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A Perfect Weekend in Provence

As I fill out my application for a future study abroad program, I realize how grateful I am that my first experience attending a university abroad was through CEA. My program directors here, Kristin and Silvija, are like my moms away from home and are always willing to help me in any way they can.

Because of these personable directors and the sense of community within our group, CEA excursions are always a blast. My favorite thus far has definitely been our Provencal weekend.

Most CEA students stumbled out of bed and onto the bus at 7:30 AM on Saturday morning to begin a busy, yet somehow relaxing weekend away. Most of us caught up on sleep during the 3 hour ride, and were ready to explore by the time that we arrived in our first stop at Arles.

 A couple of us CEA students admiring the impressive aqueducts

Arles is known for its Romanesque heritage and its influence on Van Gogh’s paintings. Here, we visited a Roman amphitheater and a Roman theatre that were well preserved. We even got to watch a jousting practice at one of these sites.
 My (almost) pet goat

Then, we continued down to the market where some random man handed me his goat to hold. Needless to say, it was adorable and I’ve never wanted to buy a goat so badly in my life. My roommates would not be okay with a pet goat, so I settled on buying a scarf, some tea, and fresh nougat.

We continued on to see Les Baux de Provence, a village on a rocky plateau high up. This height came with gorgeous views, along with more wind than imaginable and very steep steps. On the walk down, we stopped by small shops where I bought a hand-painted mug.

After this, we stopped by the impressive Roman aqueduct, Pont du Gard. We then continued on to the town of Avignon for the night. As the hotel concierge called out last names to distribute our room keys, I felt as if I were living a scene from the Lizzie McGuire movie.

We were given a bit of time to change and rest, then CEA provided us with a fancy group dinner. We sat by a fire, as we all talked and smiled, I felt so lucky to be surrounded by so many great people. We ate eggplant, duck, mashed potatoes, and chocolate mousse—all made to perfection.

After dinner, we retired to our adorable rooms, with our feet sore and stomachs happy. My room had exposed wooden beams and a view of the Pope’s Palace.

 The bright green color of the water
 The spring with a mysterious depth

The next morning, we toured the Pope’s Palace and headed to the Luberon, my favorite part of the weekend. We had lunch near the Fontaine de Vaucluse, a spring with an unknown depth and crystal clear water. This spring could not have been more gorgeous. We then walked along the river, which was a bright green color because of the plants growing under the surface of the water.

The Luberon was gorgeous, and immensely relaxing. It was one of the most adorable towns I have ever seen. We could have stayed there forever, and were sad when the time to leave rolled around. We ended the trip with a tour of a Lavender museum, then returned to the bus with the calming smell of lavender wafting from our purchases.

Laura Bastings is the Spring 2016 CEA MOJO Blogger for the French Riviera, France. She is currently a sophomore at Towson University.

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