Lots of travel

As I wrote in my last post, the week after finishing work I had to make a quick trip to London via Paris. The purpose of this trip was to take a small suitcase of winter clothes for my parents to take back to NZ at the end of their trip. They had little luggage and we didn’t want to carry it around for four weeks!

The Eiffel Tower, Paris

Well I had a short amount of time in London but it was by no means a short trip! I left Monday for Paris where I spent the night at Emma’s and went out for dinner and up the Arc de Triomphe (at night) with a friend from NZ, Rhea and her friend. Lovely to see you! The next day I took a bus to London (it was cheap and I got to go through the Chunnel on one of those car trains) and arrived in to meet Matt after work for some Thai food (yay finally some decent ethnic food)! The next day I visited the Sony Photography Awards exhibit (excellent by the way!) and caught up with Jess who is now living in London. That night I had to take a night bus back to Paris (this time we went on a ferry). After arriving back in Paris and picking up the rest of my luggage (I’d left my pack in luggage storage – didn’t really feel like lugging an extra 20kg to London when I already had 25kg with me…) and then after a slight problem with the RER, I made it to the meeting point for my covoiturage to Valence. I actually needed to go to Avignon but that was the best I could do for that time on a week day. So when we arrived that afternoon I took a train to Avignon. I got into Avignon around 7pm on Thursday. I was absolutely exhausted! I had been travelling for about 24 hours and had little sleep despite my incredible ability to sleep on any form of transport.

Avignon, France

After a rest I explored Avignon a little before getting dinner and heading off to bed. 

Avignon was gorgeous and the weather was stunning too. I wandered around the city and visited the Palace of the Popes. Nine popes lived in Avignon after one decided he didn’t want to live in Italy and moved the papacy to France some time centuries ago.

Paella, Markets, Arles

Markets, Arles

Strawberries, Markets, Arles

Lavender, Markets, Arles

Cheese, Markets, Arles

Next I spent a morning in Arles at the weekly market (which is known as the best in Provence). That afternoon I met my parents in Marseille and we headed off to spend a week in the lovely South of France.




And what a week that was! We visited Monaco, Nice, Cannes, St Tropez, Aix-en-Provence, and small towns around the Cote D’Azur region. Cannes was a highlight because we were there at the start of the film festival but unfortunately we didn’t see anyone famous, just an empty red carpet and a million paparazzi. We did really enjoy having a good look at all the fancy boats docked though.

Les Arcs

Our rental apartment was great and the weather was stunning (almost a little too hot) so we got to make full use of the pool.

Our next stop was Italy.

More next time,

Amanda xx


A week of lasts

The last (slightly more than a) week has been a bit of a crazy one! After arriving back into France on my flight into Paris Beauvais I met my parents at their hotel. We had heaps to talk about as we hadn’t spoken for two weeks (we spoke once a week for the last 8 months) and my parents had spent a week of that travelling London and in Paris while I’d been off in the Balkans.

The next day we headed back to Clermont-Ferrand on the train for a couple of days of relaxation and seeing where I live. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the best so we couldn’t go up Puy de Dôme or to Parc Montjuzet. Instead we visited L’Aventure Michelin, a museum about the history of Michelin which is based and founded in Clermont-Ferrand, then we ate at my favourite crêperie, 1513 (named for the year it was built). I also took my parents to the supermarket, the laundromat and to lunch at the cafeteria at school, all interesting experiences for them (they were impressed with all the different courses at the cafeteria – salad, main, bread & cheese and dessert).

Unfortunately for me, Mum and Dad then headed off to Portugal and Spain while I had to finish my last week of teaching. My last week was very light, six hours of classes mostly with me chatting with the students about whatever they liked, also had to supervise a test and help some students record advertisements for fake products they came up with.

Outside of class there was many reasons to celebrate, a week of lasts! The last Tuesday coffee (these became a weekly regular), the last students pub night, the last day of work (which was celebrated with the last visit to Jardin Lecoq and a couple of pints), the last trip to the gym, last visit to the laundromat, last assistants party (including a fun game which was a mixture of taboo and charades, all in French of course). There was also the last annoying French public holiday (NO public transport for the day), there are some things I really won’t miss about France.

For the rest of my time I was doing paper work and running around trying to sort out my leaving, picking up prescriptions, visiting the insurance people, bank, post office, etc. 

On Saturday ASM (the local rugby team), played Toulon in the final of the champions cup. The game was played in London since it was an international competition but in Place Jaude they put up a huge screen and what seemed like the whole town came to watch (estimates suggest there was around 50,000 people there). Everyone was wearing yellow and blue, with flags, horns, smoke bombs and beer in hand. We stood for six hours in the revelry but unfortunately Toulon won the match. Despite this the party continued into the night. The best weekend to be in Clermont-Ferrand and a great send off for me!

Thanks to all the cool people I met during my time in Clermont-Ferrand, I’ve had a great time and am more than a little sad to be leaving. Good luck to everyone!

So where am I off to now? I have about eight weeks travelling around Europe mostly with my parents before I’m heading back to France (but more on that part later). This week I’m making a quick trip to London via Paris before heading to the south of France for a little R&R and to meet up with my parents.

Until next time,

Amanda xx