Vendôme is a pretty cool place.
I've mostly been hanging out with Sam's friends, a few French guys and girls around our age (plus a 30-year-old English woman) who live near him. Friendly group, they seem to enjoy having me around and occasionally trying out their English on me. I'm realizing my French is not nearly as good as I thought it would be. I have a pretty easy time following conversations with 1 or 2 other people, but when it gets to be a larger group, it's pretty tough for me to keep track of everything going on, plus the speed of speech tends to increase, as does the amount of slang used. But still, some things are coming back to me; I expect to significantly improve my French during the months I am here.
Sam and I biked through a bit of Vendôme today. It's a beautiful small-ish (~20,000 inhabitants) French town, with an abandoned castle on a hill, a beautiful abbey with amazing carvings that you just sort of come upon suddenly, as well as a church with a steeple that's illuminated at night. Haven't actually gone in to any of these yet, but that's the plan for tomorrow. We drove around on Saturday to a few of the castles/ manors in the area (we're on the very edge of the Loire Valley, so there are a good number of "chateaux" around).
Also been drinking a good deal of pastis, another anise liquor that you add water to (it turns milky white when you do so). Delish.