“Paris is not a city, it’s a world.” -King Francois the I
Salut les lecteurs et bienvenue, je m’appelle Joélla. In this journal, we continue our journey in Paris, the city of love❤. Today is Thursday which marks the end of my school week at ESCE and the beginning of my unprecedented weekend in Brussels and Waterloo, Belgium. Throughout this week I have continued boosting my French speaking skills, learned more secrets to being French, and laid eyes upon some of the most breathtaking art exhibited at Musée du Louvre. Let’s begin.
Each week my culture class has a class outing where we go to different attractions in Paris to delve deeper our study of French civilization, culture, and society. This week we went to Musée du Louvre and I never been one to believe in love at first sight but after seeing the Louvre for the first time, I am head over heels. The Louvre is beautiful from the inside out. In the 12th century, Le Louvre was a château built by Philippe-Auguste to protect the village. It is one of the most visited museums in the world and houses some of the world’s most famous art work which I had the amazing opportunity to see, #blessed. My culture professor was our tour guide and she led us around the museum giving us the history and some background information of the selected pieces of art work we saw. A few of my favorites were La Vénus de Milo, Salle des cariatides, La Victoire de Samothrace, Galerie d’Apollon, and of course Joconde which could also be known as the Monalisa.
Though I was physically in Paris during the Louvre visit, it was as though I time traveled to another century and this goes for all the places I have visited so far. No wonder Parisians love Paris so much. The historical background of all the monuments and attractions and the number of tourists makes Paris seem more like a world than a city. The city gives you a larger than life feeling.
Going to Belgium is not a part of the ESCE summer program, but I wanted Belgian chocolate and French fries because they’re #delicious and my aunt lives in Waterloo and wanted to see me; so, I packed my bags and took the TGV to Bruxelles-Midi. It was interesting to note the difference between Brussels and Paris. For starters, there are more languages spoken in Brussels including French, Dutch, and German. When I went to use google the language settings switched from French to Dutch aka Nederland and Spotify played all its commercials in French😅. Another difference that I noted was that Brussels is a bit more modern than Paris, in terms of architecture. Whereas Paris has a lot more architecture from the middle ages to the 21st century such as the French revolution and the classical revival, Brussels has more from the 18th and 19th century to the 21st century with little medieval architecture. But one similarity that both cities had was people’s choice of shoes; I’ve seen the Adidas and Nike logo a lot these last few days, it’s very interesting. Nonetheless, both cities are sites worth seeing.
Because I was only in Brussels for a couple days, I spend more time with my family than exploring but I did manage to squeeze in a visit to a few monuments such as, the Atomium, Grand Place, Manneken Pis and La Butte du Lion (The Lion’s Mound) as well as Memorial 1815, which is at the foot of la butte du lion. The Grand Place was literally 4 castle-like buildings arranged in a square…I think one of the building was an actual castle back in the day which was really cool. The Memorial 1815 was also cool because it had a 4D Film and other sensory effects which let you experience the battle of Waterloo as if you were actually there. It also was a great way to learn a little more about the French Revolution.
Alas, we’ve come to the end of this journal but that means you get to learn another secret to being French, yay! Alrighty, a secret to being French is knowing the history of France. I know, I know…that’s probably not what you were expecting but it makes sense. Even as Americans, we are taught the history of our nation so it’s only natural to know the history of France to be a French. And finally, the French word of the day: la vie which means life.
That ends my first two weeks in Paris but there more to come. Until then xoxo. Joella.