University of Wisconsin–Madison

St. Victoire

Another week of school has passed and I cannot believe I have almost been here an entire month. I know I say something like that every time I write but it’s because it’s a realization I come to often. Time is something we study abroad kids are constantly reveling at; on one hand it feels like we’ve been here for months, but on the other hand, it is impossible to fathom a month has already passed us by in a whirlwind of new street names and French pastries.

Anyway, this weekend a couple friends and I decided to finally climb a nearby mountain, which we can see from our windows everyday, named St. Victoire, which you may or may not recognize from Paul Cezanne’s famous painting of the aforementioned mountain.

St. Victoire is a 1,011-meter hike to the top (that’s 3,317 feet).  We took a 1 € bus 20 minutes out into the beautiful French countryside where it dropped us off still 20 minutes from the base where we began to climb.  The hike itself was decently challenging. And by decently challenging I mean some parts of the hike were get on your hands on knees hiking and 80% was a steep incline.

We thought we had picked the perfect day…it was upper 40s/low 50s but so, so windy. At the top all of our fingers were swollen and we took a couple breaks to blow our noses, but you guys in Wisconsin probably have no sympathy for us either way.

It took us just under 2 hours to get to the very top, where there was an abandoned/old monastery which we stopped for lunch at.  The tough hike was worth it, with the Provençal region laid out before us.  No pictures do the view justice but I will attach some anyway. As demanding as the hike up was, the hike down was probably worse, with lots of tripping and stumbling, we made it down in the same time it took us to get up.

As I’m growing excited to travel and see as much of Europe as I can in the following months, I recognize it’s equally, if not a bit more, important to get to know the region around me in Aix.

With that in mind…I have a 4-day school week and then I leave for Madrid on Friday with a couple other girls from the program. My first weekend getaway…can’t wait!