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.

Last week in Paris … and home

The last week in Paris was insanity! Not only were we prepping for finals and packing, but we all had long lists of stuff we wanted to see and do before we left.

Monday was our last full day of class. We turned in a paper in our morning class and spent the afternoon at the Cluny Museum. The Cluny Museum has a lot of beautiful art. It is connected to ancient Roman baths, which can be viewed from the side of the building. Jennifer and I headed across the river to see a church across the river, but the line was very long. We ended up reading at a cafe for a couple of hours.

For dinner five of us headed up the 4 metro to the Hard Rock Cafe. It was a lot of fun to see a HRC in another country, and the cheeseburgers were absolutely delicious! They had some cool memorabilia from The Who, Madonna and many other performing artists. I spent the rest of the night working on my take-home final for Dr. Freidel.

Tuesday we went to the Musee d’Orsay. Dr. Isabelle Roynier, the director of SMU-in-Paris at Reid Hall, gave us a tour of the building. We spent a lot more time learning about the history of the building and studying the facade than looking at the art work, though we did get time to browse at the end. The Orsay has an impressive collection of impressionists, as well as many other types of work. If you ever go to Paris – you have to go to the Orsay!

We were given the rest of the afternoon to begin studying for Thursday’s final, as well as finish the take-home that was due Wednesday. Some of us wandered over to Rue St. Honore to check out some of the beautiful stores like Chanel and Hermes. It was definitely a day of window shopping and no purchases!

Our last group dinner was Tuesday night at a really cool old Brasserie. The steak and fries were delicious, and the chocolate pudding was to die for! Andrew made a good toast, thanking the teachers and directors for all of their hard work. It was a little bittersweet to think the trip was coming to an end.

Wednesday we spent the morning with Dr. Wellman at the Carnavalet Museum. The Carnavalet Museum has different rooms for each century of French history. It was a great way to sum up the entire month of study, and it was really helpful to see how each of the kings came together. It definitely helped make more sense to help prepare us for Thursday’s final. I spent pretty much the rest of the day studying for Dr. Wellman’s final. I am not a history buff, and it took a lot of work to organize the kings and remember who did what. We quizzed each other and made the studying fun.

Thursday morning we had our final in Dr. Wellman’s class. It was a relief to finish! We got back our final in Dr. Freidel’s class too. It’s nice to have a journal to bring home to show my family of all that I did everyday. After the final we grabbed some lunch and headed to the Champs-Elysees to the Lauduree store. Lauduree is famous for their macaroons, so I picked some up to bring home. They were delicious!

We took the metro over to Trocadero where there is a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower. We went to the Eiffel Tower on Thursday night for one last delicious crepe and to see the lights flash. We left fairly early because we had to wake up at 5 a.m. for Normandy Friday morning.

Friday was a long day. Our train left for Caen at 6:45 from St. Lazare. Thankfully it was a 2-hour train ride so we were able to sleep a bit more. It was colder than we expected when we got there. The tour we signed up for (through the Caen Memorial Museum Site picked us up at the train station and took us to the museum. We had half an hour to wake up and shop at the bookstore. I picked up some fun stuff for my family as well as some really interesting books.

We were given a guided tour through the museum and then had a few extra minutes to explore by ourselves. We were given lunch at the museum (steak and french fries!) and then had an hour to explore either the Cold War exhibit or the special September 11 exhibit. We were blown away at how well done the September 11 exhibit was, though it was very emotional for all of us.

Vanessa, our guide, picked us up at 2 to guide us through the beaches. We went to Gold Beach (The British beach), The American Cemetery, Omaha Beach (The American Beach), and Point De Hoc (the cliff the rangers climbed). Our guide was very knowledgeable and helped explain every little thing we saw. We were dropped off at the train station at 7:15 and got back to Paris around 10. I was so glad I found time to go to Normandy, not only because it was beautiful but because of how much American history we share with the French there.

Katie, Jennifer, Britt and I met Drew at Indian Cafe for dinner when we got back to the 14th arr. around 10:30. We got margaritas, nachos, and enchiladas. It was delicious! We had a lot of fun talking about our favorite parts of the trip and what we were going to remember. It was a good way to close out the trip.

As I left for the airport Saturday morning, Britt and Jennifer headed to Disneyland Paris. I hope they had fun; I haven’t gotten a chance to talk to them yet!

I got home Saturday night after some delays due to weather in Chicago. It’s bittersweet to be home. It’s weird to think that only 2 days ago I was in Paris and now I am home, prepping to start my internship. I am glad to be home but I definitely miss Paris and the entire experience that went along with being there.

