Going to France for a week with an Estonian. After trying to visit for the first time Slovenia, and then to organize couple of days in Italy, it is finally my country that we had resting and holidays after both finishing our working contracts.
Mello and Cramoisy
We stayed in France for more than a week, it was for Laura the first time that she visited my country. Our first days was centred on the little villages of my region that are accessible by walk.
We had the first day a small tour in Cramoisy to see my childhood school and our small church. We also have been to Mello because it is for me more picturesque village around. For her it was nearly the same because local constructions in Picardy are all using a lot of white limestone.
In France my family has many dogs and cats, making my visitors feeling like having reached the heaven. All dogs and cats love to be petted. For an short evening we took all dogs to the lake of Saint Waast to swim (not us, just them). What a mess, all happy and running everywhere. Luckily the youngest was trained and liked to swim back and forth with her wooden stick!
Discovering the city of the magical castle
Chantilly is the only city I have shown to every person that came to France. It is because this place has something special, the view on the castle is very lovely and the area surrounding the park is green and majestic.
We were walking along the channel and the Grandes Ecuries and talked while seeing some horsemen passing us. We also saw the back of the castle on the road to Vineuil Saint Firmin where is a small square with benches and… a lot of animal such donkeys, horses…
Two days in the French capital
At first I thought to have a tough planing with Laura to show a lot of France, then I rapidly realized that she preferred to see less but enjoy more. On our first days, we have been to Paris two times.
Discovering Parisian parks
Getting the train from Creil to Paris and then using the metro for the first time to reach the center of the Capital where we hang out and discovered several parks. Laura wanted to see one of famous Parisian museum. We went to Pompidou Centre to see it didn’t get inside. On its square saw the fountains decorated and then continue to the Town Hall building.
She especially loves the Luxembourg Palace and Gardens. On chairs we sat to look around people passing and making photos. There was also a large map about the 1914-1918 war and I point out some cities we could see in the next days. Near the entrance we also had a break at the fountain, it look very romantic and peaceful.
We have been to the Our Lady Cathedral and make photos. There was so many tourists. However it is cold or warm, they never miss a occasion to camp on the Cathedral square.
I led her to a street of the Latin quarter that I like for its restaurant and we had lunch, I managed to make her taste our national stereotypical dish: snails! I didn’t find the English book-store but it wasn’t a problem.
Parisian river decks are full of merchants, they sell souvenirs, random painting and other books. We walked along them until the Art School and the Bridge of Locks. Passing on it we arrived at Louvres and – good thing – the Tuilleries gardens. At the Louvres pyramid we sat for a while because it was very nice there! Leading in direction of the Eiffel Tower we passed on the Concord square and the Alexander bridge.
We finish this day with laying on the March field looking at the Eiffel Tower at night. It was very pretty, and a lot of people was doing the same, chatting to each other and drinking happily. I do not see such good atmosphere in this place very often.
Meeting a friend at Rive Droite
The day after we came back to Paris and met with Alan. He was my second French guy with who I had amazing time in Erasmus, she met after Adrien last winter.
We stayed this day on the right bank of the Seine. As Alan met us at Gare du Nord we could easily go to Montmartre, located not far from this train station. This place had more people than usual but we still could find a place in the green slop to lay and enjoy the sun, talking and sharing experience about Erasmus. We also visited the Basilica, no photo were allowed but yep… nobody cares.
We couldn’t find a restaurant open in Montmartre and we decided to take a metro to reach Les Halles. Delicious lunch in restaurant-pour-touristes. Then we went to the Town Hall square and the Saint Jacques tower and park. After a passage by a beer shop we sat by the Palm fountain to drink them. They weren’t refrigerated but still good.
From the Louvres to the Champs Elysée avenue, Laura was surprised by the amount of tourists as well as by all those first class brand shops.
We got to Arc de Triomphe and it was almost time to say goodbye, Alan having a more complex way to return to his home than we had. Together we went to Pigale to see « this » and we got into the metro 7 which stop in both of our train station (North and East). Back home we had dinner and fun time with dogs again 🙂
Pic-nic in Royal Senlis and beers in the Imperial Compiègne
Senlis is the prettiest town of Picardy, nice streets, looking very old and authentic and it has in addition many gardens and parks. This is a really cute place to spend time in summer.
With Laura we shopped and had a pic-nic on the Royal Gardens, then we made a tour in the old town and visited the oldest Gothic cathedral of France (supposedly).
Before going back to Cramoisy, I offered Laura to see Compiègne, its old town and park. When we arrived the park was unfortunately closed, we were not yet in the summer timetables.
We sat on a bench in front of the palace and drank a delicious Delirium beer. Then we have been exploring the old town and I explained her a little about the history of my region and specially this city. Jeanne d’Arc, the town hall bell tower statues etc…
I haven’t time to visit the Pierrefonds castle, but we had to make choice…
I had a very good time back home and – more important – Laura also enjoyed her holidays. I did my best to show the good side of France and of Picardy and there I could really easily introduce her to our cultural singularity, unique food and beautiful architecture.