Written by SU Strasbourg student Charlotte Stone.
Think about it– all of the history, monuments, art, people, and architecture that we’ve read about at home is an arms length away. For students visiting Europe for the first time, it is so easy to be swept up in the opportunity for adventure in many different cities and even better, many different countries.
But visits to every great city in Europe, seeing the great works by great artists keeps you from seeing the beauty that surrounds you.
France offers a surprising diversity in agriculture, food, people, and history. Though similar, the differences between Strasbourg and Normandie are indescribable, just as much as those between Strasbourg and London. For potential students, do your best not to be swept up into the “grandeur” of traveling on 18 hour, overnight trains just so that you can have bragging rights–I went to this city and that city and then we went here and there. That’s great. But when you say you “went” there, how much can one really see and take in?
This past weekend, I took a quick 5 hour train ride, with a brief stop over in Paris, to the ocean in the little town of Arromanches-les-Bains.
Nine kilometers from Bayeux, the vegetation enshrouded cliffs of Arromanches plunge into the English Channel, with little shops, boutiques, and creperies sprinkling the main street. During the summer months, tourists and summer residents flock to these beaches not only for relief but for their history. These beaches of Normandie were the site of the June 6, 1944 D-Day invasion.
France is more than the city of Paris. It’s more than your beautiful host city, Strasbourg. The opportunities for exploration and new adventures in France are bountiless; and what’s more is that you spend more time actually exploring than being cooped up on a high speed train waiting for your arrival.