Firstly, I apologise for my lack of posts in the what, last three weeks? It feels like time has been going three times faster than it does in England, and what with school, lesson planning, day trips and many evenings socialising [read: drinking wine and beer – yes, I now drink beer!] I have barely had a free moment (except to catch-up on Downton Abbey of course!). So I’m going to try to keep it short and sweet this time and give you the latest on my French cultural life:
A couple of weekends ago we decided that it was about time that we experienced how the other half lives, cue, Cannes! It’s only just over an hour away on the TGV so nice and easy to get to, and not too expensive with the youth railcard (absolute god-send, I recommend it to everyone that comes to France!). It was amazing weather, despite being October, so we made the most of it and spent the afternoon on the beach and in the sea. We did have a wistful window-shop before leaving to get the train, but even Zara felt more expensive than normal, especially when Ferraris are driving along the street outside!
Again, this weekend, we continued to ‘make the most of our time in France’ with a trip to Saint Tropez. Although it looks close on the map, the coach journey from Toulon ended up being over two-hours long, though it only cost 2€ each way so I can’t really complain! Out of season the town was gorgeous, with a gorgeous journey there along the coast. It just so happened that our trip coincided with the ‘Porsche Paradis’ event, so we arrived to be confronted with about 200 Porsche in one car park – so bizarre! Anyway, there were lots of little side streets (which I adore) to explore, we found a cheaper version of Sephora (Kiko – definitely now my favourite) and I tried my first macaroon (new mission: try as many flavours as possible before Christmas!): successful trip, je crois! According to the Daily Mail, Jude Law was also chilling there over the weekend…how did we miss him??
This week I was also lucky enough to get a free ticket for the générale (dress rehearsal) of ‘Carmen’ at Toulon Opéra, thanks to my mentor teacher whose partner plays the trumpet in the orchestra. It was my first trip to see an opera and I have to say, it was very enjoyable! The actual opera house itself is beautiful (the first try for the architect who designed Le Palais Garnier in Paris, apparently), there were French subtitles so everyone could follow the story and I had great company! As it was a dress rehearsal, the director could stop the performance at any point: this actually ended up happening – so bizarre!
Jonny Wilkinson (and his nice bum):
Being in Toulon would have been a waste of time if we hadn’t gone to watch a match played by their beloved RCT, given that all the buses change their signs to ‘Allez RCT’ on match days! So on Sunday we braved the weather and went to watch Toulon vs Montpellier. The atmosphere was great, although I had no idea what was going on except when Jonny took a free kick (if this exists in rugby?) and when we won the match! However, we did have to sit with our umbrellas up for the whole match – apparently the cheapest tickets don’t include roofing…
These last few weeks have also included a lot of cheap wine (average price: 2.50 euros a bottle!), a lactose coma in the form of fondue, the delights of French cinema, ridiculous riviera storms, taking the boat-buses across the bay and being followed by marines…there’s just too much to write down!
A la prochaine fois – I’ll try not to leave it so long next time!