Bonjour! It’s Matt and Maisie coming at ya live from Montpellier!!!
Yesterday we had a free lazy Sunday to relax a little bit, and everyone took advantage of the opportunity. For the most part, we decided to explore Montpellier and see the goings on around town during the weekend. A highlight of the day was definitely the flea market that we came across in la Place de Peyroux. This is one of our favorite spots in the city. It is a large courtyard with a beautiful view, lots of sunlight, and lots of grassy spots to sit. Usually, we just enjoy the sun and watch the people, but yesterday we happened to stumble into a flea market! There were tables surrounding the entire courtyard all covered with different sorts of antiques and trinkets for sale. The items we saw ranged from small pieces of jewelry, to books, to photographs, to clothes, and all sorts of other truc (french for ‘stuff’). It was pretty similar to farmers markets or flea markets that we had been to in the U.S.A. where people sell food and other sorts of things, but this one specifically had an air of antiquity. For example, we found a bin filled completely with prints from the early 1900s from all over Europe. Some were newspaper clippings, some were postcards, some where photographs, but they were all in mint condition and for sale for very cheap! It was also a very unique place to purchase presents for friends and family at home (wink wink, look out for those!). While browsing, we got to practice our french and chat a little bit with the vendors. It was a little difficult at points, but it was interesting to learn about the products they were selling and the history behind them. In conclusion, it was a fantastic experience because we really felt like we were soaking up the culture of Montpellier.
Once people at the flea market started to wrap up, we decided to make our way over to le Jardin du Champ de Mars for a little relaxation and homework period. Several of us sat in a circle, listened to music, journaled, and observed the park. This park seems to be the place where most of the young people hang out in their free time (probably because it is right next to the high school). It’s cool to watch other groups of teens and see how their group dynamics function similarly to ours. Like parks we’ve frequented at home, there are groups of teens sitting and talking, playing music, and simply having fun. During the day, this park is also very family friendly. There are people walking their dogs, children playing on the playground, and people feeding the ducks in the pond. The vibe is very similar to places like the Boston Common, and thus we felt very comfortable and integrated into french teen society.
Another place we enjoy visiting is le Jardin des Plantes. It is exactly what it sounds like: a beautiful botanical garden with paths to walk through and places to sit. All the plants are labeled with their scientific names because it used to be used by la Faculte de Medecine for herbal treatments. We can’t really draw any parallels to places like this in the U.S., so it’s always a pretty unique experience to go there, as well as beautiful! It was one of the first places we went to our first weekend here and we hope that we will continue to go there because it is such a lovely place.
After a nice relaxing weekend, today we went back to school and classes. Everyday after our 3 hour class, we all have lunch as a group, and today at lunch, Awa and Diana presented us with what our final project will be for the course! In groups of 3 we will choose a place of importance in Montpellier, such as the gardens, a museum, or even a zoo, and we get to research it and become experts on it. At the end of our time here, each group will present their place to the group and give them a little guided tour! In our opinion, this project is a great way for us to interact with Montpellier and gain some local knowledge. We are excited to get started on this project soon (fingers crossed we get to do the zoo!!).
Until next time, this is Maisie and Matt signing off!