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France, it's been a pleasure.

14 Jun 2015


My adventure in France has come to an end, and as much as I would love to be back in France & enjoying the French lifestyle, I have to accept that I am now back to reality. A reality which does not include endless sunshine, beaches, lakes, and the perfect french fries. I knew that I'd be sad about leaving, and I knew that I'd feel nostalgic for a while, but I never imagined I'd miss it this much. I guess not allowing myself to expect much meant that I was overwhelmed by just how much fun I had and how much I learnt.

Along with being the most hilarious and the most mentally educational experience of my life to date, it was also without a doubt the most stressful. Having said this, when I look back on my year abroad as a whole, I have far more fond memories than bad ones. So I'm using this blog as an opportunity to highlight some of my absolute favourite moments from the year, whether that be events, places or just general memories.

It's something that I've always wanted to do because my favourite holidays have always been those with a big group of friends. The weather was not what you'd hope for in a house with a pool, but we made the most of the rainy weather with childhood games and lots of tequila. I became closer to a lot of people while I was in Spain which made it so much harder to leave less than two weeks later.

I went to France assuming that I'd have an awful 21st because I was convinced that I'd know barely any people and those that I did know would definitely not be close friends. Wrong. A month in and I was spending my 21st with a fantastic group of people that I already felt close to and enjoyed spending time with. I just remember being really, really happy when I had my birthday meal and I remember feeling really content with being in France at that point.

This was my most visited restaurant in all the time I spent in Montpellier. I think me and Rowan took every single visitor we had to Café Leon, and like with Oz bar, they definitely ended up recognising us. Their menu was simple but perfect, and I've been craving their Confit de Canard (Duck Confit) ever since I've been home.

In February, we went to Barcelona for Rowan's 21st, and I fell in love with the city. As in, it's my second favourite city now, next to London of course. I really, really want to go there again this Summer because two whole days was not even nearly enough time. We didn't even go to the beach! We did briefly manage to sample the nightlife though...

Where Georgie & I swam to the island in the middle & back. It was so peaceful and beautiful and I just want to go back there now, please.

My favourite little port. Pretty, adorable, and home to a billion and one great seafood restaurants. Not that I even like seafood but yeah, it's great.

I couldn't even tell you how many times I went to the Oz Bar in Montpellier over the whole duration of my year abroad, but I'm pretty sure I was on a streak of five consecutive Mondays at one point. Or maybe it was only four, but I like to say that it was five. I think I'll even miss the 25-minute walk to and from the bar...

The first semester saw many, many trips to a bar called Andalus. Now this wasn't just any old bar, it was a bar which did a litre of Mojito for seven euros, or a litre of Sangria for five. That's five euros for a litre of Sangria. YES PLEASE. This was also where I met other Erasmus students for the first time in September, so (as lame as it sounds) it was a special place to me.

Such a bad club/bar in comparison to the ones in Leeds, and yet so many nights were spent there following one too many Gin and Tonics. It sounds so lame but so long as the right group of people were there, it was a hilariously fun night.

Every December, Montpellier hosts a little winter festival on the Esplanade. I loved the atmosphere around Christmas, and although Les Hivernales wasn't quite the same as the German Market in Leeds (which, by the way, is fanbloodytastic), it was cute and cosy and served delicious mulled wine. Which is really all I ask for in a Christmas Market.

Rowan is lucky enough to have a family house in Vaison La Romaine, Provence, where I spent two weekends, one in October, and one in May. We walked up to the top of a big hill on both occasions and looked out at the beautiful view across Provence. It really is a charming little French town, and I hope Rowan's family keep the house there because I would love to go back again!

Well, there it is. 

I still can't believe that it's over, & I still don't want to believe that it's over.

It's hard looking back without feeling sad at what is now not my life anymore, but I just have to be positive in looking towards the future. I'm ready to knuckle down and work hard in my final year at Leeds, and potentially begin the next travelling adventure once I've finished my degree. Fingers crossed! 

I'm also currently working on a reflections post, which I'm hoping will benefit anyone thinking of living abroad for a year. 

Imogen x

3 comments on "France, it's been a pleasure."
  1. I loved reading this! It sounds like you have had such an amazing year making "forever" memories xxx

    Sophie Cliff

  2. Aw sounds like you had the best time! I think it's something that you will always remember as an awesome time, and it's not too far away to visit either! x

    Jasmin Charlotte

  3. Sounds like a truly magical & life changing experience. I miss the brie sandwiches. I guess I can recreate it but the atmosphere makes it different. :]

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Please feel free to leave a comment, it really makes my day! Imogen x