Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Apt, 12 bd de Strasbourg, montpellier.

Hot Montpellier!!!

Bon Jour all from hot, hot Montpellier! Its hard to believe that we are sweltering over here and at home everyone is freezing. Its currently 9.15 pm and still stifling hot. (tres chaud) .

Today all the sales started in Montpellier, there has been a big build up and when I walked into town I couldnt believe the people shopping. All the women are dressed beautifully to shop. Its a fight to get into the boutiques when half of the people take their dogs shopping! I was FORCED into buying a pair of shoes, and I found lots of boutiques in little rues I hadnt been to before.

Had a conversation with Eric the boulanger (baker) at the bottom of the apartments, this morning. The proprietor told me to go to him if I had any problems. Eric talked so fast I couldnt understand him. Thats because he was speaking Spanish! He sent me off with 3 long baguettes and a large bag of croissants, I tried to tell him there was only me, but I think he couldnt understand my French!

The area I am in is so very different to where Francene and Paul live. I think its the league of nations here. Lots of Spanish, Italians, Africans, Arabs, you name it. Many women wearing the Hi-jab. Its multicultural to say the least. The French embrace all cultures, but they are not happy with women wearing the Berker.

Have just read "A year in Provence" by Peter Mayle, given to us by Colleen. Paul and Francene gave me the copy in French so I will attempt to read it. Tomorrow I go to Avignon in Provence which is the area that lured me to France. Its only half hour by train so if its as good as I think I will go daily.

Have to share the photos of the apt with you, it has character, I hear the church bells ringing every day. In the evening one can hear the clink of plates as other residents cook their dinner. The aroma from the boulangerie wafts through the staircase and the smell of the nefines (sp) (A Spanish fruit similar to apricots) greets me in the morning when I open the windows. The trees are as tall as the 3 story building.

BonNuit, Ros xxxxxxxxxx

Monday, 28 June 2010

Sette, a small version of Marseille. Last dinner with Madame Francene and Monsieur Paul've gotta park somewhere!

The basilica on the top of the Mtn in middle of city is the only one in world with silver Madonna and child. (So they say)

Marseille...its tres scenic

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Sunday on my own!

Its not right that I have this apartment all to myself. It has two large bedrooms, a kitchen,and a lounge /dining. The furniture is the best part. The proprietor told me the wardrobe in one of the bedrooms belonged to his wife's great, great, grandmother.

The app. is on the 2nd floor, (More stairs) and there is a Madame who lives on the third floor who is 94! It must take her all day to go up and down.

I went to the local vendre where I had to be patient, the owner served one person at a time talking to each customer and wrapping each item individually. A lot of old people go to the one little shop for most of their daily goods. I actually felt a little French in there as we all chatted together. I think I am going to enjoy this part of my holiday.

Josh called in on his way to the Gare. He is off to Bordeaux for another 4 week course of French ,and then to South Africa for a 3 month study course for uni. What a life for a 26 year old. Josh and I became great friends and I hope he will visit Australia one day.I certainly will miss him.

Spent the rest of the day just enjoying the apartment.

Bon Nuit,, Ros xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Saturday and settling in.

Bon Jour mon amies.

Sat morning Francene asked if I would like to join her for Thai Chi in the park. We were there for two hours and even though I struggled with the language it was fun. I bonded with Madame Francene at Thai Chi.

In the afternoon I moved into an apartment which I have rented for 2 weeks. Although I am looking forward to having my own space, I will definitely miss the family and their beautiful home and every thing about them.

In the evening I returned for dinner. It was a special day for Paul (naming day) and also to celebrate Josh and I leaving.

We had a platter of fresh oysters and muscles. They were delicious and if I had known more was to come...we had traditional french salad served with a pastry with 3 pate's and a blood sausage called Boudin Antillais! Afterwards a frozen gateau of chocolate glacee (icecream) with berries.

Josh and I gave Paul and Francene a small gift and we received the traditional three kisses on either side of the cheeks. We all complimented each other and I felt it was very genuine, we were a good mix.

I could hardly walk home to my apartment where I slept like a log!

Bon Nuit Ros xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Summer -Sete

Bon Soir mon amies from mon apartment.

