Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Day 4: Paris and the Coupe de Ligue

Today we travelled from Strasbourg (in the North of France) to Paris by train. It was an early morning departure (7:25am), but we had the train to ourselves so we relaxed in nice compartments. We arrived fairly early in the afternoon at the Gare de l'Est in downtown Paris where we met with Lionel and our hosts in Paris.

They had a lovely bus waiting for us and all of our baggage, and we climbed in headed for CREPS- a training center where we'd spend the next week sleeping, eating, and training.

The campus at CREPS was absolutely beautiful, with big lawns and flowers, and young athletes who were there training for soccer, handball, field hockey and other sports. There were several dorms, two cafeterias, a main building with classrooms, a movie theater, and a library. It all looked very nice.

After we got settled into our dorms, we headed to the cafeteria for a late lunch. After lunch we unpacked, showered, and got ready to go back into town to watch a men's handball game.

We arrived at the stadium, excited to see the final match of the Coupe de Ligue, a French national championship for handball. Montpellier was playing against Paris for the title, it was a sure to be an exciting match!!

The game was a first for most people on the team, and the atmosphere was exciting, with people bringing drums and trumpets and noisemakers to keep the stadium loud. At the end of the game, the score was tied, and the teams went into 2x5 minute overtime. In the end, Montpellier won 30-29. What a great game!!

After the game was over, the team was invited downstairs to the VIP room where we had snacks and drinks and had a chance to meet with the players from both teams. It was definitely a fantastic evening!!


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