A Little Gem (Vivian in France)

The Grenoble program includes several day trips to places you would probably have never known about before the trip. When I first saw our program schedule, I was disappointed we did not have any planned trips to well known places such as Nice, Lyon or even Paris. Annoyed that we had to plan a trip to Paris on a long weekend ourselves outside of the program fee, I did not have the best attitude towards the trips that were planned for us. I thought these trips would be poorly planned to boring locations that would be a waste of time…I could not have been more wrong.

The coordinator in France that we got the pleasure of having is the most hilarious woman I have met. She’s incredibly talented at what she does and personally makes sure that every single student she had ever received in Grenoble leaves with the best possible experience they could have had. She’s in charge of planning our day trips and she does a magnificent job. She chose locations that are not well known globally for good reason: you know about the big cities and what’s popular but there’s so much more to France than those big names—it’s like coming to the United States just to see New York City but missing the smaller gems like Ann Arbor.

One of the day trips included in the program last summer was to Annecy, a beautiful town north of Grenoble located on Lac d’Annecy, known as Europe’s cleanest lake with its strict environmental protection laws. I thought Grenoble was a gorgeous city before I set foot inside of this historic town. With a river running through, beautiful bridges lined with blooming pots of flowers and a stunning Château atop a winding cobblestone road. Annecy is filled with little bakeries, ice cream and Italian ice stands with the mouthwatering smell of fresh pralines.

After our trip to the town’s museum together as a class, we all broke off to find lunch on our own. My friends and I struggled to choose which sandwich shop to purchase a fresh panini from and debated whether or not a second cone of gelato was a good idea or not—for the record, a second cone of gelato is always a good idea. We wandered the small town, browsed the pop-up flee market and eventually met up with the rest of the class at the park next to the lake where one of our classmates adamantly stated that we absolutely have to rent a paddleboat. Half an hour later, we were merrily on the lake, paddling on top of the clearest lake I’ve ever seen in my life. There were many parts of that day that made it easily one of the most perfect days I am lucky to have—maybe I was enjoying the sugar rush from all that ice cream or maybe it’s because I just fell in love with a beautiful city that I’ve decided I want to retire in but one thing’s for sure: it’s all because of the company that I was blessed to have shared it with.

For more information about the CGIS French 230 Grenoble Program visit the MCompass program page.

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