Two posts in two days? What is this madness?! Don’t worry, I won’t make a habit of it ;)
After three days in Germany, where communication can be a bit of a challenge, visiting France was a wonderful mental break. Not only did I get to practice my French skills, but my brain felt at home again. You don’t realize how much time you spend reading signs and using language throughout a day until you’re no longer able to do so easily. This was my first time in France since 8th grade and it was incredible to notice the marked difference in my comprehension, fluency, and confidence. I’ve certainly grown quite a bit these last three years! Of the six Americans who went on the trip, I was the only one with any French knowledge — it was so fun to serve as their guide and translator, even though it was my first time in the city as well.
None of us came with any prior knowledge of Metz, so there weren’t any particular sights we wanted to see. This was ideal because it allowed us to be leisurely and relaxed, two adjectives that I wouldn’t necessarily use to describe our exciting days in Germany. We stopped at a patisserie before heading out on a 45-minute train tour of the town with the 5th grade class we were accompanying. I loved seeing the others’ reactions to their first French pastries! My own croissant praliné was magical, a good omen for the rest of the day. We then wandered a bit to kill time until restaurants opened for lunch.
Once the town had come to life a bit more, we settled on a bistro called Enfin (meaning “finally”) which was on the edge of a plaza filled with cafés and sandwich shops. It was the most perfect French setting we could have found. There were street musicians playing their accordions, a fascinating mix of people meandering by, and waiters who weren’t particularly concerned with the speed at which our orders were taken and food arrived. This last point was somewhat difficult for my fellow Americans to come to terms with, but I found it charming.
Metz is the capital of Lorraine, so Quiche Lorraine was the natural choice. It was as heavenly as one would expect with melt-in-your-mouth filling and a thin, flaky crust. À boire, I enjoyed the French drink that filled my childhood daydreams, Orangina. Though it’s not by any means my favorite beverage, its nostalgia factor is too strong to resist. In classic French fashion, we spent about an hour and 10 minutes eating and talking before heading off for a bit of exploring.
Our chaperone, Suzanne, wanted to do some shopping so we students set off on our own. We rambled up and down the cobblestone streets, taking pictures and window shopping, before realizing we had 15 minutes until the rendez-vous time and still needed to get crêpes! Our pace increased significantly as we rushed to the Marché Couvert (covered market) in search of this most perfect of French treats. With a recommendation from the woman at the fish store, we went to “Soup Soup” where I explained to the man that we only had nine minutes, but would be so grateful to have some of his delicious masterpieces. He happily obliged and, though it took 11 minutes, we were soon rushing back to the central square. Perfect crêpes in hand, we boarded the bus back to St. Wendel with full stomachs and happy hearts.
I believe we spent our day as the French would have wished — appreciating good food and taking a pause from the hectic nature of everyday life. It was a marvelous way to spend a Friday and served as a lovely reminder of the beauty of France, its language, and its culture. Malgré les mots sur mon passeport, ma cœur dit que je suis française.
Tomorrow I’m off to Europa Park with a few of the other Germans and Americans for a day of rollercoasters and excitement — should be lots of fun!
Until next time, tschüss and au revoir!