French Society Goes On Tour
Being part of societies is undoubtedly fun. Whether you enjoy Argentine Tango or Music and Theatre, Warwick always has a society to spark your interest and get you involved. As I study French, I thought it wise to join French Society. In this close knit of people, I get involved in activities such as CCF (Club de Conversation Francaise), watching classic French films such as Amélie, and circling, which is a good time spent by all.
However, I think that this group activity by far surpasses any that I have ever taken part in previously. This weekend, with the French Society, I went to Paris. *screams in excitement* I am writing this on the Monday after the crazy, crazy weekend, yet I still can’t believe that it has actually happened. I keep scrolling through all of the thousands of photos I took of the Eiffel Tower, the sculptures inside the Musée D’Orsay, and the tons of food I ate…and seeing it all just makes me hungry and nostalgic. So read on if you want to go down memory lane with me! (If we can really call it that already).
It’s Friday Week 5 and I’m panicking. It’s 6am, I’ve had a substantial breakfast of an apple and a yogurt that I’m pretty sure had gone out of date (though, can yogurt really go out of date when it is already basically gone off milk? Who knows). I’m meant to be meeting everyone in Bluebell carpark at 6:30am but where are my keys? This is a typical panic of mine, as usual. I’ve had about ten missed calls from my best friend who is also going on the trip with me and who is threatening to tell the coach to leave without me if I don’t get down there right this minute. In a state of utter bewilderness and exasperation I run down my four flights of stairs, out the front door and into the bitter crisp February air. Whilst mid jog I grab my phone to take a cheeky morning Snapchat and what do my fingers wrap around? My keys. In my coat pocket. Brilliant.
On the coach, we spent the majority of our time sleeping, which makes the 12 hour journey slightly more bearable. The excitement starts to truly kick in when we get on the ferry and have the option to pay in Euros as well as Pounds. No cares are given about the poor interest rate as contactless cards are flashed here and there as the majority of people have forgotten to get Euros out. But who cares? It’s the start of Reading week and everyone’s having a good old laugh.
The youth hostel we were staying at wasn’t too shabby either. For the price we paid for the transport and accommodation (a grand total of £105), I think it was actually pretty decent for what we got. It was right in the center of Paris, only a few minutes walk from the local supermarket G20 and an even shorter distance to the bars (now that’s what I’m talking about). The dorms were split for boys and girls and each room fit eight people in them. Duvets were provided yet we had to make our own beds using the sheets provided, and let me tell you, I was shocked by the amount of people who had no clue how to make a bed. But anyway, I digress.
On the Friday night, we got to the hostel at around 6pm and after unpacking our luggage and a quick nap, we rushed to the closest Pizzeria. Oh, I do love going to Paris and embracing French culture! After a rushed Margarita or two we joined the execs and trekked around a night-fallen Paris in search of some bars to invade. The first was called Bar des halles which was absolutely delightful as we had rented out the whole downstairs ‘cavane’ to ourselves. There were candles and fairy lights used as decoration and the waiters were very attentive. I had a few cocktails and a very strong gin and tonic, and whilst some of my friends decided to go on to another bar, my friendship group and I thought it wise to head back to our hostel. We did this, eventually, but on our way back we took a little detour to see a little church which looked beautiful at night.
The next day, we all woke up at 8am and went down for a continental style breakfast. My friend Kyle had planned the whole day for us which was very helpful as we managed to get a lot done in a short amount of time. Our first stop was the Louvre, where we spent ages admiring the artwork. Spoiler: the Mona Lisa is really tiny. Our next stop was la Toure de Montparnasse. By showing your student card, one can enter for 9 euros which is a lot cheaper than how much it costs to go up the Eiffel Tower (15 euros) and as it is a taller building one is able to see a lot more of Paris. We then slowly made our way back to the hostel, passing by Latin Quarter which we all spent a lot of time in. It was a beautiful place to reflect in about our day. That evening, we all went out to a pub again and drunk a lot of Pinot Noir, which we discovered is a very nice wine at a very cheap price. Santé!
On our last and final day, my friendship group and I decided it would be best to explore the ‘real’ Paris, avoiding most touristy areas. That said, our first stop was the Musée D’Orsay where I found my new favourite artwork, La Naissance de Venus, which I stared at in wonder for a solid 15 mins. Instead of going for a typical touristy place for lunch, we wandered off into unexplored alleys and found a rather nice restaurant where we heard no English voices apart from our own. Our waiter was typically Parisian, if you know what I mean, and unlike our first rushed meal on day one, we spent a long time savouring our food and talking to each other. It felt very un-British to sit down and make meal time something sociable rather than just for the sake of eating, and I feel that this trip has made me appreciate the social aspect of the activity. We finally managed to pull ourselves out of our comfortable chairs and went to a well-spoken of Patisserie shop named Laudurée. Many of us bought Macaroons, which were shockingly overpriced yet very aesthetically pleasing (great for the Instagram feed). I must admit that I bought myself one mini Macaroon for the price of 2 euros 10 just to get the cute bag that goes with it.
After a Mcdonald’s dinner (yes, we gave in to our cravings), we headed back to our coach that set off at 10pm to take us back to campus for 6am. It wasn’t surprising how we all just collapsed onto our chairs and fell asleep due to sheer exhaustion (apart from the driver..I hope he didn’t nap whilst at the wheel). All in all the trip was a great success, and I really do hope that French Society does something like this again. I might apply to be part of the exec team for next year just to try and organise something similar like this for future students, and have as much fun as I did this weekend!