Tag Archives: louvre

Les Vacances

After months of stressing over my stage and classes, and trying to balance them with spending time with all my amazing friends, I am finally on vacation. Sunday morning, I woke up around 5 am to go to the airport and pick up my cousin. Sunday we tried to keep busy to ward off Jet Lag. We planned out our week, including a 3 day trip to Germany next week, had lunch with Zipeng, and walked around Père Lachaise Cemetery. Yesterday, we slept in and then decided to head to the Louvre. We walked around the Louvre, managing to see the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, old Louvre Moat and the Napoleon Apartments.  Then we walked around the Tuileries Gardens, stopping to rest next to a fountain where kids were playing with wooden boats. Then we walked along the Champs Elysée, taking AC breaks in stores like Virgin. Finally we walked up all 284 stairs of the Arc de Triomphe. We ended it all by going home, eating a Kebab, and heading to bed.

Here’s some photos from the fountain.




Today was a really good but really sad day at the same time.

On one side, I feel almost completely and utterly comfortable and at ease at my stage. Today we had pretty much nothing to do, and so we just got really silly. Also, we went to the mayor’s office for the 1st arrondissement to do an atelier for some kids to celebrate Woman’s day. We were put in the Salle de Marriage, which is this Beautiful room with 3 fresques (which I’m pretty sure depict despair, peace, and work, so I’m wondering at what point in history they were painted), a decorated ceiling, conference area complete with Sarko’s picture, and a beautiful view of the Louvre. It was one of those “oh my god, is this my life? This is so freaking cool!” moments. I was doing arts in crafts with kids in this fancy shmancy room right across from the Louvre!

I don’t mean to brag, I’m just so amazed by today. Thank you IFE for giving me such an amazing stage in such an awesome arrondissment! (This is also a good lesson for why you always have to go with the flow and try out new things in Paris. I didn’t sign up to do this at first, because I wasn’t really sure what it was, but then I figured it out and asked my director if I could still go. Imagine what I would have missed if I had stayed at the museum!)

The atelier was also really cool because I got a tiny peek at some kids who live in central Paris. Aka, even if the Mayor picked the poorest kids in the area, they’re still pretty well of and go to some really good schools. One kid drew this amazing picture of the world, and he knew where all the countries go. He also put a little icon to represent the major ones, like the great wall of China and the Eiffel tower, and some things I’d never heard of for places I don’t even know.

After dinner, we all decided to hang out chez un ami because tonight was one of my morrocan friend’s last night. It was great to hang out and just be silly, but it just reminds me how much I’m gonna miss him, and how it’s never going to be the same again. People are constantly coming and going here. And, even say he moves to France in a year and I finish college and move to France too, we’re never going to be in the same foyer with the same people staying up late going Salsa dancing. At least facebook exists.

Anyway, that was a very quick summary of an awesome/triste day that had many more aspects and little notes to it, but I need to sleep. I should be getting some pictures of the Mayors office from a friend tomorrow, so I’ll be sure to post them. 🙂 Bonne nuit.

Paris, je t’aime.

I figured that was an appropriately cheesy title for my end of the semester post. 🙂

Last Thursday I officially finished the Goucher Paris Program, completing a major requirement for my major. It feels amazing to have finished, but a little scary because it makes me think about the future even more. I know what I want to do, but no clue how to go about doing it, but I’ll figure it out. Anyway, here’s a little recap of my last week.

Last weekend I spent most of my time working on my internship report (rapport du stage), presentation (exposé) about Paris and the cinema, and procrastinating. Last Monday I had my last day at my stage, unfortunately there was a quiz so I didn’t get to have one last restauration class, but I  did get to help correct some work done by the second years, talk with some new interns, and just enjoy l’atelier for one last time. That night I handed in my rapport du stage and had my last class with Marie. We learned about different French accents, ate some chocolate, and just talked about the last couple of months.  Tuesday, we went to la Bibliotheque Francois Mitterrand for an exposition of Raymond Depardon, a photographer who spent years taking pictures of small town France. The work was amazing, and I highly recommend everybody googling him for a look at his work. 😛 We spent some time in a café so that Eliza and I could do our exposés. Everything went well, so that by Tuesday afternoon I was completely free from homework and major obligations. So free, that I slept until 4pm on Wednesday. I guess three and a half months of running around, always having something to worry about, finally caught up to me. Thursday I had my last Paris-France-Paris class in the morning. We had our last lesson and then discussed what we liked and disliked about the class. Looking back, it was a very interesting class, I learned a lot about Paris, French culture, and just history in general. After class we had a little get together at IFE for our GPP group. We ate some good cheese and bread, and just relaxed after finally finishing everything. I had to leave half way through to head to my stage for their Christmas party. It was really nice to talk to everybody outside of my internship and classes, I ended up staying longer than I thought I would. I’m definitely going to try and visit l’atelier next semester and keep in touch with some people there.

