (or, ya know, do stop following if you're bored with my banter... that would be fine.) I'll be moving to Paris in TWO days and there will be plenty more to read about. Please pray that my relationships with those home continue to stay strong and thrive. Please pray that my new host family in Paris will be a safe and loving environment.