Ariel in Paris #2: So it Begins

How cheesy are my titles for these things, honestly?

Thursday marked the end of my fourth week of real classes in my study abroad program, and suddenly, I’m being reminded that my semester here isn’t about just goofing off and seeing cool stuff in Paris—I also have to do actual school work while doing all that other stuff, too. It feels like I’m getting into the real meat of the semester, where my workload is heavier and I have no time to do anything.

So basically it’s like every semester at college, but the difference is that this time around, I really want/need to go out and do fun things on weekends.

Luckily classes are only Monday-Thursday here, so I have a whole extra day to get things done that I’m not used to. I think they probably did that on purpose, because they probably knew that most students who go on study abroad don’t necessarily want to spend all their time studying (not that normal students do, either, but I think it especially applies to the ones on study abroad).

All that to say that basically, I spent the majority of this week just working on school work, and I didn’t really have time to do very many fun things. However, I do have something to talk about in this post, which actually happened last week, the day before I put up my last post in this little study abroad series.

The program that I’m in offers “free” (aka “paid for by tuition”) one- or two-day excursions about once a month while we’re here. During the last one, we went to the Loire Valley and saw some beautiful chateaus (and Leonardo Da Vinci’s house!), but this time we went to Reims, France.

(Here’s some pictures from the first excursion, before I start talking about Reims.)

So, Reims. It was a nice town, very calm and quiet in comparison with the constant motion and noise I’ve become accustomed to here in Paris. Once we got to Reims, we all had to group up, and our chaperones told us we had two and a half hours to do whatever we wanted in the town before we had to meet up to go to the next place. So, trying to make the most of our time, my friends and I went straight to the Palais du Tau for a quick, self-guided tour. Here’s a couple pictures of some of the things we saw there.

Then, after a quick stop by the gift shop, where I bought a medallion (I’ve been collecting them pretty much every place I’ve gone since coming to France), we went practically right next door, to the cathedral Notre-Dame de Reims, which was of course beautiful.

Finally, with all of the touristy things done and some time to spare, we went to a bookstore (because of course I would do that). I didn’t end up buying a book, but I saw quite a few interesting titles, including a set of Hunger Games books in French and Le Petit Prince.

I don’t have any pictures from the bookstore because I was lame and didn’t think to take any, but anyway, after that, we met up with some other friends and went to eat at a nearby sandwich place/salad bar, where I managed to successfully order my food in French with only a little bit of fumbling.  We had a nice little lunch, then headed back out to meet up with the bigger group.

The next (and last) stop with the big group was a guided tour of a place where they make champagne, followed by a little tasting afterwards. The place itself was beautiful, and it was cool to learn about how champagne is made, even if I wasn’t personally interested in drinking the stuff (I tasted a little bit, but ultimately ended up giving the rest of my glass to someone else).  

After that little tour we all hopped back on the bus and headed back to Paris. It was pretty late when we got there, but some of my friends and I decided to go eat at a Thai food restaurant, where the waiter spoke English, was super nice, and actually gave us two entire plates of Pad Thai to share for free (!!). I don’t know the name of the place or where it was, but I really appreciated the service.

***

Okay! I think that’s all I’m going to talk about for this little update today! Thanks for reading, and let me know any thoughts you have for future things I could talk about in future updates.

I’ll see you soon!

-Ariel

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