Bienvenue à Paris!!

Bonjour à tous,

Au revoir, Boston!!

Au revoir, Boston!!

I am happy to share with you our first two days here in Paris! The professors showed us around the more important places to know where we are staying at…the Cité Universitaire like the bank, the cafeteria and more. After that we received our métro cards, cell phones and we were off and running. Since we had the evening to explore and get acclimated with the city, a few of us went out to dinner and got to know each other. By the time 10:00 PM came however, everyone was ready for bed. Then, the adventure began the next morning!


The train station that goes directly into the airport, Charles de Gaulle.

Saturday morning, the second, most of us made it a point to check a couple of things off of our list (since it was a “free day”): A few major monuments and a crash course on the métro. I thought that it would have been like trying to learn the subway in New York or the T in Boston, but it was effortless. With that, we covered some ground and we made it to Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower today. It is amazing! Notre Dame is absolutely beautiful! The building is in fabulous shape and it is flooded with tourists. I am honestly still in a bit of denial that we are even here in Paris now. After that we visited the Eiffel Tower and I can safely say that I want to go back immediately, especially at night. Both areas themselves are bustling with all sorts of vendors and all walks of life. It is very crowded, but exciting!


Notre Dame… What a beauty!!


La Tour Eiffel towering over me.

To think that we have another 14 days here is going to be awesome! There is so much more to see in this beautiful city that I can hardly contain my excitement. The architecture, the food, the people, the easy way of life here… We’re going to be soaking up every minute of it!

À bientôt!

Paris – On y va! (Let’s go!)


Mandi, Merismar and Hannah (Stanley is hiding behind Hannah) on the double decker tour bus

(Front to back):  Mandi, Merismar and Hannah on the double decker Paris tour bus

For starters, here’s hoping everyone back home had a terrific and safe 4th of July.

While we may be far away from home this Independence Day, our semester in Paris has started off with a “bang” (sorry, couldn’t resist  : )   )

Since arriving in Paris, we have become acquainted with one another, acquainted with our “home away from home”, (la fondation des Etats-Unis) and now, acquainted with Paris – our classroom for the semester.

To start our week off, we took an open bus tour of Paris (green line) where we were able to get a bird’s eye view from atop the bus of some of the most popular Paris landmarks, many of which we will be visiting personally and learning about from our professors, Dr. Carole Salmon and Prof. Jennifer Cadero-Gillette.

On our tour, over 19 landmarks were highlighted, from the Opéra, to the Louvre and Muséee d’Orsay, Champs Élysées and many more, but my favorites had to be l’Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe - historic display of French military might

Arc de Triomphe – historic display of French military might

, la Tour Eiffel

Eiffel Tower (soccer ball in center to celebrate ongoing UEFA soccer cup tournament hosted in France)

Eiffel Tower (soccer ball in center to celebrate ongoing UEFA soccer cup tournament hosted in France)

and Notre Dame.

Notre Dame - at the very heart of Paris

Notre Dame – at the very heart of Paris

At the completion of the bus tour, Dr. Salmon and Prof. Cadero-Gillette gave a fascinating talk about the history of Notre Dame.  We learned a lot about its innovative construction (begun in the 12th century) as well as the stories behind its relief structures.

Notre Dame sculptural reliefs

Notre Dame sculptural reliefs

Its influence has been far reaching throughout time and continues to leave its mark even today.  For example, did you know that Notre Dame, considered the official center of Paris, contains a marker (“Kilometer Zero,”) whereby all distances measured from Paris are taken?

We concluded the day with a walking tour (complete with teaching commentary) through the Latin Quarter and the Sorbonne and completed our tour at the Panthéon.   I am excited to see what’s in store for our “class” tomorrow!