33 degrees to day in Montpellier, and I have just spoken to the Girls who are stranded in between Pompei and Rome. Apparently the train broke down. Luckily Sean is with them for the day. He is in Italy for 2 weeks, he won a trip through Uni and after spending a week at a conference he has a week for sight seeing. (Enjoy Sean. xx)

Friday last day at class. The 4 weeks went by quickly. After our goodbyes to the teachers and Lois who is returning to the US. Josh and I caught a train to a town on the Coast called Sete, which is the scene of the famous "joutes nautiques",jousting tournaments! We wandered over some small bridges over the canals and came to a square with a market. We tasted wines from Italy, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. If only I could carry some home.

Afterwards we went to see the lookout which is 175m above sea level. The reason I am telling you this is because we climbed the hill via gardens and streets and ten thousand steps to get there! Any other sane tourist would catch a bus. Josh was very patient and encouraging as I thought I would never make it to the top! Voila! A view from the top was tres bien. We could see the acres and acres of oyster farms in the sea, fishing boats galore, the beaches that surround Sete and the buildings and canals. It was well worth the effort in the heat.

We walked down the other side of the hill(MOUNTAIN) HA! to the beach which was lined with holiday apartments and some very large expensive homes. On the beach we found a bar with umbrellas and lazyboys. After a cold beer I slept in the lazy boy (or died, I am not sure which) whilst Josh swam in the crystal clear water.

Another long walk around the rocky coast back into town where the fishing boats were unloading the catch of the day, the smell of the salt water, the breeze, it tempted us to stop at a restaurant and order a plate of oysters to share and 2 wines. I have to say they were the biggest and best oysters I have ever had....time was not on our side, we were running late for the train and had a long walk to get to the Gare (Stn).

We moved very fast along the canals, over the bridges and thought we would never get to the train. On the canal we saw the jousting boats, each with around fifteen men, heading towards each other with lances trying their best to knock a person off of the dragon style boat. People were sitting along the canals with their wines watching the jousting and if ever one did not want to catch the train it was then.

However....there was only one train so on we went only to arrive at the gare too late! Mon Dieu!

You would not believe it but we looked at the board and our train was ten minutes late! How lucky can one get. When the train arrived it broke down. After a long wait another train was used as there were many people waiting and we arrived back in Montpelller tired, hot and exhausted. Monsieur Paul cook a delicious salmon dinner, it was so hard to concentrate on the conversation.

Bon Nuit xxxxRos

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Montpellier Thursday..test day!!

Bon jour tout le monde,

Another beautiful day in Montpellier,lucky it is as we had tickets for an outing after school today and were unable to go.........yeah guessed it.....another manifestation. Of course the shine has come off now that I am being affected. Never mind we can go another day. I have learnt that there are so many of these manifestations because the government does not look after the workers. France has no retirement scheme and people are really stressed over this. They also loose a days pay by taking part in the manifestation.

I have just heard that Julia Gillard is our new PM! Boy, I am really out of it. I had better do some homework it may be a topic at the dinner table tonight.

We had our last test today at school. AFTERWARDS...... the teacher made us correct our own test in the class!! I have struggled this week. One more day to go.

I did however manage to get my hair cut and coloured yesterday. It was challenging as the girl spoke no English (which was good for me) and I left poor but happy. Richard, please send more money.xx

Last night Francene took me to Musee Fabre where we viewed Houdin's sculptures.I leave the family on Saturday, but because I am staying on in Montpellier I hope to keep in touch with them.

Today I took part in some "serious people watching" and I have come to the conclusion that to be French you have to be capable of the following:

Women, always wear leather shoes, the higher the better. Soft lace skirts, soft flowing scarves, hair a la natural not necessarily combed, very little make up, excellent skin and of course always have a cigarette in hand. Never completely smoke it all. Must be able to walk up hill on cobblestones in high shoes looking natural. MUST BE A SKINNY BITCH.

Men, always wear leather shoes, scarves (not necessarily for warmth), Jackets (often linen) over jeans or any trousers and a carry bag.

All of the above have an aperitif before a meal when in a restaurant, have lots of patients in restaurants when being served. After all they are there for the experience and to look good, not necessarily to eat much.They are able to avoid the eyes of the gypsy beggars who plead for money or food. And any person who drives must be able to manoeuvre a vehicle around small corners on narrow uphill roads full of people. Bike riders must have good brakes as downhill trips can cause some angst as people suddenly appear out of doorways in the narrow roads. Above all, one must like dogs!

