36 Hours in Tours

By Unknown - August 24, 2015

I went my first 24 hours in Tours without a sip of wine. Travesty? Quite possibly. Impressive? Most definitely. I decided to celebrate that fact by indulging in my first (of four) glass of rosé that day. But, let me rewind to first arriving in Tours.

After not leaving JFK until 1:30am, we finally arrived in Paris at around 2:00pm on Saturday afternoon. We then grabbed our bags after I got jipped trying to exchange money, and then we were on our way to Tours, which I thought was only an hour away. It was three. But, we had a nicely air conditioned coach bus and we stopped for food so I was pretty content. We passed through field after field of some unknown crops, only passing a smattering of houses throughout our trip. I thought Redding was remote but this was a whole new level. Anyways, we eventually arrived in Tours, where I learned that my host family is, in typical Europeans-in-August fashion, away on vacation. So, another host family graciously offered to host me for the week. Just as I'm the practice child for all of my friends, I decided to make the best of this situation and deem this family my "Practice Host Family" so I can get all of my awkward sentences and mistakes out of the way before meeting my real family. We'll see how that goes...

pretty much what the whole ride looked like
one of the first views in Tours from the bus
Anyways, we got off the bus, and I met my PHM (Practice Host Mom) and off we went! Their house is pretty close to where my actual house is, right off the main road, and not too far from the centre ville (center of the city). The house is so so narrow and I'm literally Alice in Wonderland because the ceiling to my room and the bathroom are slanted so needless to say I hit my head everywhere and will probably need come up with a much cooler excuse for my chronic concussion than "I hit my head every time I stand up". But, in spite of this, my PHM is so nice and even told me my French is good so that's always a plus. She also bought me gluten free bread which was so unnecessary and she has made incredible meals so far, so more points for her. She has four children, only one of whom (Paul, who is 21) has been home so far but he already left for another trip. Her husband and dog just returned from their country house, so another point for her for having a dog as I'm having serious withdrawal. And, another American student from Sarah Lawrence just joined us and is staying here for two weeks so it's a full house, aka I don't have to try to talk as much. But, in spite of all this, I am still excited to actually unpack and get settled into my real house this coming weekend.
the view from my current house...not bad, not bad, right?
As for activities, yesterday we met up at L'Hôtel de Ville (mayor's office) in the centre ville with our professor and two other women affiliated with Bucknell en France, one of whom gave us a ~tour of Tours~. There are four different neighborhoods roughly, so we went through them and learned what we can expect to find in each. Tours is a much more walkable city than I originally thought and there's also a new tram (which I'm eventually definitely going to get run over by, just give me like a month for that one) and buses, as well as a large train station. We ended the tour in Place Plumerau, a square in the old section of town, known for being a student destination, so probably the perfect place to pay for overpriced watered-down drinks while also having a incredible amount of *legal* fun. They offered us a chance to grab a boisson (drink) so naturally some of us took it upon ourselves to make this a happy hour and order a glass of rosé...or two. I mean I wasn't paying for it so I wasn't going to refuse. And, now my story has come full circle!
l'hôtel de ville
a cute side street by the train station
view of the Loire from the north of Tours
Elizabeth, Caroline, and I enjoying our first glass of rosé
Rue National, the major shopping street and where I will most likely get run over by a tram
We all hung out there for a while, took 100 too many instas, talked a little too loudly, got looked at, attempted to order things in French, and eventually decided to start on our way home. We walked for a little, got closer to home, decided it was too early to go back for dinner, so naturally, we did what any European students would do and found another outdoor restaurant and ordered more drinks, aka another glass of rosé. If it ain't broke don't fix it. After some more failures at speaking French, finding the courage to ask for the bathroom, and figuring out how to pay, we were on our way home for dinner around 7:00 (19:00 if you follow the most confusing time ever aka military time). Dinner was delicious as usual and involved an abundance of cheese, bread, and chocolate after the meal, so needless to say this diet I thought I was going on isn't happening, but I mean you're only in France once and I walk a lot every day so I'm gonna say it all evens out even though the scale will most definitely not agree.

Not wanting to sit in bed and watch Netflix when there is so much of the city to explore, mon amie, Caroline, and I met up around 9:45 near the centre ville for, as you can most likely guess, drinks. I ordered a Lillet Limonade which was rosé with lemonade so basically one of the best thinks I've ever drank and it was only 3.30 Euro, so definitely a win-win. We talked and chatted for a while, definitely not a wild night out but it was nice to people-watch and just be out of the house. Being wimpy, we went home around 11:30 and were mildly terrified, but minus some cat calling, we each made it home in one piece.
Lillet Limonade with a backdrop of L'Hôtel de Ville
This morning, I had to wake up très tôt (very early) at 8:45 which was très difficile to meet at one of the university buildings for a group meeting. We finalized our travel schedule and went over a few things (still don't know what classes I'm taking soooo), then saw our professor's apartment and were then free from noon to 4pm. We decided to grab lunch, where I proceeded to have a spider crawl out of my salad after I was almost finished, so needless to say for the rest of the afternoon I was convinced I must've eaten like three spiders over the course of that meal. But, it's good protein, right? Let's go with that.

We then went to some pharmacies to buy things we forgot (so much) and seriously these French pharmacies are like CVS meets Saks Fifth Ave. Needless to say, I tried to find the cheapest items in the store and still paid a lot but I'm praying they give me skin like a French woman's because if so, take all my money, s'il vous plaît. We also got international SIM cards and managed to do the entire transaction in French which was exciting, terrifying, and, in the end, confidence-building. After, we went to a gathering at our professor's apartment, met his wife, and enjoyed some pastries from the local pâtisserie (bake shop; I had a Lindt chocolate bar and some custard yogurt thing - bc gluten problems - that I'm convinced has opiates in it because it was seriously unreal.) We talked about our families and French life, what we bought, etc. and then left to go onto more important things, like buying 3.70 Euro bottles of wine (#legal) and looking around at Zara and other stores. We then went our separate ways and are now home for dinner with our families and then we're all planning on meeting up tonight and searching for the ~hip~ and ~trendy~ nightlife. #prayforus

Details on that TBA...

Au revoir! 

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