Saturday, January 23, 2010

Balade: De Mouffetard à Saint-Germain

Today was an interesting day! It started off a little late, since I went to bed late last night, but I saw and did a lot. First, I read French newspaper articles about Obama to prepare for my exposé on Monday - French people don't seem to like Obama, whether they're liberal or conservative. Then, I decided to go to the Latin Quarter for lunch, since it was closer to where I had to meet for our walk from Mouffetard to Saint-Germain. While there, I was walking by the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, one of the most famous high schools in the world (Victor Hugo went there!) and I noticed the door was open, so I walked inside. It was an open house day for prospective students and since I look like a high school student, no one noticed me. I've been passing for French pretty well with my long black coat and dark jeans - the only problem is my Sketchers sneakers. All the French students I've seen wear Converse. Anyway, Louis-le-Grand is very impressive from the inside. From the outside, it looks a lot like the other buildings in the area. It was pretty cool to walk around there, and since I entered, I could succeed like their motto says! (On n'entre pas à Louis-le-Grand pour son nom,/mais y passer peut contribuer à s'en faire un. or Fame enters not Louis-le-Grand, but entrance may bring fame) Or maybe when they say "enter," they mean "be accepted"...

After that, I met up with CUPA students and one of the other French professors to walk from Mouffetard to Saint-Germain. The area is really cute - lots of little shops, sites to see, book stores, and universities. The professor showed us the remains of a Roman Colosseum (Paris, in the Roman times, was called Lutèce). We also walked by the Collège de France and La Sorbonne, which, she explained, used to be competitors. Then, eventually, Victor Hugo and other intellectuals were angry that only rich people could go to those schools and not the most intelligent people, so now, La Sorbonne is a public university, as are all the universities in Paris. Now, though, the Collège is owned by the government and every now and then they have a seminar there, but it's not really a school. Now, it's basically for a bunch of people to sit around and argue about what's French and what isn't...some sort of Academy...We also saw the Panthéon, but didn't go inside. The building right next to it is apparently a really beautiful, but expensive library. She told us that the first time is free, though, so I have to make sure not to forget my camera when I go.

Then, we had crepes, I had Chinese food with Alexandra, and now, I'm going to try to pick my classes and study my Obama articles a little more.

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