Talking about dogs, last night I watched a man with 2 dogs. One was skateboarding! I kid you not!

Ce Ros xxxx

Tuesday, 22 June 2010


Bon jour from McDonalds.

Yep, this is where I am. this is where the free wifi is. The only complaint I could make about the house I am staying in is that they have no internet. And it is the last thing I would complain about as looking for free wifi has broadened my outlook on life that is for sure. I have used Bistro's, Hotels and quick food joints. Probably something I would never do at home.

Last night Montpellier enjoyed its music. After I emailed the last blog I walked around some Rues and first found an entertaining trio with 2 eukalailis and a violin. Every rue had music of some description. One group consisted of a young Bob Dylan look a like and they were great. Finally I came across a group with bongo drums. 4 men and a woman. Hippies. FANTASTIC! The crowd was in full flight dancing from Rue to Rue. In the square were rock bands, you name the style of music and it was available. I didnt realize it was midnight until I arrived home!

The music was still going at 4am and at 5 am the street cleaners commenced!!!! They would have had their work cut out as all the young people were off their heads and glass bottles were everywhere.

Needless to say I didnt get much sleep. This morning when I went to school the town was as clean as a whistle. All ready for the next event I guess.

This morning at school Madame Director called me into her office. I still do not know why??! She told me her real surname is Hamilton! She married an Australian. This Madame Laru business is just a façade. Its Bizarre! She is now my 3rd best friend in France. But, I still do not know why.

We lunched on fresh, huge oysters at the market for 3.50 euros for 6.

A Demain. Love Ros xxx

Monday, 21 June 2010

Montpellier .... fete de la Musique

Bon Jour tout le monde.

Big things happening here in Montpellier. Its fete de la musique day. This is a day in France when music is played all day and into the night. Everywhere! All over France.

In fact, it was celebrated in Adelaide on Sunday and I know the girls from Alliance Francais whom I learn french with, sang French songs in Rundle street! Clap Clap Tres Bien Girls.

This morning I woke to the sound of a piano accordion playing gently on the Rue below my window. I know its too good to be true. One can only adore the French when they play their music with such enjoyment.

During our class I found it hard to concentrate as a trio at the bottom of our balcony played folk music. And this is how the day has continued.

This afternoon I visited a Museum on the outskirts of Montpellier. It was all about food through the ages. Spent 3 hours there, it was great. When I arrived home there was a Magician on the corner of our Rue with an interested group surrounding him. Nearby was a clown with a dog who had a rat on its back! The clown was moon dancing. (Anything goes)

I climbed the 2 floors of stairs into the apartment and by the time I reached my room I heard the sound of drums. Hang out of the window and down the Rue came dancing girls followed by a band of drums. It was great. All the people were hanging out of their windows.

After dinner Monsieur Paul went to see a classical orchestra in the square, Josh went to see a rock band around the corner and on my way to the internet hotel I saw heaps of musicians. Monsieur Paul and Madame Francene told us not to expect to sleep tonight!

BON FETE JOUR. love Ros xxxx

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Lazy Sunday in Montpellier

Hallo Lovleys,

Lois, the American student from the French class invited Josh and I to lunch today in her rented apartment. She loves cooking. Yesterday she caught a bus to an Arabian market for some spices and treats. She has been visiting France every year for 20 years.

We had a delicious lunch, tres authentic and Provencial. Later in the afternoon we went to an art and glass display where Lois purchased some glass jewellery and plates. I am going to miss Josh and Lois when they move on next week.

Sorry no photos on blog. Will try tomorrow. Until then, hope to hear from someone. I think my email may be out of order. I have a back up

Love Rosxxxxxx

Intoxicating, sultry, they say.

Bon jour Mon Amees,

Left early on TGV yesterday for Marseille the 2nd largest city in France and the oldest. It has a fantastic harbour with thousands of boats, cruise ships, yachts etc. There are parts of the city that are sleazy and a no go and other parts, old and charming. Its multicultural to say the least.

Happens that Marseille is the yachting hub of Europe and yesterday was the commencement of a large yacht race. I saw lots of NZ yachts, but no Australian. There were live bands and guess what?............. a market. Fresh fish from the harbour. It was a great atmosphere.

Wanted to visit the island near the harbour that has an ancient fortress/chateau which became a prison in the 1800s . One of the prisoners there was immortalized in the novel "Count of Monte Cristo." The sea was choppy and the boat rides were cancelled.

