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.
The 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… After 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.
As 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