The First Five Days in France

I am finally, finally, finally getting around to writing my France travel blogs! For some reason, my blogging motivation has been in the negatives since I graduated; today, we are kicking it in the butt and getting back into the blogging grind.

I will be recapping my three weeks of travel in four blog posts which will go up over the next four weeks. For now, please enjoy this recap of my first five days back in France!

December 17th-18th: Chicago, Illinois -> Clamecy, France

I stated this in the blog that went up the day that I left for France (you can read that one here), but it took me approximately 9 minutes from walking into the airport to get my bag checked, walk through security, and be cleared to fly – it took me more time to walk to my gate than it did to do anything else. Since I had an hour and a half to spare before I boarded, I quickly wrote a blog post, then walked up and down the terminal in search of an early dinner; since I was flying IcelandAir and they don’t serve meals, I knew I needed something to get me through the next 6 hours.

I have always seen these Farmers Fridge vending machines at O’hare but never wanted to spend the money on it. However, pro tip for you all: you can get half off your first order by following some instructions on the machines, so that is exactly what I did. I got a salad with extra chicken and it was pretty dang good.

It was finally time to board, so I settled in and immediately started watching Finding Dory for the first time (so cute!). When the movie was over, I slept for a few hours and randomly awoke to see the flippin’ NORTHERN LIGHTS right outside my window!! Since we had a layover in Iceland, the flight path was a lot further north than any I’ve ever been on before. I figured there was a smidgen of a chance I might see them, but honestly, I was in shock when I woke up to see them. The pictures aren’t the best – it was hard to capture on camera with the light from the wing – but it was honestly breathtaking.

It was magical and I hope to see them again someday! And as if the flight views could get any better, I also witnessed a beautiful sunrise on the flight from Iceland to Paris.

I landed in Paris around noon, and again, made it through the airport in about 20 minutes so I had about 2 hours to spare until my BlaBlaBus picked me up from CDG to take me to Auxerre. What was supposed to be a 3 to 3 1/2 hour bus ride turned into a 5-hour bus ride because of the terrible traffic in Paris. Thankfully, I made friends with a woman while we were waiting for the bus and talked pretty much the entire time from Paris to Auxerre. She was such an amazing person and it was cool to make connections with another American who has such rich and deep ties to France.

Enfin, I arrived in Auxerre and was reunited with my love ❤ As if seeing him wasn’t beautiful enough, he also outdid himself with the flower arrangement this time around.

The pure and silly joy of being reunited once again.

Thursday, December 19: Clamecy, France

After nearly 12 glorious hours of sleep, I spent Thursday relaxing and organizing my suitcase while I waited for L to get home from work. When he did get home, we went to a wine bar in Clamecy for a glass of red before getting ready and heading back to the high school for the annual winter dance.

As per usual, we had a beautiful dinner and spent an amazing night talking to colleagues, hanging out/supervising the students, and dancing of course 🙂

Friday, December 20: Clamecy -> Obernai

We couldn’t leave Clamecy on Friday morning without first enjoying breakfast in bed. This is honestly one of my favorite little traditions/rituals we do on the weekends.

We hit the road toward Obernai to spend the weekend with L’s sister (P) and her boyfriend (Dri) around 8am.

One of the perks of not driving: you get to sleep. One of the cons? You get caught in the act with a terribly unflattering photo (thanks, babe)

We made it to Obernai! We had a very chill afternoon of eating and playing board games while we waited for the rain to stop so we could visit the Christmas markets.

The four of us embarked on a pre-dinner stroll through the markets and they were just as beautiful and charming this year as they were the last. And of course, we had to get my first vin chaud of the season.

After our walk, we went back to the apartment for dinner and what else? An evening of board games of course!

Saturday, December 21: Obernai & Strasbourg

We had a chill Saturday morning that consisted of a late breakfast and an epic game of Ticket to Ride. After we ate lunch, we got ready and L, P, and I went to the Strasbourg Christmas Market. Sadly, Dri couldn’t join us since he had to get ready for an orchestra concert (more on that later), but we still had a good time exploring.

Unlike last year, the crowds this year were absolutely I N S A N E. I’m sure that is because a lot of the tension has worn off from the shooting in Strasbourg last holiday season, but it was honestly shocking to see so many people. The more, the merrier though!

We treated ourselves to pretzels and vin chaud (what else would we get??) as a “meandering around the markets” snack.

I am very, very thankful for my new phone because the triple-lens on the iPhone 11 is unreal. I was able to get some cool and interesting shots during this trip because of it – plus my photo quality has increased substantially with the upgrade. Thanks again, Mom and Dad ❤

We were only in Strasbourg for an hour and a half before we left for the orchestra concert. Fun fact: P’s boyfriend (Dri) is a very talented upright bass player! We got to go to his group’s performance and (a) it was super fun and (b) they are so insanely talented. L and I loved being the slightly obnoxious ones in the crowd quietly chanting his nickname after the performance.

Once the concert was over, we went back to P’s apartment and had a lovely dinner, some fun rosé champagne to celebrate my graduation, and another night of board games.

Sunday, December 22: Obernai -> Thurins, France

Our Sunday morning, much like Saturday, was super chill. We drank coffee, talked, and played board games (what’s new). We made brunch together and then L and I embarked on the 5-hour drive to his parent’s home in Thurins, France.

Overall, my first five days in France were beautiful and so, so special. There is something remarkable about being reunited with the person you love and doing life together after spending so much time apart. I love you, L.

Thanks for reading my first of four recaps on my time in France and check back next week for more.

Until next time,


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