Josh chose to take a 3 hour cruise around the coast on another boat, I declined and instead took a local bus all around the coast for 1.40 euro. You wouldnt believe it but I was chatted to on the bus of all places, by two 19 year old Mormons. They are in France for two years to spread the word. Hope you dont mind but I gave them all your names and addresses. They have to save someone!

Marseille has its share of Cathedrals. Ho Hum, Statues, Ho Hum, and of course I heard the tooting of horns and whistles and sure enough there was a a manifestation, something about waste disposal.

Saw a couple of weddings, the guests all have their cars decorated with some white ribbon and lace and follow the wedding party tooting their horns all the way.

On the very top of a granite mountain in the middle of Marseille is the Notre Dame Basilica. It is an amazing church with coloured mosaic tiles and gold ceilings as well as a ten meter gilded statue of the Virgin Mary looking out over the City and the sea.The views from the top all around the city were amazing. Lots of steps to climb, I think I am over climbing steps and Cathedrals.

At the end of the day I had to walk to the railway station to catch the TGV. It was a long uphill walk, normally I would take a cab, but, you know what? Another manifestation and No CABS!!!! Luckily I left early and made it to the station with 15 minutes to spare. Josh got back 2 minutes before the train left. I will say I was a little anxious, but it sure proves I can now read a map. HaHa

Arrived home totally stuffed, tres fatiguee, buggered, Cest tut. Love Ros xxx

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Hi Mum!

Hi mum,

Kim and I are hijacking your blog again to let you know what we are doing... Hope that's ok?

It's our last night in Switzerland, heading back to Annecy in France tomorrow before we go to Nice.

Yesterday Kim and I went to a local Swiss chocolate shop and watched a demonstartion on how they make their chocolates, truffles, cakes and Florentines. But best of all there was free tasting! Even better was the fact that only 4 other people were watching this demo, so the samples were very generous! Of course I responded with a big spend afterwards in the botique.... Who can say no to Swiss chocolate?

That night we had a traditional Swiss meal, starting with salad and cheese fondu with rye bread, then a main of a sort of chicken stew and potato rosti.... And just to make sure out arteries clogg properly, chocolate fondu with fruit for dessert!! That was all washed down with some steins of the local beer and glacial water....

Today we headed for a day trip to 'Jungfraubahnen' (pronounced young-frau), known as the top of Europe. We left interlaken on train known as the Harder Klum, taking 'Murren Railway' an amazing, almost vertical train trip that takes you 3571meters up to the mountains through rural picturesque villages, waterfalls, wild deer and amazing wild flowers. A real engineering feat!

A long 2 hour journey and a freezing train ride led us to a fog covered 'top'. Not being able to see the view the place was known for we headed through the ice palace built on top of the mountain, we braved the weather and went outside into the snow, while it was snowing and attempted a snowman, but cloud was so thick we couldn't see our feet! The glacier was closed due to the weather, so we took a further climb to the highest peak, known as the Sphinx. Where we ventured out into a slightly more freezing -7 C!!!

After 2 hours we found it difficult to stay up any longer, altitude headaches (at this height we were getting 1/3rd less oxygen than we're use to) were setting in so we decided to take the train back down to town.

There is a fantastic traditional drumming festival on here tonight, bands are set up with traditional Swiss outfits and plenty of beer amongst the locals has already been consumed well before the festival has started (you can tell by the grown men in the streets with their hands around eachother singing French/Swiss/German songs).

Although they are so close, Switzerland it very different from France, looking foreward to heading eastward!

Hopefully email you again when we get the Internet.

Love Kate and Kim xx

P.S. I've done this on my phone so sorry for mistakes :)

Friday, 18 June 2010

The Bike Ride

Bon jour tout le Monde.

Still beautiful weather here. This am before French we went to hire a bike for the day.The bikes are good, each has a locking chain and they only cost 2 euro for the day.

After French lessons, Lois the New Yorker, Josh the Bronx student and moi, set off for a day at the beach. It was a great ride along the canals and I was keen to see the famous flamengo's that habite in the swamps near the sea. After a ride of about 15 klms we arrived at Palavos and had a picnic lunch that Lois had prepared earlier. Of course we had a bottle of wine. 3 euro!

