Andrea Garcia is a Junior studying Social and Behavioral Science as well as International Studies. In the summer of 2010 she participated in the Intensive French Language Program in Tours, France.
My experience in Tours was unlike any other adventure I have had.I would like to think of myself as an avid traveler; however, being part of another culture was an eye-opener for me. I was quite impressed at how accessible it was to go from one place to another in Europe. If you ever decide to go to Tours, which is one hour away by (bullet) train from Paris, you will fall in love with this calm, but yet, cheerful little town. Many people would consider Tours too quiet, but if you are someone like me, you will appreciate the break from the busy scene in Paris.
One of the most impressive constructions is the Hotel the Ville, which stands magnificent as it overlooks one of the busiest sectors in Tours.This became a meeting point for many students as it is one of the most remembered spots. In front of the Hotel de Ville stretches a big avenue (Rue de Grammont), filled with cafes, shops and connecting streets that lead to shopping areas. If you ever have the chance to travel around June or July, you must take advantage of the big sales (or soldes) that take place throughout the town (including the stores located on Rue Nationale).
Perhaps the most memorable moments of my trip took place in Place Plumereau. It is a square filled with pubs and restaurants, where students and locals get to mingle and enjoy of each other’s company. This is perhaps the busiest place during Fete de la Musique which takes place at the end of June. For those of you who are not familiar with this festivity, let me tell you that is it one of the biggest music festivals (if not the biggest) in the country. Many students will usually travel out of Tours to nearby towns to enjoy bigger crowds and “better music”. Tours can get just as loud and exciting as other cities or towns. So, do not be persuaded to leave.
Let’s not forget about la guinguette! It opens during the summer and it happens to be located by the loire (river). Every night, if you ever feel bored, go to la guinguette and enjoy some good company and good music. Colorful lights decorate the venue, which make it look magical under the starry night. Not to mention, there are plenty of activities in the afternoons. You must sign up on time if you want to enjoy popular activities such as river rafting or canoeing. Last but not least, every Wednesday take the opportunity to enjoy some delicious crepes in the open market situated on Blvd. Beranger.As I remember it, they were one 3 Euros for nutella filled goody-ness.
Tours is an exciting little town where not many people speak English. This is a great place to learn French and truly experience French culture. The food, the people and the atmosphere fill the spirit of anyone who dares to go. Keep in mind that once you leave, you will find yourself tearing up as you say good bye.