Looking Back at Our Trip…

After visiting Paris I miss the city intensely, but I am also extremely glad I am back home. Paris has its highs and lows, as does every city, but the City of Light was a truly unique experience itself.

I was able to see the tourist attractions that children point out in books, like the Eiffel Tower and the Mona Lisa, and I was able to experience rare monuments dedicated to the tragedies and sacrifices of WWI and WWII.

It is hard to believe that I stood on the same beaches that thousands of soldiers marched on to liberate France while we enjoyed a tour of the area and ate at a local restaurant as if nothing happened. The eerie peacefulness of the area and the horrific photographs that you know were taken at the same spot where young children now swim and build sand castles is eye-opening.

At the same time, you realize how small you are during such an experience. It is amazing that in an 8-hour plane ride you can travel half a globe and experience a completely different culture.

My favorite place that I visited was the Louvre, and the second was the Pantheon, where I saw the final resting place of Rousseau and Voltaire. They wrote some of my favorite books, and I didn’t even realize I would see them! As for the Louvre, the amount of tourists was overwhelming. At the Mona Lisa, there was at least 100 people crowded in front of the work trying to get as close as possible. I was able to fight through the crowd, and I saw the masterpiece for the second time of my life. It was worth the crowd.

Mona Lisa You would never believe how much I had to fight to get this picture!!

Overall, the experience was amazing. I am extremely glad that I had the opportunity to learn about WWI, WWII, and French culture at the very heart of Paris and Caen! The most important thing I learned, besides that my knowledge on WWI and WWII was very rusty, would be that the City of Light is nothing like you read in the picture books. The city is even more beautiful than any picture you can buy, the people are not as arrogant as we think they are (but they are a little bit at times) and the monuments they create are timeless, peaceful, beautiful, and breathtaking.

My opinions of French culture never really changed, but I learned that they are very nice. I only had two people be rude to me, and I was lectured once on how could I visit Paris without learning French! I did get the occasional “sniff” when I asked if they spoke English, but after seeing how many tourists they get, I can understand their frustrations.

I miss Paris, but by the time I left I was sick of French food (shhhh, don’t let them know). I hope our blog gave you an idea of what it was like, and hopefully it will encourage others to visit!


Jean Moulin at the Pantheon

On Monday we visited the Pantheon where important people such as Jean Moulin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Victor Hugo are buried.

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Life in Paris – Week 1

The first week of our program has ended already! Sometimes time just passes too quickly when you are exploring a new place.

My experience so far has been interesting, fascinating, surprising, and amusing at times. This is the first time I have been to Europe, so everything is new to me. The first day I arrived I was lost within the first 10 minutes. I must admit though, I have a horrible sense of direction so take this with a grain of salt.

Paris is surprisingly easy to travel through using the metro but I have never used a metro system like it. I would imagine that large cities like New York would have something like it. I am originally from Atlanta, GA and we do not have such an amazing public transportation system.

The people of France have been very kind, and I can only imagine how many visitors they receive. Every time I go to a hot tourist spot like the Louvre, you can hear people speaking languages from all over the world. I have heard German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese just to name a few. The tourists are often stumbling along with me when we try to speak French, so I no longer feel nervous when I have to ask if someone speaks English.

My final thoughts, of course, have to be about the food. I am a food person. I adore good food, and I can now officially say that no one can make sweets, cheese, or bread like the French. I find myself trying new things off the menus to discover a new meat or preparation at a cafe or Bistro, and I have yet to be disappointed. Today at the Angelina Restaurant in Versailles I ordered cœur de saumon fumé sélection astara even though I had no idea what it was. I do not regret it!

For breakfast they have sweets like a croissant with chocolate and muffins. For snacks they have sandwiches that are rich in herbs, meats, and cheeses. For dinner you can find almost any type of food in Paris! The culture is overwhelming and amazing!

georginna2013-05-29 16.27.59Check out chocolates at the Louvre! Don’t they look irresistible!

I could get used to this beautiful country…

-Georginna Quiros