May 31, 2011
Today was a pretty good day. It started off us heading out early to hear some presentations from a local French business school. When we got there, they offered us croissants and coffee. The croissants they had were especially buttery and delicious. I took advantage of this opportunity and had two croissants. After our snack, we headed into a very large and fancy lecture hall. There the department head of the business school explained to us that business schools are separate from other universities. After that, one of the professors for the business school gave us a lecture on luxury marketing. Many of the companies we have been visiting on the trip are geared toward luxury customers. Also, many luxury brands are started in Europe. After that we headed back to the hotel so we could grab some lunch. We went to a small café in the interior of the town that was way overpriced and had waiters that did not like Americans. Needless to say, we did not have the greatest customer service experience. Some people I know would have thrown a fit. After lunch, we headed to the beach after buying some cheap maps to lay on the rocky ground. We sat in the sun and jumped in the freezing cold Mediterranean Sea. After being in the sun for a while, I went back to my room and did some laundry in the bathtub. The washateria was expensive and I am on a tight budget so I did what I could. After washing clothes and resting for a while a big group of us decided we wanted more Mexican food so we went to another Mexican restaurant. Apparently the close proximity to Spain allows for the Mexican food to be quite tasty. I ordered chicken fajitas and it hit the spot. I at all of my plate and some leftovers from one of my friends plates. After dinner, we all decided to go back to the beach and relax. We chatted and told stories to get to know each other better. It was a really fun day, and tomorrow we go to Monaco. Night!
May 31, 2011
May 30, 2011
I got to sleep in this morning. It was awesome! I slept for around 9 hours and it was definitely much needed. Today we traveled to the beaches of Nice, France. On the way to Nice, we stopped by the L’Occitane factory. L’Occitane is basically a fancy Bath and Body works. We walked through the museum they had and learned about all the different plants that they get their products from. After that they showed us around the factory to show us how they manufacture all their products. It was pretty cool to see how everything works, especially since I have never been to a factory before. After our factory tour they gave us some time to shop around. I did not really care to buy anything so I found a chair in the store and sat and talked to some other guys who had the same idea. After shopping we continued on our journey to Nice. I had bought a huge baguette for lunch and I ate about half of it on the bus. That’s what real French people do! After about 3 hours, we finally arrived in beautiful Nice, France. Once everyone was settled into their rooms we headed into town for some dinner. We stumbled across a Mexican restaurant and decided to cautiously check it out. It ended up being extremely good. We all have been having Tex-Mex withdrawals and needed a fix. So our entire table ordered fajitas! They were delicious, it was just what I needed to be able to survive 2 more weeks without
Chuy’s. After dinner, almost the entire group decided to sit by the beach. Nice has a rock beach so its not as comfortable as you would normally think. The water is really blue and not very wavy since it’s the Mediterranean Sea. It was there we met two nice girls from Lithuania who were here on vacation. A group of us talked to them for about an hour and exchanged questions about our differing cultures. It’s been really interesting meeting different people from around the world. But not its bedtime, goodnight!
May 28th 2011
Today was one of the days I was really looking forward too. A group of us took a train and headed to Normandy. I have wanted to go to Normandy since I saw the movie Saving Private Ryan. For this trip, we had to take a train to the small town of Cein, France. From there we took a van to the Normandy area. Our tour guide was a nice French lady who explained to us a lot of interesting facts about D-day and all the artifacts on the beach. My favorite part was seeing Omaha beach and seeing where all the German soldiers hid and shot at the Americans. It was there that we happen to run into some fellow Texans. It ended up that the guy leading their group had just written a biography about John Earl Rudder, a former president of Texas A&M. Also amongst the crowd, were several people from Austin, including a former president of T.U. They were all very nice people, and we took a picture with the author. After that, we finished up our tour of Normandy and then our tour guide dropped us off near a restaurant that she recommended. It was a small sandwich stand that sold really good crepes. So I ordered a ham, cheese, and egg crepe and it was delicious! I am going to try and replicate crepes when I get back to the United States; I have become addicted to them. After dinner, we headed to the train station and began journey back to Paris. Once we got to Paris we realized we had 10 minutes to go from the train station to the River Cruise that the whole study abroad group was going on. So we sprinted across roads, dodged traffic, and arrived just in time to get on the river boat. It was a nice leisurely ride down the Seine River. We saw all sorts of people hanging out along the river. One guy was blowing fire and then later on 3 guys on the shore mooned the whole boat. It was hilarious, mostly because everyone got out their cameras and took pictures. Overall, awesome today! Tomorrow we travel to Avignon!
