That Time I... Went to Paris
We all have dreams, big or small, and some of us have the opportunity to live out our dreams. This summer I was able to live and breathe one of my wildest dreams: spending a month abroad to study art in Paris, France. I studied with Rutgers’ Art in Paris program, and was able to see every nook and cranny of the spectacular city.
I must admit I went to Paris without any expectations. All I knew going into the trip was that the Eiffel Tower was one of the eight wonders of the world, and that French pastries were to die for. Luckily, both of these expectations were indeed correct. I thoroughly enjoyed eating crepes and chocolate croissants on a regular basis, and being able to see the Eiffel Tower glitter almost every night. Paris was just as magical as any movie has made it out to be.
The city itself was breathtaking, especially when gazing down below from the city’s highest points. My favorite monuments included the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, and Opera Garnier to name a few. Every building had an extensive and deep history that differed from American culture. In America, we are used to seeing movie theaters, fast food restaurants, and shopping malls in most towns. Even in New York City, we are bombarded with advertisements and crowds of people. In Paris, I found myself relaxing at cafes and people watching in parks. I would walk the cobblestone streets and window shop in hip boutiques while gazing at effortless-looking people. The atmosphere was much more relaxed and I was able to enjoy and appreciate the city’s beauty.
With that said, Paris is the art mecca of the world. Though it doesn’t feature all of the great artworks, it does house many famous ones. While in class, I ventured to Versailles, Monet’s Garden, the Louvre, Catacombs, and many more sites to view timeless architecture, sculpture, and paintings. I even had the luxury of viewing Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa about five times, and let me tell you it was much smaller than I had expected! Being right in front of the artworks and places while learning about them made the whole classroom experience a lot more exciting.
Since I was in Paris for a month, I was able to visit London for a weekend. Luckily, London is only a two hour train ride away! While there I saw the Big Ben, ate fish and chips, rode a double decker bus, visited Abbey Road, and went to some free museums. I was pretty disappointed I didn’t run into Emma Watson while roaming the streets of London, but I did love hearing British accents everywhere I went!
If you haven’t been to Paris, I definitely recommend you visit whether you are studying abroad or going on your own! It’s a magnificent city filled to the brim with amazing places, food, fashion, and artwork.