MIS in France: Le Faux Football

Hello all! Sorry, yet again, for the delay in updates! Paris has definitely been keeping me busy! Since my last post, I have had quite a few adventures!

First, I got a chance to go to the Opera house (the one that Phantom of the Opera was based on) with my program to see a ballet, well actually 2 ballets. It was a production of Phedre and Psyche, combined into one evening with an intermission. I don’t know about you, but I’m not very versed in Greek mythology once you get past about Hercules, so I was definitely a little confused. But despite not totally understanding the story line, it was really beautiful performance and really cool just to be in such an elegant atmosphere! I will say, though, that whoever built this opera house must not have anticipated anyone over about 5’2″ coming to visit because there was no where near enough leg room! But we all worked it out and kind of sat at angle so that hopefully our knees didn’t run into the people in front of us too terribly much.

After the Opera, the next adventure was a “football” game, a.k.a soccer. This was about the closest I was going to get to the atmosphere of my beloved Crimson Tide on game day, so I was pretty excited about it! Getting there on the metro was kind of a nightmare; I don’t think I have ever been in contact with so many bodies at once! People kept pushing their way on at each metro stop we came to until we were literally crammed in like sardines. That’s definitely the most crowded I have seen the metro so far. But anyways, after I finally got there, the game was really cool! The stadium was HUGE, even compared to Bryant Denny! I must admit that I don’t really know anything about soccer (I had to ask if there were periods, quarters, or halves) but it was cool to see everyone so hyped up! I ended up leaving a little early, because I really didn’t want a repeat of the ride there, but what I did see was pretty cool.

The weekend after the soccer game was my final big excursion with my program, a trip to the Loire Valley! This was definitely my favorite part of the trip so far! I mean what girl doesn’t want to live their childhood dream of being a princess? 🙂 We left bright and early (7:30am!) on Saturday morning and rode directly to the first castle on the agenda, Blois. Blois is really cool because it is composed of 4 totally different architectural styles because it was built in phases by different people. It was also really cool because the inside was restored in the 1800s, so it still had a sense of luxury, but it was also cool that the tour guide pointed out the little inaccuracies of the restoration.

After a lunch in the market surrounding Blois, we headed to Chenonceau. This was definitely my favorite castle! It was the most “princess-ey” looking. It was also really nice inside because they had it decorated with gorgeous arrangements of flowers that smelled amazing. They also had decorated the kitchen with all sorts of pots and pans from that era. For those of you that know me, you know that I was in heaven seeing all that pretty kitchen equipment! Outside the castle there were also some pretty gardens as well as a small maze that was off in the forest a little bit. My friend accurately said that it felt like we were in Ever After!

After Chenonceau we went to a winery where we got to taste lots of delicious wine. I had never really tried wine before, besides the kind we’ve used to cook with, so this was quite different. I’m not sure if they just tasted better as I tried more, but I actually liked most all of the ones we tried! I bought bottle of a really sweet one to bring back to my family 🙂

So that was Saturday of the trip. After a nice night in a hotel, we got up Sunday and went to Chambord. Chambord was built as a hunting lodge for the king and his buddies to go to and is pretty cool because the top of it is designed to look like a skyline. The most famous thing about Chambord is the double spiral staircase inside that is thought to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci. The tour guide told us that the staircase was useful because the king at the time, Francois 1er, was a big ladies man, so he could send one mistress down and have another one come up at the same time and they would never run into each other on the staircase! At Chambord, we got to row about around the river/moat and also got to ride bikes around it. I think that was definitely my favorite part was the bikes because it was great weather and just perfectly picturesque!

Close to the castle was a famous cookie factory that we also got to visit! We tasted several of their famous types of cookies that have been around for hundreds of years along with some Chambord liqueur. One of the ways they told us to try it was to dip an orange flavored cookie into the Chambord to let it soak some up. Let me just tell you: YUM! I am getting so many ideas for things to bake when I get back from this trip! I am almost to the half way point in the trip now. While I’m enjoying myself, I am definitely happy that the time is going by so that I will be able to come home to see my family, friends, and boyfriend! As always, thanks for reading!

-Callie Smith

You can visit her blog site to view pictures from her trip: http://calliersmith.blogspot.com/2011/10/le-faux-football.html

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