Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Monday June 4th: First day of class, Paris walking tour and a beautiful sunset.

After no sleep on the trip over it was nice to get some sleep last night and attack the day. The morning orientation covered all the important elements and it was refreshing that we have so much time to ourselves. After class, I headed immediately to the city centre to try and take in some sights before the 1pm walking tour. I felt very comfortable navigating the city and helped a group of students find their way to the walking tour. Our tour guide for the walking tour was Jacqueline, a girl from Australia working in Paris for the past year. She was very funny and extremely knowledgeable about all of the sights. We saw quite a bit in the 4 hours we walked around Paris; Notre Dame, Saint Michel fountain, Louvre, Opera House, Egyptian Obelisk, Arc de Triomphe and the list goes on and on. I learned quite a bit about the history of each place and about the people in French history that shaped this amazing city. The most surprising factoid that we learned from our guide was the during the Nazi occupation of Paris, Hitler ordered his general to place explosives throughout the city and if they were going to lose hold of it be sure to level the city to dust. Hitler stated that if he couldn't have Paris no one would. Thankfully when the Allies were overtaking Paris the general decided to disobey Hitler because he had fallen in love with the city and couldn't see it destroyed. Its true that Paris has an exceptional ability to make you fall in love with the city. It's charming and romantic with great architecture, food and wine. The history is rich and interesting which further pulls you in to the charm. Around every corner there is something beautiful to behold and the number of cultural sights is daunting. In the following days I am looking forward to having some time alone to get lost in the streets and take pictures. I haven't taken many yet but I'll end this by saying, pictures cannot do justice to the beauty of Paris and I am so happy to be back here on yet another adventure.