I fell in love this summer. It hit me softly, but there’s no denying it: it’s love plain and simple. The object of my affection is everything I want: beautiful, mature and sophisticated. The only hindrance is that the object I love is Paris.
My love affair began when I spent six weeks studying French at the Sorbonne University through a Temple study abroad program. The first two weeks were a lost cause. With no proper guide and hardly any idea of Parisian culture, I stayed in my arrondissement (Paris is divided into 20 sections, known as arrondissements), and rode the Metro. But then Paris started to penetrate me, and after vowing to see a museum other than the police one (it was free), I joined the countless other tourists and visited Place de la Concorde, the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe.
Paris is a city for walking and by wandering down the narrow streets and alleys you’re sure to stumble across something. Boarding options for this program are located near the lively Latin Quarter, a hub of jazz cafes and smoky restaurants. Parisian streets are well labeled, and if you’re good with a map, you’ll be fine.
Two great streets to discover Parisian couture are rue du Fauborg-St. Honore and avenue Montaigne. The latter is just off the Champs Elysées and a definite stop for rich folks. You’ll find designers such as Christian Lacroix and Valentino on this wide, tree-lined street. Check out Bon Marché and La Samaritaine for exquisite department store shopping. Also, Fauchon, the “millionaire’s grocery store” at Place de la Madeleine, has delicious gourmet treats.
Forget Sundays at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Paris’ museums have great discounts for students. Musée d’Orsay houses impressionist paintings in a renovated train station, Musée Marmottan displays Monet, and Musée Picasso and Centre Pompidou display varied modern art. For a different feel, visit Musée Rodin for a stroll in their beautiful gardens. Don’t forget Paris’ crown jewel – the Louvre located on rue de Rivoli.
If you’re into mingling with the crème de la crème, Les Bains is your spot. Prince (formerly known as the Artist formerly known as Prince, who before that was known as Prince) gave a surprise concert at this nightclub/restaurant located in the quaint Marais. Many celebrities can be found grooving away on the small dance floor. But almost no one can get in, and the very strict door policy can even make a supermodel feel inferior. Wearing black (as with all clubs) and oozing attitude play in your favor.
Near the Champs Elysées, there’s Le Duplex, a club with a lenient door policy but many tourists. Queen (the infamous hotspot for gays) hosts the world famous party “Respect” with Dmitri. Girls be warned, this all-male club will only consider letting you in Wednesday nights. Try the Latina Café for a sizzling night, where the basement restaurant transforms into a dance floor after 10 p.m. It’s free weekdays and the friendly staff teach you the salsa. Rue Oberkampf, near Place de la Republique, has many good bars, and is a great place to sip a mojito while watching Parisians party. For a more subdued environment, try Barfly or Buddha Bar; both have awesome in-house DJs.
Need a break? Have authentic hot chocolate at Angelina’s. Polidor in the 6th arrondissement provides good Parisian food with inexpensive lunchtime deals. Looking for something cheaper? Grab a crêpe with a banana and nutella filling.
Let Paris capture you like it did me by contacting International Programs. Max out your loans, forget the bills and immerse yourself into another culture and fall in love. It’ll be the romance of your life.
International Programs offer many study abroad programs all over the world. I went on their “Summer in Paris” program, where I learned how to speak French at Sorbonne University. The program carries 4 to 6 weeks, and you do not need to have any prior knowledge of French to enroll.
The Sorbonne has placement tests, and these tests match you up well in your class, allowing you to learn at a pace, which is right for you. At the end of the program, providing you passed, you receive credit.
The program begins the first week of July and a lot of helpful information is given to you to make the planning of your trip easy. You are given three housing options: the Foyer, Pension and a real French family. International Programs have brochures and application forms in their office on the second floor of Tuttleman Learning Center and will gladly assist you with you all your questions. Check out their informative web site at https://www.temple.edu/intlprog/