I finished my first week in Paris!
I spent my first four nights in a youth hostel. When I initially arrived in Paris, I had trouble figuring out the RER trains (as do some Parisians) but arrived safely at the Generator Hostel in the 10th arrondissement. I am starting to experience French culture, while meeting many people from different cultures. Along with French students at the hostel, I talked to people from Switzerland, Brazil, Korea, and many other countries. While it was sometimes hard to communicate because of the language barrier, that almost made it better. We had to pay attention to the other person and think about what we were saying. I am still incredibly impressed when people can communicate in three, or four, or even five languages. I made friends at the Generator that I hope to connect with again during the semester.
My Californian roommates made great partners to travel all around the city with. A piece of advice to anyone staying at a hostel is to make friends with your roommates! Rather than traveling alone or just with your friends you came with, you get to meet fellow travelers and talk about your past experiences, while making new ones together.
Regarding all the touristy things I did, you will see my pictures, so I don’t have to bore you with every activity. The Louvre was incredible though, with insane gold-covered, marble ceilings to compliment the artwork and artifacts inside. If you thought it would take days to see the whole Louvre, let me enlighten you. We spent about seven hours in the Louvre and saw about 95% of it! Not to brag, but we walked for over 15 miles that day… Although, if you want to read every sign and analyze every painting, it would probably take you a month of walking the Louvre.
The Mona Lisa is a little overrated. Don’t get me wrong—it is a great painting, but there are countless more impressive works of art, including those by Da Vinci himself. Personally, I loved seeing and learning about all the ancient Greek artifacts, which brought me back to my childhood where I read Greek myths nearly every day (Disney Hercules Anyone?) Many of the signs teaching visitors about the museum’s displays are in English as well as French. This allows us monolinguals to further enjoy the Louvre. If you are a student in the European Union you can get into all the museums for free, so remember that!
If you know me, you know that I couldn’t spend all my time seeing la Tour Eiffel and Versailles. Of course I went shopping! Yes, I bought black skinny jeans at H&M. I have to blend in and look Parisian, right? Don’t worry, I’ll represent America well in my two fashion classes in Paris.
Have you ever tried a Nutella crêpe? You have not lived until you have eaten one (especially one with bananas!) This was only a small taste (see what I did there?) of my first week in Paris. Stay tuned for my next post about my arrival at my host family’s house and the start of my semester!
Oliver (French pronunciation of course)