Avignon is a relic of a city,
cold and anciently beautiful.
It centers around the Palais de Papes, or Pope's Palace, a medieval stony abyss. Meandering throughout marble granite corridors, February's brisk wind slipping in and out of rooms with countless frescos, history, and mystery. Winter sunlight basks there, through stained glass, I felt the haunting of centuries lost, in this chilled fortress and time long gone. You could almost hear a lonely priest's song echo down the empty halls.
My Valentine is the country of France. We made a wonderful little dinner yesterday for both French and American friends, complete with a divine raspberry tart and little colorful flowers from the Marché Aux Fleurs. France, mon coeur is yours forever.
I've just recently taken a little trip to Nice and Monaco for a couple of days. Seeing the ever translucent and transcendent Mediterranean once again made my heart skip a beat, The Côte d'Azur is aptly named, and it rolls off the tongue like a jewel dropping into the sea. Although Nice and Monaco are both summer cities,
they proved just as radiant and colorful in the mild french winter. I preferred Nice, where me and my new-found American companions wondered about, climbing and searching and laughing, absorbing this strange new world that I am beginning to understand. We sat by the sea for a while, with spirits high, just lingering, and for the first time since I've been here, I felt an intense and overwhelming awareness of being alive, like sipping water for the first time, leaving me all at once satisfied and thirsting for more.
It's been only a few days and I've begun an affinity with Aix en Provence.
The world is different here, even from the other parts of Europe that I have been to before.
I am beginning to understand the french way of life,
and the art that is everything here; eating and drinking and dancing and walking and breathing and dressing.
The people here are constantly surprising me in the best of ways,
so that my expectations are slowly drifting away down these long ancient corridors.
I simply can't believe a place this beautiful is part of my everyday life.
I have discovered the Boulangerie Jacob on my way to school where I buy a fresh baguette everyday, and I have fallen in love with vin rosé, which I drink every evening. I am surrounded by new people and an exquisite, tender language. I wake up to the city coming alive every morning, I can hear it from the balcony across from my bed; cars and families and men without women, and women with men, and dogs and buses and wind, and the lives of people simply existing.