Bienvenue a Paris

Bienvenue a Paris! That is what we heard this morning in the ISA classroom where we began our first full day here. After a delicious breakfast of toast, tea, yogurt and a nectarine, my roommate and I made our way to Rue Frédéric Sauton where we would first meet everyone from ISA. The building was certainly unlike any in the US, with a student lounge in an age old stone basement below the water level of the Siene River. We were served our first fantastic French croissants, and they were probably the best tasting pastries I have ever had. Little did I know that our dinner would be even more tasty. After learning the basics on how to be an ISA student tourist in Paris, we got some lunch. Wandering along the Siene and Norte Dame, it was really hitting me that we were in fact in Paris. Although the city reminds me of some other places I have been in Europe, it has a history of art tied to it like no other I’ve known. I got to experience a portion of that history when we went to Musee l’Orangerie that afternoon. Walking past the Louvre, I marveled at its cheer capacity. We walked along the Siene and through the Tuileries Gardens to le Musee l’Orangerie where we got to see one of Claude Monet’s most famous series, the Water Lilies. The paintings were as immersive for me as Monet intended for them to be, and many of us were captivated by his mark-making techniques. With quick dry strokes or thick gobbed masses, he was able to manipulate the paint in a way which created a truly awesome illusion. It was a feeling of awe which I’ve been getting quite a lot on this first day, such as when I first saw the Eiffel Tower tonight. After a group dinner (of escargot, duck, and chocolate lava cake – pure decadence) a few of us ventured out to catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower at sunset. It was bigger than any of us had realized as we approached its base, and truly magnificent. We gazed at it while sitting on the lawn in front, and I couldn’t believe that I was finally here, in this wonderful, historical, and sensational city. I cannot wait for what’s in store for the next two weeks, and I couldn’t be luckier to have the two professors I do we expert guides. For now, “bonne nuit.”