Au revoir, Paris!

Upon my return to the States I felt happy to be back, but also a part of me missed Paris. Looking back on the trip I remembered many things that were different that I had to readjust to. The hustle and bustle that comes with being in a city took a little bit to get used to compared to being in a small town for most of the year. Many of my opinions of Paris changed during the study abroad trip. The first thing that surprised me about the city was the size of it. When people think of Paris many people think of the monuments there such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame. What I came to realize is that most of the famous monuments are very close to each other. You can even see monuments when you’re at other monuments. Besides the monuments, there are a lot more things in Paris than people realize, like the Luxembourg Gardens and river boat tours.
The most important thing that I learned from my trip from Paris is the amount of history still embedded in the city its self. It was amazing to see all of the buildings from World War I and II still in commercial use today. The buildings were used for everything from furniture factories to holding places for Jews. This trip has personally affected me in a positive way. I love traveling abroad and learning about new cultures and this trip has made me more curious than ever. I loved my adventures in Paris and it was an experience I won’t soon forget.

My Time in Paris!

2013-05-29_08-14-34_861 (1)The day I left for France I was excited and not sure what to expect from my trip. I thought I had a good idea of what to expect but I was in for a surprise. Upon my arrival I immediately discovered some differences between the U.S. and France. I was looking for the metro, so while I was checking my map a woman spots me and walks towards me. She looks at it and points me in the right direction then hands me a clip board. She couldn’t talk so she handed me the clip board and pointed at the handicap symbol. The paper was a donation sheet. She was looking for at least a twenty euro donation. Just as I was about to refuse, an airport worker walks by and says “Don’t give any money!” The woman who supposedly couldn’t talk was now yelling at the worker. At that point I didn’t want to talk to anyone. So after that it took me over an hour to get my ticket and find the metro. On the metro I hear music so I assume it’s the radio. All of a sudden it cuts off and a woman goes around collecting money. She had a speaker on a dolly and a microphone with which she was singing. The woman’s performance was fantastic in my opinion. So when I finally get off the metro my first sight was startling to say the least. The metro stop didn’t look too inviting to say the least and there were only two people in sight. At first I didn’t want to even step off the train but I had to get going. I discovered that the locals were very helpful when I was trying to find the hotel I was staying at.

2013-05-26_12-39-25_163Since my initial run-in with the city I’ve grown to like the city a lot. I’ve discovered that people will sell or do lots of cool things on the sidewalks such as sing or dance. A few things that I’ve seen that are different are how many different dishes they eat French fries with, or how they use mayonnaise as a dipping sauce. Also, French people eat French fries with a fork which I found to be a little odd since that’s something I’m not used to seeing. Another thing is the extreme lack of stores that are open on Sunday. The first day I went exploring was Sunday and there were no stores open for at least ten blocks where I could get a hoodie. I also noticed that things here such as chairs and tables are a lot smaller than in America. I’ve been picking up a little French here and there as I go and I’m adjusting fairly well. I’ve been having a great time so far and I look forward to exploring more of Paris as our trip progresses.

Mont-Valérien: A French Perspective


The eternal flame at Mt. Valérien

At the beginning of the trip to Mont-Valérien we traveled to an area just outside of the city of Paris. We walked up a hill towards the fort, and at the entrance we saw a giant wall and an open area in front. The area in front was symbolic of France in the fact that it was made to represent the French flag. The steps were blue, the middle was beige to represent white, and the path around the middle was red. The flame in front was called the “eternal flame” which burns in memory of the Resistance. [The Resistance leader Charles DeGaulle dedicated the memorial site on 18 June 1960, the anniversary of his call for Resistance from London.]

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