Thoughts on Culture

People here are so prim and proper; I’ve come across women taking their afternoon stroll in stilettos! They may have just decided to take the scenic route on their commute to work or home, but walking around on a pathway of compressed gravel in heels does not sound like the most attractive leisurely activity.
Another observation is the quality of grooming seen on dogs around Paris. It seems as though Parisians take doggy hygiene pretty seriously–and it pays off too. The fur of these dogs gleams in the sunlight and flows with the wind; they’re practically glowing. On top of that, I have rarely stumbled across an unhappy pup. Going off of the observation that Parisians take an extra effort to make leisure a part of their daily routine, it seems as though bringing the dog along is equally as important. I think it’s great.

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The Palace of Versailles

Visited the palace and accompanying garden–I was amazed.  The whole thing was monstrous and I just stood there and gawked for five whole minutes, taking in it’s entirety.  I could not imagine living in such a massive mansion.  The palace was gorgeous and paralleled the garden’s charm.  The crowds put a damper on my mood and didn’t allow me to fully appreciate the palace because each room was so packed and stuffy, I just wanted to get out and move onto the next attraction.  I still got to see everything, though.
The palace was holding a special event in the gardens, so although we got into the palace for free (because we’re art students and Paris allows free entry to art students in most museums), we had to pay a discounted price to enter the gardens.  I regret nothing.  The gardens are usually left morbid with fountains dormant, leaving you to create your own fantasies of life in Marie Antoinette’s shoes on her mid-afternoon stroll.  However, for the event, the gardens played classical music all throughout the vicinity and for a few hours every day, the fountains would become active and spew water to create the most beautiful and fantastic visuals.  Each fountain looked beautiful while dormant, but adding the effects of water and making them active brought the fountains to life, creating the most perfect stroll.  I would not have expected the water to be projected from the fountains in the way that some were; water spewing from hands, rumbling from rubble…bringing the sculptures to life. Magnificent.

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Carnival Day in the gardens by the Louvre

Spent Friday at the gardens in front of the Louvre.  The entire garden was huge and absolutely beautiful.  Fountains, ponds, parks, and sculptures scattered throughout the garden gave it a relaxing feel.  It was such a nice day out too…perfect for the park!  But it was extremely hot.  The weather has been pretty bipolar these past few weeks; hot and humid one day, cold and rainy the next.  Without shade, it felt like we were walking around in a sauna–skin constantly sticky with the continual layer of sweat that just would not go away.
The day was enjoyable nonetheless, and strolling around in a gorgeous park with smiling children and audible laughter put me in a pretty good mood.

Cité de la Musique

Visited a museum devoted to Jazz music and it’s influence on America as well as France.  It was very interesting and nicely complemented our learnings in class.  Most of it was media-oriented, using the aid of both audio and visual media to convey different forms of music to show how they relate to jazz and their influence on different cultures around the world.

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Crepe party!

IMG_2784We had an atelier after class on Wednesday in which we learned how to make crepes (although I already know how to make them and basically lived off of these delicious treats at one point in my life).  We experimented with different toppings, from jams and jellies, to nutella with bananas, ham and cheese, and–my favorite–lemon and sugar.  It was a fun little activity and a delicious end to lecture…I most definitely got my fill of sweets that day.

 

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Class Luncheon

 

After class on Tuesday we all headed to our professor’s apartment for a luncheon and a celebration of my roommate’s birthday!  My roommate, Charlene, is sitting in the very front & center wearing classes and just turned 22.  This is the class I have been spending all of my time here in Paris with.

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All the foods!!

A collection of various plates I’ve encountered during my time here:

Posted: July 14
Additions: July 20

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Bastille Day Festivities

Bastille day was amazing–unlike anything I could have imagined.  The aircraft flew overhead with streams of colored gas as expected.  That evening we all headed over to the Eiffel Tower to watch the free concert, consisting of a highly talented selection of opera singers and a marvelously constructed orchestra.  The music did not particularly spark my interest, but the performances were still wonderful and the singers’ voices were absolutely amazing.  It was such an enjoyable experience, having a picnic on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower and just chatting with one another as we waited for the concert to start.  Once the concert ended, the firework show began.  And let me tell you: I have never witnessed something so spectacular.  The fireworks literally spewed from the tower for over thirty minutes…I didn’t even think a firework show could go on for so long!  It was fascinating!  There were flames spewing from the two levels of the tower and fireworks shooting off at every angle; in every direction.  The magical part about it was that the show incorporated colors and music to tell stories using the fireworks.  There were scenes depicting the war with Germany, using red fireworks and dramatic tunes to recreate the battle scene in the sky.  There were even fireworks that spelled things, like “1914″, “2014″, and “Vive la paix” ..it was awesome.  At one point they put on an American song in which anyone speaking English started singing to.  I was in awe.

After the show we went off to the Fireman’s ball.  Every bastille day, the fire stations transform into night clubs to raise money for orphanages.  Each one has a slightly different atmosphere, ranging from mellow bands to energetic dance music.  It’s such a strange concept; partying it up with the firemen for the greater good of parentless children.  It was quite fun to say the least; probably one of my favorite night outings thus far.

 

My Bastille Day was magical, and definitely one I don’t intend to forget.