Bonjour mon amis!! Beinvenue back to the blog, today’s post is less about fashion and more about my experience abroad this Summer!! As you already know, I was living in a lovely little village called Lacoste in the South of France for the past two months, which in case you forgot, looks like this:
Lacoste is definitely one of the most beautiful, serene, and peaceful places I’ve ever been, and I feel insanely lucky to have been able to study and create art, and just slow down for the summer in such an incredible little town. That being said, I thought it would be fun to do a pros and cons of living in Lacoste list, for anyone (SCAD friends) who is thinking about studying here, or just planning a visit! So here’s what you need to know; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Before diving into the pros and cons lists, I just want to quickly give y’all a little summary of what this summer was like and what Lacoste is like in general! First of all, it’s a very very tiny town about an hour from the French Riviera, where only about 18 families actually live year round, the rest of the population comes from SCAD students studying there each quarter. But the villagers that do live there are extremely nice and welcoming, though they don’t speak much, if any, English. There are two parts to the Lacoste campus, there’s upper village (where I lived) and there’s Maison Basse, which is about a mile down from the top of the upper village. Most of the students live in upper village where there’s a dining hall that we eat all of our meals in, a few classrooms around the village, a dope library that used to be a French bakery, and a castle up on the hill. About 20 students live down at Maison Basse where they have air conditioning, a pool, TVs, and their own dining hall…. I’m not gonna lie they have it pretty good down there. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. BUT that means any time they want to come up to the upper village they have to hike a mile uphill, so you can weigh the pros and cons of that on your own hahaha. They do have a couple classrooms down there and one of my classes was held there so I did the trek up and down the hill twice a week, plus any time I wanted to go to the pool or the cherry orchards. I personally feel like me and my roomies lucked out with our upper village room! We lived in Murier Lower and it was adorable. We had the cutest blue shutters and a big beautiful terrace where we can sit and do our homework and watch the sun set over the village every night. It’s magical. But honestly all of the housing in Lacoste has it’s pros and cons, which brings me to our list. I know a lot of my friends are planning on studying here in the fall or next year so I just thought it would be fun to let y’all know what you’re getting into, plus get you super pumped! So get ready for a really long post today, here we go-
- How secluded the village is. I love Lacoste with my whole heart, but if you want to go ANYWHERE else…. good luck. There is no bus that runs to the airport, which is an hour away, or the train station, which is also an hour away. So if you want to get to the airport you have to take a taxi or car service which is going to cost at least 200 euro there and back. We did this for our trip to Barcelona and Marseille, and it was worth it because getting out of the village for a few days was so much fun, but just be prepared to spend a lot of money and allot yourself a lot of time for traveling if you are planning on going anywhere.
- The heat!! If you’re planning on coming to Lacoste in the fall, winter, or spring this likely isn’t something you’re going to have to deal with. But, if you come in the summer just be prepared for two months of 90-100 degree weather with no air conditioning. We had a huge heat wave last week and it got to 102 degrees, and we eventually just slept on the floor of the library because it was too hot in our room to fall asleep. Make sure to bring a good water bottle and keep it filled, also maybe a small personal fan, because the trek up the hill in 100 degree weather is definitely one that will have you passing out. But the heat at night was the real killer, because for some reason our room really trapped in heat, so our room was always at least 10 degrees hotter than outside and it sometimes feels like a sauna… in hell…. on the surface of the sun. So even though it’s cool at night, our room always has us sweating, which leads us to the next problem..
- THE BUGS. This was one of our biggest challenges this summer, fighting off the freaking bugs. we had to keep our windows open all the time to get cool air inside, but we didn’t have screens on our windows, so along with the cold air, comes the bugs. And I don’t mean a couple mosquitoes and flies, I mean BUGS. Like wasps the size of my big toe that lived in our bedposts, and moths the size of my fist (not exaggerating in the slightest) that attacked us in the middle of the night. I constantly woke up with spider bites, and dozens of mosquito bites up and down my legs and arms. And at one point it became very concerning how nonchalant we became with ants crawling all over us. They were everywhere; in the bathroom, under our dressers, in our beds. Yes, in our beds. all of the time. Luckily they didn’t bite, they were just annoying and there was no escape from them. Also: Lizards. In. Our. Room. All. The. Time. Enough said.
- Lack of shops/restaurants/anything to do. There is one restaurant in this village besides our school cafeteria, called Cafe De France. Honestly, I love Cafe De France, it’s bumping. They have great food, yummy ice cream, beautiful views, and lots of French locals and visiting tourists. But, Cafe De France is the only thing Lacoste has to offer besides the school facilities. There’s nowhere else to eat, and nothing else to do. The only store in the entire town is the SCAD shop which sells art supplies and things for our classes, which is great, but they also only take cash and mastercard, and there’s no ATM in the village either. There’s literally not even a grocery store, so if you’re hungry and it’s not meal time yet … welllll sucks for you.
- Beating the boredom can be hard. I’m more of a city girl, I like fast paced, I like having places to go, I like being busy and I like having a lot of options of things to do. For that reason, Lacoste was a little bit hard for me. In all honesty, I think I got a little bit depressed while I was there. The slow lifestyle of doing nothing and having nowhere to go might be for some people, but keeping myself entertained and productive and not feeling lazy was really tricky for me. There’s a few things to do, like renting bikes, taking a bus to the neighboring village, hiking around the hills, and going to the pool, but once you’ve done all of that a million times, the boredom really sets in. But if you’re the kind of person who likes mass amounts of free time, and doing nothing but homework then Lacoste is the place for you!
