Today marks the one year anniversary since myself and my parents visited the South West of France. The main reason was because, for my A-level French exam, I had to study a region of France, and I chose Aquitaine, which is where Bordeaux is situated. It is in fact the capital. We didn’t stay in Bordeaux itself, but outside of Bordeaux in a town who’s name I can’t remember off the top of my head. We stayed in this self-catered house which had three rooms, one with a double bed, one with two single beds, and the other with two bunk beds, so even though there were too many beds for the three of us, it was definitely a good place to go for bigger groups of people as well.
Out of all the places we visited on our trip, my favourite place, especially when looking back, was Saint Emilion. It was so beautiful, and that may have been thanks to the time of year we visited, but in my opinion you couldn’t really get any more French than that. I don’t really know how to put it into words. If you follow me on Instagram or have done for the past year, you may remember photos. Feel free to scroll down, but my Instagram has recently passed 400 uploads, so good luck with that! However, my most recent photo is from our last night in Saint Emilion, and I think it shows it all.
We couldn’t have gone at a better time. I really struggled during my final year at school, especially with French, and getting away from everyone and everything was what I needed. I think that’s why I loved it so much, because I really needed to have a break from home. I think a similar thing can be said about going to University. I now appreciate what I have at home more now, than I did six months ago. Although I was in France for a week, it did change me, and I think it also helped with my exam. I may not have said so at the time, because I did get a D Grade (which is still a pass but I would have preferred a C. I’m ambitious like that…) but when you’re studying a language, visiting that country is the best thing you can do, even if it’s for a short amount of time. It does help.
The other thing I loved about this trip was that it wasn’t Paris. We have friends who live outside of Paris, and I feel like we’ve over-done it, because we would usually go and visit them about once a year during the October half term holidays. So it was nice to go to a different part of France where I’d never been before. I had been to Biarritz, which is in the same region as Bordeax, but that’s right on the border with Spain, so we would have had to do a lot of driving to get there. Furthermore, it was nice that not everyone you spoke to tried to talk English back. In Paris, everyone tries speaking English to you, which isn’t always a bad thing if you really can’t speak the language, but if you’re studying it, then visiting the country should encourage you to speak the language you are trying to learn. I will admit, I did get quite shy when my parents said “go on, say something in French” in front of the waiter or the person at the shop. But still.
To summarise, I would go back to Bordeaux any day. If someone came up to me and said they had a spare ticket and was leaving tomorrow, I would accept it on the spot.