The Paris Christmas market is a must visit during the holidays. It is full of Christmas cheer and delicious food. You get to walk down the Champ Elysées where 160 wooden chalets line up the street. You can find cheese, chocolate in every shape and form (yum!) and hot wine! After our second visit to the marché, we decided to walk to the Arc de Triomphe then to Trocadero to see the Tour Eiffel!
In our literature class, we were able to visit the House of Victor Hugo in a very expensive residential area. His house gave us a look into his life. The tour ended with the bed where Victor Hugo died in. Learning about his life was very interesting. He is indeed a french icon. After the tour, we wandered around the streets and enjoyed some gelato ice-cream. Yum!!!
Sometimes my classmates and I decide to grab some baguette and cheese from a nearby store and go to the Luxembourg Garden to have a picnic. The gardens are simply amazing. Other students from different schools also come to spend a lazy afternoon on the grass.
You can hear people talking, students laughing, and dogs barking. It would be an ideal day if it is sunny but not too hot to just relax and enjoy.
We’ve been in school for four weeks and time is flying by fast. Everyday, I wake up and go to school and everyday I discover something new about Paris whether on the way to the IES center or just wandering around the streets. Our schedule is very convenient since we finish early on most days giving us the opportunity to visit new parts of the city in the afternoon. Our classes are taught in French by French professors (some teach at Paris Sorbonne). They are very considerate of the different level of language proficiency therefore try to accommodate all of the students. The workload is not much and could be easily done in 2-3 hours per day. Also, the center is located in a residential building where we share a small backyard with the residents (who are very friendly). You find lots of restaurants and cafe around the center where you can get food.
To get to the center, we either walk or take the metro. The metro is very easy to maneuver once you understand the system. However, Paris is a “walking culture” and you see a lot of people on the streets trying to get to work or home. It is very fun to walk and pass by all the small cafe/boulangerie and smell the mouthwatering coffee or freshly baked baguette. You also enjoy all the honking and traffic jam as small cars and cyclists try to pass through.
Living in Paris for a semester is definitely an adventure worth experiencing it. You can’t get enough of the culture, the art, the architecture, and etc. You never spend a dull moment in Paris. The trick is to be active and go around Paris every day. You can wander the streets or sit at a small cafe and take in all the buzz around you.