Week 2 consisted more of “figuring Paris out”. It is still pretty early on in the semester, so we are still trying to work out our schedules, and how long it takes to commute to class. During the week, I explored my neighborhood a bit more (which is conveniently the same neighborhood where the ACCENT program center is). I found a wonderful little (and very cheap) soup bar (?) for lunch.
Since we had no classes on Friday, Lena (my abroad buddy) and I went to a beautiful park in Paris’ 8th arr. that has a lot of random features within it. It has some Greek/Roman looking architecture, a pyramid and a bridge that looks like it is straight from one of Monet’s paintings. At the entrance to the park, it even has these massive iron gates that remind me a lot of Buckingham Palace. To top it off we brought some ham and cheese sandwiches and had lunch in the park. Unfortunately it was freezing and windy, but we were troopers and stuck it out.
After our park visit we toured a few churches. We went to Saint Augustine church as well as Saint Sulpice and Sainte-Chapelle Cathedral. All of three were amazing! Saint Sulpice is particularly interesting because it was once believed that the Prime Meridan was there, so it is marked with a brass line throughout the entire church. Sainte- Chapelle is absolutely stunning as well because it is pretty much floor to ceiling stained glass.
After our tour-de-churches we walked from the ile Cite area all the way back to the Marais and eventually back to Bastille. At Bastille, we found an American bar that was showing the Olympic opening ceremonies. (Finding a place that was showing the opening ceremonies was actually harder than we thought!).
On Saturday, our ACCENT program took us on a trip to a small town called Chartres (which is pronounced like sharts). Chartres is your typical Medieval town; built on a hill (for defense) with a huge Gothic-style Cathedral in the middle of the hill. Around the cathedral, the town wraps its way around the hill and then as soon as you get to the bottom of the hill, there is farmland.
The Chartres Cathedral is absolutely unreal and our tour guide, was particular amazing. We spent about 45 minutes breaking down the symbolism in one stained glass window. We were in Chartres on a particularly freezing day, so it was pretty hard to be wandering around outside. Luckily we found a great cafe for lunch and had some onion soup, crepes and quiche.