Paris - Summer 2013
Paris est la gloire de la France, et l'un des plus belles ornaments du monde.
(Montaigne, Les Essais, 1580, Livre III, Chapitre 9)
In the summer of 2013 I lived in Paris for three months and took a French class at the Sorbonne. I rented an apartment in the Latin Quarter. This is a photo journal of my experiences.
The pictures and text were originally posted each day on FaceBook. When I got home to Chicago I ported everything to this web site. My writing on FaceBook was informal. While I cleaned up the text, I did not attempt to polish it excessively, and I tried to leave the informality intact.
I was alone in Paris, with no family or old friends, just new friends I met in class. I'd like to thank all of my good FaceBook friends back home for keeping me virtual company throughout the summer. Some of their commentary has been included in my journal.
I arrived in Paris two weeks before the class started. I spent the time doing a massive amount of tourism and getting to know my neighborhood.
The class lasted eight weeks and was intense. During the week I mostly just worked, and did more tourism and partying with my friends from class on the weekends.
The week after the class ended I took a trip to Normandy.
For the last week my children Andrea and Jeremy joined me and we did more tourism, then we flew home to Chicago together.
Note on images: If you see a photo or image that is interesting, click it to display a larger version in a separate window. This only works well if you have a large screen. Some of the images do not have a larger version.
Table of Contents
Tourism Week 1
- Thursday, June 20. I arrive in Paris, explore my neighborhood, and move into my apartment.
- Friday, June 21. I register for classes, take a walk up by the Seine, and experience la Fête de la Musique.
- Saturday, June 22. I visit the Trocadéro and the Eiffel Tower. I'm impressed by the métro.
- Sunday, June 23. I spend some time in Square René Viviani and attend a piano concert at Église Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre.
- Monday, June 24. I vist the Arc de Triomphe and take a long walk down the Champs Élysées and back home.
- Tuesday, June 25. I have a fantastic wine and cheese lunch at Ô Chateau and take a long walk home.
- Wednesday, June 26. I visit the Musée D'Orsay and a superb fromagerie on the right bank.
Tourism Week 2
- Thursday, June 27. I vist the Musée Marmottan Monet, the Arènes de Lutèce, the open-air market on rue Mouffetard, Montparnasse, and Jardin Marco Polo.
- Friday, June 28. I visit Montmartre and walk home.
- Saturday, June 29. I visit the Musée du Luxembourg to see a Chagall exhibit. I visit the Marais and take a ride on the Seine on a boat taxi. I have a nice dinner in a restaurant on rue Mouffetard.
- Sunday, June 30. I visit Musée Cluny, take a long walk down Boulevard Saint-Germain, and spend a perfect evening in Jardin du Luxembourg.
- Monday, July 1. I travel to Tours in the Loire valley, take a tour of four châteaux, and discover a wonderful restaurant for dinner.
- Tuesday, July 2. I take it easy most of the day, then go up to the Seine in the evening to listen to music.
- Wednesday, July 3. I stay close to home in my neighborhood all day and take a another break from the tourism to rest up.
Class Week 1
- Thursday, July 4. My first day of class.
- Friday, July 5. After class I visit Musée Rodin, then spend another nice evening in Jardin du Luxembourg.
- Saturday, July 6. I take a very long walk up to Père Lachaise cemetery.
- Sunday, July 7. I watch the Wimbledon men's final match in a funky bar on rue Descartes.
- Monday, July 8. After class I take a long trek in the hot sun on a fruitless search for my grammar textbook.
- Tuesday, July 9. I have many thoughts about my classes, continue my hunt for the grammar textbook, and enjoy a terrific lecture about Versailles.
- Wednesday, July 10. I present today's report from the higher education trenches in Paris.
- Thursday, July 11. I get back one test with a good grade and take another which I'm afraid is a disaster.
- Friday, July 12. I discover that I did better on the phonetics test than expected, and I make plans for the big weekend ahead.
Class Week 2
- Saturday, July 13. I take a walk in the Lux, write an essay for class, and have a blast at Le Bal des Pompiers.
- Sunday, July 14. I enjoy La Fête National, the big military parade down the Champs Élysées and the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower.
- Monday, July 15. I start to learn the names of my classmates, get a coveted "très bien" from the prof, and go to a terrific lecture on the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.
- Tuesday, July 16. I ask myself "does Bobo = Hipster?" and notice that phonetics is really hard.
- Wednesday, July 17. I score 3 frogs, have a religious experience involving pastry, and manage to lock myself out of my apartment.
- Thursday, July 18. I think about pronunciation and accents and try to explain "La chute de e".
- Friday, July 19. I think about politics and, of course, more about language.
Class Week 3
- Saturday, July 20. I visit the gardens of Versailles.
- Sunday, July 21. I try to see the end of the Tour de France bicycle race.
- Monday, July 22. I get a bad grade on a test and complain about the heat.
- Tuesday, July 23. I visit the Paris Plages and get soaked in a fierce thunderstorm.
- Wednesday, July 24. I do homework in the rain at the corner pub but otherwise have an uneventful day.
- Thursday, July 25. I have a random encounter with someone from back home and ponder the difference between American and French hamburgers.
- Friday, July 26. I think about phonetics, Victor Hugo, and piles of homework. Le week-end est arrivé!
Class Week 4
- Saturday, July 27. I visit the incredible Palais Garnier, get a fantastic pastry at La Pâtisserie des Rêves, and have a great dinner at Le Jardin D'Ivy.
- Sunday, July 28. I visit Roland Garros and get to stand on center court.
- Monday, July 29. I attend two interesting lectures on Île de France and Normandy.
- Tuesday, July 30. I make a special grilled cheese sandwich.
- Wednesday, July 31. I give my exposé and learn how to roll my R's in the last day of phonetics class.
- Thursday, August 1. I make outrageous croque madames and go to a lecture on Edward Hopper.
- Friday, August 2. I realize that this may be the hardest class I've ever taken. A group of us go out to a bar and have a good time.
Class Week 5
Class Week 6
Class Week 7
Class Week 8
- Saturday, August 31. I make plans for Normandy and go to the Apple store on an errand.
- Sunday, September 1. I ponder tu vs. vous, baguettes, and other cultural issues and finish getting ready for Normandy.
- Monday, September 2. I travel to Bayeux in Normandy, check into my hotel, and have one of the best dinners of the summer.
- Tuesday, September 3. I tour the WWII beaches and have a nice dinner with some new friends.
- Wednesday, September 4. I visit the Bayeux tapestry, the British Cemetery, and take the train to Cherbourg.
- Thursday, September 5. I see the sights in Cherbourg and take the long train ride back to Paris.
With the Kids
- Friday, September 6. The kids arrive. We explore my neighborhood and have dinner in a nice restaurant up by the Seine.
- Saturday, September 7. We do a massive amount of tourism. Andrea and I have a picnic at sunset in Champs de Mars and watch the Eiffel Tower light up.
- Sunday, September 8. We visit Versailles and have dinner at Jardin D'Ivy.
- Monday, September 9. Andrea and I visit Notre Dame and the Louvre. We all have dinner at an Italian restaurant and then go to Caveau de la Huchette.
- Tuesday, September 10. We visit Musée d'Orsay and La Pâtisserie des Rêves.
- Wednesday, September 11. Jeremy and I visit the Catacombs. Andrea and I have dinner by Canal St-Martin. We meet my friends at a bar and I say goodbye.
- Thursday, September 12. We visit two châteaux and a wine cave in the Loire Valley and have a fantastic dinner in Tours.
- Friday, September 13. I check out of my apartment and into the hotel. We have one last dinner in Paris.