March 13th, 2019:
Today we took the train to Paris from London. I specifically was baffled by how much easier public transportation was abroad compared to home. While I use the COTA buses almost everyday to go to class and other events that take place downtown, I had a certain expectation as to how much longer it would take because of the stops involved with public transportation. However, with the ability to move public transportation underground in both cities, it almost made more sense to take the metro than to drive, had that been an option. March 13th also led to the first time I had to pay to use the restroom, unfortunately.
After being dragged around the streets of Paris by the tour guide who was trying her best to get us to our hotel, I was excited to get to see Notre Dame and the shops around the hotel. I was in awe at the beauty of the cathedral and how many people from all over came to see it. I had a conversation with someone who was from Switzerland and also heard multiple talking in Spanish. It really made me think about how universal the idea of religion is in cultures around the world. Then I went on a walk around some of the neighboring towns and decided I just had to get some sort of pastries to bring back to the US with me. Finally, I attended the group dinner at “Le Petit Prince de Paris.” I loved this restaurant and the food was amazing.
March 14th, 2019:
Today I was able to compare the different museums that I had seen in each city. In London, I was able to go to the zoo and the Natural History museum and wanted to see how the Parisian museums compared. While they were undoubtedly different, they each had their own unique flare and showed the culture of the area. The Jardin des Plantes houses many different museums and a zoo in Paris. I started off exploring the Natural history museum portion with the class and was surprised at just how many skeletons they were able to fit in a room. I also noticed how many of the skeletons were incomplete and had different parts that were manufactured in one form or another to make the skeletons complete. I definitely saw the cultural differences in how this museum compared to the one in London.
I then headed to the Ménagerie du Jardin des plantes, or the zoo. I wanted to do my paradigm shift on how animals have been treated in zoos, specifically the switch to preservation of a species. I was able to go to the zoo in London and wanted to be able to compare the two cities on how they treat preservation on a cultural level and also how they designed the exhibits for different animals. I was more fond of the Paris zoo because I felt like the exhibits tried to be as natural for the animals as possible. I also felt as if they were more open and gave more room for the animals to wander about as if they were in the wild. Both cities really pushed towards being more conscious about how human actions have negatively affected wildlife and relatively how in danger the species is of extinction. However, that was just the beginning of the day. Afterwards, I headed towards the Louvre with some of the other girls.
Walking into the Louvre was just as beautiful as any of the other art that could be found inside. Although it took about 40 minutes to try and find the Mona Lisa, I was finally able to stand in front of it and say that I had seen the Mona Lisa in person. I also walked around the Italian painting rooms and was in awe in how bright and sharp some of the paintings were that were hundreds of years old. I was also surprised at how many Roman sculptures had been collected and how someone could create something that looks so soft out of stone. It was truly one of my most favorite times during the study abroad. Finally, we finished the day with a trip to a mall. It amazed me how instead of going out like most stores do in America, everything went up. Like most of the buildings in Paris, it was absolutely gorgeous. Lastly, I had dinner at L’isolotto and was able to practice ordering in French. The food was just delicious and the waiters were super friendly and stood through the terrible French that was being spoken.
March 15th, 2019:
March 15th was one of the most exhausting days I had while abroad. We started off the day by going to the Eiffel Tower and Musée de l’Homme. It was amazing getting to see the whole city and even parts that I had not been able to visit. I also got to see the second statute of liberty in Paris that I found. Next, I went to Musée de l’Homme, which we had talked about when a guest speaker came in to talk. I found the museum to be interesting and definitely saw how the museum has changed and still tried to keep a part of its History. After getting some lunch, we headed over to the Pasteur Institute for a guided tour. I was a little shocked at how many materials were preserved from Pasteur. I found it just as interesting as walking through Down House in London and liked being able to compare the two different houses and the experiences of the different scientists. Finally, we finished the day with a trip to Musée des Arts et Metiers which was also guided. I really enjoyed the tour guide and the museum. Although I was thoroughly exhausted, as was most of the class, the guide tried to be engaging and was very informational. I also found a third statute of liberty right outside the museum.
March 16th, 2019:
The last day was a little crazy as there were multiple protests taking place and some turned violent. Because the city was actually on fire at one point, I decided to stay close to the hotel and visit some of the local museums and get some souvenirs. I started off by going to the Pantheon and was able to see the graves for Rousseau and Voltaire and other important French figures. I was once again blown away by the building and the sculptures inside it. I was particularly fond of the statute for the French Revolution. Next, I went to the museum of the history of medicine. I found this museum particularly interesting because I had taken a history of western medicine course last spring. Although most of the exhibits were related to discoveries and French practitioners, I was still able to make connections between the class and the museum. I even was able to see the first sphygmomanometer which was one of the leading changes to collecting structured data for patient care. After visiting the history of medicine museum, I headed back towards Notre Dame and visited the Holocaust memorial. I am glad I was able to see this as it reminded me of one of the darkest points of history. One of the exhibits was a map of France and the number of people that were taken from different areas of the country, some were over 100. I finished off the day by walking around and getting some souvenirs and trying some different sweets.