Making the Rounds in France and Switzerland

The past few weeks have been amazing for me being able to experience France as a whole. I have been able to take advantage of the super cheap trains to cities like Bordeaux, Marseille, Nice, Nîmes, and Lyon having time on the weekends to explore throughout the city. Every city has its own distinct cultural attractions, food, geography, etc., and I have been blessed to experience so much of Francophone society. I am much more confident with speaking French now than before, and I am no longer worried about how I am perceived when I speak French. It is super easy to communicate with people, and I do not have to ask them to repeat themselves so much anymore, and I love using the idiomatic phrases, which make it easier to get my point across.

Geneva on the other hand was so scenic and it being an international city was extremely evident to me with it having the headquarters of the Red Cross, UN, and other international organizations. Really loved how open the city was and how easy it was to get around with the teams that always were on time unlike in France. The air was so fresh and Lake Geneva made the trip all worth it being able to take a boat out on the water for a couple hours experiencing the gorgeous nature that the lake provided. I was glad I was able to also experience the historic parts of Geneva including the monuments and St. Peter’s Cathedral, which are key sites showing the Reformation’s presence in Switzerland. It was amazing that the stuff I read in my AP European History class my junior year in high school came to life in my trip to Geneva. Being able to visit attractions dating back all the way to the 1500s is a memory I will forever cherish. Geneva definitely is one of my favorite cities I visited and I hope to travel there again in the future (whether it be on vacation or actually for work).

Going to Marseille was probably the most unexpected experience I had because of how vast the city’s offerings were while the geography made it so difficult to navigate. There were so many hills in Marseille, and luckily I was able to catch a mass at the very beautiful Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde; inconveniently, it was also the highest point of the city (it took me half an hour to go up the hill to the Basilica. Everywhere I explored it was like I needed to climb or descend seemingly endless staircases on wobbly paths. I made sure to not miss the biggest part of the food scene in Marseille, which was the seafood, and the restaurant I went to exceeded my expectations. Crabs, shrimp, and oysters are all abundant right by the port in the old town, and the seafood was by far the freshest I had in France. Marseille has its own distinct slang not found anywhere else in France, and I found it fascinating how the young people talked to each other using phrases such as fada (crazy) and minot (child). Marseille definitely has its own ambiance, but the people there were super relaxed and I found my time there to be enjoyable overall.

Broken Chair by the United Nations Headquarters

Seafront in Marseille

Inside of Notre Dame Cathedral

Highest Point of Marseille by Notre Dame

St. Peter’s Cathedral in Geneva