A Weekend in Nîmes

After discovering that one of my favourite French singers, Émilie Simon, was performing in Nîmes on Saturday 11th October, Kam and I decided we would make a weekend of it – Nîmes, being one of the (many) cities on our To-Visit list. It turned out to be a fantastic weekend, Nimes is a beautiful and historic city and the concert was fab, just to top it all off.

However, we didn’t exactly choose that best weekend to visit, as Nîmes was under vigilance rouge (Red alert) for flooding! Leaving sunny Perpignan, we arrived in Nîmes train station, donned with our anoraks, ready to brave the rain, but it was actually…dry…

La vigilance rouge:

The torential rain for the day had already ended which was a relief! We walked from the station to our Airbnb apartment which was a 15 minute walk away. We passed the Arènes, the Roman colossium which brings flocks of tourists each year to visit the city, and many inticing boutiques and eateries. However, everywhere was closed and despite being early evening on a Friday, Nîmes was dead, we hardly saw anyone. Slightly concerning, we didn’t know what we had got ourselves in for. There was no flooding on the streets, it didn’t even look like it had even rained that day! We later found out that the city itself has excellent drainage, however the outskirts… not so much. It is difficult to get transport in and out of the city on the roads as the water does not go away as easily. We also passed the river which was where everyone seemed to have assembled. It was completely inundated with water and was quite worrying!

Temporarily closed due to flooding

Temporarily closed due to flooding

The water is definately NOT meant to be that high...

The water is definately NOT meant to be that high…

The red alert was lifted on the Saturday so we were able to see the majority of all the tourist sites, however on Sunday the red alert was back on and everywhere was closed – we were not able to visit the Maison Carrée which was a shame. The lady at the tourist office advised us that it would be better to leave as soon as possible, because the flooding which was expected later in the afternoon could cause problems for us to get back to Perpignan. We were getting a covoiturage back, so this meant that it could be serious… The majority of trains that day were also either delayed or cancelled. However, after a call to our driver, asking if it would be possible to leave earlier, or if we should just get the train, he very kindly collected us three hours earlier than planned, what a godsend! Our escape was successful! During the car journey however, I began to feel very ill as I had the beginnings of a cold which I have been suffering from all this week.

The best of Nîmes:

Entrance to tourist sites in Nîmes is not free for EU citizens under the age of 25 like many places in France. However we bought a 3-day pass for 9€, which included entry to the Arènes (normally 7€ for students on its own), La Tour Magne (great iew at the top) and La Maison Carrée (watch a 20-min film of the history of Nîmes). By just going to two of the three sites, you are already saving money, and it is great as you have 3 days to see it all.

My favourite place in Nîmes was Les Arènes. I have a strong interest in Roman culture, especially as I did Latin GCSE and Classical Civilisation A Level. Nîmes was a place I had wanted to visit for years to see these sites and I feel it was worth the visit. Les Arènes, in my opinion is a much better example of a colossium than the one which stands in Rome. The one in Rome is indeed bigger, more famous and, well, it’s the Roman Colossium, however the one in Nîmes is in much better condition and on a Saturday afternoon in October, hardly any tourists about!

The only thing which concerned me there, was just how dangerous it could be if someone was stupid. There were no barriers at the very top of the Arènes, so you can sometimes see people peering down from the roof down on to the street below. You can even dangle your feet over the edge too! I was far too terrified of heights to stand at the very top, but if someone slipped, it could end badly. If this was in the UK, health and safety would not allow this, it really showed just how different it is in France for this to be allowed to happen.

Maison Carrée

Maison Carrée

Maison Carrée at night

Maison Carrée at night

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Me in the Arènes

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Les Arènes. You can see the head of someone peering down, from the very top there!!

Le Temple de Diane

Le Temple de Diane

La Tour Magne

La Tour Magne

One of my friends from Sheffield Uni, Anna, is spending her Year Abroad as a Language Assistant in Nîmes, so it was great to be able to see her and she even showed us around the city like a local, even though she had only been there a few weeks. It looks like a great city to live in. It is so different to Perpignan, where all there is for historical interest is Castillet and Le Palais des rois de Majorque, and the shops in Nîmes are much better, yet I am not so sure about the weather… we do have amazing weather in Perpignan still, considering it is late-October, we are still reaching 28 degrees in the afternoon.