The great Ernest Hemingway said, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

Paris has stayed with me and will continue to stay with me for the rest of my life, “for Paris is a moveable feast.”

Thank you for letting me share my journey with you.

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Shopping, music and cafe culture

It has been one of the best weekends abroad yet. Friday I spent most of the day by myself. I am not a person who likes to be alone or be quiet very often, but the more and more I watch the Parisians, I understand how comforting it can be.

I explored the Ile St Louis a bit – finding the hotel I once stayed at and window shopping. I also went to an amazing store called Au Nom de la Rose. It strictly sells roses and sprays made from roses. My mom and I had been when I first came eight years ago, so I went back to 4 Rue Trunon and bought some home spray. It’s funny how comforting familiarity can be. I spent the rest of the afternoon resting at the FIAP and looking at what everyone bought out shopping. As people headed out to dinner, I crawled into bed and watched Remember the Titans. I had never seen it before but I really enjoyed it.

Saturday was a good day! A bunch of people went to the Pompidou Museum but I skipped out (only because I thought it cost 9 euros!). I’m going to try to go this week (because I found out we get in for free because we are art history students). I headed out to explore the Marais. I have been in search of some bijoux (that’s French for jewelry) since May, and even in Paris I have been highly unsuccessful. Many of the stores were closed in the Marais because of the large Jewish population in that area.

I took the metro over to Chatelet and began an immense shopping adventure including way too many stores! Don’t worry – I didn’t buy a single thing! I ended up walking to the Louvre from Chatelet in search of lunch. The place I finally ate at kind of sped me along so I wouldn’t sit for hours journaling (which was my plan – oh, well). I continued walking up St. Honoree all the way to Concord – peeping my head in all-to-expensive-for-me stores. I definitely got my fair share of walking in!

Paris1.jpgI spent the rest of the afternoon resting up for the Summer Solstice. In Paris the summer solstice is a huge deal. They have a fete de musique – a music party – everywhere in the city with all different bands playing all different kinds of music. We headed to St Michel and the Latin Quarter to check out some of the music. We were quite impressed with the quality of talent. We walked around a bit, but it was so hard to keep the group together that we eventually split up.

We headed over to St. Germaine des Pres (which took forever because of the crowds) and eventually met up with one of our friend’s cousins who lives in Paris. We spent the rest of the time enjoying the company of his friends. They were all really nice and had a lot of interesting things to say. We got home a bit late because the music didn’t stop until 2 or 3 but it was a night I will never forget.

So it’s hard to believe that I have less than one week here and I can’t believe it’s already over. I think I want to do this again next year, ok? Haha. This morning I got up and went to church with Whitney and Stuart at the American Church of Paris. The sermon was really good and the woman who preached is from Texas. I got to Reid Hall around 1 and wrote in my journal for a while. We have a paper due tomorrow so I’ve been working on that as well. Everyone is just getting back from their weekend trips (London and Amsterdam) so I’m excited to hear about their trips.

It is truly a very strange feeling that we have been here for four weeks and just as it begins to feel like home we have to leave. Experiencing the cafe culture here makes me wish we had that life in America. The cafe culture has made me a person who is ok to go somewhere – anywhere – by myself and enjoy the scenery or a good book. It has really just been within the past week that I have felt this way. I hope that others have been able and will be able to branch out and experience life unlike their own, with people unlike themselves.

It has truly been an amazing experience, and I will remember it forever.

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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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Weekend of castles

This past weekend has been amazing and shown me another part of the beautiful country that is Paris. We headed down to the Loire Valley on Friday morning as a class for a weekend full of castles. We arrived in Amboise just in time for a 2-hour lunch – typical of the French. We enjoyed a break from the usual jambon et fromage (ham and cheese) sandwiches and picked up some pretty good pizza. We walked around through the souvenirs stores before it was time to meet up with the group.

The first castle of the trip was Amboise. It is made in a part-flamboyant Gothic, part Renaissance style. It was stunning. Charles VIII lived there until he died as well as Louis XII, both married to Anne of Brittany. Leonardo da Vinci is buried in the chapel, and it was really cool to see his grave (unfortunately the picture did not come out very well). Our guide was very knowledgeable, and the castle offered a very comprehensive brochure to take home as well.

DSCN2375-sm.jpgWe spent another hour exploring the gardens (almost never any flowers – as in this case – only beautiful plants and trees and grass you can’t walk on!) and taking multiple pictures. The picture here is of the entire group at Amboise.

