Sunday, November 13, 2011

Le Week-end de l'Armistice

French Fun Fact: This weekend was the 93rd anniversary of the armistice of World War 1 and Friday, November 11th, was the actual date of the armistice. And we didn't have school!
In Angers, there is a fête foraine, a carnival, for the next three weeks so on Saturday, Guillaume, Gabe and I went into town with a bunch of other people to check it out. It turns out it's actually not very French. In fact, the whole time I couldn't help but think about how American it was. It consisted of all the rides you'd normally see and all the carnival food vendors plus a lot of kebab stands and everything was a lot more expensive. It was awesome though. We did a ride that swings you in a full circle and stops at the top of the loop so you hang upside down for a little. There were also a lot of shoot-the-balloon games and stuff like that. It really wasn't different from home but it was still fun. And of course, I left with an empty wallet!
Yesterday, we went to a massive castle near Tours, a 3 hour drive from Mûrs, but it was totally worth it. It was the Chateau Chenonceau, on of the most famous of the Loire region.It used to be a chateau fort but was converted into a chateau Renaissance with the turn of the ages, when almost everything was changed in Renaissance. However, this castle still had a tower from the previous version. Of course it was closed to visitors but the rest of the castle was pretty awesome too!

 That's the castle from head-on when you walk up the long drive. I know, it looks like something from Disneyland.

 That's the tower. It's pretty... towery....

 A memorial to World War I.

 This was just one side of the gardens; they were huge! Around the back there were also a bunch of fruit and vegetable gardens but, as one may imagine, they weren't too interesting, it being mid-November and a little cold for anything besides pumpkins.

 That's a view from the garden. The whole castle is right next to, and on, a river called the Cher, another subsidiary of the Loire.

 That's the other side of the castle, which is under construction right now. I think thy're doing some renovating to prevent it from crumbling into the river but they've got a tarp up that previews it, which explains the weird color change.

And that's my new car. Haha, no, I wish. It's a Spitfire in the parking lot of the castle. I guess rich people like to see French history too!
Other than that, life here has been pretty normal. Actually something really cool happened recently. When I got back from the last vacation, I went back to school like normal, but found out that I could actually understand a lot more that before! I guess the whole French thing just kind of clicked. I mean, I'm not fluent or anywhere near but I understand a lot more than before so now I'm actually doing most of my homework. Ok that was badly phrased: I mean that I'm understanding my assignments and the work I'm doing but also I'm just finishing more of my work. It's extraordinarily satisfying to be able to do assignments about messenger RNA and not just understand itbe able to answer questions in class. In French. So yeah, things here are pretty good right now, although we recently had our clocks changed so now I walk to school in daylight (at 7:20 in the morning) and return in pitch darkness (at 5:30 in the evening). I know there's daylight savings in America too, obviously, but it not quite like this. Also, it gotten a lot colder here but no frost or snow. I'm excited for the winter though because in February we're going on a one-week trip to the Pyrénées with another family to go skiing all day every day. I've been skiing in Switzerland before but not in France so I'm really excited for that. Even if it is three months away...
OK, well I'm off to play tennis with Aurelien and then do a ton of homework which I may or may not understand!


  1. hey i just found your blog, its so cool cause im going on a 2 month exchange to france starting next week, and my host family lives in blois which is so close to tours! i cant wait to go there my self :) p.s. im from New Zealand

  2. I went to see les Châteaux de la Loire during the holidays!! And Chenonceau was definitely my favourite!! So you went to the right castle!! :D
    p.s. ^^I'm from NZ too :P

  3. Yeah, the castles here are amazing! Are you both with AFS too? Haha, I met so many Kiwis at the orientation, I'm definitely going to NZ next!

  4. Lol I had to comment! I've been reading your blog, got the link from and I'm heading to Les Ponts-de-Cé in the Maine-et-Loire region in about a week! And, ironically, I'm from New Zealand too! ;)