I went to Provence with a bunch of other astronomy students. We'd spent a lot of time at the University of London Observatory, learning the basics of astronomy, and now we were going to an actual professional observatory, the Observatoire de Haute Provence, from where the first planet outside our solar system had been discovered four years earlier.
The 12 of us travelling to Provence met early one February morning at Waterloo station to get the Eurostar to Lille, and then a TGV to Avignon. This was a fantastic journey through the wintry snow-covered countryside of central France. Our enjoyment was enhanced by the consumption of numerous cheap cans of beer in the buffet carriage.
At Avignon we were met by observatory staff and driven up to the observatory. We had a day to kill before our observing run started, and we spent it exploring the observatory, which is up on a hillside with some great views of the surrounding countryside. The air was fresh, the skies were clear, and things looked good.