We headed to Blois to check into our hotel, The Mercure. It was a nice change of pace; I shared a triple with Britt Raetzman and Jennifer Smart, and the rooms seemed so big and nice (with marble bathrooms) compared to our current accommodations. We got up on the NBA finals with some French commentary before we headed out to dinner at the fabulous Le Bistro de Cuisinier. Friday night I sat with some people I hadn’t really gotten a chance to talk to much, and it was a lot of fun sharing stories of home, the trip, etc. Dinner was delicious. I had shrimp souffle for an appetizer, salmon for my entree, and a chocolate pistachio molten souffle for dessert. Yum!

We headed back across the river toward the hotel but stopped in a local cafe to catch the end of the France vs. Holland Euro Cup “football” game. France lost but it was fun to see how excited the French get about soccer.

The next morning we headed to the Chateau of Blois. The Chateau of Blois is quite different because it was greatly destroyed during the time the military lived there (1788-1867) as well as because five different people worked on the castle, thus creating four different looks. It is made up of a medieval fortress in the Gothic style, Louis XII’s wing in the Flamboyant Gothic style, Francis I’s wing in Renaissance style, and Gaston d’Orleans’ wing designed in the Classicism style.

Blois was my least favorite castle because of all of the different styles it was designed in, and many of the rooms are lacking the original qualities or furniture. I did enjoy seeing the studiolo room because it is the only room in the chateau that has kept its original decoration. There are 237 sculpted panels that cover the walls, some even functioning as cabinets. We were treated a bit like VIPs as we were able to gain access to the terrace through rooms that had been closed off to the public. After the castle, we were released for lunch.

Lindsay and I explored the market in town before we found a little cafe that had really good quiche Lorraine and salad. We were able to pick up a copy of the Herald Tribune (the international version of the New York Times) to catch up on the news and catch a quick nap back at the hotel before we headed to Chambord.

Chambord was absolutely unbelievable. It is a huge castle, and its beauty stands out from miles down the road leading to it. Francis I originally wanted to build it to be used as a hunting lodge, though eventually it became so massive it appears quite extravagant. The double spiral staircase and the terrace were my favorite parts of the chateau. The land surrounding the castle is mostly forest, and it is truly a beautiful view. There was a hunter’s festival going on, so it was fun to catch some of the action, whether watching skeet shooting or dancing from the period.

Saturday night we headed back to Le Bistro de Cuisinier … it was just too good to resist! I had the steak instead of the salmon and an apple turnover; both were absolutely delicious! Almost everyone headed out to experience the nightlife of the Loire Valley. We found a really fun pub that ended up having a discotheque downstairs, so we spent the rest of the night dancing the night away!

Sunday morning we checked out of the hotel and headed to Chenonceau – also known as the Castle of the Women. My favorite rooms were the hall and the kitchens. The hall has a beautiful ceiling consisting of rib vaults as well as statues in a few recesses. The kitchens were fun to see because it was rare to have a kitchen in a house due to the risk of fire. From the bridge you can see the platform where boats would drop off supplies. Even though it was raining, the gardens were stunning as well.

We had lunch in Amboise again Sunday afternoon, but more importantly we got a chance to go to the Chateau du Clos Luce – the house of Leonardo da Vinci. It was neat to see the house where Da Vinci lived as well as much of his original furniture. In the basement we were able to view many of his inventions, such as the first tank or the paddle boat.

DaVinci-House-sm.jpgThe gardens were the most beautiful part of the tour. Unfortunately we missed the majority of the gardens where there are displays of his drawings and paintings as well as interactive moving scale models. We were able to see the new part of the garden where we were able to cross the big double-spanned oak bridge that was designed by Leonardo. The picture here is of me, Jessica, Meredith and Courtney in the garden with Da Vinci’s house in the background.

It was a fun, educational, relaxing weekend but I am definitely glad to be back in Paris where we only have two weeks left before class ends and many of us return to the States. We are definitely savoring every moment we have.

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Art and science

I feel like Monday was forever ago! We spent the afternoon in the Louvre again, exploring Greek and Roman art this time. I realized Monday that there is a lot of ancient history I don’t know enough about, including Athena, Aphrodite and Hermaphroditus. I’m grateful I learned a bit about them, and it has peaked my interest to search more and find out more information about them.

After class Monday, three other students and I went to the Musee L’Orangerie in the Tuileries Gardens. After we waited in line for a few minutes, I found out from the security guard that we get free admission because we are art history students. We bypassed the line and delved into the work of Monet and many others. I was fascinated with the way Monet’s paintings encircle the room. His lily paintings are truly a beautiful piece of work.

My absolute favorite painting was Argenteuil (see photo!). It reminds me of a sailing program I did in the Caribbean in high school – waking up early to prepare the boat for the day’s sail. We got to see work from Renoir, Picasso, Sautine, and others.

