So this week has been very eventful. My orientation program ended about a week ago and I had an entire week to have fun and explore Paris! Not to mention that I took lots of time to relax before classes started.
So last monday I went to my university, Paris 8: Saint-Denis to choose my classes. I am taking literature and politics, advanced grammer, written and oral expression in french and teaching french to non-french speaking students. I am very happy with my courses that I have picked, but the only class I have actually been to so far is my literature and politics class. The classes are much different here. Instead of having one class 3 times a week for 50 minutes or one class twice a week for an hour and 20 min all the classes are 3 hours long and they are each only once a week. And as a result, I have a lot of free time. I only have classes on Monday’s, Wednesdays and Thursdays. It is nice to have a lot of free time, but I am trying to find a job to fill up the rest of my days. I am waiting for a call from a woman who is looking for a native english speaking person to tutor her two children. Hopefully it will work out, money and a cultural experience what could be better!
Last week I also took a day and went to the neighborhood called Bercy. It is a more modern neighborhood. I had to take the metro line 14 which is 100% automated, there is nothing running it but computers and I felt like I was in a space age in the metro station. It is really cool. Anyway, I took a walking tour of Bercy and I visited the Ministry of France which is a building that was actually moved to it’s current location from the Louvre. My walking tour continued with the Pala omnisports de Paris-Bercy which is a sports complex and it has grass convered walls that slope down at a 45 degress angle. I saw a maintenance man mowing the walls, it was an interesting process. There is a skating rink in Bercy, but it is most used to figure skating and other events like that. It is sad that the French don’t play much hockey. Ice Hockey is so rare in France that you actually have to say I play Ice Hockey, because if I were to only say I play hockey everyone would assume I play field hockey. Oh well, its just another example of cultural differences. Speaking of hockey, there were several hockey games played in Finland recently and I am very sad that I didn’t get to go, I wanted to but it is quite expensive to fly to Finland from Paris. C’est la vie! Outside of the entrance to the skating rink is a water feature that is meant to replicate the gorges of North America, it was very interesting. Anyway I also visited the Cinematheque Francaise which is a cinema museum and a theatre that showcases different periods and styles of french cinema. Right next to the French Cinema there is le Parc de Bercy which is a beautiful park with beautiful gardens and different water features. It was beautiful. I really enjoyed my exploration of Bercy. After visiting Bercy I went to the Gym and on the way home I happened to meet a French guy named Bille, he was very nice. It was interesting to meet a french person and spend an evening talking one on one in french. We visited the Sacre Coeur and then we went to the Champs Elyees. It was very relaxing and it was such a beautiful night.
On Thursday I spent a day sightseeing in the Jussieu neighborhood. I started my walking tour at the Jardin des Plantes. It is another beautiful botanical garden in Paris. There are pathways that are protected by trees which arch over the pathways. It was very magical especially when the sunlight was shining down through the trees. Then I walked to the Mosque. It cost money to take a tour, and I just wanted to see the building and the courtyard, but from what I saw it was a very beautiful building. It was exotic white walled muslim styled building. It was incredible from what I did see. My walking tour then brought me toArenes de Lutece. To me it looked like an arena for theatre or performances, and i learned that it was actually used fcircus and theatrical presentations. Next to it isthe Cluny bath house which took my breath away the details and beauty of the staircase near it was incredible. I was really shocked to see that today the arenes de lutece is used for leisurely activities for the people of Paris. I love when buildings and monuments are used practically and they aren’t just sitting to be looked at. I also walked by the Pierre and Marie Curie University. It is a very modern and chic looking building in the middle of Paris, I was quite surprised.
I think the biggest event of my week was La nuit blanche. It is an event that happens once a year in Paris. Basically, it is a celebration of contemporary art that lasts from 7pm until dawn. There are light exhibits and live music and there were techno dance parties and it was a lot of fun. It was a really big event and the streets were full of people all night. Here is a link to la nuit blanche in english:
So Saturday night I went to sushi restaurant with a bunch of my friends. It was good, I don’t like fish but I had some really good kabobs. After dinner we did some sight seeing in the city until we met up with a few of our other friends. Then we went to the Luxembourg gardens which was the main event location for la nuit blanche and we had to wait an hour to get in, but we hung out and enjoyed the night while we waited to get in. The exhibits the garden were incredible they were all based upon lights and expression through light. I really enjoyed myself. After that we went to a restaurant bar and got some dessert with wine at 4 in the morning. It was a nice way to end the evening. We sat and visited for a few hours. I stayed the night a friends house and we didn’t go to bed until 7:30 am and of course I got up at noon because I had plans to go to the Louvre.
Since the Louvre is free the first sunday in every month I decided to spend a few hours exploring the parts of the louvre that I didn’t visit when I last went in March. It was very relaxing and I had a good time. I went with one of my french friends and it was funny trying to explain the story behind some of the paintings in French when I learned about it in English. After spending a few hours in the Louvre we went to eat a late lunch and it was really fun.
Today was my first day of classes. I had one class and it was literature and politics. I really enjoyed the class. It is going to take a little time to get used to the difference in teaching methods from the US to France, but that is why I am here. I am looking forward to my classes on Wednesday and hopefully they will be as good as my class today!
SO I wrote a lot today. It has been a busy week. I hope everyone enjoys my post and I will try to post more often so my posts aren’t so long. Thanks for reading and ENJOY!!!
Here is a link to my photo album on Facebook with all my pictures from this week, its my post in photo form! :