Hi all!

If it wasn’t obvious from the title of this post, I’m officially a free woman and have finished uni for the semester! This post is going to be quite short as I’ve done a lot of (attempted) swotting and not much else over the past two weeks.

Exams

Last Monday I had my exam for my ‘patrimoine’ class – avid fans of this blog will remember this as the infamous art history class which wasn’t art history. It ended up being history and heritage of Lyon under the Ancien Régime, which was interesting. I’m pleased I took the course so I’ve had some sort of ‘connection’ with Lyon! I was doing my own personal exam, in which i drew out a subject, had 15 minutes with notes to write a 10 minute speech on it. Out of the 6 possible topics I managed to pick the fortification of Lyon which was probably the most boring, but at least it meant I didn’t have to do much thinking about what I was or wasn’t going to talk about. I think it went pretty well, even though I may have admitted to the lecturer that I didn’t know when the Roman Empire fell, and he said I’d passed so that’s money in the bank so to speak.

Then today I had my last, and hardest one. Hardest first of all because I had to sit the same exam as the French students (wah poor me) and secondly because it had a LOT of content to go back over that I hadn’t retained at all. Also it’s the only course I’m taking that’s giving me credit towards my major requirements, so if I fail it I’ll have to pick up another art history paper that I don’t want to do when I get back. So fingers crossed! All things considered, I think it went pretty well. I made leaps and bounds with my study over the past few days and felt pretty confident, so it just came down to what I was actually able to remember in the exam, rather than having absolutely no clue about anything (as it was looking a few days prior). The course covered architecture and the decorative arts from the 18th century through art nouveau to modern design, and the topic was to discuss how the ‘invention’ (what even) of design was linked to the development of industry. Yep. It was just an hour and a half exam, and wasn’t even meant to be a proper essay, just a question and response. Very disconcerting to have this as the sole assessment for a third year university course! The exam itself was also unnervingly relaxed (this is the course at Lyon 2, the purported communist/hippy uni to Lyon 3’s snobby kids) with students expected to bring their own paper, gradually leaving in dribs and drabs with the supervisor just saying ‘come on…I’m not gonna accept any more papers in a couple of minutes’ – not a ‘posez vos stylos‘ to be heard! As the exam was at the ungodly hour of 8am I was all done by 9:30 and celebrated by doing just about nothing all day (actually I ended up spending just about four hours at a mall. Horrific)

Cooking class

Heading back in time to last Wednesday, Sarah and I took a cooking class  at Plum Lyon and learnt how to make a tarte aux fraises completely from scratch. IT had been at the back of our minds for a while that we had to do some sort of cooking class while we were in the gastronomic capital of France, and eventually we got our act together and booked this one in – all we knew was that it was in English, and we’d be doing some sort of dessert/pastry. It was run by a lovely American woman named Lucy who’s been living in Lyon for 13 years and has converted the front of her house/apartment into the show kitchen. There was us, two Russians visiting on holiday, and an Indian living here, so it was a very interesting group! We learnt how to make the pastry, crème pâtissière, and then put it all together with the strawberries, so we have a good base for making a whole range of other desserts. Good to add another dish to my repertoire although it’s not the most practical haha. Someone needs to have a dinner party or high tea so I can make it!

Annecy

This Saturday I headed to Annecy, a small city (I’m too scared to say town but it was) 2 hours from Lyon at the foot of the alps, with Danielle and Katie, two girls from North Carolina. We were later joined by Guillem and Natalia, two French friends of Danielle’s. Annecy sits right on a lake (Lake…Annecy…) and is known as the Venice of France due to its system of canals. After getting lost trying to find the tourist office from the train station (seriously…) we eventually got our hands on a map and followed a few walking trails of the main ‘sights’ around town (= lots of churches). After spending about an hour deciding where to get lunch and then waiting, I had tartiflette which is specialty of the Haute-Savoie region – basically potato, cream, onions and lardons. What’s not to like? This one was a bit too runny-creamy compared to one I’d had in Lyon which had a more solid consistency with chunks of potato with a light coating of sauce, in my professional opinion. Then we went to the lake to rent a pedal boat which was definitely the highlight of the day, even though I spent the whole time terrified we were going to fall in. Those things aren’t very stable, and there were five of us! However, we managed to survive three driver changes with no capsizings to report. After that we roamed around the lake and got an icecream before we headed back to Lyon with our lovely covoiturage driver Maëlle, a 24 year-old who works in an art gallery in Switzerland, as you do. All in all a great day even though there wasn’t a whole lot to do!

Other exploits have also included a crepe night for Marlis’ birthday, finally visiting the Musée de Beaux Arts and the Museum of cinema and miniatures. The Resistance Museum and Lumière Institute are on the list for next week. After today I only have two days left in Lyon before I’m back for one more at the end of June, so have to try and cram in all the things I haven’t got round to yet!

Tomorrow I’m celebrating my freedom by heading off to the south of France for a whirlwind visit of Avignon/Arles/Aix-en-Provence/Cannes/Nice and Monte Carlo, in 6 days. Unfortunately it looks like it is due to rain in each city I’m in, only on the day I’m in it, which will put a bit of a dampener (get it??) on the whole Côte d’Azur experience. However the weather forecast is hardly ever right so fingers crossed all will go swimmingly! I’ll aim to write a post about that when I get back, before I head off on my European adventures!

A bientôt!

Catherine