Monday night we had some form of a British invasion at the FIAP … Lots of middle schoolers running around screaming!!! It was a bit hectic and frustrating while we were all working on our papers, so once we were finished we escaped and spent time in the lobby – watching some soccer, playing games, and just spending time with each other. It was fun and somewhat helpful to take our minds off the little rascals.

For lunch on Tuesday a few of us went to Le Select. I really enjoyed the atmosphere (more than the food!) The waiter was helpful and corrected our French when we made small mistakes, and I loved learning how historical it was, popular with people like Ernest Hemingway.

Class with Dr. Freidel Tuesday afternoon was really enlightening and engaging. We discussed politics – both English and French – as well as other topics of our choosing. Dr. Freidel brings some great ideas to the table as far as how to discuss politics and argue “appropriately.” It is interesting and difficult at the same time for me to be abroad while so much history is occurring every day at home in the U.S. I am excited to engage in conversation with my peers and teachers as we head into the general election during such a historic year.

DSCN2316-sm.jpgDinner last night was amazing! We went to a French Tex-Mex place called The Studio and got to sit in the beautiful courtyard where we could hear music from the dance studios around us. It felt a bit like Dallas to get a margarita and some beef fajitas. We did have to ask for quite a few refills of chips though! I sat with people I haven’t spent much time with and enjoyed the conversation.

This morning we went to Musee des arts et metiers (arts and sciences). It was really interesting to see some cool inventions like a calculator, vacuum, a glass lion, and a supercomputer. I was hoping it would be somewhat like the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia with lots of hands-on activities, but it was sadly not the case! We definitely enjoyed it, and I probably wouldn’t have gone to it had I not been in class.

We’re headed to the Loire Valley early Friday morning and we can’t wait to see all the castles and another part of the country!

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Trip to Avignon

Avignon was beautiful! I was a little nervous it would be raining when we got there but it was only a little cool.

Two of us went to dinner at the square at the end of Rue de Republique. We were so hungry, the food was delicious! We walked around inside the city walls a bit after dinner to explore the city but went to bed soon after because we hadn’t even arrived until 9:30 Thursday night. Friday, as soon as our friends got in we grabbed lunch at another one of the many cafes in the square.

Avignon is famous for two things: the Palace of the Popes and the “Pont d’Avignon.” The palace is where many popes have lived, especially while there were two popes. We didn’t end up going inside because there isn’t much to see, but it was stunning and grand from the outside.

pont-davignon-sm.jpgNext to the Palace of the Popes is a Notre Dame Cathedral – Our Lady of the Doms. It was beautiful and very peaceful inside because it isn’t a mass tourist spot. There are some beautiful gardens to the side of the church that give a beautiful view of the Rhone River and the surrounding towns.

We made sure to take our time at Le Pont d’Avignon because I have fond memories of the song named after it. I vividly remember singing “Sur le Pont d’Avignon, l’on y danse, l’on y danse …” during 10th-grade French class in Pomfret, Connecticut. I made sure to take lots of pictures to show my former teacher. It was a lot of fun to learn the history of the bridge and of the song.

We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the local flavor through baguettes, wine, cheese and the amazing views Avignon has to offer. We found a karaoke bar later in the evening and had a lot of fun belting out American hits like Elton John’s “Our Song.”

Saturday we took a 20-minute train ride to the city of Arles. We had 6 hours to spend but quickly discovered there is not a whole lot to do there! We did enjoy the time we had there and saw some amazing sights.

At%20Coliseum%20in%20Arles.jpgThe Roman Amphiteatre of Arles (almost as big as Rome’s coliseum!) was unbelievable! It was built around 90 A.D. so people could watch gladiators or animal fights. They still use it to this day for bullfighting, but it was neat to see pictures of what it used to look like when it was first built.

Van Gogh spent a lot of time in Arles, and many of his works were painted there. They have a museum that we went to that was a re-creation of Van Gogh’s painting. Although it wasn’t the original, it was cool to see and impressive how much it looked like the painting. There was a beautiful old basilica named Saint Trophime we were able to see.

We spent more of the afternoon sitting at a cafe at the Place du Forum. The Place du Forum is where Van Gogh’s cafe was where he painted. It’s called Cafe Van Gogh today but it used to be called Le Cafe La Nuit. It was cool to see at least 3 places where Van Gogh painted (the bedroom, the cafe and the coliseum) and see how realistic they were.

