A trip to Paris is undoubtedly an extraordinary experience. But a visit to Paris in the springtime? Incomparable. The trees and flowers shake off their winter coats, as Parisians make their way out of winter hibernation, flocking to prime, outdoor seating at their local cafes. Sanuja Goonetilleke is no stranger to traveling abroad. Born and raised in Sri Lanka, she came to the US to study Flute Performance at Converse College. She jumped at the opportunity to participate in the study abroad class, “Americans in Paris: early 20th-century expatriate culture.” Coordinated by both Dr. Templeton, Associate Professor of English and Dr. Vanemann, Associate Professor of Flute and Musicology, this interdisciplinary course was a blend of music, literature and lots of free time to explore the City of Lights. Sanuja’s personal experience in Paris gives us an insider’s view into her unique, eight-day spring break adventure.
Night Time In The Left Bank
I love that our hotel is in the Left Bank. It took me much less time than I had anticipated to find myself to and from our hotel (right opposite the Sorbonne!). My roommate and I took a walk around the Notre Dame/Shakespeare and Company area last night. It was one of those unplanned occasions – the best kind. I like pretty much any Parisian street, but the little street we explored is my favorite. It is full of surprises and life.
It had a lot of exciting things jam packed into a small area. We passed a really cool piano bar, a few clubs, an avant garde theatre with quite a queue outside, a delightful gelato shop, charming souvenir shops, restaurants, and best of all, some street musicians performing French folk music! All these places were so inviting – menus were on display, tables were set up outside, and there was usually an employee to greet you.
We could tell that this street was a well-known gem to those in the know. Most of the people enjoying themselves that night were college students and tourists like us, of course. One of my favorite things about Paris is that people aren’t afraid or hesitant to enjoy a night out on a weekday. They seemed to be fearless in the sense that they didn’t seem to let anything get in the way of having a good time. I’m so glad we were able to walk around on that street because we were planning on it from the day we arrived at our hotel!
Peace In the City
Big Sis, roommate, and I took a semi-planned walk all around the Luxembourg Gardens early on Wednesday morning. Apart from the beauty of the gardens itself, we noticed that even though it was a bank holiday, there were teenagers studying together before ten a.m.. That was impressive. There were lots of Parisians either jogging or doing tai chi, which seems to be gaining popularity in Paris. Overall, they were all purposefully health and fitness conscious. The Luxembourg Gardens are a green haven, and you really need it in a big city. Springtime is a good time to visit Paris. Everything was so green and fresh! We loved just walking along the more quiet parts of the Gardens. It’s actually pretty easy to find a quiet space there, especially in the morning. And I think a lot of people liked to go there in the morning to have a peaceful beginning to a busy day.