Thursday, March 3, 2011

Winter far

So even though I’ve only had classes for about a month now, right now I’m in the middle of enjoying a weeklong winter break! I decided for this break that I would stay in Montpellier until Thursday, then go to Paris and meet up with my boyfriend who will be there with his program. There are very few people in the program who decided to stick around during this break, so I haven’t had many people to hang out with. People are traveling all over Europe and even to Morocco and Turkey, which aren’t the best places to travel at the moment. My host parents are also taking their vacation this week, so I’m not completely alone during the day. It has been nice to hang around and do stuff around Montpellier, whether it be going for walks, visiting small villages, or running errands.

On Sunday my host parents first took me to the beach that I have already visited once before. This time we took the dog with even though he can be a pain to walk. He pulls hard and if you let him off the leash he will run around everywhere. He was happy though to walk on the beach and see all of the other dogs! After the beach we drove to the city of Aigues-Mortes. I actually learned about this city in my civilization du sud class the week before, and my teacher will be happy to hear I visited it.
*not my photo
Aigues-Mortes is a city enclosed by a large fortification wall that was created by king Louis IX or Saint Louis to use as a main point of departure for his troops during the two crusades he lead. France at the time didn’t have land on the coast and this posed a problem for sending troops to the Middle East. So, Saint Louis decided to create this city and a canal to the Mediterranean sea. Aigues-Mortes translates to “dead water” in English, which refers to the canal. I was surprised that the city inside the ramparts was actually still functioning with tons of resteraunts, boutiques, apartments, hotels, etc… My host brother will actually be doing a 4 month long internship at a hotel there.
Inside the city walls!

One of the many entrances/exits from the inside.

Tour de Constance

On Monday my host parents took me to a famous small village about 30 km away from their house. The landscape there was much different that the flat sea scape. It was very hilly with many little valleys, and the city itself was jammed in between a tiny canyon. The village is called, St-Guilhem-le-Désert, and was established in 806 by St. Guilhem. It is a really old, tiny village but once again many people live there and there are cafés and boutiques. My host mom says that a lot of people from England and Germany own second homes there and live there in the summer. I ending up buying a little souvenir from a little store full of rocks and fossils, an amber and silver ring for 14 euros!

*not my photo of a bridge we passed by (le Pont du Diable)

*not my photo 

Inside the hallway thing that surrounds the monastery's courtyard.


Of course there is castle ruins on top of that cliff (out of order)

Inside the nave of the monastery

The streets were tiny and full of random little passageways/nooks 

Outside of the monastery

A marker for the pelgrimage of St. Jacques de Compostelle

Public fountain

The cross of the Languedoc region

Someone had lots of bunnies! 

Mountainous terrain called "le bout du monde" or "the end of the world"
That’s all for now. I have to finish getting ready for my trip to Paris tomorrow and go to bed! My host mom lived there for two years, and of course they have visited there a few times, so she set me up with a maps/guides/metro plans and told me some stuff to do. I know that 3 days in Paris is not that long of a time but I’m still super excited! Definitely going to see the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomph, the Champs-Elysees, the Louvre, etc… Expect another post next week all about PARIS.

ps. I had a great dinner tonight. Beef fondue!

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