Checked out the markets, pretty good. Lots of the bistros displayed huge trays of paella with enormous prawns and muscles. Afterwards we hit the beach. Lots of topless girls on the beach. Josh was very patient considering he was in public with two old bags. Ha

The ride home was something else....not a flamengo insight (normally lots of pink ones) and we had a head wind! The track is not exactly flat, so it took twice as long to get back. It was as we turned a corner and came to a bridge that Lois did a dive into the hedge on the side of the road. Eventually we found her, unable to move as the bike was on top of her. Its not funny, but...I have only known Lois in the french class. She is pretty good at french. Lets just say, it was not french that she was speaking at that time! She is a very good sport and managed to make it back even though she had a very bruised and scraped arm. Not to mention her pride.

Paul cooked Casserole of Rabbit for dinner tonight. Cest Tres Bien.

Ce tout. Love Ros xxx


The house I am staying in does not have the internet. A few local bistros brag of having free wifi but its not always available. At last, today I found a hotel that has free wifi, providing you buy a wine or a coffee. I conned Josh into coming with me, my wine cost 3 euro and his gin and tonic cost 8.50euro! It was expensive wifi for him. And for me, I excitedly opened computer to find lots of mail, and THATS when the battery went flat. I forgot to take the adaptor.Ha!

Monday, french class went well, it was our teachers 26th birthday, she is such a pretty intelligent girl. We bought her flowers and she was really embarassed.Dont think it will help with my test results though. !!!

Tuesday I went to Paris with the girls.When we arrived (3 hr journey) there was a manifestation! No taxis could reach the TGV Station as the roads were blocked, the metro also suffered, so it stopped. We waited in line for over an hour and finally the girls caught a cab to their hotel. I stayed at the railway stn to return to Montpellier as I was afraid I might never get back. During the wait we met a great retired American couple from Colorado. Their son is a pilot for Delta airlines and they fly business class all over the world for nothing. They pack light, each had a small bag on wheels. So, instead of waiting hours for a cab, they got onto a taxi scooter with their small bags, he with his walking stick, and her (probably about 70 years old) with her backpack, off to their destination!

Before we left home we bought a eurail pass, so the trip to Paris and return didnt cost any extra. I love the TGV, Its so quick, clean, quiet inside and comfy. Its 2 storied so you get a good view. Lots of people take their computer on the train and some take their dog, often in handbags. The scenery from the train is so picturesque. Ornamental trees and arches of grapevines and statues are common on roundabouts on the main roads. A patchwork of green and gold crops border the train track the entire length of France I am sure. Grapevines everywhere. The train passed lots of tall wind farms and small lakes reflecting the red tiles of the maisons surrounding them. Vegetable crops galore, fruit trees and more grape vines. No wonder the wine is so cheap here. Oh, and I havent even mentioned the rivers and dams. Little villages dotted all over the countryside surrounded by hedges and lush trees. And, what about this....rice fields. They grow rice, not to mention lettuces (for the skinny bitches) raddishes, artichokes, strawberries, cherries, zucchini, rhubarb, tomatoes, almonds, avocados, did I mention grapes! Tout le monde is green! I saw all this between Montpellier and Paris.

Wednesday after class I felt a little lost, first day without catching up with the girls. Josh and I went to book a train trip to Marseille for Saturday.That evening, Paul served artichokes for dinner. I have never had them before. (Apart from in the jar of oil as anti pasta) he explained how to sit the plate on the knife so that the juice would run out of the veg. We ate them with a vinegarette dressing. One kinda chews the soft meat from the leaf, discards said leaf and then onto the next one.(Thank goodness he was showing me what to do, cause I thought the leaf was a bit tough to eat.)

Paul is a sweetie. His wife Francine works, he is the cook. Another night he cooked muscles. Everynight the meal is interesting. Usually 3 course.And everynight the conversation is about, war, politics, economics, and so on. Everyone must have an opinion and everyone must have fire in their belly about their opinion. ALL THIS IN FRENCH, I am usually exhausted at night.

Thursday today. Test day at French class, for the first time I was not stressed. Might be when I receive it back tomorrow. Ha. After french today I went to the square where the markets of the day were linen and bedding . All beautiful provincial quilting. The volley ball competitions are still happening and live bands play during the breaks.The courts are surrounded by plastic blow up chairs and spa's! All the cafes and bistros facing the square have buskers of some sort doing their thing. World cup fever still dominates every conversation.

