Surprise, I went to France! For those of you who don’t know, I went to France for 10 days after my study abroad trip to Athens to visit L and his family. For reasons you’ll discover in a few minutes, I’ve had to keep the trip on the DL since around February, so therefore, I didn’t talk about it on the blog. Now that I’m home, I’m excited to share some the highlight reel of my time in France with y’all. I’m going to kick it back to an blog style I’ve used in the past; please enjoy 10 beautiful/exciting/wonderful moments from my 10 days in France that made my trip oh so lovely.
Day 1 (5/25): Reunited
Honestly nothing is sweeter than being reunited with the one you love ❤
Day 2 (5/26): L’s Favorite Food
After a beautiful night of rest and a nice and slow Sunday morning, L and I went to out to lunch at a place called Restaurant La Patte d’Oie. Wow – on the off chance that you ever find yourself in Oudan, France, do yourself a favor and go! It is unbelievably good. The best part is that when you choose the fixed menu option, you get access to a buffet of appetizers and fresh, house-made foie gras for free (aka: L’s favorite food). Needless to say, we both left feeling stuffed and happy.
Day 3 (5/27): Best Hamburgers Ever
On Monday night, one of my former colleagues (and L’s current colleague and friend) invited he and I over for dinner where she served us hamburgers and fries. While I am by no means a connoisseur of hamburgers, this was probably the best one I’ve ever had in my entire life. I’m not sure what about it made it so amazing, but it was. Honestly, I never thought I’d say that about American food made in France, but I guess you never know when something will surprise you.
Day 4 (5/28): Surprise!
Now for the whole reason I had to keep this trip on the DL: I decided back in February that I really wanted to surprise L’s whole family by showing up with him for his long weekend at home. Since his sister reads the blog (love you!) and I’m connected with his whole family on social media, I didn’t say anything about my post-Greece plans and L stayed extremely vague about it all anytime his family members would ask about it. In the end, our plans worked out amazingly well and we pulled it off! Their reactions of shock, joy, and excitement were just too good for words.
Day 5 (5/29): Fresh Strawberries & the Big Fish
If there is one thing that L’s hometown is known for, it’s growing an abundance of fresh fruit during the summer months. On Wednesday afternoon, I got my first taste (both figuratively and literally) of how serious the people of Thurins take their fruit growing. L’s mom, sister, L, and myself took a quick car ride to a nearby field owned by their family friend. With a huge fruit crate in tow, we spent less than 10 minutes picking (and eating!) fresh strawberries right off the vine. Between the four of us, we were able to fill the crate (and out stomachs 🙂 ) in no time at all. They were definitley some of the best strawberries I’ve ever had.
Just after our strawberry excursion, we headed over to a nearby pond where “beau-papa” was spending his afternoon fishing. Just as we arrived, I told L, “I want to see some action!” (knowing full and well that ‘fishing’ and ‘action’ don’t very well do into the same sentence), but low and behold, we got action! The individual that L’s dad was fishing with got something on his line and after 5ish minutes of working the pole, he managed to successfully reel in a huge cod. The picture doesn’t do it justice – for reference, from the mouth to the gills was about the length of one whole hand. It was quite the impressive catch.
Day 6 (5/30): Driving Lessons
After being in France last year and being (lovingly) picked on by my friends and colleagues for not understanding how to drive stick, I added item #82) Learn how to drive a manual transmission car, to my bucket list. After countless hours spent in L’s passenger seat observing and changing the gears for him during long drives (albeit, with the wrong hand), I figured it was about time I bite the bullet and try it for myself.
We had had one short lesson back in January 2017 that resulted in me stalling the car more times than I can remember. Thankfully L, being the wonderful and patient teacher that he is, allowed me to give it another shot. I could not tell you now many times I circled that empty parking lot, but it was all worth it because I (finally) got the hang of it! While I never got past the third gear, nor did I actually drive on a road, I still count it as a success.
Day 7 (5/31): Long Walks
Unexpectedly, Friday ended up being what I would call a perfect “family day”. L, P, and I spent the morning shopping and enjoyed lunch at a fun restaurant called “Flunch” (which stands for ‘fast lunch’… their really killing it with the creativity over here in France). In the early afternoon we played a few board games and then in the later afternoon we went on an epically long, 2+ hour walk around Thurins. There was lots of fun, lots of laughs, and it was just an overall beautiful day.
Day 8 (6/1): Dégustation
We woke up bright and early Saturday to accompany two of L’s soon-to-be-married friends on what turned out to be an all-day dégustation at various different wineries across the region. The group was tasked with the nearly impossible task of choosing the perfect wines for their wedding, which I will be the first to tell you is not easy when so many people have so many different tastes. While I won’t be able to attend the actually ceremony, it was nice to be included in the festivities.
Day 9 (6/2): Hillsong Lyon & Family Lunch
As per our usual Sunday tradition when in Lyon, L and I went to a Hillsong service (amazing, as always) and met up with the rest of the family afterwards for lunch. Even though it was our last day all together for many months, we were all happy to be together again (and, of course, be eating our favorite Chinese food).
Day 10 (6/3): Off to Paris
After a tearful goodbye at the Clamecy train station, I headed off to Paris on Monday morning and spent the afternoon in the city before my flight home the next day. I spent the afternoon without any particular plan. After moseying along, I found myself by the Notre Dame and the Shakespeare and Co. bookstore, and decidedly spent a good bit of the afternoon looking through bookshelves, staring at what remains of the Notre Dame, and walking along the river. While it was by no means an adventurous day in the city, it was exactly the day I needed.
Thanks for reading and check back soon for more.
Until next time,