The trip to Avignon was a lot of fun and a great way to see the South of France without going all the way to the beach. I am glad to be back in Paris, where it’s beginning to feel a bit like home …

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A packed day in Paris

Paris2.jpgMonday was the longest day yet. We had a double day in the Louvre, and I had been feeling kind of sick since Friday.

We were very privileged to see the Babylon exhibit. It was quite remarkable. I learned a lot about the history of Babylon as well as how it relates to some scripture in the Bible. We also got to go through and learn about Persia, Anatolia and Mesopotamia.

Our first paper was due yesterday, and I think I did pretty well. We had a double class with Dr. Wellman yesterday and learned a lot about some of the older kings and Thomas Aquinas.

After class, three friends and I went to the Marmottan Museum to see many of Monet’s paintings. They were absolutely stunning. Last night as a group we ate at Le Zimmer – a famous restaurant Sarah Bernhardt and Picasso used to visit. The food was absolutely fabulous! I had pasta with salmon and a delicious chocolate cake!

Today we went to Fontainebleau where kings like Francis I and Napoleon I lived. It was really beautiful and interesting to learn about Marie Antoinette’s role in the castle.

I’m headed to Avignon in the South of France tomorrow after class, so not only do I need to do laundry and pack, but we also have a lot of homework due tomorrow. It’s going to be a long night! Have a great weekend. I can’t wait to write about the weekend and share pictures.

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City of Lights

paris.jpgThis whole weekend has been fabulous! Friday night everyone went to the Eiffel Tower to see the lights flash. They were absolutely stunning. We took tons of pictures and enjoyed the beauty that is Paris. The ice cream and crepes were delicious as well.

Saturday most of the group went to Reims to see the wine cellars and taste champagne. Five of us took the metro and headed up to Montmartre. We went inside Sacre Couer – the beautiful basilica on top of the hill – and also explored the rest of the area. We had some great croque monsieurs (ham and cheese sandwiches) and crepes. While one friend saw the Dali museum, the rest of us walked through a local festival with lots of wine, cheese and fruit. We stopped by the Moulin Rouge for the touristy picture but headed out soon after.

Today I went to church with three other students to the American Church of Paris. It was a nice service, and we’re looking forward to trying the contemporary service in a couple weeks. Afterward we grabbed some sandwiches and headed to Shakespeare & Co – the famous bookstore across from Notre Dame where people like Ernest Hemingway spent time. We wandered around and purchased a few too many books before we worked our way to a cafe on Rue St. Michel. We enjoyed some people-watching while doing our weekend homework for Dr. Wellman’s class.

It’s been a lot of fun getting to know people in our own group as well as other groups staying at the FIAP – including from Boston College, LSU and Virginia Tech. Tomorrow we are spending the whole day in the Louvre with Dr. Freidel learning about Mesopotamia, Persia and Anatolia.

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Getting to know Paris

Whole%20group%20Pantheon.jpgWow! It’s been a whirlwind of a week so far. We arrived safely at the FIAP on Tuesday after our plane took time to fix mechanical problems, and the taxi driver got lost getting us home stuffed into a mini bus with 16 bags and 9 people!

The FIAP is basically a big dorm. You can find out more info here. I had quite a few technological problems when I first arrived, but I think the problems are almost all fixed!

We started classes Wednesday. The morning class will mostly be in SMU’s Reid Hall as well as at famous monuments (We went to the Pantheon on Thursday!) The afternoon class is almost strictly in the Louvre – exploring history through art. Dr. Wellman and Dr. Freidel already have been offering insightful thoughts, and I am looking forward to the next month.

Today we had the day off, so we went to the beautiful Luxembourg gardens and brought a picnic from the Monoprix (a Target-like store). Afterward we walked around and went to the famous opera house. It was absolutely stunning! There were marble and gold ceilings everywhere. I think we’re going to try to see a performance before we leave at the end of the month.

We have a lot of ideas of things we want to do this weekend, so we’ll see where we go and what we do! First I have a paper to write, due Tuesday!

A Bientot!

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Countdown to Paris

As the days get closer, I get more and more anxious. I don’t think I will actually believe that I am going until I board that flight from DFW to Paris Charles De Gaul.

I have a lot planned in the next two weeks, which makes it hard to focus on preparing for the journey. I am grateful there are other students on the same flight, so we can begin to get to know each other and fantasize about our weekend travels. I just purchased my Euro Rail pass last week, and a friend and I have made plans to visit Avignon, along the Rhone river, our second weekend in France. It will definitely be a month not to forget, and I am already feeling the love that exudes from the streets of Paris.

Until my journey begins I will continue daydreaming about where I want to go and rest my mind before I hit the books again.
Till then …

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