Touring Tours

France is one topsy-turvy world; not only is it a place where Wham’s Last Christmas is broadcast across the airwaves mid-Spring (I have began to realise that France has the same dedication to language learning as we do in the UK) and where April Fools involves sticking paper fish on people’s backs but time appears to run at a different pace to the rest of the world. I have barely arrived, I have only managed a measly two entries in this here blog, yet we are already ploughing through the Easter holidays, diving headlong into the wind down to the end of classes, the beginning of exams and the end…of the end.

I can at least salvage something from this somewhat triste situation in which I find myself by supplying you with a bumper catch up on all things françaises.

I currently find myself, however, residing on the fairer isle, after having hitched a free lift home with some visiting parentals. Last week was, therefore, filled with the delights of being able to eat in restaurants, feeling truly touristy and a car – greatly appreciated in a country where the pattern of bus/train strikes seems to run on a weekly rota.*

Before I continue, I should, perhaps, provide some background on the area of France that is my temporary home. Tours, a one time capital and famed for the perfection of its spoken French is nestled in the middle of the Loire Valley. This area is synonymous not only with wine but also the châteaux. The x is most important here as it signifies the plurality of said châteaux, and by plurality we’re talking a good three hundred. This has somewhat influenced any tourist activity I have embarked on here; the list of Erasmus trips were quite heavy on boat tours, coach tours, bike tours (you get the idea) to visit some of the most famous châteaux and in the four days that my family were here we managed to keep our average at a respectful one a day, covering Amboise, Chinon, Azay le Rideau and Le Mans.

As much as the châteaux c an be both beautiful and interesting (Chenonceau, on the left, fitting that description perfectly), there is only so many you can appreciate, so thankfully, helped along by a generous portion of sunshine, the Loire Valley provided plent y of other family friendly attractions.

From wine tasting and cheese themed restaurants, to fifty kilometer round trips à velo and adventures in the trees (like Go Ape, for those of you are familiar with the English version, but seemingly minus many of the health and safety regulations) via a few troglodyte cave farms, it was four days of increased intake and output that gave me an even greater appreciation of this corner of the world. A corner in which I can hide from the realities of a degree and actual work for just one more month. C’est vraiment triste.

*Facebook group of the day: Un jour les français domineront le monde, mais pas demain, y a grève, or, One day the French will dominate the world, but not tomorrow, there’s a strike

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