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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

In which the Eiffel Tower is the Star

I am a lucky, lucky girl.  I can see the Eiffel Tower from my bedroom and also every day on the metro to (and from!) class, I look out the window up at this beautiful steel structure.  I've been here for four months, and I'm still not tired of looking at it.  

I think my favorite time to look at the Eiffel Tower is this time of day - the sky is a deep royal blue, not yet totally dark, and the Eiffel tower seems to be both grey and gold.  I can't quite capture it, but here's my best shot (from my window): 

And a few more:  

From the Trocadero:

On a grey winter evening: 

On a hazy red night: 

With the golden afternoon light: 

Ok, enough!  I'm back to preparing my presentation for tomorrow!  

Friday, April 23, 2010

Les Petits Plaisirs de Paris

Ahhhhh, I love Paris!  Especially now that the sun is starting to shine and the weather is getting warmer.  I'm on spring break this week, and Paris has proven itself to be quite pleasant when I don't have work hanging over my shoulder.  Some things that I've loved:

  • The "Great Outdoors": here in Paris, this consists of the Champs de Mars (the big field at the foot of that huge iron thing, the Eiffel Tower), the Jardins des Plantes et Luxembourg (fenced-in parks in the city), and the concrete-walled banks of the Seine.  Now that it's nice enough, everyone is flocking outside - to take walks, people watch, or just sit in the sun - something that I've done EVERY DAY this week.  Glorious.  
  • "Bon appetit!"  I've written before about the French love for food.  Eating here is serious business!  A few weeks ago, I went to LaDuree, a French pastry house and restaurant known for its macarons.  I bought one mini-macaron (rose-petal flavored), and then stood outside waiting for my friend.  Just as I was about to take a bite, a passing man wished me a "Bon ap!"  I had a similar experience this morning.  Walking from the boulangerie toward the metro, I was enjoying my still-warm-from-the-oven croissant, when a passing woman said "Bon ap!"  In both these instances, while I didn't catch sight of my well-wisher's face, I took a bite feeling a bit more loved by this city.  
  • Paris metro.  Today I had a girl tell me she didn't like the Paris metro and I was like, WHAAAT??!!  Turns out she didn't like crowds, which seemed to me to be the only logical explanation.  But then I thought some more about it, and remembered that quite often the Paris metro consists of tunnels, where if you take one wrong turn it means a 4-minute detour down a horrible-smelling hallway maze.  But... the metro gets you anywhere you want to be!  Oftentimes, especially in the center of Paris, if you get off at the wrong stop, you simply walk a mere two blocks to your actual desyination, easy as pie - it's worth the smelly ickiness!  But I think that the real reason that I love the Paris metro is because I feel like a connaisseure - a total metro pro.  I speed through the gates by tapping my Passe Navigo (like a SmartTrip or CharlieCard), hardly look at the exit signs, read my french book, and roll my eyes at tourists.  

I could go on and on, but I'm going to Barcelona for the weekend and I need to pack! 

Much love,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm Baaaaack!

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the hiatus - I have been busy !!  Three straight weeks of visitors, including MOM, SARAH, and ELYSE!  And Dad is coming in two weeks - too cool!!!

Let's do a recap, with lots of pictures, of the family visit.

SHOPPING!  Sarah came to Paris with the goal of purchasing a prom dress, prom shoes, and some shorts. While we only hit one of them (prom shoes), she did try on a 400 Euro dress.... Ahh what fun.  Asides from checking out some of the less expensive shopping districts (mostly in Le Marais, in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements), we also checked out some of the oldest department stores in Paris, Le Bon Marche and Les Galleries Lafayette.  These department stores are from the mid-late 1800s when the Baron Haussman was transforming Paris to the city it is today - big boulevards and instituting building codes, etc.  These buildings are AWESOME.

Sarah and Elyse on the escalator (left!) in the Bon Marche

Galleries Lafayette + ceiling

Looking down at the Galleries

Elyse with a Donald-Duck SEQUINED dress.  It could be yours for a mere 500 euros!  NOT. JOKING.



Sunday, March 14, 2010

Much-Delayed Classes Post

I've been here for about 6 weeks and I still haven't blogged about school - and I know many of you (relatives mostly) are wondering what the heck I'm doing besides loving the Parisian life!

Here's a quick run-down:

French Literature "La Quete Identitaire" - Identity Quest.  We're reading Zola, Musset, Sand, lots of novels, so this is pretty fun.  This is a course run through Tufts, taught by a French professor (who is French!!!) and I have American classmates.

French Language: Another Tufts course, again taught by a French professor.  In this class, we're learning how to write in the French style - essays, commentaries, etc.  We're also practicing our general comprehension and speaking - everyone has to give a 10-15 minute presentation and moderate a debate.  Today I moderated the debate on technology (la technologie) - we talked about being slaves to technology, how blogs are self-indulgent, and Facebook.  ("Facebook" in French is still "Facebook").

L'histoire de l'art (Art History) - another Tufts-based course.  We're studying pre-Impressionist to early 1900s French art.  2/3s of our classes are either at the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, or another museum... AWESOME!

La Poesie et les Contes Fantastiques - Poetry and Spooky Stories - this course is at La Sorbonne Nouvelle with all French students.  I even have a French friend!!  Her name is Adeline, and she is adorable.

All of my classes are 100% in French.

For now, I have some studying to do...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Samantha Does Paris, and Galway

So, as you know if you read my last blog post, I recently spent a few days in Galway, Ireland, visiting my friend Kerry.  It was wonderful to see her, and to get to know Galway a bit!

On our two hour bus ride (through the BEAUTIFUL Irish countryside), Kerry warned me that Galway was "a small town."  Even though she felt that she knew it very well, and although she didn't consider it that small, I think all of Galway is about the size of the entire 16th arrondissement.  Yes, Paris is big, but Galway is still pretty small.

Galway is gorgeous though: its cobblestone streets are lined with shops and bars/pubs.  It was refreshing to be somewhere that English was spoken, but I still felt like a foreigner- my American accent gives me away.  (I mostly let Kerry do the talking.)

For now, I'm back in Paris..... trying to get back to the normal routine of things and studying...


Monday, March 1, 2010


Gah, so I know I have quite a few promised posts to catch up on but now is not yet the time.  This is difficult to write....On Thursday I found out that my friend Brendan Ogg (who I knew from middle+high school) passed away the night before.  He had been fighting brain cancer.  Currently, I'm in Galway, Ireland visiting my friend Kerry - instead of going home, we're celebrating Brendan's life here, together.  Brendan will remembered by many, from Silver Spring as well as the University of Michigan.  Brendan will be remembered not only as very intelligent, an excellent writer, and a music lover, but mostly as a loyal friend.

Sending all of my love home,

Monday, February 22, 2010

Some Pictures

Yo yo!

I know that it's way overdue that I write a blog post about school - since I actually am taking classes, but I have to get back to studying for my midterm (!!) and writing my 5 page paper that are both due later this week.

In the meantime, a few pictures, albeit mostly of Americans in Paris (and my room).  I promise we go out!

Stephanie and I:

Tina and Ardy at Le Petit Pont in the 5th, right next to Notre Dame: 

Casey, Steph, Tina and I:

Foggy day in Paris, view from Sacre Coeur:

The Lapin Agile, a salon once frequented by the Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Bruant: