By the second week, we were all beginning to feel more at home in Paris. Our classes were starting to get into a rhythm (a REALLY FAST rhythm), and we had figured out how to cook, grocery shop, and buy pastries in this new land. That Thursday our first paper for WRIT 340 was due, so by Friday we were ready to forget about classes for a while and see a new part of France. Our day trip with the program was to the Loire Valley (Pronounced almost like “loh-ahr”), an area full of old castles (châteaux). Back in the day, the Kings of France would travel from one castle to the next in order to keep an eye on their people (and enjoy some new scenery). The weather was beautiful and the clouds looked unreal.
The second castle, Château Clemenceau, was built with a corridor (pictured above) that spanned the river. During WWII, this river marked the boundary between free and occupied France. The allies used the corridor to sneak people from occupied France across the river into free France during the night. It was a relaxing day trip with plenty of time to walk around and explore the massive gardens. A great way to end a busy, busy week.
The next week we toured the Marais district in Paris with our history class. We spent some time in the Place des Vosges, a park in the Marais, which is within walking distance from where we lived. The park is lined with old buildings, including Victor Hugo’s house and is one of the only parks in France where you’re allowed to sit on the grass!
While we were on our tour we stopped at a chocolate shop to have a look. Check out our fantastic find!
Lastly, a recap of our adventures would not be complete without mention of the world’s most amazing ice cream ever created. We were first told about Berthillon by the slightly eccentric lady who taught our survival French lessons. It took us nearly two weeks to get to the famed glacier, however. There are a number of restaurants around Paris that serve Berthillon ice cream, but for the real experience you must visit the actual shop, which is situated on the Île Saint-Louis right behind the Notre Dame cathedral and easily recognized due to the long line of expectant customers that mark the store’s entrance. I chose pear and mandarin sorbet that day and that’s when I knew that you could, in fact, freeze little bits of heaven.
That’s all I have time for now! Next blog – our first free weekend and the crazy trip to Barcelona, España.