normandy, france, europe, travel

Normandy: France’s Island Castles and Crazy Circuses

france

For three weeks in June and July I’m doing an intensive summer course in the French language in the town of Le Mans in Northern France. About 15 other people from the same university as me are also doing the course, but I’ve never met any of them so feeling pretty nervous about this- first time travelling alone and living alone, and all in France!

I haven’t been updating as much as I thought I would, it’s been a pretty busy couple of weeks! We’ve had to be in class at 9am at the latest everyday and aren’t free until 5pm- usually after that we’ve had some other activity planned for us or we go for drinks so I’ve really not had much free time at all. I’m hoping that as I’ve settled in a bit more now it’ll be easier to take time out and blog.

So far I’m really loving the town of Le Mans, it’s quite small has everything you’d need to live comfortably and my favourite part is Vieux Mans, the old town! It’s a small area made up of medieval streets and houses, cobbled lanes, lanterns, rose trellises, and a spectacular cathedral in the centre- it’s absolutely beautiful.

Last Saturday a few people from the group and I went to Le Mans fait son Cirque, a circus and parade which goes through the town one day a year. We’re really lucky to be in Le Mans whilst it’s on, it was an awesome spectacle to watch, if not completely and utterly mad. The French humour is questionable, that’s for sure.

Before the parade started, we headed for Place de Jacobins, where the centre of the circus was based. There were a few circus tents stationed, carousels, and stalls with plenty of food and drink including a few freebies. I shared a massive portion of sugary churros with a friend and they were delicious! Loads of different circus shows were going on in the tents and around the streets and we tried to catch one in the nearby park but being such a short-ass and stuck behind crowds of spectators, I only really got to watch the back of people’s heads for a while, which was disappointing. After a while, we moved on to get a drink and find a spot to wait for the parade to come through. The adorable servers at the Restaurant, La Chamade put a table outside in their garden especially for us so we could sit and wa ttch the parade in a prime position.

normandy, france, europe, travelThe next day we had to be on the coach for 7am in order to be on our way to Le Mont-Saint-Michel, an island town in North Normandy. The town is set on a hill and as you make your way up through the narrow medieval streets, you finally reach the grand abbey, which you can visit for free if you’re a European student. Tours are available in French and English. It’s absolutely spectacular and like most places in France, you get free entry if you’re European and a student. But I would recommend buying a ticket even if it isn’t free, the amount to see in and around the abbey is enormous so definitely not a waste of money! The abbey has a large history, after the French revolution it was used as a prison- I’d purposefully commit a crime if this beauty was my punishment… maybe… normandy, france, europe, travelAfter this visit, we drove for half an hour to Saint-Malo also in Northern Normandy, an adorable walled port city on the North coast of France, West from Le Mont-Saint-Michel. The beach is beautiful, with an interesting fortress standing just off the coast that you can visit for a small price and the architecture in and around the town is exquisite. Crêpes are a speciality in Normandy as well as the famous caramel beurre salé so I didn’t hesitate to treat myself to a delicious caramel crêpe. All around the town there were pâtisseries and sweetshops with delectable bonbons enticing me in, it took all of my restraint to not blow my budget in an hour! The ambiance around town was extra lovely as the French were playing a Euro 2016 match whilst I explored, so screams of celebration reverberated through the streets every time a score was made.

normandy, france, europe, travel

Barrells of bonbons!

normandy, france, europe, travelAs usual, France doesn’t cease to leave me breathless with its beauty. There’s still many French adventures to come so stay tuned…

Much love <3

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Alexis Chateau
    July 12, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    I’ve always wanted to go to France. Enjoy it for the both of us!

  • Reply
    Antonia
    July 12, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Wow what a super cool experience 🙂

  • Reply
    wanderlust77
    July 17, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Hi! I nominated you for the unique blogger award here: https://agirlsvoyageblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/17/unique-blogger-award/ – check it out!

  • Reply
    panhirsch
    July 17, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Looks really nice, haven’t been to Northern part of France just yet. Interested to see what you’ll show next.

  • Reply
    marsharye
    July 18, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Sounds ideal. I’m learning French but only as an evening course once a week so it’s difficult to keep it up. I was in Le Mans last month too for the 24-heure race. I went to the parade for that in the centre of Le Mans and saw mostly the backs of people’s heads too!

    • Reply
      worldinsidemypocket
      July 18, 2016 at 7:04 pm

      Ahah, did you get to explore much of the old town, it’s so beautiful isn’t it!

      • Reply
        marsharye
        July 18, 2016 at 7:05 pm

        Sadly not as we were mostly there for the races and the only time we were in town it was packed with crowds. Got to see Arnage though, that’s a cute little place 🙂

  • Reply
    shreyans
    July 19, 2016 at 7:50 am

    great amazing places. and beautiful pics…hope i get a chance to visit..
    shreyans

  • Reply
    Diana
    July 20, 2016 at 7:05 am

    I am so jealous that you are studying in the beautiful country of France! My best friend, Jasmin (www.dressedinblack.co), studied there and her experience was amazing. Makes me think I should give it a try, although my French is… tres horribles! I’m looking forward to reading more about your adventure there. 🙂

    • Reply
      worldinsidemypocket
      July 20, 2016 at 9:32 am

      I love love love France! Don’t be put off by your lack of language skills, once you’re there for a while you get the hang of it 🙂 And most French speak a bit of English anyway muahha 😉

  • Reply
    dilipnaidu
    July 20, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Impressive pictures and the narration almost a professional review. Thank you. 🙂

  • Reply
    So… what even is there in Le Mans? – worldinsidemypocket
    July 22, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    […] for three weeks, I was also lucky enough to catch Le Mans fait son Cirque, which I wrote about in this post, and the fireworks marking Bastille Day– France’s most important national holiday, […]

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