To the south of France…

Since my last post I have been exploring a lot around Paris and also taken some trips to Bordeaux, Lyon and Geneva! In Paris we went to the Catacombs to see the millions of bones an skulls in their final resting place which was both creepy and exciting. It was very surreal to be surrounded by actual human remains instead of the Halloween showcase I am used to. I visited the Asian Market in Belleville with a fellow study abroad student from UT, Tang. This was a great experience because I got to try different foods and she told me stories behind certain methods of cooking and helpful tips on expanding my own culinary practices. I tried an Asian pear which is DELICIOUS. Very juicy and sweet which would be perfect for a summer day back in the Texas heat. After visiting a few more museums and areas in Paris it was finally time for our first trip!

The Catacombs:

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View of Paris on a pretty day and the locks of love bridge:

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Notre Dame and my favorite gargoyle on top:

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Bordeaux- I traveled to Bordeaux by train with 6 other study abroad students. 5 from UT and 1 from Finland. I would describe Bordeaux as a mini Paris with a fraction of the population. Bordeaux was beautiful though. We went during their final week of sales and got to go through a market of people going crazy over the deals and selling everything from furniture to batteries to make up on the side of the streets. We walked around a bit but unfortunately it was rainy and cold the entire time which was no fun. On the Sunday we were there we went on a 5 hours wine tour in the Saint Emillion region of Bordeaux. We took a bus out to the village and had a private tour of an underground church carved out of limestone. It was used in the French Revolution as a safe place to hide as well as a place for worship. We visited a Chateau and had a tour of the property which was absolutely beautiful. We saw the wine making process and learned that the owners of the land own everything underneath it as well and that includes the vast amount of limestone under all the land. After tasting two delicious wines we headed back to Bordeaux and enjoyed the rest of our time relaxing in the beautiful city.

Bordeaux:

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After Bordeaux our next trip was to Lyon and Geneva

Lyon- The city of Lyon which also south of Paris was surprisingly a breath of fresh air. We walked out of the train station surrounded by very modern buildings with neon lights throughout the city. It was so different from the scenery I’ve been used to for the past 2 months. During the day in Lyon we visited the older part of town and saw beautiful churches, opera houses and the river that flowed through the city. We stumbled upon the great food ever, which is appropriate for the food capital of the world. We paid 24 Euros and had an all you can eat buffet but the food was very upscale. Needless to say we went a little crazy but it was well worth it. Also I learned that the French don’t feel a meal is complete until they have had dessert which is a custom I am happily getting used to. After the food coma was setting in we walked it off so that we didn’t waste our time there. We headed up the hillside of Lyon to this beautiful church that was up on a hill, Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere. Two of our friends stayed for Mass while the rest of us ventured out to explore this village on the hill more.

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The next day we traveled to Geneva, Switzerland which was beautiful as well as FREEZING. We walked around the lake and saw the mountains from afar. Unfortunately we couldn’t take the cable car up into the mountain since they don’t run in the winter. After walking along the lake and exploring the streets we ended with some delicious Truffle pasta and coffee to prepare for our next day. We woke and headed straight to a famous chocolatiers shop which was incredible. I must say the Swiss chocolate is a taste of heaven. The chocolatiers had so many different kinds and very sweet in helping us choose which ones we wanted. After the shop we walked around town and went to the Cathedral Saint Pierre which was very pretty. The stained glass was gorgeous and it wasn’t crowded so we got to take our time inside which was a nice change of pace.

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This about wraps up my trips and I am excited for this week of class because our spring break starts in 3 days and we are headed out to Spain and Portugal! We will be visiting Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon and Porto! Hope everyone is having a great semester at all their other locations!

Au revoir!

Mary

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