University of Wisconsin–Madison

New Aixperiences

So just what have I been doing my first week in Aix?

A lot has been happening! I’ve been busy exploring Aix and with the cours intensif, which is three weeks long and prepares us for classes at the French universities.

I’m falling in love with Aix! The first night that we walked around I was in awe at how gorgeous the city is. I love walking the Cours Mirabeau; it is a very sensual experience! Lavender, vanilla, and rose alike make their way into your nose as people stroll slowly past the fountains (which are abundant around the city!). the buildings are beautiful and there are plenty of iconic European alleyways to explore. I love the fresh markets tucked back into squares of the city, and all the details in the architecture. It has also been 75 and sunny without a cloud in the sky almost every day since I’ve arrived, which also provides a great backdrop for this quaint city!

I have met so many great people already. Everyone in the program is thrilled to be here and to make new friends and, of course, to speak French! We have a great time getting to know the city together. I moved into my apartment a week ago with another girl from the program and we love our place. It is old, but it has so much character and we’re slowly learning all of the quirks (for example, every time we use the microwave we blow a fuse and the w hole apartment goes dark). We have a big courtyard and a small patio for eating meals and enjoying the sun, which we share with a gray cat who comes to lay in the chairs for afternoon naps.

The first night that we went out we were some of the first ones around town because in France people don’t go out until 1:30 AM… it’s a stark contrast; usually I am in bed by then or at least home by then even on the weekend! On our way to a boîte nuit, we saw two guys spray painting on saran wrap wrapped between two trees. It was almost like a street performance and was super awesome to see the whole process being done. Eventually we found some awesome places to dance and hear music that we have since returned to.

This past weekend, Aix was so alive with music. There were live bands on the streets, and a few marching bands walking on the Cours Mirabeau. At night there were people dancing to the music and there was even a dance battle on one part of the street.

More to come, although I’ve been doing so much it feels like I’ve been here much longer than a week.