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Archive for February, 2009

I feel like I have so much to say!!  I don’t even know where to begin.

Last weekend, for Valentine’s Day weekend, I went to Bordeaux with the people in my program and it was a lot of fun.  We took the TGV down to Bordeaux, which was about a 3hr train ride.  We got in to the hotel pretty late and went to bed shortly after arriving.  Then the next day, we walked all around downtown Bordeaux, which is BEAUTIFUL.

Beautiful Bordeaux

Beautiful Bordeaux

all of us in front of the Opera House

all of us in front of the Opera House

Afterward, we had some free time so we all went shopping because they had a huge weekend sale, called the “braderie,” which is where they have all these street markets with really good discounts and sales.  I bought 2 pairs of shoes: one pair of boots and one pair of flats, which are really cute!

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la braderie!

SO many people out shopping

SO many people out shopping

Then we took a tour of 2 different châteaux.  In Bordeaux, they call their vineyards châteaux.  We learned all about making wine and the fermentation process…and we even got to taste it!  Everything was so delicious.  Then after that, we had some free time so we just strolled the streets and shops until dinner.  We ate at this place called Chez Edouard and I tried something that I’ve been wanting to try for so long:  les cuisses de grenouille!!!  aka FROG LEGS!!!  They were sooo tasty.  I think they’re my new favorite food here now 🙂   After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and got ready to go out.  We went out to this bar called The Frog and Rosbif.  We had a few drinks, hung out for a while, and went back to the hotel because we had to be up early the next morning to see our last château, which was by far my favorite!!  That pretty much wraps up the trip to Bordeaux.  I really liked it there.

the vineyard

the vineyard at Château Pape-Clément

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wine tasting 🙂

Then this past weekend, we went to Brussels!!  I HAD AN AMAZING TIME THERE!  I loved everything about that city.  There is cobblestone EVERYWHERE…to the point where my feet were happy to be back in Paris, haha.  But seriously – some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  Everyone was so outgoing and friendly and from all over the world.

Market Sq when we arrived in Brussels

Market Sq when we arrived in Brussels

view from outside the hotel!

view from outside the hotel!

After getting into the hotel, we headed back outside to check out this bar called Delirium Café, that has 2,004 different types of beer!!  I had SUCH a good time!!  It was PACKED in there on a Friday night.

Delirium Café!!

Delirium Café!!

inside Delirium Café

inside Delirium Café

group pic!

group pic!

We stayed at Delirium for a long time and then we went across the street to anothe bar called Floris Bar to try absinthe!!  We all wanted to try it and figured why not.  It kind of tasted like black licorice and it wasn’t really bad — I actually liked it!!  Good times.  After Floris and Delirium, we were all hungry so we got pitas at this falafel place and they were all so nice there!!  They let us go behind the counter and somehow I ended up holding the knife!! HAHA!

pita place!

pita place!

The next day we got up early for a tour of the city of Brussels.  We had a GREAT tour guide!!  He showed us all around the city for nearly 2 hours.  It was so nice getting to see everything because I don’t know if I would have been able to if I did it on my own!  Some pictures from the tour:

Market Square filled with people

Market Square filled with people

Belgian Waffles! Mmm.

Belgian Waffles! Mmm.

Me about to eat my Belgian Waffle!!  It was so good.

Me about to eat my Belgian Waffle!! It was so good.

The famous Mannekin-Pis statue, haha

The famous Manneken Pis statue, haha

Group pic in front of Market Square

Group pic in front of Market Square

Overall, I had an AMAZING time in Brussels and in Bordeaux.  Everything has been going really well here.  I love it 🙂  Just last night, my roommates and I went to go see Ce que pensent les hommes (He’s Just Not That Into You) and it was so cute!  We saw it in English with French subtitles.  It was a lot of fun and nice to check out a new, BIGGER, movie theater.  Today after class, Matt and I went to Saint Sulpice to look around inside and then afterward, we headed back towards the Saint-Michele area and went into Shakespeare and Company to look at some books.  I’ll definitely post more pictures soon!!  Tomorrow we’re checking out Père Lachaise, one of the main cemeteries in Paris where famous people like Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde are buried.  And then on Saturday, we’re taking a day trip to Reims to which I’m really looking forward!!!  Keep checking back for more pics and updates 🙂

Love and miss you all!!!

Bisous,

Monique

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I’ve officially been in Paris for a week now!  AND I’M LOVING IT!

Let’s see, let’s see..time flies here it seems.  I’ve done a lot already and it’s only been a week.

First things first: I finally got my class schedule all set.  I technically have 4 classes.  I have my grammar class Mon-Fri from 2-4pm, which I’m loving so far.  There are about 16 of us in the class and the professor, Mme Dumery, is REALLY nice and a REALLY good prof.  Sometimes I can’t believe that I can understand what she’s saying.  I mean, all my classes at Temple are taught in French, but this is a French class IN France and taught by an actual French professor.  The students in my class come from all over the world.  At the end of my first class a few days ago, I actually asked the girl next to me a question in English about one of our homework assignments just to make sure I got the directions right in English.  After she stared at me for a few seconds and didn’t respond, I asked her in French if she spoke English and she didn’t.  And you know what?  It turns out that a lot of people in my class do not know English.  HOW COOL IS THAT?!  The language we share in common is FRENCH and I love every part of that.  I speak French every possible chance I get.  This grammar class is really going to help my speech and my writing.  I can just feel it.