May 29th, 2011
Well today started bright and early. We loaded up the bus at 7:30 am this morning to make a 7 hour drive to Avignon, France. We are only here for one night because of strict laws for the bus drivers. They are only allowed to drive certain amounts so we had to have a rest stop on our way to Nice, France. I slept for about half of the trip and worked on schoolwork the other half. Unfortunately, the bus drivers have to stop for rest every 2 hours so therefore I was woken up each time we had to stop. I got some good rest nevertheless. The city of Avignon is a really small and old town that is only really famous for a half built bridge and huge church that the pope used to live in. Both are really cool structures, but I wasn’t interested enough to pay money to see them. After walking around and seeing the historical sites we headed over to all the shops that they have there. Being one of the few guys on a trip with 62 girls means that they always win. So another guy and I tagged along while the girls shopped for clothes and whatever else they want. After shopping and realizing that the city pretty much shuts down at 7:00 pm, we decided it was dinner time. We searched and searched for the cheapest option and ultimately found some good deals at a nicer looking pub type place. Like I have said before, pubs usually have the best prices for food and its usually pretty good. After we finished dinner, some people in the group wanted to get ice cream so we found a corner ice cream shop that Dr. Mac (one of the professors on the trip) recommended. It was apparently pretty delicious from what I hear; I was too full to try it out. After ice cream, we headed back to our hotel to work on school work since there isn’t much else to do in this town. So at this moment I am sitting on my bed working on school work. Kind of a lame night, but at least I had some good food with good friends!
May 27th 2011
Today was another Fat Tire Bike tour but this time it was in Paris. We had a former student of Texas A&M take us on our tour. In fact, most of the company is run by former students. It was a fun leisurely ride throughout the busy city with a lot of interesting facts learned. After that, we headed back to the hotel and found a group that was heading to the Sacred Heart church which is the one of the highest place in Paris. We decided to take the Metro so we didn’t have to walk so much, but we ended up taking the wrong way and had a two hour hike up to the church. It was so worth it though. The view from the top of the church was amazing! I could see the entire city of Paris! They had a lot of street performers at the top performing covers of famous American songs. After Sacred Heart, we headed to the Louvre to take advantage of the free admission for college students. We didn’t stay there too long, we only wanted to see the Mona Lisa. After navigating the labrynth of the Louver we were starving and got a bite to eat at a nearby café. We decided to take it to go and eat outside and see the sunset. After we that we went to the Monoprix, which is like Target, to get some wine to share with the group to drink at the Eiffel Tower. We found some really cheap wine at this store and split it among the group. Then we headed to the Eiffel Tower and sat and sipped on the wine and watched it sparkle. A couple of the Aggies that worked at the Fat Tire Bike shop came and hung out with us as well. After we finished, we headed back to the hotel because we were all so tired. We walked so much today. While we were on the subway home we were trying to figure out how many miles we walked and we all came to the conclusion that it was somewhere in the 5-10 mile range. Its ok though, we have been eating a lot so it’s a great workout!
Snack time in paris!
May 26th, 2011
Today was the most academic days of the trip. We had 3 company visits for us to complete during the course of the day. But my day started out with a delicious breakfast from the hotel that consisted of a croissant, bacon, a glass of milk, and a cappuccino the size of a sample glass from starbucks. After that, we headed to the Galleries Lafayette Department store to shop and observe their marketing strategies. We have to right a paper that compares that store with Harrods Department Store in London. Galleries felt more like an oversized Macys rather than a luxury department store. Harrods felt more like walking into the most luxurious retail experience ever. After Galleries, we headed to the Hard Rock Café in Paris to hear a presentation by the general manager about the marketing strategies. He also explained the history and how they aquire all the memorabilia in the store. This was my favorite presentation of the day, mainly because I just like to see the memorabilia. After the presentation, we got a free cheeseburger lunch from the Hard Rock Café. It was nice to have a little American food in the midst of all the foreign food I have been eating. After the meal, we headed back to the hotel to hear a presentation from a guy who worked for the World Bank for several years. He explained to us what the World Bank does and how we can pursue a career in a similar field. After the presentation, a group of us headed to Notre Dame to see the famous Cathedral. We got there just as a Mass was beginning and it was cool to watch because I had never been to one before. The organ and the singing sounded awesome with the acoustics of the church! After that we walked through a shopping area on our way to see the Arc De Triumph and the Eiffel Tower again. On the way we stopped to eat dinner which included some delicious crepes. We ended at the Eiffel Tower and then headed home. Bedtime!
Paris has alot of street musicians on their subway station..this is one i saw today..sounded awesome with the subway acoustics!