The festive season has arrived! Getting to experience Christmas in France is one of the best things about placement year. I have done a few things during these last few weeks in France and I will be sharing these in this blog.
Christmas felt like it began in mid-November here in Grenoble, as the university I study at was filled with skis, boards, boots, poles and all sorts of snow accessories and clothing for an event. The event, known as “Bourse aux Skis” enables students to buy new and ex-display skis and snowboards for low prices. The event lasted for three days, and there was a real buzz around school as students excitedly picked out their gear for the year.
Then at the end of November, the Christmas Market appeared in Victor Hugo. There are huge wooden chalets serving a lot of food, drinks and snacks. It is such a nice atmosphere because people head out in the early evening to share some food together, wrapped up in coats, scarves and gloves. Me and my friends have been a couple of times to enjoy crepes (pancakes) with mulled wine! The market is much smaller than the Birmingham one, but it has a cosy warm feel to it, surrounded by the beautiful mountains.
We got snow!
We woke up on December 1st to our first snowfall! Tonnes of snow had fallen overnight, and everything was glistening in the sunlight, it was beautiful! However, unlike Aston, we are sitting our exams before Christmas. I had to cycle in a snowstorm to get to school and to start my revision.
On December 5th we celebrated Noel at GEM. Everyone was off timetable from 4.45pm to 8pm. A huge proportion of the university (which has approximately 8000 students and 1000 staff) were enjoying a buffet (which consisted solely of chocolates and clementine!) and live music. It was impossible to move around the building, and hard to hear over all of the noise, but a fantastic celebration!
Following all of the Snow, we decided to take a ski trip to Alp d’Huez. This is a hour away from Grenoble, so we went on the bus and it was easy and cheap to rent skis in the city. Our university organised 12 buses of students one Saturday morning at 7.30 am to take us there for the opening of Folie Douce. We had a great day skiing, and partying at Apres after, and my friends and I decided to stay the night to make the most of the Sunday too – Alp d’Huez is also home to one of the longest pistes in Europe, claiming to be 16KM long!! We were also very fortunate to have over 1m of snowfall on the Saturday night, it was beautiful!
The run up to Christmas was completed with a trip to Lyon for the Fete des Lumieres which takes place over four days in mid-December. There are 50 light displays, cleverly composed alongside famous music which are shone across the city. Powerful projectors illuminate entire buildings, with dancing shapes, patterns and stories. Over one million visitors come to Lyon for the long weekend to marvel at the displays, and they are amazing! There are so many people and so many things to see, that you would probably have to attend each of the four evenings to see all of the displays!
If you happen to have a chance to visit in your lifetime, I would highly recommend an evening spent here in Lyon.
I have just 12 days to go until the end of my semester here in Grenoble, but I look forward to sharing my experiences from Paris with you in the New Year!
Merry Christmas to you all!