Our time in Séguret — although very, very hot — was very refreshing for the mind. During our time there we had the opportunity to visit Vaison La Romaine, a beautiful town with Roman ruins and also Le Naturoptére, an interactive insect museum in Sérignan du Comtat. At the end of each evening we made our way back in Séguret to have a wonderful dinner cooked by Brigette and Norbet Langlet, who together run L’Atelier de Séguret where we stayed.
As we left the small, beautiful town of Séguret, Brigette and Norbet said their goodbyes and we made our way out towards our bus to our next destination: Maussane Les Alpilles. We made our only pit stop, at the Arles train station, to say good bye to our art teacher Hélène, who we will see again towards the end of our adventure at Les Rencontres d’Arles, a city wide photography exposition festival.
As our massive coach bus made way into Maussane, we passed through the main street and square of town toward a public parking lot where all our host families eagerly awaited us. All of the students were giggling with nerves and making faces of uncertainty. Eric and I waited for all the families to pick up our anxious students, greeting each family member with three bisous (kiss) to the cheek. Once all of our students were set, I left with my own hosts to Paradou, a small town next to Maussane.
Martine and Vincent welcomed me and immediately made me feel right at home. Each day spend with them has been one full of great conversion and amazing food. Vincent and Martine used to run a restaurant for six years in Châteauneuf du Pape before moving to live back in Paradou. Vincent is an amazing chef who makes the greatest Provençal foods, jams and jellies, deserts and everything in between! Needless to say, I’ve enjoyed all kinds of delicious food here.
So far during our stay we have toured Marseille, swam in the beautiful turquoise blue waters in the calanques at Île de Frioul, and visited Arles to see a typical market and discover the city where Van Gogh cut off his ear! Our students enjoyed being able to discover each city together. Every time they were reunited, it was as if they hadn’t seen each other in years! They’d greet one another with hugs, exclamations of “I missed you!” and conversation of the unexpected and exciting events, customs and culture they were experiencing with their host families.
My stay in Paradou has been one full of wonderful experiences with my hosts and their daughter Julie. With them I have seen typical Provençal parades, visited Avignon for their theatre festival, celebrated Bastille Day with an incredibly talented live band, experienced Abrivado (running of bulls guided by horses), and enjoyed a choral concert. I feel incredibly fortunate to experience so much during my time here with wonderful students, hosts and my program partner.
The dream continues!
Fiorella Morales is a graduate student in post secondary educational leadership. This summer she is in France as an international group leader with the School for International Training (SIT) on a program called The Experiment in International Living.