Sunday, January 24, 2010

Le Monde Arabe - and Berthillon Ice Cream!

Today, we had a walk around the Latin Quarter again, only this time with our methodology professor, Michel. He said he was going to take us to the oldest and the newest in Paris, so guess where we started - the Roman ruins again! This time, I took pictures, so I'll put them all in this blog entry. There were tons of little kids playing at the ruins, and they're so cute! Little kids are cuter when they speak French - I'm not sure why. Michel told us more interesting historical facts about these ruins: first, they might not be the site of an old Colosseum and they might have been a theater or even a place to practice naval battles since there seems to be an in depth pipe system there; second, when they were originally excavating it, the government tried to hide that they were going to destroy it all from the people and so the people got it declared a historical landmark (Victor Hugo was the major activist behind that); and third, there's free wifi there because it's a public park (all public parks in Paris apparently have free wifi).
Then, we went to l'Institut du monde Arabe, which was actually pretty interesting. First, we saw this incredibly ugly university that was built back when the students were revolting. This hideous modern building right in the middle of the Latin Quarter was designed so the police could break in if the students started to revolt. Basically, it was a monumental failure. Then, during the first oil crisis, the French (who care more about culture than oil) decided to make an institute of Arab culture just in case it was lost. The architect who designed the building was told to make it look like the ugly university and he was not happy about that. But, instead of complaining, he did his research and made a building with 2 facades - the first resembles the university but with a wall made of mathematical designs in the Arab style and the second is supposed to be a mirror to reflect the beauty of the Seine and the typical Parisian buildings that are there. The two sides are connected by bridges to symbolize the connection between the new architecture and the old and the Arab world with the French. I thought it was interesting. There's also a library in there designed to look like the tower of Babel. The basement looks like an Egyptian tomb. After the museum, we had traditional tea and a baklava-type dessert at the mosque, which is actually really pretty and the tea and food were great!

After that, Alexandra and I finally found something great to do - we went looking for the Berthillon ice cream, which was even better than I remembered! I had un chocolat simple, and it was perfect. Next time, I'm getting a double. We saw Notre Dame too (I saw it from the roof of the Arab building first). Then, I went back to the 13th arrondissement for dinner with my host family and that's about it. While I was eating dinner, I missed my first French call that would have been in French! The De la Taille's have an older son who lives in Nantes and, when he was here last weekend, he told me that some of his friends want English lessons. They took English lessons with the previous foreign students, and they want to continue with me and they'll pay me! I said yes and gave them my French cell phone number, but now, it's too late to call back. I guess I'll just have to have my first French phone conversation tomorrow.


  1. Loved the little kids - they were so cute ...

  2. Gosh, I’ve been looking about this specific topic for about an hour, glad i found it in your website!

    cheap cialis