Let’s take our marks !

Hey, everybody! 

I’ve been in Brussels for two weeks now. And I’ve started to get my bearings! 

First of all, I’m going to tell you about my departure and the integration week before telling you about the habits I’m starting to develop in Brussels.

I left La Rochelle (where I live) by train with my mom (because carrying two suitcases, backpacks, duvet and pillows, alone I would never have made it!) in the direction of Brussels. On arrival, we went in our AirBnB for two nights because my accommodation only became available on January 28th. 

We were able to take a tour of the city and eat in different restaurants that our host had recommended to us: the “Nona” pizzeria (you have to be patient because by 6.30 pm the restaurant is full), “Frites Atelier” (fries that are not Belgian, they are Dutch and really exquisite, the best I’ve eaten so far), and the “Café Georgette” (where the Belgian fries were very good). We also went through the inevitable step of the waffles… 

Monday, January 27th was my first day of Integration Week. We had a small presentation and then we visited the city thanks to a guide who spoke very quickly in English with an Irish accent. It was a lot of fun to listen to. 

Tuesday morning, introductory course on Europe and in the afternoon, demonstration of chocolate making at the “Concept Chocolate” in Brussels. I was able to get to know my room which I rented as a flat share in an apartment 30 steps from the school. I’m very happy with my accommodation because it’s big, right in the city centre and my flatmates are really nice.

Wednesday, introductory course in culture and in the afternoon a visit to the Magritte museum. I wanted so much to see the real painting “This is not a pipe” but after a google search, it is exposed in a museum in Los Angeles. It’s a shame. But I still had the opportunity to see the other paintings of the series. 

Thursday, introductory course on Belgium and in the afternoon, visit of the parlamentarium. 

On Friday we had a meal with all the ERASMUS in the restaurant “Le Roy d’Espagne” on the Grand-Place to eat chips! And yes, again and again. 

The following days we had our first lessons. Some of them I like a lot, others less, and I discover new ones that I intend to add to my list. 

We went to a cool HYPER bar, the Ebrius, where the atmosphere is crazy, young with an alcohol level that I’d rather not reveal. I was able to meet my buddy (godfather of the IHECS), a very nice guy who is part of the IHECS BDE.

We still keep walking around the city, and we pass by all the unmissable places in Brussels: the Galleries, the Grand Place, the Manneken and many other places that we discover during our many visits (bars are one of them). 

For the moment, I haven’t really had the opportunity to discover the districts around Brussels like Ixelles, Saint-Gilles, etc. but I plan to visit them in the coming weeks.

XOXO

Marie

What to do in Bordeaux ?

Bordeaux. Also known as the beautiful asleep or the little Paris, the city of Bordeaux is overflowing with things to see and to do ! Keep reading and begin a tour of this tiny piece of paradise !

Where is Bordeaux ?

Located 2h30 by train from the capital, Bordeaux is situated in the South-West of France, the place where people say “chocolatine”. The city is cut in two parts by the Garonne, that’s why we talk about Right Bank and Left Bank. The closest cities are Arcachon, Angoulême, Royan, Périgueux and Agen, places to visit if you came here !

The 5 most beautiful locations ?

It’s difficult to quote only five location but we are going to try !

-Place de la Bourse and the Miroir d’eau : We don’t present this mythical sight worldwild anymore, but this is not a tourist trap at all ! During summer to cool off and talk next to the fountain and during winter to admire the light’s reflections on the Miroir d’eau, the Place de la Bourse is different each season.

-Darwin ecosystem : If you like street art, to drink and to eat good things, but mainly to listen to good music, this is THE place to be. From reassigned barracks to colored walls by dozen of artists, Darwin is one of the most iconic street location in Bordeaux.

-The Cathedral of Saint Andrew : Biggest cult monument of the city located square Pey-Berland, the Cathedral Saint Andrew is a pearl of the beautiful asleep. Its architecture is iconic, from the outside to the inside, through the cloister.

-Place de la Comédie : Gathering the Grand Théâtre of Bordeaux and the prestigious restaurants of Gordon Ramsay and Philippe Etchebest, this square is even more beautiful at night. The Opera Houses’ illuminations and the one from the builgings around make it a privileged sport for night walks.

-The botanical garden : Lovers of nature or aspirant to calm, the botanical garden of Bordeaux, located Right Bank, is a true heaven of peace. Every year, the garden blooms according to a theme, to impress you even more.

I allow myself to add one more because this is kind of hard : the stone bridge (or “Pont de pierre” in French). Emblem of the city, it’s impossible to came in Bordeaux without admire the stone bridge, by day and by night !

What about culture ?

Bordeaux is a privileged place for museums : the city has no less than 15 of them ! Whether you like Renaissance’s art, history of Humanity, architecture, wine or contemporary art, each museum has its own specificity.

Performing arts also have big space for the city. The iconic auditorium of Rocher de Palmer has seen hundreds of artists since its opening and continue to surprise ! With the Arkea Arena’s recent construction, French and international artists now come in Bordeaux to play for 11,000 people, just for our pleasure. For the most intimated people, you can also find your happiness at the Femina Theater, at the Rock School Babrey or in the movie theater Utopia.

Some others iconic cultural locations are also to mention, as the Cité du Vin, unique site based in wine and leisure time in the world. The submarine base or BETASOM offers innovated exhibitions in a cultural center with a unique industrial architecture. The many doors are still symbols of the city, in memory of the past. Porte Cailhau, Porte of Bourgogne, Porte of Aquitaine, they are required passages.

What’s for evening outings ?

The beautiful asleep is not as asleep as we can think ! Whether you are more interested by cultural trips, to have dinner in a great restaurant and to go to bars and clubs, that’s not something that missed here.

For the restaurants, dare to get lost in the small streets of the city and let you surprise by gastronomy from the Gironde but also from elsewhere.

Place de la Victoire and its surrounding streets are your best friends if you want to go out in bars with different styles and various entertainments. To continue the evening, the city counts dozens of clubs, including the iconic IBoat, ship/club with emblematic theme nights.

I could have written a lot more about this beautiful city that is Bordeaux, but let’s stop here for today !

Have a beautiful day/evening,

-Angelina