Wednesday, August 3, 2011

France Day 2: Welcome to L'Institut

For the 4th or 5th time in my life, it's the first day at a new school. We report to school at 9:30 to register and I'm handed a room number in another building. First we have to do an oral placement test, which goes by easily enough. I'm asked to introduce myself and explain why I've decided to study here in Tours. I've been in France for slightly over 24 hours and already those years of French immersion are rushing back. I'm putting together sentences and conjugating verbs in my head as I speak as if it was just last week that I had to carry an entire conversation in French, it's kind of amazing.

 After my test, I run into the only other student who is studying here from Western and we head to a couple Orientation presentations.  My very animated civilisations francaises prof tells us all about the excursions that we have the option of joining on weekends and Wednesdays and he shows us slides (Yes!, slides, like on film!) showing all the gorgeous French castles we can visit. One of them features a a twisting double staircase that Da Vinci designed himself. It's astonishing how all these amazing structures were built before Canada even became a country.

It's a gorgeous day out and two of the teachers here take us for a tour of the city, once again, more beautiful buildings built before confederation day. I really can't imagine how they built stable buildings before there were computers. In the middle ages, those who were to be executed had to walk through a dark passage to an open space on the other side where a guillotine or noose awaited them. This same tunnel still exists and we get a chance to walk through it too. Luckily, there are no guillotines or nooses awaiting us, just sunny skies.

Lunch is at a creperie at the Place Plum'reau, a idyllic French square straight from the movies. I order a galette Baltique, which is a crepe filled with smoked salmon, cream, olive oil and spices, is your mouth watering already? Mine was while I read the menu.

Like most old cities, Tours is near a river, in fact, it's sandwiched between two, Le Loire and Le Cher. My five new friends and I head down there after a stop at a store that sells glace (ice cream) and try not to fall asleep on the breezy shaded benches, the combination of jet lag and the exhausting heat is not treating us well.

Le TGV or Train Grand Vitesse is the rapid transit system in France that puts North American transit systems to shame, with it, you can travel from Tours to Paris within the hour and connect to other rail systems around Europe. But the letters TGV also stand for something else, notably: tequila, gin, vodka.

Seriously, I'm not making this up, saw it on drink menus at three different places all in one night. Gross.

See you tomorrow morning, maybe.

1 comment:

Frederic Deutzer said...

Le TGV... next time you'll try it.


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