- The walk up the hill from class. I got pretty used to this one by the end of the summer, but at first, hiking nearly a mile uphill after every single class with my books and my supplies and everything in hand was a real struggle, but my calves are steel by now, let me tell you. Also the beauty of the walk makes it bearable. Just be sure to bring good shoes because I slipped and tripped on the rocks every single day in my little sandals.
Okay, reading back through all of that, I realize I was a little bit harsh on Lacoste, and I don’t want y’all to think that I didn’t enjoy my experience here because I fully did! But I like to keep it real on my blog, so I just wanted to share some of the hard things about this Summer. But like always in life, the pros outweigh the cons, so I saved those for last. I hope you made it this far to see how amazing Lacoste is!!
- The beauty. I lived there for eight weeks now and I still wasn’t used to the view from my window and the view from our terrace. The sunsets every night are unbeatable and the 600 year old buildings are breathtaking to say the least. Walking through the village you really feel like you’ve been transported to a different time and it’s completely overwhelming how insanely cool and beautiful it all is, I really do miss it!
- The inspiration. I’ve created some of my favorite pieces of artwork this summer that I can clearly see the influence of Lacoste in. the beauty, serenity, and alone time, really sparked my creativity and allowed me to come up with some great designs and allowed for a lot of time for me to perfect my projects and my illustrations and come to class with something I’m very proud of, and I am walking away from this summer with things I am definitely proud to be putting in my portfolio. From the cobblestone streets, to the lavender fields and everything in between it’s hard NOT to be inspired, and I wouldn’t trade my time here for anything.
- The friends you make! I came into this pretty much by myself, not knowing a lot of people, and I am leaving it with some really close friends that I’ve had SO much fun with. There are only 90 students that are accepted into the Lacoste program every Summer, and you see the same probably 30 people on a daily basis, in class, at every meal, at every excursion, and just around the village! So it’s impossible to not make friends and get really close with your roommates and peers. Me and my four roommates have gotten to know each other so well, and made a lot of other friends too. We all traveled to Barcelona and Marseille together and we had the best time! It’s so fun to be in such a cool environment with so many creatives and people interested in the same things as you.
- Market day!!! I looked forward to Saturday every week because Saturdays are when the market in Apt is held! you can take the bus to the market for only 2 euros, and it’s soooo much fun. Since we don’t have a grocery story in our village this was the only time we had to get groceries and anything else we might need for the week. The market is HUGE and they have sooo much fresh produce, baked goods, candy, jewelry, clothes, you name it. it takes at least two hours to go through the entire thing, and I always left with so much stuff. It’s smart to buy a lot of fruits and vegetables to keep in your fridge for when you need a snack, me and my roomies always bought peppers, pears, peaches, and strawberries to keep in our fridge. I also quickly realized I couldn’t carry all of this stuff so I bought the cutest little basket from the market to keep all of my stuff in and I took it to the market every week and it was the best purchase ever! One of the things I miss most is buying fresh baguettes and eating them while wandering the market every week 😦
- Practicing my French! French is my minor, but I’ve only taken three french classes so far, and I really don’t speak French.. at all. But everyone in the village and in the market and everywhere else speaks French (duh) and not many people speak English, so it was so much fun for me to practice my French with people around town and in the market and when ordering at Cafe De France. I feel like I really learned a lot and my French is a little bit better now! I can at least ask for directions and have simple conversations and order my food. I’ve got a long ways to go, but this Summer was a good start!
- PARIS. The school takes the entire campus to Paris for one week around week 4, and it was SO much fun. Paris alone is worth coming to Lacoste hahaha. Even though we still technically had classes while we were in Paris, we basically just went to cool museums for them and stuff. I’ve always had an obsession with Paris and I’ve always felt a draw there, so getting to go back was so amazing. I already miss it like crazy and can’t wait to go again! Sitting at a cafe eating French pastries and people watching with a great view of the Eiffel Tower, is definitely how I prefer to spend my mornings.
- The classes. Normally at SCAD we have 10 weeks of classes but for Lacoste, it’s an 8 week program, and we also spend one of those weeks in Paris, so it’s really only 7 weeks of classes…. which is awesome. I also felt like the classes here were a lot more chill, and the professors are always easily accessible for help and advice because they live in the village and you see them at meal times and just walking around. So that was actually really fun, hanging out with the professors and getting constant feedback and help with what you’re working on. The classes are three hours though, which kind of sucks, but also it isn’t that bad when you’re in Lacoste. One of my classes is literally right above my house, all I have to do is walk out the door and walk up the stairs. Did that stop me from being late every morning? Absolutely not. But it was still really convenient.
- Everything else. Seriously I could go on with the pros list forever, it far outweighs the cons and I HIGHLY recommend studying abroad here. The overall experience was so much fun and the longer I stayed in France the more I felt like I was meant to live in France forever. (just maybe somewhere more fast paced like Paris lol)
I know I joke around a lot about the heat and the bugs and all of the walking, and there were some hard things about being in Lacoste this Summer, but overall it was one of the best summers of my life!! I would do it all again in a heartbeat, but I’m sure happy to be back in the land of AC and Taco Bell!! Au Revoir, France, Je t’aime baby.