Thursday night was the Foyer’s Christmas dinner. So, we all were served a candlelight dinner of couscous and chicken while listening to Moroccan music. After dinner there was a concert with Moroccan music, and we all ended up dancing and having a great time. Most unique Christmas dinner I have ever had, but it was wonderful. After the concert, we headed to a friends room for Pengpeng’s going away party. As the year ends, more and more people are heading home or away to do other programs. It one of the sad aspects of living in a foyer and studying abroad. It’s also why I’m really glad that I’m staying another semester, at least I don’t have to be the one saying goodbye for a while. And thankfully Pengpeng’s studying in England next semester, so she won’t be that far from us.

Friday night I went to La Bellevilloise with a friend to see a concert. It’s an amazing building, with multiple performance spaces and a restaurant. I also now feel I can safely say I’ve seen what Bobo (bourgeoise bohème) looks like (bobo is the french equivalent to hipster).

Saturday I spent the day at the Louvre with the group looking for mummies and some star trek reference. A good way to take advantage of the -26ans free tickets.  That night we went to Mains d’oeuvres, a cultural center on the edge of Paris where Eliza did her stage. Mains d’oeuvres was celebrating it’s 10 birthday, so there was a huge party with lots of music. We thought we were all special because Eliza got us on a list to get in for free, little did we know that every person slightly involved with the center added their 10 closest friends to the list as well. So, when we got there we had to wait in this mass of people, worse than the metro at rush hour during a strike, I literally had no control where I was going. Luckily we all made it into the building with little trouble. We listened to some good music, danced a little, and headed out before the metro closed for the night.

Looking back at these past couple months, it doesn’t necessarily feel like four months in Paris. It feels like four months in an amazing city, with great friends, and new experiences around every corner, but its not necessarily Paris City of Lights, City of Lovers, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower and the Seine. I guess I view Paris in two ways. My days spent at museums, the Eiffel tower, Bateau Mouches and all that touristy stuff, and my days spent staying out late dancing and walking home after the metro closes, watching the Big Bang Theory with friends crammed on a tiny foyer bed, staying up late during Ramadan and becoming addicted to mint tea, walking to my stage every morning and learning all the short cuts.

I’m not sure if I could pick a favorite moment or event from this semester, but here’s some highlights.

  • Our first couple weeks here, staying up late with friends and learning how to become comfortable with French.
  • Every time we played Assassin, including the time when we had to use our Navigo cards.
  • Hearing Abba being played on the pan flute in the metro.
  • Dancing until the early morning in a boat on the Seine.
  • Just hanging out in the foyer waiting to prank Rabi for his birthday.

I could list a million more things, any time I hung out with friends, any new experience, but those ones were particularly important for me.

I thought I was gonna get all philosophical with this post and dissect my time here, but I think it’s better to just leave it as is. I am so glad I chose to study abroad and that I chose to stay in a foyer. My classes and stage improved my French and taught me things I could have never learned back in the US. My time home, here at the foyer, hanging out with friends, well my French has definitely improved, I’ve had the most incredible experiences, and thank goodness for skype or else I would never dream of leaving these people in May. I can’t wait to see what the next semester brings.

Joyeux Noel, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays everyone! I’ll try and keep updating during the break as I hopefully use the time to really explore Paris and maybe France a bit. We’ll see where the New Year brings us. 🙂

Louvring it

I’ve been horrible at updating my blog this week. So, I’ll try to remember everything that went on since my last update.