On the Saturday evening, we made our way to see Émilie Simon in concert, the main reason for coming all the way to Nîmes that weekend. This year (2014), she brought out a new album, Mue, but I first discovered her from the French film La Délicatesse, which features her album Franky Knight (on a side note, I highly recommend watching this film and also the book of the same name).

The majority of the audience at the concert was middle-aged, families and older couples which was strange, there were not many people our age there. Although we were in la fosse (the pit), there was not much dancing going on which was disappointing. However, seeing her in a gold sequin ball gown, rocking away to an electric guitar with this weird electronic gadget on her arm, was pretty cool. I don’t think it is a look that is easily pulled off! I was pleasantly surprised by just how good her voice was live, and she can play the keyboard, sing in French and English exceptionally well, play the guitar and use electronic equipment on stage too – she definitely showed off her talents. Her voice was in fact far better than her recordings, so hopefully she will bring out a new Live Album. I have included the Youtube video of the song, ‘Quand vient le jour,’ from her latest album, give it a listen!

This weekend has been calmer, due to trying to relax a bit after having a bad cold for the last 7 days and also because Reading Week starts next week, and I am going to Barcelona, Aix and Avignon! However yesterday, we went to La Vallée des tortues (a tortoise santuary not far from Perpignan) which I will talk about next time!

Bonne semaine,

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Mon Journal de bord (en français)

(En français. Introduction en anglais)As I mentioned in my last post about Villefranche, for my Year Abroad assessment at The University of Sheffield I must write a ‘Journal de bord.’ This is an online diary in French to share my learning experiences and key moments of my Year Abroad (at least four entries). I later have to write a Year Abroad Report/ ‘Rapport de séjour’ which is due in March and is 2,000 words in French, which is linked to this ‘Journal.’ I have just written my first entry for my ‘Journal’ and I have decided to publish it on this blog, so that French-speakers will now be able to read what I am doing here in Perpignan, as this blog is written entirely in English. Alors, voilá!

C’était le 26 août que je suis arrivée à Perpignan, et quand j’écris c’est déjà la quatrième semaine de cours à l’Université de Perpignan. Je dois vous dire que beaucoup s’est passé pendant ce premier mois, et en tant qu’améliorer mon niveau de français, des actualités et moments clés dont je dois écrire ici, il y en a beaucoup et je doute que ce journal sera bref !

J’habite en colocation près de la fac dans une villa avec deux Japonais, un Français, une Norvégienne et autre étudiante de Sheffield, Kam. J’aime bien habiter ici, c’est si facile de marcher à l’université (2 minutes à pied) et il y a une Tele ! Cependant il y a deux jours, j’ai été témoin de la mort choquante d’une poule... oui, nos voisins ont tué une poule dans leur jardin qui est en face de la fenêtre de ma chambre. J’ai tout vu ! J’ai raconté l’histoire à mon propriétaire aujourd’hui, et elle était étonnée. Il est en effet normal dans la campagne, mais pas du tout dans une ville comme ici ; cela confirme ce que je pensais parce qu’il mettrait tous les supermarchés hors de l’entreprise.

Malgré la galère prévue de l’inscription dans une université française et la difficulté d’organiser mon emploi du temps, j’ai choisi avec succès des cours de français, d’espagnol et de portugais qui reflètent mes études à Sheffield. De plus, j’ai choisi aussi de prendre version espagnole (traduction : espagnol vers français), l’expression française, la littérature narrative et la littérature du Moyen-Age, qui sont jusqu’ici les cours les plus stimulants dans lesquels j’ai appris beaucoup.

Sans aucun doute, Version espagnole est la classe la plus difficile ; il s’agit de deux heures le lundi matin, et je suis la seule étudiante Erasmus. Toutefois, le prof est très compréhensif, mais il me demande souvent de fournir une traduction de quelques phrases en classe. Je n’arrive pas à comprendre le bon sens tout le temps, mais quand je parviens à fournir une bonne réponse, c’est une grande réussite.

Cette classe nécessite de conjuguer le passé simple, que je trouve personnellement assez difficile. Cela me donne l’occasion de pratiquer ce point de grammaire qui est très utile, mais que je n’ai jamais utilisé jusqu’à maintenant dans une traduction.

De plus, cette classe a mis en évidence la difficulté que la grammaire française présente, non seulement pour les apprenants de la langue française, mais également pour des Français eux-mêmes ; certains étudiants ont des difficultés avec l’orthographe, les accords et les verbes. Le prof est très lent et précis, et il explique toujours pourquoi il y a un “e” à la fin d’un mot, ou pourquoi il y a un “que” dans la phrase, mais c’est bien que ce n’est pas uniquement moi qui trouve des difficultés grammaticales dans la langue française.

La semaine dernière, le point de grammaire de choisir entre « que l’on » au lieu de « qu’on » dans une traduction de registre plus élevé s’est présenté (la raison pour laquelle on évite d’utiliser « qu’on » est parce que ça sonne comme un gros mot).  J’avais choisi “que l’on” dans ma traduction, mais il y avait peu étudiants dans la classe qui l’ont fait, ce qui m’a étonné. Mais en français oral, ce point de grammaire ne se présente pas souvent, donc il me semble que la grammaire française peut être difficile à retenir pour des Français aussi.

 Cette semaine, pour la classe d’Expression française, j’ai dû choisir un texte (en français) à présenter au prof et d’ailleurs écrire un essai de deux pages pour expliquer pourquoi je l’ai choisi. Ce n’était pas une analyse du texte, mais plutôt un essai pour justifier mes motivations pour avoir choisi ce texte. J’ai choisi Le Petit prince d’Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, et bien que ce soit un livre que j’aime bien pour son contenu, je l’ai choisi parce qu’il était le premier livre que j’aie jamais lu en français et qui a souligné les progrès que j’ai fait dans mes études françaises.

 Mes cours de littérature m’ont motivé à lire beaucoup en français ; je viens de lire Une Vie de Maupassant, que nous allons commencer à étudier le mois prochain en classe. Il est là, sur ma liste pour l’un des livres les plus déprimants que j’ai lus (à cote de Zola et Flaubert). Je vais commencer à lire Aucassin et Nicolette bientôt pour mon cours de littérature médiévale. J’ai assez de crédits ECTS, donc je prends cette classe «pour le plaisir». C’est parce que c’est une classe intéressante, malgré que le prof soit parfois presque impossible à comprendre en raison de son accent fort catalan.  

 J’aime bien l’accent catalan ici à Perpignan et comment on prononce certains mots d’une manière différente, ex. point, main, pain, demain, montagne. Ce n’est pas difficile à comprendre mais difficile d’expliquer ici en mots.

Dehors de la salle de classe, j’ai fait des cours de yoga, dans le parc et à la plage je n’aurais jamais l’occasion de faire cela en Angleterre (je profite le maximum du climat du sud de la France !). J’aime bien le yoga et c’est formidable de pouvoir apprendre du nouveau vocabulaire, mais de façon amusante et active. J’ai appris des parties du corps que je doute que je n’aille plus oublier, tels que ‘la coude,’ ‘la cheville’ et ‘les orteils,’ ou la phrase ‘gonflez votre vente’ pour dire ‘take a deep breath.’

Pendant ces quatre premières semaines à Perpignan, j’ai profité de chaque moment disponible afin de visiter plusieurs villes dans la région. Depuis mon arrivée, j’essaie de dire « oui » à toute opportunité qui se présente, et donc il y a très peu de moments d’ennui.  Perpignan malheureusement, n’offre pas beaucoup d’opportunités intéressantes ; le shopping est très limité, en plus, il est difficile d’aller en ville pour une soirée au ciné ou au resto car les services de bus terminent à 20h et les taxis sont chers! Néanmoins, la région fournit  « le bus à un euro ». Il s’agit d’un service de bus qui va à toutes les destinations dans les Pyrénées-Orientales, et un aller simple ne coûte que 1 € ! L’idée fondamentale, c’est d’améliorer le «pouvoir d’achat» pour des gens qui font des excursions dans la région, et d’utiliser les transports en commun à la place de la voiture. Je suis allée à Banyuls-sur-Mer, Collioure et Villefranche-de-Conflent de cette façon. C’est un moyen excellent de sortir ensemble pour un après-midi et de découvrir un nouvel endroit, sans avoir besoin de dépenser beaucoup d’argent. Cela signifie que tout le monde peut y aller, personne n’a l’excuse “désolé, je n’ai pas les moyens” !

