If you are like me and like a glass of wine, then you are probably aware that France really understands wine. I would recommend that if you visit France you visit a vineyard with wine tours and tastings. This past Wednesday, the program that helps me become more immersed in French culture, l’Institut Méditerranéen de Langues et Services (The Institute of Mediterranean Languages and Services), offered an excursion to a local vineyard for a wine tour and tasting. We went to le Château de Flaugergues and let me tell you it did not disappoint. It was this lovely château, just outside of Montpellier, with beautiful gardens and nice wine. The first thing we did was exploring the gardens then once that was over we had the chance to learn about tasting wines and then, of course, try some of their wines. I typically prefer red wines but le Château de Flaugergue had surprised me with their white wine. But while the vineyard was fun I’ve also been able to explore a more of France.
This past weekend I had gone with my Danish friend, Jens, to Pézenas. Pézenas is a cozy countryside city just about an hour outside of Montpellier. It is quaint and nice with a great market on Saturdays. It also has a beautiful countryside that all you need to do to get to it crossing a cute quaint bridge. One thing I didn’t know about Pézenas until I got there was that it has a lot of history with the famous French author, Molière. Molière is kind of the French Shakespeare, he often wrote many plays making fun of the nobles but, never king so he wouldn’t get in trouble. Last year in my French class we had actually read his play, l’École des Femmes, and while it wasn’t my favorite book I have ever read it was cool to spend a weekend in a town that inspired several of Molière’s plays.
I have also taken a few day trips to Nîmes and Marseille. I was able to take a last-minute train out to Nîmes for a day at the end of September. Nîmes is a very cool and old French city with a lot of Roman influences. And we were there for a bullfighting festival, but we all agreed that we did not want to watch the bull lose so we just enjoy the people food and drinks. As for Marseille, it was another excursion and we had a very historical tour of the city, our tour guide even gave us his rendition of the French national anthem, La Marseillaise… it was only a little weird to stand in the middle of the street and hear a man sign to a crowd of tourist. But now I know what the anthem sounds like with all the passion a French man could give to it.
Each place I get to visit here in France has all of these cool nuances and a special pizazz about their place and culture that are so fascinating to me but, until I travel a little more that’s all I have for this post. All I can do is keep learning more about Europe and the people here in my little corner of the world.
À la prochaine!