On Monday, after a breezy train ride and a not-so-breezy time of carrying multiple items of luggage, I arrived in Clermont-Ferrand! I’m staying in a residence hall for young workers (on the same street as the train station- yay!) in a surprisingly airy and spacious unit (it even has a living room and balcony- more yay!). I did quickly notice, however, that there aren’t that many people living here, and that a lot of people only seem to stay here for a few weeks before finding an apartment elsewhere in the city. The rooms are nice, there are some decent amenities, and the adorable, twentysomething directrice is very helpful, but it does feel a little sterile. Also, since Clermont-Ferrand, unlike, say, Paris, is a relatively affordable and small city, so young workers have more options for housing.
Regardless, I have a place to stay and I am graceful. Having a place to stay also means that I could get an attestation de domicile which means that I can open a French bank account, which means I can have more access to things like phone plans, getting internet in my room, if I choose, and, most importantly, getting paid! I went to the local Société Générale and it seems everything went smoothly! I also went grocery shopping—success!
All in all, Clermont-Ferrand is a pretty cool city. There are volcanoes all around, looking down on the streets like gentle green stone giants. There are a couple of major universities in town, which makes for a lot of young people. It’s also pretty diverse, with more recent immigrants and/or people of color than I originally anticipated. So far, Jardin Lecoq and Place de Jaude seem to be places of particular interest. A good city for tottering around! I’m really excited to explore the sights, check out more of the nightlife, and meet new people!