En plus, j’ai voyagé un peu plus loin à Carcassonne et Gérone. Malgré que j’aie une carte jeune, qui offre des grandes remises pour le train en France, parfois il peut être coûteux (il n’y a pas de réduction pour les trains à destination de l’Espagne non plus). Donc, j’ai découvert blablacar.com qui offre des services de covoiturage ; ça peut être beaucoup moins cher et même plus agréable de voyager quelque part dans la voiture de quelqu’un, rencontrer de nouvelles personnes et de pratiquer le français avec des Français. Jusqu’à présent, je suis allée à Carcassonne en covoiturage et j’ai fait le retour de Gérone en covoiturage aussi. Je viens de réserver un trajet à Barcelone en covoiturage pour le premier week-end de Toussaint – c’est 13 pour y aller dans la voiture, tandis que c’est 30 dans le train pour un aller simple. Il permet d’économiser beaucoup d’argent mais toujours visiter de nombreux endroits. Cependant, il faudrait être amical, poli et toujours prêt à causer. Le train est mieux si vous préférez dormir ou écouter de la musique! De toute façon, je crois que c‘est un outil formidable pour pratiquer le français et ce site est devenu le premier site que j’utilise quand je désire organiser un voyage quelque part.

Carcassonne

Carcassonne

La meilleure chose que j’ai appris jusqu’à maintenant de cette région, c’est sa diversité ; tout le monde me raconte à quel point il apprécie cette région, et la raison est parce qu’il y a la mer, les montagnes et le soleil. Tout le monde: mes professeurs, mes colocataires, les chauffeurs de taxi, on me déclare à quel point cette région est incroyable. J’ai visité plusieurs villes très belles dans Languedoc-Roussillon et je pense que je partage ses sentiments aussi; j‘ai visité la ville balnéaire de Collioure, la perle médiévale de Carcassonne et le village fortifiée de Villefranche-de-Conflent dans les montagnes. Ce sont mes villes préférées dans la région jusqu’à maintenant, mais c’est difficile de les classer par ordre car ils offrent des expériences complètement différentes.

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Villefranche-de-Conflent

Mais mon moment clé pour le début de septembre, c’est sans doute ma visite à Collioure avec mes colocataires le 7 septembre. C’était tout simplement parfait. C’est une ville au bord de la mer, avec de beaux paysages partout. Chaque direction dispose d’une occasion de photo. D’un côté, il y a des montagnes au loin et des bâtiments colorés le château sur le front de mer et de l’autre côté, la mer qui est si bleue. On peut bien comprendre pourquoi tant de peintres viennent à cet endroit, car Collioure fournit tant d’inspiration artistique.

 Le trajet dans le bus à 1€ était extraordinaire : il a traversé toutes les villes au bord de la mer et on pouvait voir la mer à tout moment. Je me sentais comme si j’étais en vacances, mais c’est où je vais habiter pour les cinq prochains mois! Nous avons nagé dans la mer (mais il faisait très froid, il y avait des poissons qui m’ont fait peur et c’était très rocheux et difficile de marcher sans chaussures) mais je crois que la plage de Canet-en-Roussillon est mieux car elle est de sable, pourtant le paysage à Collioure est beaucoup plus intéressant.

Collioure

Collioure

Après le déjeuner et une balade autour de la plage et des petites rues, le bus à 1 € nous attendait. Nous n’avions pas envie de partir. Le dernier bus est à 17h, il est donc difficile de faire tout dans une seule journée, on doit encore retourner à Collioure afin de visiter le château. Des photos ne suffisent pas à répresenter la beauté de Collioure, mon explication non plus – en tout cas, c’est une ville qu’il faudrait visiter!

J’ai une très longue liste d’endroits que je souhaite visiter, j’espère que je serai en mesure d’accomplir tout dans un semestre. J’ai déjà plein de projets pour les prochaines semaines : Nîmes pour un week-end pour voir un concert d’Émilie Simon, puis à Barcelone et Aix-en-Provence pour Toussaint. Mais d’abord, demain c’est une soirée parrainage à Montpellier pour des étudiants Erasmus pour rencontrer des gens (mais actuellement il y a beaucoup d’inondations là-bas !) et un festival à Perpignan ce samedi, « La Journée d’accueil aux Nouveaux Catalans » au Palais des rois de Majorque ; le but est de promouvoir la région et tout ce qui est à notre disposition. Je vais parler de ces sujets la prochaine fois.

Et c’est tout pour l’instant 🙂

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Carcassonne

So, last weekend as I previously mentioned, I went to Banyuls-sur-mer on the Friday, Collioure the Saturday and then on the Sunday I went to Carcassonne. Yes, I was pretty exhausted for my first day of classes but it was definately worth it!

