Honoré de Balzac, famous 19th century writer born in Tours. His portrait hangs in Tours' Musée des Beaux-Arts
It's nice to have helpful program directors here who are more than willing to offer insider tips whenever possible. Like when they us sitting around writing postcards to send home, they will come over, strike up a conversation and suggest that if we have yet to buy stamps, we'll be better off heading to a tabac (a small store selling coffee, the newspaper, cigarettes, etc.) than going into the logical place one would go to find stamps, the post office, where the dreaded & miserable government employees await. All in all, I would have to say that figuring out the basics of integrating into French society was made way easier in a smaller city!
I found out yesterday that I'll be living in the 20th arrondissement. Paris is divided into administrative districts called "arrondissements" (from the French verb arrondir, meaning "to make round/to round out") which start in the heart of the city and spiral outwards like a snail's shell. There are 20 of them in Paris proper, with the smaller numbers closer to the center and larger ones, like my #20!, further towards the city limits. My schools, the Sweet Briar College building and Universite de Paris III - Sorbonne Nouvelle, are located in the 6th and 5th, respectively. With the metro conveniently located just outside my house, it's only about a 20 minute commute from home to school, which is less than I had to walk each day here in Tours to get to school.
|Paris & its arrondissements|
I will be living here with a husband and wife whose grown children no longer live at home, as well as with another student on my program, Eric, who I happened to become good friends with right off the bat! Our host mother teaches studio art at a local high school and is a free-lance painter, and our host father is the director of development at a large company. It will be exciting to see what our home for the next 4 months is like!
I had a very positive experience with my hostess Aurélie here in Tours (I hesitate to call her my host mother as she just turned 30 last week!) and am hoping my next home is just as welcoming. We shared some delicious mixed drinks tonight over dinner made of passion fruit liqueur and orange juice and she gave me a book called "Carnages" by Maxime Chattam...it's a police thriller (an extremely popular genre with the French) set in Harlem, of all places! We had talked about what types of books we liked one night at dinner, so she said she set out on a mission to find the perfect one for me - how nice!
|Enjoying more cold drinks at a café, very typical of our days here!|