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Archive for the ‘Cannes’ Category

Nice is nice

This past weekend, we took a group excursion to nearby Nice! It was really nice to get off campus and experience another city. Nice definitely has a different feel compared to Cannes – it is much bigger and more lively. We didn’t leave for Nice until about 1:30 or so, so we didn’t arrive until a little after 2pm.

At the flower market

We started off in the famous flower market – Marché aux Fleurs – where most flowers were very cheap! Everyone wanted to do different things, so we all broke up into small groups. I went with Leah, Laura, Regina, Mickey and Beth down toward the Promenade des Anglais, a nice walkway along the Mediterranean Sea.

We decided to go to the Fine Arts Museum – Museé des Beaux Arts – which was about a 20 minute walk along the Promenade. I am definitely getting used to walking – we walk everywhere! 20 minutes is about the average walk here. The museum was nice, but a bit hodgepodge. There didn’t seem to be a specific theme, as there was art from all periods and mediums.

On the Promenade des Anglais

Yum!

After the museum, we decided to head back to the Vielle Ville, the old city. We were all hungry by this point, so we stopped at a restaurant called La Pizza for some cheap but good and filling food. I had some pasta – so nice to have something better than the cafeteria food! :) We milled around looking for some shops as Regina and Leah wanted to do some shopping, and finally found H&M (a popular clothing store in Europe that Regina loves). Mickey and I were a little tired from all the walking and didn’t have much else we wanted to see, so we decided to head back earlier. We were all tired from sightseeing, so we just relaxed the rest of the night.

Leah, Regina, and I waiting for the tram on these funny butt-leaning seats!

Yesterday, the transportation was en grève – on strike. Strikes seem to be a really common form of protest here in France. Leah, Regina, and I decided to check out the demonstration at the Hôtel de Ville (city hall), and it was slightly underwhelming but fun to see, since we don’t have that very often in the U.S.! The crowd was a little smaller than I expected, and people took turns making speeches while others handed out an informational bulletin.

Other than that, things haven’t been too exciting around here. I’m having some trouble adjusting to the French lifestyle of not doing a lot. I’m so used to having a lot of things to do at St. Ben’s, and it’s completely the opposite here! We even asked Marion, Leah’s French roommate who is from Cannes, and she said there really isn’t a lot to do around here, particularly on weekdays. I’m feeling restless and adjusting to the slow pace has been difficult. I think it also has to do with the idea that I’m on study abroad so I should be experiencing so many things all the time, and it’s not what I expected. However, I am looking forward to excursions and traveling.

Last night, I booked a flight to Rome! :) I’ll be in Rome November 5-7 with Leah, Regina, and Megan. I’m really excited – it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s sandwiched in between 2 other traveling weekends – the weekend before, we will be in Paris, and the weekend after we will be in Lyon! Now I just need to think of a fun excursion to break up October – Barcelona is a possibility. I would like to go somewhere in France, but I need to choose somewhere that is accessible for just a weekend and without a car.

I think that’s it for now! Love to all

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Today was the first day of school! But first an update of the rest of the weekend –

Shawn and I enjoying the view from St. Paul de Vence

We toured “Les Villages Perches” – the perched villages – medieval villages nearby Cannes that have some of the best panoramic views. They are relatively small, and now house many galleries and small stores frequented by tourists. The views are definitely worth driving the (somewhat dangerously) small winding road up the mountain!

Shawn, Leah, Regina, Laura and I at Tourettes sur Loup! This village was much more quiet than St. Paul de Vence and was so idyllic I felt like I was stepping into a postcard!

After our activities on the weekend, we wished we could keep this “on-vacation” kind of feeling for the next four months, but it was time to start the “study” part of study abroad…

Yesterday we had the placement test that everyone was dreading after a 3 month hiatus from French classes. It was definitely intimidating, but we all did fairly well. We had 20 minutes for each section, which included comprehension, grammar, a short essay and an oral conversation. This morning the real work began! We met our teacher and were led to the grammar class corresponding to our placement level. This grammar class meets every morning from 9am-noon, though we have “le pause” – a short 15 minute break halfway through class. In my class, there 7 people – me, 2 other CSB/SJU students, and students from the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, and Russia. Most of the students that come to the CIC (College International de Cannes) stay for 2-4 weeks, so our group is a big exception! However, since we will be here longer, we have more opportunities to practice and advance into the higher levels.