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Carcassonne was a spur of the moment decision; I have recently fallen in love with covoiturage (carsharing) here in France. Despite having a Railcard here in France, train tickets can still be expensive. I found http://www.blablacar.com for covoiturage and it is the first place I turn to whenever I want to go organise trips to other places. I really recommend other people on their Year Abroad have a look at this website. What I love, is you can type in the departure town/city and the date, and the site will list all available options to you. This is what we did for Sunday 7th September and Carcassonne was on that list!

Okay, I know what you are thinking, getting in a car with a random stranger, really?! For some reason or another, covoiturage is quite big in France (saving money and the environment and all that). Plus it is a way to liven up your journey, meet new people and speak French. It isn’t for everyone – you need to have an open-mind and willing to talk a bit, so if you want to stick your headphones on and listen to music, maybe it isn’t 100% for you, but it’s worth trying at least once! Anyway, our first covoiturage went well, a 9-seater van, an older couple from Bordeaux and 4 other people doing covoiturage – it was an interesting situation! We even had a short break on the way and they offered us coffee, tea, juice – okay, this never happens on the train outside 1st class now does it..?

We have other covoiturage journeys booked; Kam and I are going to Girona in Spain (!!) this Saturday. We have the train for the way out, but a covoiturage on the way back. We have also booked to see Émilie Simon (a French singer I really like) in concert in Nîmes on 11th October, so we are staying there for the weekend. We have organsied a covoiturage already for the return journey.  We are trying to organise another one for Barcelona next weekend as well. It’s so much cheaper than getting the train, so it eases up the money woes a bit, allowing us to travel more and not feel so bad about spending loads of money.

Anyway. Carcassonne. Wow. It is beautiful, in a very different wayto Collioure. La Cité – the medieval citadel of Carcassonne is breathtaking. It is situatied on a hill and in order to walk to it from the train station, you must walk on the Pont Vieux across the River Aude. La Cité is very imposing – the city walls, the towers – it looks unlike anything I have ever seen before. It is also worth noting that La Cité of Carcassonne is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. ????????????????????

We spent the afternoon exploring the cobbled streets of La Cité and also walked around the Château et remparts de la cité de Carcassonne. There is an entrance fee, but for EU citizens under the age of 26 it is free.

Here are some photos of my visit!

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Beautiful Collioure

Collioure is a beautiful seaside gem on the southern French coast. Yet many of you, like me before I came here, may have never heard of it. It is only an hour’s bus journey from Perpignan at 1€/bus ticket, with breathtaking views the entire way. I went on Saturday 6th Sepetember, the weekend before university started. This is by far my favourite place in Languedoc-Roussillon. I was only able to stay four hours here, but I will be returning soon. Here are some photos I took, because they just say it all for me…:

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Registering at a French university: la galère!

Although it has been stressful getting through all the paperwork this week, I feel it is definitely worth it for everything else I have here. A Year Abroad wouldn’t be a Year Abroad without some stress, tears and difficulties. It’s part and parcel with the package and you just have to deal with it like the line of people who did it before you. It just makes you appreciate all the good things you have which make doing a Year Abroad worthwhile; I have a great house which is a 2 minute walk from uni with great housemates. I am living in the south of France (!!!) and there is so much to do around here, I have something to do every weekend already.

Banyuls-sur-mer

Banyuls-sur-mer

After a busy week of experiencing the mayhem that is the French administrative system, it was good to get away from it all and have an afternoon day trip out with my housemates. But first of all, I am going to rant about my experience with the university registration process in France, as this was one of the most ridiculous things I have ever experienced. This is just how it is in France. C’est comme ça. It has come to make me really appreciate my home university all that much more for making my life as a student so simple in Sheffield.

I spotted a poster on the wall whilst I was in the queue-of-doom and it was so relevant: l’inscription a la fac? La galère! Inscrivez-vous en ligne! (Registering at uni? What a nightmare! Register online!)

This really sums it all up – the French even admit just how bad this system is, yet they don’t really help themselves to make it better. I tried going online for a rendez-vous (meeting) to cut the queue, yet the next available slot was in two weeks (?!?!). Okay, that makes total sense when classes start on Monday. I would like to be able to access the library facilities and the wifi on campus and even the university intranet, from like…now?! I also tried to register online but it was basically impossible.

