Bretagne & Bordeaux: Experiencing France For My First Time


Experiencing new destinations is always exciting for me. I love discovering new places, new cultures and also meeting new people. Because I have been studying French language at my high school for 8 years already, one of my biggest wishes was to visit France. And my dream came true in September 2011. 

When we got a chance to be a part of school excursion to France in 2011, I immediately knew it was that chance you just can´t "let go" and you have to take it. Fortunately, my application was one of the first ones, so my place at the excursion was reserved and all what remained was just countdown the days. I can honestly say that the next four months were pure "hell" for me, because I was looking forward so much and just a few days before the departure, I almost didn´t sleep. My bus mate was my good friend from my class (Hey Lucka!) and basically, there were only three of us from my class. Others were either older or younger. So if we argued with my room/bus mate about something, then it was absolutely difficult to find somebody else to talk with - that was actually good reason why not to argue with her.

When we crossed the borders and we arrived to France, I felt that feeling of excitement and satisfaction of fulfilling my dreams. My eyes were attracted by the little villages, gorgeous castles and beautiful nature. Our first days were spent all around Bordeaux, city settled on the west coast of France. We walked around the city centre, churches and cathedrals, including the best known places such as Place de la Bourse, Pont de Pierre, Esplanade des Quinconces or Cathédrale Saint-André. I would really love to tell you more about it, but I barely remember every monument or street we visited (I actually thought I even somehow lost all photos, but I happily found them in one folder on my dad´s notebook) so I´m able to post here some of them. But the places named above are definitely worth to visit and if you have more than one or two days, just make a sightseeing all around. Bordeaux is nice city and there are many things to do and I think I even don´t have to mention that there are plenty of vineyards all around the city, so lovers of wine, pack your bags and make a small trip to Bordeaux.

We spent a lot of time being carried by bus to many interesting spots placed on the west coast of France, especially Bretagne, Pays de la Loire or Aquitaine. Because of being still on the road, we didn´t sleep in any host families, but our accommodation was provided by various Bed&Breakfast hotels, which were surprisingly very nice and comfy. I and my mate always shared room together, I think every time we got our own cosy room, just for me and her, while others were crammed in small rooms for 4-5 habitats. That was advantage of being only girls and students from our class. 

Another thing which you might face to while you are visiting France is that French is used every time, everywhere and by everybody. I remember entering shops in several villages or towns and nobody talked with us in English. My friend and I tried our best to talk with them in French, because we had been studying the language for some years before, but when we forgot how to say something and we tried to communicate half in English and half in French, the sellers acted like they understand only the French parts and absolutely ignored any English spoken world or sentence. But that is their culture and I can say my French improved a bit there, but just it was great practise and it forced me to   use the other language and not to rely only on my English skills. 

And the last thing I would like to mention is food and French cuisine. I bet all of you have heard about the snails or oysters. You know what? To be honest, they are not so bad. Eating snails and oysters had been on my Bucket List before I went to France, so overcoming a fear of trying it was a  huge and fabulous achievement for me. Don´t be afraid of it, it is worth it. I can guarantee it. And oh, I can´t forget famous baguette or croissant, but honestly, when you have exactly same things in your home country, your enjoyement of eating it is not so high as you would expect (this is a huge disadvantage of growing up in Europe, having famous world cuisines all around you), but it was really good and I can say I had a real French croissant and not just a copy of it.

My first time in France was memorable one and I can´t wait to be back, hopefully soon, because this was just one part of this gorgeous country. I tried many activities over there - local food, practising my French, getting lost in streets of unknown towns or villages, messing with my friend on the beach and just having good time. West coast, especially Bretagne or Aquitaine are friendly regions and I´m sure for most of people there are many nice places where to spend their first time in this country. I hope you will get a chance to visit it at least once in your life and you will have a good time. 

Have you ever visited France? Which cities or regions?

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