This week flew by! I am taking a French Cinema class, and this past week we watched Amélie, one of my favorite movies. It is focused on the main character, Amélie’s search for identity in Paris. I highly recommend it.
Our group also took a trip to the town of Arles, France. Arles is a one-hour bus ride from Montpellier. Arles is known for housing the famous painter Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh spent a lot of time in Arles. Arles is the place Van Gogh’s infamous ear severing incident occurred. Many of his most famous paintings were completed there, including The Night Cafe, The Yellow Room, Starry Night Over the Rhone, and L’Arlésienne. Paul Gauguin actually visited Van Gogh in Arles.
After visiting this town, everyone could understand why Van Gogh chose to paint here. It has quiet, small streets filled with flowers and multicolored buildings. We were able to walk around to see the actual places Van Gogh based his paintings off of.
During my time here in France, I keep finding myself saying: ‘This is not real life’. I’m in awe that people actually live in these beautiful, picturesque towns, rich with culture and history. I guess, I’m jealous!
Another important note, fashion designer Christian Lacroix was born in Arles. I only wish he could’ve been visiting his old home that day!
Christian Lacroix also has connections in Montpellier-he designed the new trams! Just this past year, Montpellier added an entirely new tramline for public transportation. The trams are convenient, clean, and have amazing exteriors! Each line has a different print on the outside designed by Christian Lacroix. Je t’aime!
After visiting Toulouse on my own, I realized how costly traveling could be. However, it made me so grateful that my program has these group excursions to Arles, and various other French towns. They provide transportation and a guide, so we don’t have anything to worry about! It has given everyone the opportunity to get out and explore France.
In addition to field trips, we also have the option to go on weekly beach trips! I have gone each week; The Mediterranean is too nice to pass up! Our university is a 10-minute bus ride from the beach. Since many people are vacationing during the summer months, the beaches are packed.
One thing I am still trying to figure out is how the French maintain their slim physiques. On the beach, vendors go around selling ‘Beignets’, which are large donuts filled with Nutella. Everyone orders them! Today, I broke down and bought one. It was TOO good.
Spending time in France has made us realize how relaxed and open the culture is. This in turn, has made us grown accustomed to the lack of bathing suits on the beach. From Speedos to topless, no one even bats an eye anymore! However, that does not mean we join in.
Day by day, I am falling more in love with France. I don’t want to think about how sad I will be to leave. But, of course I’m thinking about family and friends, wishing they were experiencing it with me!