France

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Awakened by a great noise, I jumped out of bed and experienced a strange feeling of being lost in space. The position of the bed against the wall was not familiar to me, and neither was the size, ceiling height, flooring, lighting, smells and the bed – everything was different. After a few seconds, I adjusted myself into reality while my friend kept telling me, "We’ve got to leave; it smells of smoke."

 
The elevator did not stop mocking me the past few days – it only worked once out of twenty times. I had been forced to climb 6 floors of stairs throughout my stay. This time, it had its doors opened as if to dare us to ride it. But the building was on fire, and naturally it was out of the question. The stairs were caught on fire, and we hid back in the apartment.
 
I quickly applied some learning from my first year in Architecture College. I stuck a damp cloth at the bottom of the door and sprayed the door with water. Caroline opened the window and we waited. The next twenty minutes were the longest of my life yet. Another thirty minutes passed before it was our turn to jump onto the ladder of the fire truck.
 
From the outside, this once charmless, gray and dying building suddenly seemed to be inhabited by a soul – a personality expressing anger and violence. It turned out later that the origin of the fire was from aging electrical facilities of the building. It was as if the building was tired of being mistreated, forgotten, ridiculed and marginalized that it decided to make itself heard once and for all.
 
In its anger, the building was still kind enough to save our lives, apart from some minor burns.

So many times...

Moments

Did you know...

- Around 20% of the french territory is located outside Europe.

- The Canyon of Verdon is the biggest one in Europe and the second in the world.

- France is the world's most popular tourist destination

- Louis XIX was the king of France for just 20 minutes, the shortest ever reign

- The French Army was the first to use camouflage in 1915 (World War I)

- In France you can marry a dead person

- France was the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food

- About one million French people living near the border with Italy speak Italian

- At least 40 percent of the music on private radio stations must be of French origin

- The first public screening of a movie was by French brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière on 28 December 1895

- The world’s first artificial heart transplant and face transplant both took place in France

- The French invented the metric system, the decimalised way of counting and weighing, in 1793

- French gastronomy was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2010

- The oldest recorded human voice is French in 1860

- The French eat around 30,000 tonnes of snails a year


Tips:

- Learn some French and dress up :)

- Be prepard to talk coffee shop politics, philosophy and culture even with drunk people in a bar. 

- I enjoyed cycling in the Alsace region.

- Join some protests, it's a national activity there is always one , I attended once a hairdresser protest.

- Visit Lyon on the first week of December to attend the Festival of Lights. 

 

Paris
Alsace
Marseille
Lyon
Ronchamp
Bordeaux