From our first steps off the train, Évian-Les-Bains in France welcomed us with air so frigid, our jet lag was almost shaken loose. The route towards our Airbnb made our eyes widen, ready to meander along every inch of the crisp sky and cityscapes. Our host, Aurelie, was lovely and warm as she opened her home to us. She was an independent business owner who offered both French and English classes. She spoke both languages with Kendall and me - a treat to listen to and learn from a new friend in an unfamiliar place.
We wandered down to a cafe near our apartment where we sipped warm cups of coffee while overlooking the lake as the fog settled over the serene surface. Later that evening, we indulged in regional French food at a restaurant called Ferme des Alpes. We drank champagne with rose liquor and ate salad, charcuterie, and a tartiflette, which is made with potatoes, Reblochon cheese, lardons, and onions. We finished the night with drinks at a restaurant bar called Au Bureau.
The following day, we ventured to a museum that displayed artwork from classic fairytales. This collection was an unexpected passageway to a childhood wonderland, with art reminiscent of Where The Wild Things Areand unique interpretations of Beauty and The Beast. Before heading back to our apartment, we went to a tiny corner grocery store and boulangerie to gather ingredients for a French-inspired homemade dinner. We sliced bread and topped it with tomatoes, mozzarella, and avocados. We created a small pot of fondue to dip some bread and broccoli into. Of course, all was paired with some red wine and followed by a classic movie: A Beautiful Mind.
The lingering fog invited us to lean into a slow morning together. The quiet, cobblestone streets led us to sweet and savory breakfast crêpes: strawberries, banana, and chocolate for him, and ham and cheese for me. We walked along the lake’s edge, through pastel-colored neighborhoods, and eventually, back to our apartment. We warmed up for a bit before running around the corner and back again to order a pizza to-go, or “à emporter”.
Our last morning in Évian, Kendall went to the local grocery store to gather supplies for a breakfast scramble, and by the time we finished, Aurelie arrived. We talked about the differences in French regions, educational systems and approaches, and her experience teaching. As a parting gift, she treated us to some bars of the absolute best Swiss chocolate. Kendall and I savored every bite and already found ourselves reminiscing over our time in Évian as our train pulled out of the station.