After having experienced three very different nights out in France, I thought I’d like to share my experiences with you all. In my first week here, I had been to meet Erasmus students but I had not been out to bars etc. so this was the first week to experience the bar culture in Provençal France!
With me being the first teaching assistant in Aix, I was over the moon when two others arrived and were available to meet on the same day. We met up at La Rotonde (stunning fountain roundabout in Aix, the landmark where students meet up) during the day and went for coffee. These two lovely young women are Amory and Hayley, my two American BFF’s in Aix! Since we all met each other last Tuesday, we have spent a lot of time with each other, it’s been great. Amongst breakfasts, lunches, happy hours, coffee breaks and wandering boutique shops, we have managed to fit in three nights out in Aix, which is the main topic of this post.
We arranged our first night out for Thursday night with the plans to have a couple of bottles of wine and then head to some bars. I arrived at Hayley’s wonderful flat to find we actually had four bottles of wine, two of which her friend from Montpellier had brought for us to have! Being a little tipsy a couple of hours later, we left the flat and went to a bar a five minute walk down the street.
The bar was packed with lots of mid-20’s, uncaring people from all over the world. We went to the bar to get a shot each before heading to the next one. We then witnessed the most intricate shot I’ve ever had being made. She used a (mini) flamethrower to light them up and the others had lemon and brown sugar for after. I hated it (I miss apple sourz) but the others loved it.
We then went and sat at one of the main bar squares in Aix. We got a drink and chatted for ten minutes when a French guy with a holiday hat on came and sat next to us. He didn’t say one word and took a sip from each of our drinks. He then proceeded to sit for another five minutes as we chatted. We were questioning if this was the French way of flirting, until he eventually got up, went over to his group of friends who all clapped.
We contemplated wether or not to do the exact same thing to them as it was obviously a dare. After peer pressure, me and Ana walked over to the group of guys, took their hats and took a drink of their drinks. We got chatting to them and we made a big group with the others. We found out that the silent guy had been given “Une gâge” which is basically just a dare; whoever wears the hat has “une gâge”
So, the next guy to take the hat was dared to walk around the bar like a chicken. Possibly one of the strangest things I’ve ever witnessed in a while, he walked around with his hands under his armpits squawking at other people sitting in the bar. It was then my turn with the hat on my head. The dare was for Hayley and I to ask a random person to join us in the Macarena in front of the whole bar. That was also an extremely surreal moment, but also a very fun one. And we enjoyed the rest of the night attempting to speak French after too much wine.
The second night was arranged for the next night, the Friday. Hayley and her French boyfriend had invited some friends out and we arranged to go to dinner. There’s a long, wide street in Aix with lots of bars and restaurants and we were at one at the very lively bottom end of the street. It was an extremely beautiful setting and the food was great. Another extremely grateful moment struck me as I put what I was doing in to perspective. Surrounded by people from the country that I adore, in 25+ degree heat on a September’s evening. This was my life for the year. No more subway dates with Eilidh after propaganda at ABC for me…
On Saturday we’d arranged to go out again. A few new assistants had arrived in Aix now and we’d arranged to meet them. Me and Amory started a little earlier and we met everyone else a little later on Cours Mirabeau (the main/touristy street in Aix). Me and Amory decided to opt for a €25 drink which was a ‘bucket’ of Sex on the Beach. A ‘bucket’ back home would result in a pitcher or something of the sort. NOPE! It was in a real-life bucket. So cool. And tasty.
Anyway, we got through one of those very quickly and we met an Irish couple who’d just come to Aix that day but have been in the country for a while looking for a flat – we had a lot of anger to disperse of the difficulties of getting a flat over here. I also managed to get my anger out over the Independence Referendum with the lovely Irish couple who shared my hatred for the way of the English. And then Hayley arrived, and later an American assistant who has been here with her French boyfriend since May. After a couple more buckets between us all and a few other drinks, we headed home in the early hours of the morning after having a great night of meeting new people and discussing life!
All three of my first three nights out in Aix were very different but also absolutely brilliant. I’m already completely used to the bar and café culture here and I think I will struggle severely going back to Glasgow where that doesn’t exist. I have met so many lovely people that I know I will have an amazing time exploring France and the surrounding areas with. I am very grateful to be surrounded by such awesome people whilst I’m here.
I wouldn’t change my life here for anything right now. However, I miss my friends immensely, I love you allllll very much, I wouldn’t mind popping back for a night out in Seven Kings or Glasgow.