My hosts' beautiful courtyard behind the house
1. I am in Angers! My address here (for those of you who wish to write me...I loooove mail!) is:
Mademoiselle Emilie Dayan
Chez M. et Mme. Bereau
45 Boulevard du Maréchal Foch
49100 Angers, France
2. My hosts are super classy. They are both musicians.
3. Monsieur Bereau is a wine connoisseur. Last night at dinner, we had four different bottles of wine (ones that he chose to specifically match each course), and with dessert we had cognac. As far as the food, which was delicious, we started with an aperitif of pistachios, tomatoes, and olives served with a local white wine. The first course was salad that consisted of fresh spinach, roquette, grapefruit, avocado, and a balsamic vinaigrette. This was served with a bottle of smoky tasting wine. Afterwards, the main entree was chicken with a curry sauce and an eggplant ratatouille-ish dish (but it only had eggplant) with a coriander sauce. We had a very delicious red wine with this entree. The cheese was then served and came also with its own wine. I drank the wine but didn't eat the cheese. For dessert, Madame Bereau made a lovely peach tart which we ate while drinking another type of red wine. Then, after dessert and before coffee, came the cognac. I learned a new use of a word at dinner. Here, they call designated drivers l'honoré, "the honored." I would like to start using this in the states. Who would say no to being asked to be "the honored?"
4. I think this is really cool: When my hosts retire, they want to buy an old, run-down chapel in Basque Country, renovate it, and spend all their time having concerts in the chapel.
5. There are two Sephoras, a Zara, and a FNAC all near my house.
6. There is a gothic cathedral outside my window.
7. My room is huge, and so is the house. This year they are renting rooms to four students (including me). Usually they keep three floors to themselves and put all the students on the fourth floor (because usually they only have three students), but they made an exception for me and put me on the third floor by myself. The room is very spacious with a marble fireplace, and I also have my own bathroom. On the fourth floor, there is a kitchen for all of the students to share; I am excited about this. I am hoping to do a lot of cooking this semester. The other student who has already moved in (his name is Alban, he is from Normandy) has suggested having theme nights throughout the semester (i.e. "French Night"- he has already decided that he is going to make raclette...a cheese fondue that you eat with bread. This is the kind of thing that we always eat when it's cold in Lozere or Vars (I have a feeling this is making my mother and father very jealous :). I need to decide what to cook for "American Night"...any suggestions?).
8. Angers is ranked as having the second highest quality of life in France. Cannes is #1.
9. It is definitely a college town. Walking around, I have only seen young people. There are about 150,000 habitants in Angers--20,000 of them are students. The house where I am living is right next to all the campuses and nightlife.
10. I felt very French this morning. I was starving when I woke up but didn't have any food to eat. So, I walked to the grocery store that is down the street, bought groceries, then went to the boulangerie next store and bought a fresh baguette and came home and ate a piece of baguette with boursin (my favorite). It was the first time I have ever walked to a grocery store (and it was a very little one indeed). Oma gave me a basket to do my shopping, because in France they don't have plastic bags to carry groceries...every one brings his or her own basket. Walking around town with a basket full of groceries in one arm and a baguette in the other gave me a very happy feeling...much more so than throwing all the groceries in a car and then driving home. It felt completely non-commercial, very French, and very, very precious. I think it is going to be a good semester.