There are only 9,000 students at the university, less than half that of the University of Sheffield. I don’t know how many of them are first years, international and Erasmus students but all of them must register in one place – the BASE. This is a tiny office of two women sitting at a desk who file your paperwork. They don’t really rush even though there is a massive queue that never ceases. The hours are 9am-12:30pm and 2:30-4pm. If you’re in the queue when the opening hours finish, you need to go home and come back when they are open again. Good luck with that.

This is a nightmare when trying to get things done – most offices, banks etc. all close for lunch for two hours at mid-day. Nevertheless, I see this also as a good thing: for 2 hours there is nothing you can do about anything paperwork related. Therefore, you yourself may as well go, sit down, have some lunch with friends and enjoy the break just like them. In the UK, most people eat at their desk, still answering emails and calls – there isn’t really a true lunch break. In France, this is really important and I think this is a good thing about their work ethic: work hard but have a proper break in the middle of the day. It makes you refreshed for the rest of the afternoon, you get social interaction and a proper meal, even though I have to sacrifice not getting as much stuff done in the day as I would like.

I queued in total for about 2 hours this week just to get registered, before that I was running around trying to get my Acceptance Letter from the university and all the Erasmus documents. I have to say that this was one of the most stressful moments of my life. I got to the very front of the queue, yes, it’s me next! Haha no, no it isn’t. People who have got a ‘rendez-vous’ or who been able to register online get priority. This makes you the bottom of the food-chain. So you may have been waiting an hour, but this guy who has just popped up out of nowhere looking all calm and stress-free has priority and this makes the main queue completely stagnant, as they just keep on coming. I managed nonetheless to wait it out and I finally got seen to. However the secretary did not know what to do for Erasmus students, so I had to wait another 20 minutes for her colleague to see to me. After that, and showing her I did indeed have ALL OF THE MILLIONS OF DOCUMENTS I NEEDED to register, she sent me to another desk, where they had to write up my details on their internal system. After that, I had to see another woman but I don’t really know why as she didn’t do anything… and then she saw me to the FINAL person (nearly there now), who printed my student card and I could finally escape, grab some lunch and get the bus with my housemates for an afternoon trip to Villefranche-de-Conflent.

It was a really bizarre situation and I am just so glad it is all over. At university in Sheffield, I remember how smooth it was to register and get my Ucard when I was in first year. They use the largest buildings on campus to accommodate everyone and have loads of staff available, so that they can answer students’ questions and sort out any issues quickly and efficiently. Here it was indeed la galère. I mentioned that it was so different at my university in England and that this was just so stressful. The staff were so shocked that registering at university could actually be simple somewhere else. Someone, send help to France s’il vous plait.

So the bus never really came in time from the university to get to the Bus station, so we missed our bus to Villefranche by 30 minutes. The next bus was in two hours and that was just not worth it. We decided instead to jump on the next bus out of Perpignan to another small town, and we decided on Banyuls as we are going to Collioure tomorrow!

Okay, so French public transport is not always on time, but what I love about this region is the bus prices. To get to any of the nearby towns (Collioure, Banyuls, Villefranche, Argelès etc.) by bus, it is just 1€ each way. The journey was about an hour and a half, and it was 1€…no excuse to not explore the region at all!

Banyuls is a beautiful seaside town, although everywhere was in lock-down when we were there. It felt more like Spain as it was ‘siesta time’ and there were abundant amounts of tapas bars and seafood restaurants with the Catalan flag flying high. It was impossible to eat lunch at a restaurant as they were all closed, but luckily we found a supermarket that was still open. We only had about 2 and a half/3 hours before we needed to catch the last bus back to Perpignan, but that was sufficient for what was available to us. We ate our little picnic on a bench by the sea and just sat, walked around the beach, soaked up the sun and enjoyed the great views of the sea and the boats on the horizon. Here are a few pictures:

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Tomorrow we are spending the day in Collioure, under an hour from Perpignan and also 1€ on the bus. Everyone says this is the most beautiful town in the region – great views, food, shopping, there is a castle, a museum and there is also the sea for swimming! We passed Collioure on the way to Banyuls on the bus today and I must admit, it looks just as good as it does in the photos online!

Classes start Monday 8th September. I have managed to construct my university timetable, thanks to my Personal Tutor here who printed out all the classes available to us in the entire Humanities department, across 1st, 2nd and 3rd year as the online version is missing half the classes. I will talk more about my experience of doing things like Spanish-French translation, explication de texte and all the other classes I am going to try, next week.

À bientot!

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