Leah, Regina and I relaxing in the sun out on the terrace before our next class

After class ended, we had lunch (pasta with scallops!) and another half hour to relax before our seminar with Beth – our CSB/SJU professor who is leading our trip as our study abroad director. She is a history professor, so her class will be about the ancien regime and the French Revolution. Should be pretty interesting – later on in the class we will be playing a game where we will each role play a figure from the French Revolution, and when we tour Paris, we will have to lead part of the tour at a site of some importance for our historical figure.

The grammar class and our study abroad seminar will be our only classes until the end of September! Then, our afternoon seminars will be added on – I will have French civilization, French cinema, a phonetics class, and a theater class. Et oui, all my classes are completely in French (with the exception of the study abroad seminar, though I will be writing my assignments in French to gain some extra credits)! So until then, after class we will take advantage of the gorgeous weather to go to the beach for some swimming and relaxation! :)

Shawn, Leah, and I swimming in the Med. Sea!

Ahhhhhhhhh la plage (the beach)....so relaxing :)

Pour  ma classe avec Beth – elle veut nous choisir un but pour les trois semaines prochaines – un but académique ou personnel. Je pense que je choisirai un but pour parler plus de français – peut-être je parlerai totalement en français de 8h jusqu’à midi. Je voudrais parler le français couramment, alors,  j’ai besoin de pratiquer parler ! Maintenant, c’est un peu difficile, mais après un peu de temps, ce devient plus facile.

Studying out on the terrace - my favorite place to do homework!

That’s about it for now – A bientôt !

Some interesting things I have noticed so far:

-there are no screens on the windows                                                                                         – everyone seems to have these little bag-on-wheels kind of things for carrying all sorts of things – groceries, purchases, and cats/dogs.
– lots of little dogs here, but they all seem well behaved. the biggest dog i’ve seen so far was a small lab. and, dogs are allowed to be in stores and go on the bus.
– they really hate mcdonald’s – though we’ve seen several. There’s a shirt I’ve seen that says McShit.
– when crossing the street, you just have to put your hand out and cross, they will stop for you. better when in a larger group though.
– Lots of smokers.
– It’s true – the french really do use their shutters on their houses. Every building seems to be tan white yellow or pink with a terracotta roof.
– The pillows are one long cylinder – not a square flat pillow.
– If you order eggs here in the morning, they always come with some lettuce, tomatoes, and a mushroom.
– they made pizza the other night and i tried one that was 3 cheese – definitely not like at home. they use good french cheese and a pastry like crust.

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Bonjour!

I’m in France!! That was my first thought of the day as I woke up this morning in my dorm room…I’m actually here! I’m finally in France!

After about 15 hours of travel, I arrived in Cannes to find some of my group members waiting for me! A driver shuttled us to the College International de Cannes, where we are living and will be taking classes. Cannes is beautiful!! Palm trees, sunny, stucco buildings with terracotta roofs, and the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea :) Once we reached the college, we found our rooms:

Half of my room - my bed and one of the desks...There are 2 beds, 2 desks, a couple closets and a sink. I will have a French roommate beginning in September.

The view from my bedroom! That is the courtyard of the College - and if you look through the palm trees, you can see the Mediterranean!

My first view of the Mediterranean! There's the harbor in the background and there are mountains on the opposite end of the beach

We only had enough time to set down our bags before we headed out to see the beach and explore Cannes! The beach is wonderful – and only a two minute walk from the College. It was challenging to stay awake after all the travel and jet lag, but we all managed to stay awake until about 10:30pm or so – about 3:30pm back at home!

Today was our first full day here, and we ventured out into Cannes to buy some

The city of Grasse in the background

essentials (shampoo, soap, etc) before brunch. After brunch, we took the city bus to Grasse, a nearby city that is famous for perfume. We had a tour at the Perfumerie Fragonard, and took our time wandering through Grasse.

When we returned, we took a dip in the Mediterranean – very refreshing! Overall, a great first day here and I’m so excited that I’ll be here for 4 months!! There is so much to do and learn! I have not been speaking French very much yet…it was a little overwhelming trying to respond in French while I was so jet-lagged.

I will write again soon (with a little more detail – sorry!) when everything starts to settle down, but until then – à bientôt !

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