Wednesday I went to my internship (which in French is called un stage, so if I slip that’s why). The director was there so she actually gave me stuff to do. We cleaned out the classroom because classes will be starting this week and they needed somewhere for the professors to put their things. So I cleaned out cabinets and ran up and down the stairs with bags of garbage. She started adding paintings, photos, and drawings to the pile so I asked her if she really wanted to throw out the paintings, because they were beautiful. She said yes, but if I wanted to take some I could. So, I wound up with 2 paintings, 2 drawings, some watercolors, and a bunch of random photos. I put them up in my room and it finally feels like home, which is funny because I don’t exactly have oil paintings in my room at home. Guess it’s just the parisienne influence. After the massive clean out I took the subway, with all the paintings, to my class. Surprisingly nobody looked at me funny for carrying a pile of paintings in the subway. Maybe they made me look more artsy and parisienne :-P.  We continued to work on vowels in my phonetics class and the subjonctif in my grammaire class. Once classes were finished I headed to the foyer to eat dinner before going out for a play. During dinner I talked to one of my Frenchie friends about smoking. He said he had his first cigarette at 12, smoked occasionally at 13, and actually started smoking for real at 15. And he knows people who started at 8. It’s crazy. Anyway, that night I went to see the play “A deux lits du delit” with Lauren and Erin, friends from my Sorbonne class. It turned out to cost only 4 euros, although we could only see half the stage since we were in the cheap seats. It was a very funny play about 2 men who go to a hotel to meet their mistresses, who turn out to be the other man’s wife. I didn’t get all the jokes, but I understood the majority of it. We’re going to try and make Wednesday night play night, because it’s easy to get cheap tickets as young students in Paris.

Thursday I spent my internship scanning papers into the computer. Also, I got to help make some sort of resin for “fixing the paintings.” No clue what I actually did but it was cool. I left mon stage a little early since, guess what, another strike! Go France! This time it didn’t really affect my time in the metro at all, it was mostly on the outskirts of paris and RER lines. But, since I walk to the Bastille metro I got to see some of the manifestation, which basically consisted of a bunch of giant balloons which some name on it I didn’t recognize, and a bunch of people trying to hand out fliers or sell me stuff. So, I got to class fine and honestly can’t remember exactly what we learned Thursday. We might have started talking about questions and cinema in my Grammaire class. Thursday night we couldn’t eat at the foyer restaurant because of the strike, so one of the foyer boys was kind enough to cook for Eliza and me. We had something which involved putting slices of bread with ham, mozzarella cheese, chevre (i think) and tomatoes on it in the oven. It was really really good and filling. Then I just hung out with the foyer guys and did my homework.

Friday I spent the time at mon stage starting to translate the website. The girl before me did most of the work, but there’s still a lot to finish, and it’s tricky because there’s all the complicated art terms. It’s fun though because I really have to think about what I’m doing.  Then I headed to my class, again no problem with the strike even though it was still going on. In my phonetics class we continued with vowels, which are really tough for me. You have to think about where you put your tongue, when open your mouth, and where your lips should be. And it can change three times in one word, but you can’t talk all sing songy like we do in the US. In my grammaire class we continued to work on questions and discussed films. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be going to see one of the films we talked about for class. After class I went to a cafe to catch up with the GPPers and Jessica, and then rushed back to the foyer only to discover that the restaurant was closed because of the strike, so we ate kebabs instead. Then I rushed to the Louvre to meet up with Lauren and Erin because on Friday nights the Louvre is free to almost everyone, unless your old and not european. It was cool to just wander around with no worries even if it was only for half an hour.

Saturday, I woke up and headed to Cyberphone to buy some more minutes. The more people I meet the faster I use up my minutes. But at the same time I don’t want to not send texts because it’s really cool and important to text in French. Then I headed to the foyer brunch. I got there late so I didn’t really eat to much. But, apparently the French eat pancakes with caramel. It wasn’t bad but it just didn’t feel right. I had planned on going shopping and seeing a movie, but my friend bailed on me. So, I ended up playing pingpong most of the day and then going out dancing with the crew. We went out to a bar, which was nice because it meant an earlier night since the bar closed early.  I love dancing, but the bar was a little too crowded, so I honestly had a better time just walking back to the foyer afterword. We missed the metro, so it was a 40 minute walk or something like that. It’s nice just to talk to people and relax.


My friend bailed on my again for the movies. So, thankfully Eliza was incredibly nice and went with me. We saw “Des Hommes et Des Dieux” which is about 7 monks who stayed in Algeria during the war. It was good but it was really heavy and deep. I think seeing it once was enough.

Today, because this post took about 4 days to finish, I started my stage by sitting in on part of the first class. Basically all the students introduced themselves, the heads of the atelier introduced themselves, and they said all the rules of l’atelier. After that the directrice showed me a painting that still had paper stuck to it from the packaging they put on it for transport. It was stuck to the border, and she had me make a solution to help take it off, and then use it on the painting and  peal the paper off. I’m not sure if that made any sense, but I was working on an actual painting, moving it around and everything and it was awesome.