Au revoir mon amies.


Sunday, 13 June 2010

Aix en Provence

Saturday we travelled with a group of French students from another school in Montpellier to Aix en Provence, by bus. It was really hot and It’s about here that I must tell you the girls did not want to go as the tour and commentary was only in French! I convinced the girls to go as Aix is known for its specialty of 13 desserts on 1 plate!

Aix was nice, more of the same beautiful Cathedrals, narrow streets, busker’s and lots of sweet shops. Aix en Provence specializes in a French biscuit of an almond/sugar mixture on top of a communion wafer. We also discovered that the plate of 13 desserts is only a specialty served on Christmas Day after midnight! I was not popular!!!!!!!

The French artist 'Paul Cezanne' lived in Aix in the late 1800s, of course the French have an artist of some sort to brag about in each city. But one gets saturated with history after 6 weeks! But we never tire of the markets! They were huge, food, clothing, antiques…great stuff, it’s a pity we can’t carry more home.

It is hard to find a loo in Aix, or for that matter, anywhere in France! After the long bus ride, the information centre told us to go across from the fountain and down the stairs to find a public loo. When we arrived we found an old lady with one tooth and 2 dogs in charge of the toilets…. 50c later, as we walked past men doing their thing at the urinal, we were shown the squat loo’s. Oh yuck. The French may have famous artists but their dunnys leave a lot to be desired! After that experience we crossed our legs for the ride back to Montpellier!

Today, Sunday, after having a dozen oysters fresh from the market for lunch (bargain at 8 Euro) we revisited the Fabre museum to look at the classical furniture collection which was displayed in an elegant old hotel; afterwards we watched the volley ball competitions in the square and had a cold beer and coffee, as the weather (a humid and hot day) changed with a nice cool breeze, we listened to a summer thunder storm and watched the amazing clouds fly over the city!

World Cup fever continues here! Bars, streets and restaurants are full of eager fans cheering and yelling no matter what the outcome!

Last day with the girls tomorrow before they head back to Paris and travel off for 4 weeks through Europe.

Love Ros , Kim and Kate xxx

Friday, 11 June 2010

Thursday 10th and Friday 11th Montpellier

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOSH PUCKRIDGE!! We hope you have had a great day. We have a candle for your Birthday from a Monastry/Abbey called Saint Lauren built in 1206 in a small village called Saint Guilhem le desert! The things we do for you! xxx

Yesterday (after class and stressfull test) we caught a local bus to a small village an hour away, changed to another bus and eventually arrived at our destination of St Guilhem le desert. The little village built in a valley and on the banks of a river grew around an Abbey in the 11th century. Not much has changed. The houses, with their sun bleached roof tiles and distinctive Roman windows have beautiful thistles called "cardabelle" attached to the doors, they predict the weather, closing up when rain is on the way.

We had a picnic prepared by the girls, on the river bank and had just finished our wine when the cardabelle thistles closed. Consequently we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the village surrounded by Mountains full of Roman ruins, caves and aqueducts. It poured with rain, and as the water ran through the tiny Rues out to the river we thought how good it would be to have it at home. The little village has a medieval square dominated by tall trees planted in 1855. We decided to have coffee and crepes whilst Josh tracked in the rain. Its all about choices isnt it? Who wants to track in the rain when you can have traditional French crepes! Arrived home wet, late and tired.

FRIDAY 11th Montpellier.

French this morning was good. I received my test and didnt do as bad as I thought, you have no idea the relief I feel. Having a slow day today. Have lunched in the girls apartment and as its raining but not cold, we are returning to the Fabre Museum/art gallery.

Ca Va ! Au revoir.
Love to all Ros Kate and Kim XXX

Wednesdsay 9th June

Bon jour mon amies,

I write to you as the world cup fever is at a pitch and its and hour away from commencing here. The French are passionate about their football. They actually have a call similar to our AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE.

