Just got home late last (Sunday) night from our long weekend in the South of France. It was probably the best weekend of my entire life, no questions about it. The air was clean, the people smelled relatively nice, and they were much friendlier too. Plus no Metro, which was a beautiful thing.
We left from the Gare de Lyon train station at 6h45 in the morning on Saturday for Aix-en-Provence, which means "Water in Provence." The 'water' is symbolized by fountains all around the city, which is awesome because it was incredibly hot there and it was nice to dip our feet in the fountains while we were walking around the town. We got to our Hotel, called Hotel du Globe, which was located right near the historic downtown section of shopping, cafes, and (of course) lots of fountains. We settled into our rooms and found this precious place called "Le Cupcake" right across the street from the hotel, so of course we went to get cupcakes.
After cupcakes we went to explore Aix for a while. We did some window shopping & had lunch by one of the many fountains in Aix, then went back to the hotel for the walking tour of the historic district, tried to take short naps, and ended up sleeping through the tour - oops.
Lunch with Carey & Jessica by fountain #4,364.
Sight seeing around Aix.
That day was pretty uneventful because we were all tired and had traveled by train that morning running on little to no sleep, so we napped then everybody got together and hung out by one of the long fountains on a couple of benches then called it a night relatively early.
The next morning, Saturday, we got up and had breakfast at the hotel then walked to Cezanne's workshop, which was right outside of Aix-en-Provence. We had a quick half hour tour of the workshop and then went back into the center of town to check out the open air markets. They sell everything there! Clothes, live meats (fish, lobsters, etc.), flowers, fruits & veggies, basically everything you could ever want is sold there. So we hung out there for about an hour before we boarded our charter bus to Cassis for our day at the beach!
We spent about 4 hours at the beach at Cassis, and it was beautiful! Probably one of the most picturesque towns I've ever been to. We spent a little time exploring the town, ate lunch and (obviously) gelato, then spent the rest of our time there in and out of the water and laying around on the beach. It was the best day in France so far by far. Right before we left we took one last dip in the ocean to try and stay cool on our walk uphill back to the bus and ended up talking to this "Columbian" kid who was very obviously French, and wanted to seem interesting (not that the French aren't interesting, but you know). So we start talking to this fake-Columbian boy and he starts going off on how much he hates Paris: "Je deteste Paris! Paris is shit!" And then he expressed how much he hates Nicolas Sarkozy (the French president), using the same exact terminology. Then he told us that it was Barak Obama's fault that we couldn't drink beer on the beach in Miami. Needless to say we left shortly after this encounter.
We left Cassis and headed back to Aix around 6pm, took much needed showers and some took naps, then went out in search for falafel. We found the BEST Greek(ish) to-go place with falafel and kebab, best of all worlds as far as our group is concerned, got dinner then sat down by the fountains to eat. After dinner we drank some wine and then decided to find a place to go dancing, since we'd all been wanting to that weekend. The bar we ended up going to was literally a block from our hotel, playing pretty good house music, cool vibe, and not outrageously expensive drinks. We later discovered that it was a gay bar (of sorts) and we weren't exactly "welcomed" there, as loud American tourists wanting to dance, but we had a lot of fun anyway. We danced and hung out til like 2am, which was a horrible idea because we had to be up and out of the hotel by 9am the next morning.
Sunday we packed up and said au revoir to Aix-en-Provence and headed for Marseilles! Everyone was exhausted and some were hungover, so it made for an interesting hour long bus ride to the town. We had a great guide who gave us a bus and walking tour around the ville, in the historic district and up into the more touristy places too. We also got to go to the highest point in Marseilles and see the Notre Dame de la Gare (translated: our lady of the guard) which was gorgeous, so different from the other cathedrals we've visited. It was decorated really ornately and absolutely PACKED with tourists - story of my life - but it was great regardless.
After the Notre Dame visit we said goodbye to our tour guide and headed to this relatively cool restaurant by the beach, it had a pool in the middle of it which was really stupid because all we wanted to do was swim (because it was about three hundred degrees out) but instead we had to sit there and eat lunch while we watched other people enjoy the water. The lunch was fun though, unless you were Abby and had to sit by the axis of evil and listen to their terrible conversation for two hours (let's just say we don't really care for some people in our group). After lunch we all got to the shore as quick as we could and got in the water - probably the best feeling ever. The other girl from Oregon State (Cara) and I went in the water semi to fully clothed, just because we could. She's great, super fun, love her. Then it was time to dry off and leave for the train station, back "home" to Paris.
Depressing as it sounds, nobody wanted to go. The train ride home seemed like it took about a year and a half, but at least the weather has cooled down a bit here. We got off the train in Paris just in time to catch the last half of the final game of the World Cup Espagne vs. Pays-Sur (Spain vs. Netherlands), so Abby, Carey & I went to a restaurant/bar for some food to watch the game. It was really fun being around a bunch of fans when Spain won, especially because we decided that's who we were rooting for as well, so that was nice. The rest of the evening was alright until we attempted to get back to our dorms halfway across Paris. The traffic in the Metro was awful, drunk screaming Spain fans, hot sweaty Parisians everywhere, we were tired and cranky... so I slept in today until 11am and have basically just been doing laundry and errands all day long.
We're going to have a picnic in the Parc Montsouris now, which is right by the Cite Universitaire (mi casa), so I PROMISE to update with pictures later, thanks for checking up!