Then I headed to my phonetics class and worked on open vowels, not fun. I love my phonetics class, but it makes me really mad that we didn’t do any exercises like this in High School or College. It feels like I didn’t really start learning French until now, and now I’m really behind. It’s not actually true, it’s just frustrating.

In my grammar class we worked on how to make phrases comparing things. Like, compared to his brother, paul is short. Which was kind of boring until we used it to have a very very animated conversation about whether TV is good or not. It was the first time we actually stayed in class to long, so hopefully we’ll do activities like that more often.

Then I headed to class with Marie at IFE. She started teaching us phonetics, which was good and confusing because she teaches it a little different than my prof at the Sorbonne. We had some fun doing French tongue twisters and just trying to pronounce these crazy French vowels.

For dinner at the foyer I ate tater tots and carrots because the meat did not look good today. It might be a bad habit to start skipping the meat, but I’d rather stick with my ham or chicken sandwiches at lunch and skip mystery fish for dinner.  I sat with the normal crew, and we had a heated discussion about films which was awesome. And then we got on the topic of pronunciation. I love when people correct my French because I want to speak well, but I’m so frustrated about all the different U forms. I wish I could magically wake up with the ability to say Cours correctly.

Now I’m exhausted for some reason. I think I’m just going to go to bed even though it’s only 10:20.

Bonne nuit!  Sorry if this post was written randomly or poorly, it took a couple days to finish.

But I would walk 500 miles, And I would walk 500 more

Yesterday was the first day that I was too tired to right for my blog before going to bed.

I started the day early so that I could buy my Navigo pass before all the activities started. The Navigo is basically a metro card that you pay for either monthly or weekly and during that time you have unlimited Metro and Bus rides. So now, if I want to go somewhere or I’m tired and don’t feel like walking, I can just use my Navigo and don’t have to worry about how much money I’m spending.

I got to our meeting place early, so I walked around the area a bit and then met up with Jessica and chatted with her in a café. Once the rest of the group met up with us, we found our tour guide Sebastian and started walking around the area. (Around the Metro stop Jacques Bonsergent in the 10th Arr.) He taught us a bit of the history of the area, how it’s changed throughout the years, showed us the Canal, and brought us to on of the best bakeries in Paris. We basically walked from 10am-1pm.

Then we took the metro to go meet Jerome at the Louvre. We grabbed some sandwiches from a very touristy café, where I got a very strange look for paying all in change. But when there are 2 Euro coins, it’s hard not to end up paying with mostly change.

Jerome taught us the history of the Louvre and how it’s changed throughout the years. It basically started as a teeny tiny little castle on the edge of Paris. It was built to protect the city from invaders traveling along the Seine. I forget the exact order, but basically each King would add something to the Louvre until it was a humongous enclosed castle. The reason it’s not enclosed any more today is because during the revolution, they burned part of it and it was next rebuilt. Little note for Brian: you know how we saw the foundation for the Louvre but couldn’t quite figure out how that worked. Well it turns out it’s the fondation for the 1st Louvre, the one built to be a fortress. Also, one of the reasons the Louvre has so many levels and is so big, is that Francois Mitterrand decided that Paris needed more cultural and artistic spaces. So, he started a project that doubled the size of the Louvre. Hence the enclosed courtyards and lower levels.

After the Louvre we learned how the fancy Metro entrances were actually very Modern when they were built, and nobody really liked them. They actually started removing them, and then the public got use to them and stopped caring so much.

Then we headed to the Palais Royal and learned that the courtyard was actually a parking lot until somebody realized that there was great architectural work being hidden because few people went into the parking lot. So, they changed it into an artistic space with this piece of modern art that’s a bunch of columns. At first they look a little weird, but Jerome explained that they’re meant to work with the older columns on the building. Since the art is throughout the courtyard, it draws your eye to the building behind it.

So, yesterday we ended up walking for a total of 6 hours. Paris is keeping me in much better shape than Connecticut ever did. 🙂

After saying goodbye to Jerome, we dragged ourselves to Christina ans Sophia’s foyer to study French Grammar for the Sorbonne test today. We went over lots of conjugations but ended up giggling for most of it since we were so tired.

Then there was a little get together at the foyer. I met a couple people, but felt bad because I couldn’t really meet anybody since I was so exhausted. So, I called it a night and went to bed.

It’s been an amazing week but I’m very glad it’s Friday and I get to sleep in as late as I want tomorrow.

Bon Week-end mes amies! Et merci for the comments!!