Grenoble, France

After my wonderful last weekend in France, spent touring the iconic Chateaus of the Loire Valley, I had one more night to sleep in Grenoble before I headed home to the United States on Tuesday morning. It was a bittersweet goodbye, but as the plane landed in Boston, as I passed through the BU campus on way to my apartment in the cab, I was SO glad to be home! Yesterday was my first full day here, and I spent it catching up with friends and eating at all my favorite places (I’ve already hit 3 restaurants in less than a day and a half, I’m really making up for lost time). It’s amazing to be back here with people I love and places I really feel at home - and it kind of feels like I never left. This semester was an amazing experience, and I am so blessed to have been able to spend my semester this way - meeting new and different people, getting to know a whole different city, country, and culture, and improving my French in a way that I never would have been able to accomplish anywhere but France. I am so thankful for this opportunity, and so glad that I was able to take advantage of it. And now, I am so happy to be home :) 

May 3
and now, I’m home
May 3

Here, we have arrived at Chateau de Chambord, which was the most magnificent of all the castles we visited. It was really incredible. It was built as a hunting lodge, and wasn’t often inhabited - though my favorite part of the tour were the rooms of Louis XIV (of course). The liquor Chambord, named after the chateau, is used to make a Kir Royale, which is Chambord liquor and champagne. Outside of the Chateau, there was a small market selling regional products, which had an undertone of meat-y, hunting products as it was a hunting lodge. We got a picnic lunch here, and then took a long bus ride back to Grenoble. 

May 3

That night, we went out to dinner in the city of Tours. Some of the buildings had this German feel to them, and I really liked it. 

The next morning, we headed to Chateau de Chambord, and stopped on the way to photograph a Chateau that we passed - it exhibits different historical eras through its architecture, which shows just how long these incredible castles took to build. 

May 3

After wine tasting, we headed to Chateau de Chenonceau, my favorite (so far) of the places we visited this weekend. This Chateau stands over the Loire river, literally over it, and was home to both Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici. My favorite part of this Chateau, besides its beautiful layout and over-the-river structure, was the kitchens. We also found Catherine de Medici’s symbol, two intertwined C’s, and decided that Chanel and Cartier must have derived their symbols from this sign of royalty and power. Who knows if that’s right, but I think there might be something to it! 

May 3

After the beautiful gardens of Villandry, we went wine tasting - we got a tour of the wine-making process, learning particularly how to make bubbly wine (only called Champagne if from the Champagne region!). It was so interesting! We had a light lunch, salad and regional goat cheese and meat spread, and tasted the wines - one bubbly, one white and one red.  

May 1

Next, we visited the gardens of Villandry - these were incredible, and the grounds were huge. My favorite part was a very large vegetable garden, laid out beautifully - the colors were amazing! 

May 1

On Sunday, we started by visiting Chateau D’Azay-le-Rideau, the smallest of the Chateaus we saw but very charming. 

May 1

This weekend was my favorite group trip of the semester, and one of my favorite trips in general - we went to the Loire Valley to visit beautiful French castles! We stayed in a hotel in Tours, which is a central Loire location, and took our bus to the castles. On the way to Tours, we stopped in Bourges, to see the Cathedral Saint-Etienne (Stephens), and take a much needed walking break (the bus ride was 8 hours from Grenoble to Tours). 

Today was my last full day in Grenoble. Tomorrow morning, I’m waking up super-early to meet up with my group at 7:00 AM, get on a bus, and head to the Loire Valley to see the Chateaus and go wine tasting. It should be amazing, I am really looking forward to the weekend! 

Today, I ran by the river and Bastille for the last time, finished packing (everything fits! miraculously…), and made gluten-free brownies with Nicolette for the weekend trip. Now that I’m all packed, I am really ready to get going home…I can’t wait to see my family & friends! I have a really wonderful summer ahead of me and I’m anxious to get to it.

At the same time, inevitably, thinking about leaving is so hard…I have been here for 3 months, had the most wonderful experience with my loving and welcoming host family, and am really sad to be leaving these wonderful people and charming place that I’ve become so familiar and comfortable with. 

So, it’s with mixed emotions that I start this weekend trip, my last time together with the group and our amazing directors, Marie-Eve and Celine…but I will savor each day!

And then to Boston…. :) 

Apr 27
Last Day in Grenoble

This coming Tuesday marks my last week in Grenoble. I’ll be flying from Lyon to Boston on Tuesday, May 1 - it is so soon, and the days are flying by. I am content to finally be going home, and excited to see my family and friends, and spend my first summer in Boston! As happy as I am at the thought of all things American, the closer I get to leaving the more I think, “just a few more days…” Just to eat a few more macaroons from Foret Noire, to get more ice cream at Glacier Gonzalez, to eat a bit more Camembert and Brie, to hike up to the Bastille a few more times…So, I’m making a list of all the things that need to happen just one more time before I head home:

1. Foret Noire (multiple times..) for the amazing macaron framboise and hot cocoa; 

2. Gonzalez to try the white chocolate ice cream, and to get another round of pistachio and honey ice creams; 

3. One more florentine from Bochard, the best chocolatier;  

4. Hike up to the Bastille on the days when it’s not raining this week; 

5. Get a teapot from my favorite Moroccan shop as my last souvenir. 

And then I’ll go home fulfilled :) Last week, here goes… 

Apr 20
The Last Week