Aaron ’24 and Isaac ’24, recount the groups first day activities in Paris.
Wednesday morning, we woke up bright and early to travel from Marseille to Paris with the TGV, France’s intercity railway service. On the train ride, we shared snacks that we bought at the train station, played some card games, and took some much-needed naps. Upon arrival in Paris, we split off into three groups, with one group taking the subway, while the other two used taxis to get to our hotel. After settling in at the hotel and regrouping, we headed out for celebrations in the Fête de la Musique, a citywide festival that celebrates all forms of music from rock to funk. We attended a house music concert where we listened to sets from three different DJs and really got to pump it up. Next was a quick dinner break at a Japanese restaurant where we had a variety of meals ranging from gyoza to gyudon. After dinner, we continued our musical tour through Paris. Despite some subway difficulties and mishaps, we reached Paris’ Latin Quarter, where we joined a Bruno Mars karaoke performance, listened to French rock and followed a marching band through the streets of Paris. We finished the night off with a trip to the Musée de l’Homme for a nighttime view of the Eiffel Tower. We took the train back to our hotel and on our way back we caught a glimpse of the sparkling Eiffel Tower.
Thursday morning had one of the most beautiful commencements, as we traveled to the Musée D’Orsay at around 8:30 in the morning. We took the crowded metro and made sure not to leave anyone behind as the doors closed (because yesterday we had some fallen soldiers). After about a twenty minute train ride, we arrived! There were plenty of paintings on the first floor from famous artists such as Claude Monet, Pissarro, Edgar Degas, and many many more. As you went higher and higher it got more and more interesting. The 5th and final floor was fascinating! It was based off the Impressionist style of paintings started in Paris by Claude Monet and many other artists in the city. Impressionism is when you paint (en plein air), meaning in front of the subject, instead of in a studio so that you can capture the movement of the sky or the gestures of people in a more precise and effective way. To further this style of painting, many artists discovered that smaller and quicker strokes would make an even more emotive feeling for the viewer. Some of my favorite paintings from the museum had these quicker strokes all throughout, as they collectively created an intense and intricate image that was not seen in many other basic paintings. There were also many paintings by Van Gogh, but they weren’t just paintings to our group since the majority of them were painted in Arles, our very recent sojourn. Many of the paintings we saw on tablets in the streets of Arles were right in front of us at the Musee D’Orsay!! It was incredible to be able to resonate with the paintings on a more personal level since we had just come from visiting there. However, soon enough, it was time to get back on the Metro and head to our cours de pâtisserie (pastry class). At Les Ateliers de Madame Choquette, we met the nicest cook who was incredibly kind with teaching us how to make chocolate pralines. It was the first time many of us learned how to fill pralines with a chocolate sauce, and also how to dip them in chocolate and coat them in nuts. It was so much fun learning how to make some of the pastries that we have seen everyday in France at the local boulangeries and pâtisseries. After that we AGAIN boarded the metro to quickly view the small town of Montmartre where the Sacré Coeur, a huge church 272 feet above Paris built in 1914, stood. Soon after that we went to an AMAZING restaurant that had the best bacon burger I had ever eaten. It was an amazing ending to the day since we usually split up into groups to eat dinner due to lack of space, but we all got to eat together and talk like sit down meals back at Deerfield.