The three days since my last post make up my second weekend in France. At the end of the day on Friday, we went to a small movie theater in the center of Aix to see a movie named Le Congrès (or The Congress as it will be called when it reaches North American theaters in 2014) that was featured at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. It was interesting to learn about the variety of ways in which movies are made to suit a French audience. Some movies are English with French subtitles, others have French dubbed over the normally English speaking actors, and others are simply made in French and geared more toward the native audience.
Saturday after having lunch and visiting a prehistory museum, we went to Quinson Lake to go kayaking, one of my favorite activities of the trip. There were plenty of friendly boaters and kayakers, and the view from the water of the surrounding mountains was a sight to behold. Despite the water’s incredibly low temperature (especially to a native Floridian like myself), a couple of us took the opportunity to go for a swim. That night, all of the students in our group went to a café in Aix to meet with the director of Abbey Road Programs, Dr. Arthur Kian, and practice our speaking. We learned some colloquial French terms and had a great time chatting, giving feedback on the program, and drinking our coffee or tea.
As I am finishing this blog post, we have just returned from the Bastille Day festivities. Earlier in the day we took a relaxing trip to the beach…
But the real fun came with the sunset. As it started to get dark, more and more people gathered in front of the large concert hall where the most amazing fireworks display I have ever seen would take place. The streets were cordoned off, and there must have been thousands of people there to watch. I have seen many fireworks displays, from a homemade display to the ones at Disney, but none can compare to the display in Aix. After the fireworks, the crowd flooded to the main street in Aix called “Le Cours Mirabeau” where various stages were set up with DJs, singers, and dancers. Something I noticed was that everywhere, people of all age groups were mixed and enjoying the same music and celebrations: something seldom seen in the U.S. where parties are typically separated by age demographic. I thought it was nice to see all the people of Aix come together to celebrate an important day in the history of France.
All in all, it was a great weekend that I will likely remember for the rest of my life. -Brandon