Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bonjour Paris!

Last weekend all of the undergrads from the Florence program packed their bags and headed for a mini-holiday in Paris, France! We were scheduled to meet with the JMU study abroad London Program and students from the Salamanca program. Traveling every weekend can be pretty tiring when you spend about seven hours just getting somwhere..but it is definitely worth it!

We arrived extremely late in Paris on Friday night, so we really only got to see the metro and our hotel room. But early the next morning we woke up and headed straight for the Eiffel Tower. It was a beautiful day and seeing something so enormous shooting into the bright blue, fall sky was amazing. The London program had a few museum visits and lectures planned that were completely optional for their students and also the students from Salamanca and Florence. On Friday the majority of the Florence program, including myself, decided to tag along.

Our first stop was the Musee D'Orsay. This enourmous museum on the river was jam packed with everything from Impressionists to Art Nouveau. I even stumbled upon a painting by Manet that I have had a recreation of hanging on my wall since high school! I was amazed by this museum. Next we headed over to Notre Dame which is definitely in the running for greatest churches I have ever seen-and at this point in my study abroad experience I have seen a lot of churches. After being in awe for about an hour we ended our day at the Louvre. Rounding the corner at night to find this enourmous glass pyramid was just breathtaking. There were so many amazing things to see beneath this amazing entrance...like the Mona Lisa which was surrounded by crowds of people and guards. The London faculty were giving lectures and mini tours and it was really great to hear what they had to say, and how it compared to our professors in Florence. They're all so knowledgeable and interesting! To end the day some Florence and London students chose a nice little French restaurant to have dinner...and I ate snails! Much better than I would ever have thought.

On Saturday it was one of the girls birthdays. We tried to meet up with the group but got so wrapped up in looking at window Christmas displays in Paris that we missed them by a few minutes! So we decided to enjoy the city on our own. We went to a grocery store and each grabbed some food for lunch-I chose brie, a granny smith apple, a baguette and a bottle of cider! From my food and wine pairing experience I though this would be the perfect combination to consume on a crisp fall day under the Eiffel Tower. It was magical sitting beneath the multi-colored leaves eating delicious food and enjoying the view of the tower. We did a lot of walking around that day as well, enjoying the streets of Paris. There was a Christmas market in a popular part of town that we decided to go to. There was at least a mile of venders selling everything from giant bars of chocolate to hot spiced wine to dancing Santa Clauses. It was defnitely a sight to see. That night we went out to dinner close to our hotel for a birthday celebration then rode the metro to the Eiffel Tower so Victoria, the birthday girl, could pop a bottle of champagne during the light show!

On Sunday, we wrapped up our adventures by visiting a few museums and exhibitions, headed to a beautiful Basilica on top of the city, had a crepe and a French beer and we were set to head back to Florence for another week of school! Traveling on the weekends sure makes this trip fly by, but it is totally worth it and I really feel like Florence is becoming my home. Only two and a half more weeks though..Ahhh! Better get out and enjoy THIS city while I can :)

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