Next week, my phonetics class starts.  It’s Mon-Fri every OTHER week from 430-540pm.  And then I’m taking 2 “conférences” which are my electives.  I chose to take “Littérature française du 20ème siècle” every Tuesday morning from 10-12 and “La politique en France” every Friday  morning from 10-12.  I am VERY excited for these classes to start.  I’m so happy to finally have my class schedule set 🙂  I can’t tell you how much I love taking the métro and RER to class every day.  I can’t believe what I see every day.  The line I take crosses over the Seine every day and it’s gorgeous.  When I finally exit the métro and RER above ground, I walk towards my school, which is practically NEXT to the Panthéon, where famous people like Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, and Émile Zola are all buried.  I literally pass that every day.  Not to mention the Panthéon overlooks the city of Paris and it’s so elevated that I get to see the beautiful Eiffel Tower as well.  I LOVE where my school is located.  I couldn’t ask for anything better.  Oh yeah, Notre Dame is right nearby as well 🙂

Panthéon

Panthéon

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devant Notre Dame 🙂

A few days ago when I was walking to class, there were all these cop cars and I’m guessing the French  S.W.A.T team, haha.  There were people EVERYWHERE and loud chanting.  Next thing I know I see an entire BLOCK of students with signs chanting and protesting up and down the side streets.  I asked these 2 guys what was going on and they told me in French that they were rallying/protesting because they were unhappy about student laws.  Anyway, it was quite a sight:

les manifestations

les manifestations

tous les policiers sont prêts

tous les policiers sont prêts

beaucoup d'étudiants

beaucoup d'étudiants

In other news, all my roommates (Beth, Krystal, Kassie), Matt and Alexa (who are also in GSE) and I went out to dinner last night at this place called Watt.  It was delicious and such a cute place.  It’s located in the “quartier Latin” in Paris, right where the main Sorbonne campus is.  So far, it’s my favorite district in Paris.  Last Sunday night, Matt, Krystal, and I went to the Bastille district and saw Les Noces Rebelles (Revolutionary Road).  It was in English with French subtitles.  I have to say… it was really good.  It really makes you think and question your life.  It was funny though since they kept mentioning Paris, haha.  But I actually took a picture inside the theater before the movie came on because it was SO SMALL.  We actually tried twice before to see the movie but each time it was sold out.  The reason being because there are only like 30 seats!

c'est très petit!

Last weekend Matt and I took the métro to Montmarte, climbed a MILLION stairs just to get out of the métro, and then climbed even MORE stairs to get to Sacré Coeur.  After that, we just wandered the streets of Montmartre (one of my favorite districts) and got some hot chocolate since it was snowing.  It was nice to walk around though, because once Spring comes, sooo many people come out and it gets so crowded.  So it was nice not having many people around.

View of Paris from Sacré Coeur. It was snowing!

View of Paris from Sacré Coeur. It was snowing!

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posing in front of Sacré Coeur 🙂

Streets of Montmartre

Streets of Montmartre

This weekend I’m going to Bordeaux (Southwest France) with GSE.  GSE (Global Student Experience) is the study abroad company that organized my trip, in case I haven’t mentioned that detail.  Anyway, Bordeaux is known for its wine industry so I can’t wait to see (and better yet, taste) all the wine there.  It’s about a 3 hour train ride from Paris.

I’ll update after this weekend is over!!  HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!

Bisous ❤

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de Philadelphie à Paris!

Salut from Paris!!!

I arrived safely in Paris and finally got all settled in!  Still a little behind on sleep, but overall, everything is going really well so far 🙂  Last night, we went on a boat tour of Paris on the Seine.  It was gorgeous and the weather was great as well.  I did the boat tour when I was in France 4 years ago, but it’s still just as breathtaking.

Eiffel Tower

la belle Tour Eiffel

Musée d'Orsay from the Seine

Musée d'Orsay from the Seine

The Louvre from the Seine

The Louvre from the Seine

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Notre Dame 🙂

Eiffel Tower sparkling in the distance

La Tour Eiffel encore sparkling in the distance

Here are some better shots of my apt. from the outside.  I’ll definitely be posting more as the days go on!

my apt up close!

my apt up close!

looking down the street from my apt...

looking down the street from my apt...

That’s all for now..I am pretty beat.  Tomorrow, one of my roommates, Krystal, Matt (who lives upstairs), and I are going to explore Montmartre in the 18th district.  It’s famous for being an artsy city, where painters like Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh all did work, and it has the famous church Sacré Coeur.  I’m sure I’ll be taking lots of pictures 🙂

Bonne Nuit!!

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Last post til Paris :)

So, it snowed last night.  I’d say we got like 5 inches by my house.  I’m leaving in less than an hour to go to the airport, but I just wanted to post some pics that I took last night because they’re so pretty, and I’m going to miss my family, friends, house, and dog when I’m away!!

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my house at night!


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looking down my street..

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Greta playing outback!!!!  what a cutie.

dsc03087my house in the morning after the snow 🙂

That’s all I have time for now!!!  See you when I get to Paris!!!!

-Monique

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