On Wednesday after class (Ugh!) we went to the Fabre museum. It is an art gallery/museum and the three of us enjoyed it so much we spent all day there. I got home (HOME!!????) at 6pm. By 7.30 I was at the OPERA!!! Can you believe it? There is an opera house 2 minutes from where I am staying. It was having its final performance of La Traviata before closing down for a year. Its a beautiful ancient building full of (sorry about this) huge marble staircases and statues, painted ceilings and enormous gigantic chandeliers! In the confusion of conversation with Madame Francene and Monsieur Paul whom I thought were coming to the opera with us we discovered they were not. Didn't matter, Josh and I managed to get tickets at the last minute and were guided to the 6th level, so high up (probably where the poor were crammed in the old days....things haven't changed) it was so hot as there was no air-conditioning and we were crammed in like sardines. But the tickets were only 23 E each and we thoroughly enjoyed the night. I have learnt so much more than just the language with this trip.

love Ros, Kate and Kim xxx

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Another day Another Manifestation

Bon Jour mon amies,

A quick blog today. Its a nuisance not having internet at my hosts home. Lots of homework for me last night and today was one of those frustrating lessons. I think I am going to have to cut the day tripping and do more homework!Eh bien!!! Zut!!!Chouette!

Today we continued the never ending quest looking for the perfect crème brulee. Its going to be a bugger if we find it! We found some new food markets to wander through as well as some quirky little rues with petite boutiques. Then...we heard the whistles and you all know what that means... another manifestation. Today the infermiere (nurses) marched for a 10% increase. I am actually getting to like the manifestations (as loud as they are).

Talking about loud, last night at 11pm a guitarist began playing flamenco music at the bottom of my bedroom window. Even though I am on 2nd floor it's loud, as the buildings across the Rue are close. He was then accompanied by a man with a piano accordion. I hung out the window for some time and watched and listened. Can always sleep when we return home. The girls also have noise problems where they are staying but theirs is of a different origin. They have several Indian neighbours playing spoons accompanied by high pitch Hindu singing late into the night. Yes...I know, France embraces us all!

A Domain, Love Ros, Kate and Kim xxx

P.S Richard, the first picture is where Kate and Kim are staying.

Monday, 7 June 2010


Bounjour tout le monde,

Just heard that it's 15 degs in Adelaide. Hope we are still getting some rain...but "frankly Charlotte, we don't give a dam!" (Not true at all.)

Saturday night we went to a fantastic restaurant recommended to us by the woman in my class. The meal began with the girls entree of a pot of warm goats cheese with walnuts and bacon, a petite jar of caramelized onion, toasted pain and a lightly dressed rocket salad. Myself, a dish with poached egg and grilled bacon, over which, the waiter poured chilled tomato soup. I know we should have stopped there BUT....Kate had grilled Mediterranean salmon with cream of basil sauce and Kim and I had Roasted lamb chops with herbs from Provence. To Kim's delight a large roasted potato accompanied with a grilled parmesan crusted tomato and salad. I know we should have stopped there BUT....Kate's dessert was a de-constructed citron tart layered in a glass with crumbled tart shell, citrus curd and fresh cream with meringue! Kim and I had a dish of two ice-cream filled profiteroles drizzled with melted dark chocolate!

Sunday we left early with Josh to catch the TGV to Nimes, a Roman town on the border of Languedoc and Provence. More ancient architecture including the best preserved Roman monuments in the world, an Arena/Amphitheatre that held 24,000 people on 34 tiered terraces. If those hours climbing the arena did not move last nights dinner, nothing will! We also visited an ancient temple where we watched a movie on the history of the Romans fighting in the arena in 3D. It really was Great!

We bought some baguettes and red wine from the boulangier and visited the Jardins de la Fontaine. This would have to be one of the highlights of our trip and a must see to anyone visiting France. We followed the aqua ducts to where ancient Roman thermal baths are built under the gardens. I hope the photos do justice, the gardens have an abundance of tall marble urns and statues. In different areas the towns folk had set up chairs to rest on. There were concerts, petanque players, music and childrens activities. The gardens included the ruins of the Temple Diana and hundreds of wide stairs leading to the highest parts of the gardens where we entered and climbed to the top of an old watchtower built by the celts as a sign of their strength, and for use as a lookout. If that didn't wear off last nights dinner......

The afternoon bought rain and we got pretty drenched. We checked out the winding streets and a market where we took part in some serious wine tasting before catching the last train home. We all loved Nimes, one day is just not enough.

At 8pm my hosts served smoked salmon on small crepes with crème fresh, afterwards, roast du canard in orange sauce (duck), with veg and then strawberries and ice-cream, of course all served with wine. Afterwards they invited us to watch Private Ryan.....In French of course! Josh fell asleep early, I just made midnight.

LOVE Ros, Kate and Kim xxx