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Holly Hodgerson Getting Lost In Paris

August 8, 2012 General 0 Comments

My second week in Paris was even better than the first. Becoming familiar with the Metro (the train system), has made the second week much less stressful and has given me the courage to explore the city alone which is an amazing experience.

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I did a lot of “getting lost” this week: spent time by myself, traveled to places I’ve never thought I’d ever see and experiencing life as a Parisian. Getting lost has become my favorite thing, you learn so much about your surroundings and really appreciate where you are at that specific moment in time when you have nothing in the world to worry about except where you are. It’s a learning experience and I’m discovering more about myself that I ever knew. I’m becoming more passionate about the simple beauties of life and appreciative of what this world has to offer.

Seeing the Pantheon (a place I’ve only dreamt of visiting) was breathtaking. When I entered the temple, it was one of the most inspiring moments I’ve ever experienced and pictures or words simply do not do justice. I definitely underestimated the size of its gorgeous Corinthian columns, the dome, and the structure overall and couldn’t stop looking up. As I was wandering inside the Pantheon I couldn’t stop relating it back to what I had learned in History of Interiors and Architecture last semester: seeing it in person after learning about it in class makes you appreciate it even more and forces you to really look for those details and concepts in the design. For anyone interested in Neoclassical architecture that this is a must see of Paris.

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Later on in the week I stumbled upon La Place Du Tertre. La Place is located on top of the Montmartre and is filled with artists, musicians and performers. It was a lot of fun to walk around and watch these artists at work and see their beautiful paintings and sketches. I had wonderful conversations with some of them as to how they got into art, where they came from, and how long they’ve been making art there. I also saw my first Parisian Mime which was a lot of fun to experience!

After mingling with the artists and looking at a lot of the cafes and shops that line the streets, I found myself walking up to the Basilique de Sacre-Coeur. I didn’t even realize this was so close to where I was... That’s the magical thing about getting lost! The views from Sacre-Coeur were the most amazing views I had ever seen: sitting at one of the highest points in Paris, you could see the whole city. The building of Sacre-Coeur itself was absolutely gorgeous - the stark whiteness and size of this building on top of the hill was amazing. I could sit there all day and just look around and breathe in life.

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We started classes this week as well. I absolutely love the classes and the instructors; they are extremely intelligent and talented. Our first class, French Culture, consisted of learning all about the layout of Paris and how it became the city it is today. The second day in class we met Koray, our instructor, at Trocadero, (a Metro stop located in front of the Eiffel Tower) and spent the morning walking around the city and learning and experiencing the layout. It is very interesting to learn about how things started and the architecture that goes along with it.

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My second class, International Studies, is a very fun class. The teacher Jonathan is passionate about teaching, knows so much about history, architecture and about life in general and seems able to answer any question you throw his way. On the second day we met at Pont des Arts, which is the bridge in Paris that is lined with pad locks that symbolize eternal love. He then took us to the Louvre, a few other architecturally significant buildings in that area and later took us to a beautiful park along the Seine River where we sat and sketched whatever we wanted. Sitting quietly to sketch really allows you to notice details that you wouldn’t otherwise notice.

On Monday we met with John Martin-Rutherford, the chair of Interior Design at Harrington College of Design. He took us out to dinner where we shared our experience so far and he gave us a lot of advice and tips on the city which were very very helpful!

From an interior design student’s point of view, everything and everyone in this city are truly an inspiration. I am looking forward to learning more in classes, seeing new things every day and self-exploring to find more about myself and life here in Paris in the next 6 weeks to come.

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