Today my arrêté de nomination (work contract for France) arrived in the mail! (I technically haven’t gotten my grubby paws on it yet, as it was sent to my permanent home residence rather than to Walla Walla).
What does this mean?
- I know where I’ll be stationed for TAPIF.
- I can start the visa application process.
- I can start looking for housing.
- I can book my flight.
Exciting stuff, friends.
The most exciting part is obviously the “where I’ll be living and working” part.
I’m going to be in Auch (pronounced “awsh” according to Wikipedia), a sizable town in the Midi-Pyrénées region of France.
Fun facts about Auch:
- It’s the capital of the Gers department.
- It’s only an hour from Toulouse and two hours from Bordeaux.
- There is a neighboring town called Condom. Giggles.
- It’s the ancient capital of Gascony!
- Even further back in the day, it was under the control of the Romans.
- It has a cathedral (!!!)
- It has a medieval quarter.
- It has a cool 14th-century tower/prison thing (la Tour d’Armagnac).
- There are pousterles (or “medieval backstreets with a strong slope” according to the Auch tourism website)
- It has one of the oldest museums in France, the Musée des Jacobins (founded during the Revolution!)
- The public library is in an old building!
- There’s a cool old bridge! (Le Pont de la Treille)
- It’s officially a ville fleurie (meaning there are flowers EVERYWHERE).
- There are a train station and buses! Yay public transportation!
- It’s on the Gers river.
- d’Artagnan (yeah, that dude that Alexandre Dumas based one of the three musketeers off of) was from Auch. There’s a statue of him part way up L’Escalier Monumental (the “Monumental Staircase”).
- Local delicacies include: Armagnac brandy, Côte de Gascogne (a white wine. “But I thought southern France only made red wines” you’re thinking. Well you’re wrong, and I’m excited because I prefer whites.), Floc de Gascogne (a wine-based liqueur), foie gras and wild mushrooms.
Can you tell that I’m excited?