If you haven’t heard, here are parts 1 and 2 of my adventures so far. While my journey to Europe was riddled with issues to kickstart it all, it quickly smoothed out quite wonderfully, making way for a vacation I couldn’t have dreamt of. This next part takes place in France but is actually split in two: Paris and Provence.
From June 24th to June 28th, it was all about Paris. My girlfriend and I took a bus from Brussels, Belgium to Paris (around 3-4 hours). The choice of destination was mine at first since I had only visited Paris almost a decade and a half ago when I was only 12. I felt like I hadn’t properly appreciated the city for what it had to offer and thought this would be a great opportunity to revisit it properly. From exploring its beloved historical landmarks, whether it’s the under-construction Notre Dame de Paris or the staggeringly-white Basilica of Sacré Coeur de Montmartre, to visiting the Louvre Museum and its most prized artistic and cultural pieces, I can say that I’ve had a wonderful time absorbing the sociocultural environment there.
From June 28th to July 6th, we spent our time at my girlfriend’s mother’s place in Provence. We took a TGV high-speed train there (which was a first for me) and embraced the blazing heat and natural beauty that the south of France had to offer. This wasn’t my first rodeo there, having thoroughly visited many little villages around there, including the city of Marseille, back in 2019. This time around, my girlfriend’s sister and her boyfriend came along as well and we spent most of our time decompressing. From reading to swimming (or at least learning, in my case) in their backyard pool, this is probably the kind of downtime that you’d wish you could have on a daily basis. I also discovered the game of mölkky and gained a reputation for tossing that blasted stick a little too strong, a little too far from the goal. Towards the end, we also went on to discover the city of Arles and its Roman arena (a little taste of what I was going to discover later on) as well as visit my girlfriend and her sister’s aunt’s newborn (jeez, what does that make me to the newborn????). Let’s just say that my time in France was absolutely wonderful.
As it is the case all the time whenever I go on any trip, food was a huge part of my appreciation of my time out there in Europe. While in Paris, we went around exploring so many different dishes, a lot of renowned places, and even a little subtle and cute place near our hotel that did the best boeuf bourguignon that I’ve ever eaten in my life. I swear, I was ready to order the whole meal again. Deserts were also wildly fantastic, with Bashir’s ice cream and Ladurée’s macarons being the most remarkable. Once in Provence, we mostly ate homemade dishes and went out to some of the best ice cream shops in the region. However, what will really stay with me forever is my girlfriend’s mother’s tiramisu. With it already being my all-time favourite dessert, she really set the bar super high for the rest of my life and I already look forward to the next time I’ll get to indulge in that divine creation.
Next destination: Italy. 😉