La Vie en Sud

flower in poolOkay, I know that the South of France is like anywhere else when it comes down to it. Jobs. Chores. Sweat. Realities.

But when you visit for just a short while, the dream-bubble doesn’t have to burst. That’s where I like to live, summer-snowglobe land. Temporarily. pool dayspinkfleursAnd sometimes, maybe all the time, the simple things are best.

Fat ripe nectarines. No place to be. Bare feet. Working on a toasted-marshmallow tan. A good book. Metronomy’s first album on repeat. A sweet kitty friend. Gazing at the mountains. SpenceChips mountain viewThankful for times like these. :)

Theme song: 

Bisous and happy summer!

Jessica

Une Vue Magnifique & un Délicieux Dîner à Nîmes

fly2On Tuesday, Spencer, Camille, and I woke around noon-ish (the luxuries of vacation), had a petit déjeuner, then left for a flight with Olivier’s flight instructor to see the mountains with a bird’s-eye view. planeThe plane was a Cessna quite like my dad’s, which my familiarity with did not prevent a sudden onset of nausea when the instructor swooped the plane around to show us an interesting lake. :P

Nevertheless, the view was grand.mountainsSpencecamplanefly 3Before too long, we had to get back so Camille and Spence could change and get to their concert: The Black Keys at a Roman amphitheater in Nîmes (about an hour away).arenaThough I didn’t actually attend the concert, it was, just from the outside, one of the coolest venues I’ve ever seen. The arena was built around 70 AD and remodeled in the 1800s to serve as a bullring. Still today, it hosts two annual bullfighting festivals: the Féria de Pentecôte at the end of May and Féria des Vendanges in September.

Spencer and Camille went to their concert and I walked around with Lydie and Olivier, looking at restaurants. Nearly every place near the arena featured le taureau somehow either in its name, signs, decor, or on the front of the menu (not as an option on the menu, mind you).

We found a place just near the arena and started dinner with some kir. I was then encouraged to order some foie gras, which has become, during my time in France, officially one of my favorite foods in the world ever.foie grasO&LDinner was delicious and set to live Black Keys music just behind us, and I really enjoyed chatting with Lydie and Olivier (en français bien sûr).

That’s one of the best things about learning a second language, I think, the new connections it allows you to make that would be impossible otherwise. The more you learn, the more people you’re able to get to know, and thus, the more motivated you become to continue to learn.meatIt was a lovely, pretty, linguistically-satisfying day.

Bisous,

Jessica

 

À Carpentras & le Festival d’Avignon

Carpentras

view from “my” room

Hello from beautiful Carpentras, France!

Sunday I left Lyon and took the train to Avignon where I was met by…my brother, Spencer, his lovely copine Camille, and Camille’s mom, Lydie. It was so good to see family and familiar faces (and to meet Camille’s family for the first time!).

We drove to the Marseille’s house in Carpentras, where I was greeted with cheers and a glass of rosé with ice.

Several people were over, watching the Coupe du Monde in the pool house, which meant a whole lot of “faire la bise” upon introductions. It’s three kisses here instead of two, one of those charming little regional differences (along with the singsong Provençal accent: “j’ai une-uh petite-uh question”).

Camille’s dad, Olivier, called me over to smell a huge truffle, which he cut into pieces and sprinkled on a pizza, the first I tried. As the evening went on, everyone watched the game and Camille, Spencer, and I chatted by the pool, trading stories of the last month as we tasted pizza after pizza, just one delicious slice of each as soon as it was pulled out of the stone oven and passed around.

We ate alfredo pizza, pizza with aubergines, pizza with olives and fresh mozzarella, pizza with anchovies, with Herbes de Provence…I ate until I was nearly stuffed, with just enough room for one perfectly-ripe nectarine for dessert.

Good food and great company, a flawless combination. Also, now that I don’t have any schoolwork to worry about, it feels 100% like vacation. It’s lovely. :)

The next day, Monday; Camille and her parents, Spencer, and I headed to Avignon for lunch and for le Festival d’Avignon. The festival is a really cool annual arts event which lasts for three weeks and features over 1,000 spectacles, or shows. Because there are so many things to choose from, many of the artists and performers set up mini shows and acts in the streets and on the sidewalks to try to draw a crowd for their real shows. The event also draws musicians and performers who don’t have a show at a venue (because it’s expensive to rent) but who just want to take advantage of the crowds. In short, you can see a lot of interesting things just walking around. blue guySome of it I have absolutely no explanation for.table

guy in the street

bob marley puppet

This Bob Marley puppet guy was jammin’.

hip hopruebubble

cam&s

Camille & Spence

jazzclimberAfter several hours of walking around and shopping, we rode the Ferris wheel for an awesome view of Avignon. ferris wheelAvignonview from wheelbridgeSp&CLater was a marvelous dinner overlooking the river to celebrate the 14th. It was a perfect first full day in Carpentras/Avignon.

Bisous,

Jessica