After midterms, there is one week that all the students have been waiting for: fall break! A time where we can finally get a break and travel. Planning was a really difficult time, but it ends up well worth the trouble when everywhere you turn provokes a childlike glee and wonder. Moments like this remind me that I really am in France, somewhere different and rich with amazing new sights. I’ve always heard that Southern France is gorgeous, so I really wanted to go. Yet, at the same time, I’ve never really been to Paris, so I wanted to fully experience the place that my loved ones would have heard of best. In order to experience both, I spent the first half of the trip in Provence (specifically in Avignon) where I took a couple of day trips to places like Orange (a small town in the South of France) and Marseille and the other half in Paris.
Part 1: Provence/Avignon
I traveled from Nantes to Avignon with 4 other students, only one of which would continue to Paris with me. The funny thing is on the day that we were traveling (Saturday, October 30th) we had to stop in Paris and connect to another train in another train station. We had less than an hour to get there, and after getting lost and taking the metro, we made it with only a few minutes left. From there, we made it to Avignon, where we had a really adorable Airbnb right in the center of the city. It was amazing to realize just how much Avignon had to offer.
Image taken by Ella: Us trying to navigate the metro in Paris as we had to change to a different train in a different train station in Paris.
Finally making it safely to our Airbnb in Avignon, and having a lot of fun hanging out and joking around!
In my Slytherin attire, we went to a small town called Orange for Halloween. We saw an amazing old Roman theater, yet that’s the only thing we planned there. While 3 of us left to go to Arles, Sophia and I stayed, hoping to discover more about Orange and not waste our nonrefundable train tickets like the others were willing to do. The money stacks up, so we try to watch what we can. The problem was though we were in a small town in France on a SUNDAY. That meant: no buses, not much to do, and most places closed. Yes, it was an adorable little place BUT it would have been better any other day of the week. It is well known in France that most places are closed on Sundays (probably from the deep Catholic roots). Yet, it’s easy for us to forget. Thus, we walked a lot, tried and failed several times to find something to do, and were starving the whole time. We managed to find a café that didn’t have anything to eat. I had some green tea, and Sophia had some hot chocolate. While we sat there, my mom wanted to video call me, and so I gladly answered. She was at dinner with my grandpa. I was glad to see them, but it was a short call as they were going to be busy with their steak and gravy. Eventually, we found crêpes and churros. With it being Halloween, the hardest part was how much sugar I had on my stomach. I just wanted a hardy meal, but it was not going to happen. In the dark, walking past several other people in costumes, we made it to the small train station and waited for our train. As it got dark, I found myself freezing and bored. Talk about a nightmare in Orange! Despite the experience, we got back safe, grabbed McDonald’s on the way back, and watched Halloweentown 4 with the girls to end the night on a good note. We learned to make sure we knew several things we wanted to do in a certain place and to not book a return train until we were positive about what we could do.
We found some cool pirates in a market in Avignon before we left for Orange.
Théâtre Antique d'Orange
At least, Sophia and I found a cool arch in Orange, but that's about it other than the town being beautiful to look at.
Avignon (Nov. 1st, 2021):
After a crazy Halloween, Sophia and I stayed in Avignon while the rest explored more small towns like Nîmes. For us, we were in need of a chill, cozy day. After sleeping in, we went out and boarded a small train that went around the city for about 1 hour. It was so adorable and chill that my heart was so full and happy. After we got off, my mom needed to see me because she had a bad dream. The good thing was I was in a great mood, so she was very happy to see us enjoying ourselves. Then, we went shopping, grabbed some lunch, and ate in our pajamas back in the Airbnb while we had laundry going. Eventually, the others finally got back that night after an eventful experience with an Uber driver who charged them a lot for waiting for them to take pictures at a bridge. Luckily, they were all fine and it was just a misunderstanding. We watched Forrest Gump as a couple of us hadn’t seen it before.
The little train we took. It still has my heart!
Marseille (Nov. 2nd, 2021):
The next day, three of us went to Marseille (Emma, Sophia, and I) while the other two stayed in Avignon. It was a long train ride that morning, but it was well worth it as this was the place we were looking forward to seeing in the south of France. It didn’t disappoint. After we got off the train, we searched for the hop-on and hop-off bus as that’s what we thought would be the best way to maximize our few hours there. The Mediterranean Sea, colorful buildings with Spanish roofs, street performers, boats, beaches, and several shops. It was AMAZING. On top of the double-decker bus, it felt like a dream near the water and seeing mountains with beautiful buildings in them stretching for miles. For lunch, we stopped to get Burger King because Sophia and I had been craving it ever since we saw a sign in Orange which ended up being too far for us to walk to. The only annoying thing was that I had to do my Spring 2022 registration. I had a hiccup which made me sad and depressed as I was frustrated with technology difficulties from not having stable internet and using Sophia’s laptop and my phone. Luckily, it all got sorted out. Glad I could say that I did my last ever registration for my undergrad at Wofford college, right beside the Mediterranean Sea. (I’m not kidding. I sat by the edge of the port with all these boats.) After that, we went back on the bus, got off to go all the way up a mountain basically to see La Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, and then we finished the bus tour. Stopping only for some postcards and ice cream, we walked back to the train station to make our 6 pm train. That night, we all had to pack. The others were going to Lyon, and Kierstan and I were going to Paris.
Proof I did registration right by the water.
Emma, me, and Sophia having fun together in Marseille. Sadly, we couldn't ride the Ferris wheel, but it was a cool sight to see.
More Blogs From This Author
<p>Hello, everyone! My name is Daisy Humphries. I am a senior double majoring in Psychology and French at Wofford College. I am a first-generation college student from a small town in South Carolina, and I am beyond excited to share these once-in-a-lifetime experiences with you all from my humble perspective. I love to read, write, travel, eat food, and spend time with my family. I'm also quite determined and ambitious even if it scares me, but hey, what's bravery without some fear and nervousness? As I've learned, you have to be uncomfortable to change for the better, so let's do that!</p>