Elisabeth in Paris

Elisabeth is a junior majoring in journalism from Denver who is participating in SMU-in-Paris this summer. She’s looking forward to learning art history inside The Louvre and traveling to the Loire Valley.

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Busy week in Paris

I can’t believe it’s already Friday, and I have only one week left in Paris. The week has been crazy making lists upon lists of things I still want to do and see. I’ll talk about that later.

Monday everyone was pretty wiped out. We had seven days straight of class, and we were ready for a break – but we weren’t getting one! We made a major stop at the pharmacy during lunch because it seemed everyone was coming down with something.

Monday was our last day in the Louvre as a class. We got to see Roman sculptures and French paintings. The sculptures were cool because they really appeared to tell a story. It’s hard to believe I have spent 16 hours in the Louvre and practically covered almost every inch of it. Even though we saw everything except decorative arts, I still feel like there is so much more to see. I’m going to try to go one day and just sit and enjoy my favorite pieces, like the Winged Victory. I have a feeling it won’t happen, though, since there is so much left to do!

As we were exiting the Richelieu wing we heard an alarm go off. We soon discovered as we were walking toward the metro that the Louvre was in lockdown mode. Bars came down in between the Louvre and the Palais Royal, and there were guards blocking every exit. It was exciting and wild at the same time – we were locked in the Louvre! Five minute later they opened the gates, and we were able to leave. I’m guessing someone bumped a painting that set off the alarm.

Tuesday we got to sleep in because we were set to see Versailles at 1. We missed our first train because people were late, but we were all set for the next. As 5 of us boarded the train and took our seats, we quickly discovered we were on the wrong train! We bolted down the stairs and had to pry the door open to get everyone out. I think it got everyone’s heart racing! We finally got on the correct train and headed out of the city for Versailles.

The front was not at all how I had imagined it. I guess because it was under renovations and there were 2 huge parking lots in front that I’m sure weren’t there in Louis XIV’s day. When we finally got inside, I was amazed at the grandness of everything – huge tall ceilings, large rooms, gold everywhere, etc.

paris2.jpgThe inside was definitely not as impressive as the gardens. They were unbelievable! Each flower and tree carefully planned out and planted and the grass that literally went on for miles. I was disappointed I didn’t get to see Marie Antoinette’s little village, but a friend is going to share her pictures with me.

For group dinner Tuesday night we headed to an African restaurant called Restaurant Le Nioumre in the 18th arr. It was really different than anything I had ever had before. I am not a chicken eater, and I even ate chicken! I knew my parents would be proud. After dinner some of us walked around St. Germaine des-Pres for a little while before heading back to FIAP.

Wednesday was a really long day. In the morning we went on a walk through the Marais neighborhood. It was cool to see a different part of town and learn about all the different phases it has gone through. I’m going to try to explore there this weekend.

paris3.jpgWe went back to the FIAP for lunch, which turned out to be really good- at least compared to dinner. In the afternoon we went to the Guimet museum. The weather was beautiful, and I think the short lecture in the sun made everyone tired! I did enjoy the museum though. Asia truly is another world compared to the West. My favorite piece was the man with 1,000 arms (pictured here).

After class I took my 35 mm camera and my book and headed over to the Luxembourg Gardens. Jardin de Luxembourg has always been my favorite garden because it is beautiful, there are always lots of people, and I love the little kids who play with their boats – it makes for some great photography. Every time I come back to Paris I try to re-read Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. His ideas and descriptions are so vivid of Paris that he brings it alive – even when you are far away.

Thursday morning we got our study guides for the final … I definitely have a lot of work to do before next Thursday! I am not a history buff at all so Dr. Wellman’s class has been a bit of a challenge for me, separating time periods and which king did what (there are a lot of Henry’s and Louis’!)

The Rodin Museum was awesome! I always knew the Thinker but I never really knew what else he did. The Kiss by Rodin is different than the one in the film Avenue Montaigne but it was still beautiful.

Thursday afternoon we all relaxed. For dinner a few of us went to a restaurant in the Latin Quarter called La Bruette. The food was decent and inexpensive. Afterward we went to a pub on the river and got to Karaoke! It was a lot of fun and challenging to remember the words to NSYNC “Tearing up my heart.”

I’m looking forward to exploring on my own tomorrow and enjoying the weekend.

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