A l'entree. Back to Lille

It's been only 5 days since we came to Lille. It is hard to believe it's been less than a week - so much has gone on! This time around we are much more comfortable with the city, people, culture, and language. We bypassed living in the sleepy upscale Lombersart and opted for Vieux Ville - the heart of the city. It is busy, lively, and has lots of character, with its cobblestone streets lined with boutiques, restaurants, and bakeries. There are 3 patisseries within mere 20m-30m of the house. The apartment itself is on the 3d floor of a typical French building with a Flemish influence: narrow and long.

This time around the cultural novelty I had experienced on my first visit lost its edge - it is a given that people here are so much slimmer, despite seeming to eat and drink all the time and their cafes being full at any time of day, that they are dressed non-nonchalantly great, that women wear virually no makeup and their hair looks in need of a good cut, that scarves are the most popular accessory, that almost all people have fantastic shoes, that kids are super well-behaved, etc, etc, etc...

As we are settling in, the kids are getting used to the new school, new classes, making friends, and all four of us creating new routines and trying to stick to old ones. I'm ferociously interested in what's going on at school, all the how's and what's of each day. Everything about French elementary school fascinates me: textbooks, stationery, agendas they fill out every day, hot 5-meal lunches, relationships, and instruction.

There is so much more to learn and discover! We are thinking ahead and trying to plan out the next 4 months here and I'm terrifired that they are not going to be enough to see and do everything I'd want to do. Here is my big wishlist: the Loire Valley, Brittany (Saint-Malo), Normandie (Mont St. Michel, Vimy), and Alsace (Strasburg & Colmar); Amsterdam, UK (London), Switzerland, Cypress / Malta / Morocco. This is pretty ambitious, especially given that the first trip we've scheduled doesn't include either one of the items. Anything you would recommend?

Les Macaroons at Pauls

A typical street in Vieux Lille

Boys taking selfies at La Grande Place

The Belfry tower

The Meert confectionary masterpieces

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