France #12: Merci Beaucoup, Arles!

Mac ’25, reflects on his time in Arles, and shares a favorite pastime. 

I can’t believe this is the last week of Arles. For the past two weeks, I have truly enjoyed this beautiful town in Southern France through trying local food, visiting historical sites and museums, and building connections with my host family.

To kick off the third week, Svetlana, Toler, Gracie, Aaron, Toler, and I had French class taught by Natalia, our teacher. Each of us presented our familles d’accueil (host families). By asking various questions to them during the weekend, we were able to know more about them including their hobbies, favorite food, and family tradition. After that, the class received a mission to create a guidebook of Arles showing various bonnes adresses (“good addresses”–cool scenic spots, restaurants, cafes, etc.) In order to gather more information from the locals’ perspectives, we were divided into three groups. Toler and I asked a couple of store managers courageously, and knew many restaurants that offers affordable and fine food. Gathering back together, each of us was assigned to write a quick description of a bonne addresse. I wrote about my favorite comic store and learned to describe a location in French.

After morning class, I proceeded to the event that I am most looking forward to everyday, the language lunch. My group with June and Dr. Hunt went to Pitchounet where I had la tartare de bœuf, my favorite French dish. This time, I changed the tone a little bit and tried la tartare de thon et saumon (tuna and salmon tartare). Similar to la tartare de bœuf, tuna and salmon are raw. However, la tartare de thon et saumon has more animal fat, which makes it more oily, while la tartare de bœuf tastes leaner. La tartare de thon et saumon is a great dish, but as my first blog states, my favorite dish is still la tartare de bœuf.

After lunch, we went to LUMA le Parc des Ateliers. Le Parc des Ateliers is an art park, including la tour (the tower), a spiraling building covered by reflective materials designed by Frank Gehry. We explored many art expositions, including “The Shape of Things” by American artist Carrie Mae Weems. By using various objects, lights, films, photographs, and paintings, the artist poses profound questions about social justice in this fast-changing world. Then, we went into la tour and tried a slide that was three stories high!

Leaving the building, when everyone thought the day was over, Dr. Hunt surprised us with a birthday cake! It was Daphne and Mr. Romick’s birthday, and Elizabeth also had hers during the weekend. Thanks to the gratitude of Dr. Hunt, we celebrated the birthday together, reminding me again how tight and loving this group is!

Finally, I went home and had dinner with my host family. To end the day, I played des jeux de société (board games). During le jeu de dames (checkers), even though Simon-my homestay son-beat me due to my lack of experience, I managed to destroy Laurent-my homestay father-in the second game.

Bonne Soirée.