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Cecile Stouse: Aix-en-Provence

My name is Cecile Stouse and I am a rising senior at Wofford College. A few things about me: I am a Spanish major with a double minor in Business and Finance. In my free time, you can find me behind the front desk at Pure Barre or unapologetically listening to arguably terrible 2000s country music.

This past Fall in 2022, I spent a semester abroad in Seville, Spain. I studied in the Business and Societies program, where I was able to take International Marketing and International Finance courses at Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, which is the business school in Seville.

I chose to study in Seville because I wanted a smaller city to experience Spain's culture and study the language. The most effective way I grew my language skills was through speaking with my host mom and sister, Pilar and Marta. They taught me about Spain through their own experiences, as well as helped me learn and correct my linguistic skills.

While I loved my time in Seville, one trip I want to highlight is Aix en Provence, France. Aix is a tiny town tucked away in the Southwest of France. Its small-town charm and picturesque landscape seemed like the obvious choice for our first girls' weekend abroad.

Transportation-wise, I traveled with my roommate, Janie Morris. We spent roughly 100-150 euros on travel. We flew from Seville to Marseille and then took a 7-euro bus to Aix. Janie and I flew with Vueling, whose pricing runs very similar to RyanAir.

I packed everything I had into one backpack because I didn’t want to pay the extra fee for a carry-on bag. The best tip I have for packing is to wear your bulkiest things. I know that sounds obvious, but you really can squeeze three nights' worth of clothes into your school backpack if you do it right.

Housing-wise, we had 10 girls in one Airbnb. I must mention that this AirBnB was meant for 5 people at most. But, when in France, right? It was a second-story apartment a short walk away from the main square with multiple cute bars and restaurants. The wifi was great, and the location was prime. However, there were two bathrooms, and only one had a shower. That being said, it wouldn’t have been a problem if there had only been five of us, just like AirBnBrecommended.

Our experience there was a dream: from the delicious French food including charcuterie boards to crepes, to the crisp rosè we had by the bottle at the winery. A moment for the crepes. My best friend Franny and I saw that one of the content creators I follow had been to Aix a few weeks before, and had somehow discovered a hole-in-the-wall authentic crepe restaurant in an old train station. If you ever get the chance to go to Aix, Crepes-a-go-go is a MUST! I had the végétarien: mushrooms, gruyere, and spinach, all rolled in a fresh off-the-griddle crepe and served in a paper cone. This was hands down one of my top three foods I had in Europe.

A few words about our experience of our day at the winery: we spent an afternoon at the Chateau du Seuil running through the grape vines, enjoying the sunset, and chatting with our waiters and the Parisian locals we met at our wine tasting. We took a bus to the winery, but traveling does come with its hiccups. A group of us rode the bus to the winery one stop too long and had to walk on the side of the highway and jump through a creek to get there. But by hell or high water, we made it!

We spent the afternoon chatting, sipping our collections of rosés and reds, exploring the vineyard, and enjoying the gorgeous summer-into-fall weather.

I would absolutely recommend this trip! The easy-to-navigate city and friendly people make it the perfect first destination.You don’t need to be here for more than two nights, so it is the perfect way to ease your way into planning trips for your upcoming months in Europe.

Xoxo, Cecile


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