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I'm Dylan Vincent. A former cheerleader, French studies and photojournalism major at the University of Cincinnati, I created this blog to share my experience abroad during my last year of undergrad. You'll get the whole scoop on everything I lived through: the unforgettable trips, the parties, friends, and, of course,the many learning opportunities. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did living and creating it. Bisous
— @dylanvincent on Twitter.
This past weekend, after several failed attempts, I finally managed to get away on a solo vacation. My French friends who studied at Cincinnati who live in Nantes had been urging me to come visit for a while and I was extremely excited to have the weekend free. Of course I passed up an excursion to Avignon but in any case, Nantes was well worth it. Despite several airport and tramway mishaps, getting there was easy. Nantes is such a beautiful city. It reminds me a lot of Paris but without all the extra people.
My good friend Agnès hosted me for the weekend and she already stuff planned for night life. The first night we went to a giant campaign party. At Agnès’ school, student life is completely different than in the US. Contrary to our typical huge universities with more than 20,000 students, athletic culture, and many encompassing schools, in France you have specialty schools that are small and lack a lot of the culture we have. Thus, it’s necessary for student associations to gather to organize events to create a culture. At Audencia, their are several groups who represent different poles: sports, arts, academia, etc. They all compete to be elected as the top organization who will get to organize all the events of the coming year. It’s a huge honor and an even greater benefit to the students for they get to take advantage of all the soirées organized by the collective to rally support for their campaigns. The weekend I chose to go happened to be the last weekend of the campaign and thus we went to a huge, ginaormous club where over 1,000 students were present to enjoy the night. Believe me, the Nantais go hard. There was jumping castles, a mechanical surfboard, free food, and an enourmous dancefloor. It was phenominal. Probably the biggest club I’ve ever seen. Needless to say, we had a lot of fun.
The next day, Agnès took me sightseeing and I finally got to take pictures. We went for a stroll along the Loire River and found ourselves at a quaint Japanese garden. Fall in Nantes is extremely beautiful! The leaves have all turned golden and deep red. The trees were of a gorgeous color. I was lucky to go at the time I did for all the great photos. Then for lunch we went to this restaurant called Caribou where we found three-story cheeseburgers! Probably the best cheeseburger and fries I’ve found in France yet. It was amazing.
**C H E C K OUT THE PREVIOUS POSTS FOR PICS!
Afterwards, we went to the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, a castle right in the heart of Nantes which was the home to the former dukes of Bretagne. It was absolutely beautiful and I got some amazing shots there. There wasn’t much to see but the views and the architecture was marvelous. Just across the way from the chateau was the Cathédrale St. Pierre. It was huge as well! It has the façade of Notre Dame but was of course smaller. The insider is even more beautiful. High arches and painted ceilings. It was extraordinary. You really get a sense of spirit when you step into those things. It’s moving.
That night, we went to a Paul Kalkbrenner (PK) concert with her other roommates. Her roommates are so friendly and they too were great hosts. PK in Europe is apparently very popular. He’s a DJ and he mixes electronic and techno music—again, something popular to Europe. It was a different change in pace for me but in any case, I had a great time. I took a video at the concert and if you check my recent posts, you can see how amazing it is. Again, these Nantais do it big. It was held at the Trocadière concert hall and there were so many people there. The music was just pumping, the strobe lights were going crazy, and everyone had a great time dancing. Completely mind-blowing experience to say the least. We got home very late; tired and sweaty.
on Saturday, Agnès took me to Audencia to show me around her school but also because there was a mini sports tournament for the campaign. It was again, another great student event and lots of her classmates were there- many of whom I met the first night I arrived. I also met up with the other friends I made who studied at UC. The rest of the day went by very slowly and at night, I had dinner with another friend and stayed in to watch movies and get to know the other roommates, Maylis and Clovis. All in all, I would say my final night was my favorite night.
Sunday, we woke up late and got lunch and I was immediatly on my way back south. Again, with some airport mishaps, I landed eventually and was exhausted. As soon as I arrived in Aix however, I was delighted to see that they had illuminated all the Christmas decorations in town. I had seen them hanging them for weeks and it looks abosulutely gorgeous. It’s like living in a little Christmas town that you often see as displays in windows and big department stores.
Overall, Nantes was amazing! Beautiful city, friendly people, made some new friends, and I went loco :)
I want to extend a huge thanks to my friend Agnès and her roommates who were great hosts and showed me a good time! I will definitely be back!
B E S U R E TO CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS POSTS FOR THE PICTURES AND VIDEOS!!! AND STAY TUNED FOR MY NEXT ADVENTURE!!