Written by Maja Kušćer

One of the reasons why I chose France as my studying destination was the fact that it’s a country with beautiful nature and rich history. I was aware of the unique opportunity to visit all the places I have dreamt about, and, once you get there, outside of your country, you should use everything that your new home is offering you.

So, I did.

During the 5 months I was there, I travelled every single weekend, and made a lifetime memory.

My journey began in March when, after passing all my exams, my university, Lille, sent me to do an internship in Brussels.

My colleagues found internships across the whole Europe, so I wasn’t able to hang out with them after work, so staying every single weekend in Brussels and not doing anything exciting was a scary thought for me.

But I found an excellent way of using my free time: I decided to travel! Luckily, the French company SNCF, that operates fast trains across France and Europe, launched a new subscription called TGVMax: everyone who is younger than 27 can travel through France for only 79 EUR per month. You only have to make an account and be ready to commit for at least 3 months.

It was an unique opportunity, so I decided to use it. If you find yourself in France, when you are still a student and younger than 26, visit everything! The good thing about the French government is that it offers free entrances to most of its museums and castles, or the prices are discounted by at least 50%. Believe me, if there is something abundant in France, it’s are cultural sights.

My first destination was Strasbourg. I wanted to visit it during the Christmas market, but train tickets from Lille were incredibly expensive( 150 EUR one way)

Still, coming here during spring was a great opportunity, because the weather in the second week of March is amazing. The sun was shining and it was very warm.

This was my first time travelling all by myself, so I walked and visited non-stop. I am pretty sure I passed 20 km in those 2 days.

Fortunately, my hotel was very close to the city center and the train station, so I didn’t have to waste time reaching it and I managed to stay longer in the city.

In Strasbourg, you should visit everything: it has a beautiful historic city centre,  with a stunning gothic cathedral. Also, the promenade on both sides of the Rhine river are very nice, as many people choose to do their morning jogging here.

If interested, you can go see the European Parliament building. It is a little bit outside of the centre, but it’s still within walking distance. As a student of European Affairs, this was a must-see attraction for me.

After my amazing first trip, I couldn’t wait for another weekend to come. My next destination was Lyon, also known as the city of lights.

Unfortunately, the celebration of lights is held in December and I was there in March, but I was still impressed with the city.

That weekend was exactly when the carnival with masks took place. People were dancing and you could feel good vibes everywhere. If you ever go there, don’t forget to climb to the Place de Fourvière, where you can enjoy a view on the whole city. Also, if the weather is clear, you can see Mont Blanc in the distance.

The streets are quite narrow, with small shops and cute restaurant on the side of the river Saône.

Lyon also has a good nightlife, perfect for students, so you can go dance and drink in some bars or clubs.

March came to an end, but my trips continued in the following months.

Don’t miss the rest of my story in the following weeks!