In April, my program and I spent a weekend in Provence. Our amazing advisor made a packed schedule for both Saturday and Sunday – filled with amazing views, food, and people!
With picnic lunches in hand and beautiful weather, we started off early on Saturday morning and set off to Arles, France! It was about a two-hour bus ride, but with the most incredible views. We stopped in Arles and had the chance to walk around a typical weekend market. There were many different vendors selling yummy food, clothing, jewelry, and typical Provencal gifts. I ended up buying three lavender pouches for gifts when I return home. Afterwards, we visited the Roman theatre and arena – which was amazing. We were all in awe of the arena and how big it was!
After Arles, we were on our way to our second destination of the day – Pont du Gard! To be honest, I was not sure what to expect here. It was very warm outside, so before walking towards the Pont du Gard, my friends and I each bought ourselves an ice cream to cool down. As we walked closer and closer to the Pont du Gard, I was in awe, yet again. It was so beautiful, and the surrounding area was stunning as well. We were able to explore the roman aqueduct that was used to carry the waters of the Eure Spring across 50 km of hills and plains to Nimes. I wanted to stay forever and explore more of the area!
Our next destination was Chateauneuf du Pape, where we had a wine and chocolate tasting at the Chocolaterie Bernard Castelain – enough said! We sampled two wines and three chocolates, which were all perfectly paired. I wanted to eat more and more (but I resisted!). It was a great experience.
After our first long day, we headed to our final destination for the night – Avignon. There, we stayed in a lovely, quaint hotel with beautiful rooms and amazing views. We had a delicious three course meal, then leaving stuffed, all headed up to our rooms to get ready for day two!
Day two started off early with a visit to the Palais des Papes, which was right across from our hotel in Avignon! The top had amazing views of the entire city. Before heading out, we were able to grab some lunch at a lovely outdoor café, where I had a savory crepe!
Our next destination for day two was Les Baux-de-Provence and a visit to the Carrieres de Lumieres. I had no idea what to expect at the Carrieres, but this visit was more than I could have imagined. Basically, it is an incredibly unique experience that uses walls and former ceilings of quarries to project images and a sort of lights/picture show. The theme of this year was Picasso and other Spanish painters. It was absolutely incredible and all I can say is, if you ever have the chance, you must go for yourself! It will not disappoint.
After the show, we had the chance to explore the quaint town of Les Baux-de-Provence. We were able to explore the ruins of the medieval castle, which had views of the entire Provencal countryside. The town had tons of small shops, gelato stands, and art. Another must see if you are ever in the area!
After that final stop, we headed back to Cannes. It was an amazing trip – truly one that I will never forget. Provence, I will be back!
This post was contributed by Grace Lipscomb, who is spending her spring semester studying abroad with AIFS in Cannes, France.