I can tell that I'm so attached to Vichy - it was my first city in France, I've met bunch of wonderful people there and it witnessed every single thing that was first time to me and the fact that Vichy is a small city - historical yet beautiful and it is surrounded with nature.
I know I shouldn't be comparing these two different cities though, but I can't help it! Of course they differ a lot - specially one is in the north and the other one is in the south. People from these two parts of France are totally not sharing the same values.
Frankly speaking, what I'm gonna write here is exactly from my personal observation, what I've experienced myself, so bear in mind that I would probably be freaking biased. Obviously, you would be a lot more inclined to things that you love/like.
I've been in Vichy for 2 months, living in a famille d'accueil or a foster family as it was a part of our bridging programme in France before starting our degree. I honestly tell you that they are super warm people! My first week was a disaster because I hardly could memorise directions - I got lost most of the time if I went out alone and well, Vichysois (the people of the Vichy) they are so kind, before you could go ask someone for the direction, there will be people approaching you asking whether you're okay or not.
They're so freaking friendly and I am talking about strangers on the road - no matter where you are in the city, when you bump into someone else, they will always say 'Bonjour mademoiselle! Ca va?'
In my case, people easily recognize me as a muslim, so you would have those random people giving you salaam and starting to talk in arabic. Most of the time, they think that muslims can speak and understand arabic. In fact, when we (Malaysians) told them that we can read and write arabic alphabets but not to understand it, they would be quite surprised as for them, the french-arabs, they are most likely to understand and speak arabic but not being able to write and read it.
In front of my university Pole Universite Albert-Londres, there's this one big big park which was constructed by Napoleon III in between the years of the world wars as Vichy was the place for him to relax after dealing with guerre (war). The park is super beautiful and there hadn't been a day passed without me going there, lepaking under the tree. Even when it was so so hot, it was summer and there were like 3 times we had canicule, I would still go there, just to lay down and play games with my friends.
|At our fav spot during Eid|
|Pont de Bellerive|
|In front of CAVILAM - Pole universite Albert Londres|
|Interior of sources des celestins|
If you guys were to find a place to improve your french or to just hang out for few days trying out things that are not in trend nowadays, don't hesitate to go for Vichy and Cavilam. You won't regret it, I swear.
Wait, I did have a regret. Leaving the city is my biggest regret for the time being. But I am pretty sure that I will be back there.
I'm trying to find some time to publish the posts of my visits in Auvergne, my favourite ones! Till then peeps!
p/s: I started my first day of degree classes today! :)