07 October 2008

La Rentrée à Paris

Back in Paris, tout va bien [all is well].

I’ve started all of my classes and I’m being to remember that I’m in college and not on an elaborate field trip. I love all my classes and I don’t yet have that much work to do so it’s not too bad. The only problem is, it’s impossible to concentrate on homework when one’s in Paris. And the Parisian bibliothèques [libraries] don’t make it any easier. Like a foolish American, I decided that after my traduction [translation] class Monday morning I would head over to Paris VII to get some reading done in the library. Silly me: the university library doesn’t open until noon on Mondays. Luckily, the Bibliothèque Nationale is right next door; so I trekked on over, only to find out that the salles de lecture [reading rooms] are closed Monday. Apparently Parisians don’t study on Mondays.

Regardless of this minor inconvenience, I love my classes overall. Last week, I started my Smith course in which we will be translating texts from English to French in order to refine our French writing and work through some of the more tricky and idiomatic points of French grammar and vocabulary. The task is much harder than it initially seemed, but translation m’intéresse beaucoup [interests me a great deal] so I think I will enjoy the class de toute façon [anyway].

I also began my consortium class (the consortium consists of Middlebury, Hamilton and Smith Colleges which all have study-abroad programs in Paris) last week. The course concerns the politics and history of France-African relations since colonization. The professor – Boniface Mongo-Mboussa, what a name! – is incredibly dynamic and passionate; I know I will love this course.

But of course, the life outside of classes is the most exciting part of la vie parisienne. Saturday night was no exception. From 7 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday, Paris celebrated la Nuit Blanche [white night] with expositions, instillations, performances and more taking place throughout the city from dusk until dawn. For my part, I met up with some friends in the 4th at l’Hôtel de Ville, and we strolled about the Marais taking in the excitement and animation on the streets. Searching an inexpensive and warm – although the night was very pleasant, it was a bit chilly – place to eat, we discovered an adorable resto [restaurant] where we will soon be regulars. The space is tiny, but the atmosphere was lively and the menu is diverse and affordable. My friends Rachel and Rebecca ordered mussels and fries and mussels and salad, respectively, for just 7,50 euro. I settled for a galette [wheat crêpe] and fries, seeing as they were out of croques.

After browsing the brochure of events for the night, we decided the majority of the installations were a bit too out-there for us. We opted to visit the Centre Pompidou which was free and open until 1 a.m. for the night. We briefly browsed some of the modern art, but preferred to linger on the sixth floor which grants an astounding view of Paris through its tubular glass walls. It was incredibly pleasing to view the nightlife of the city on this bustling evening, and as always, the monuments at night were beautiful. We sat around the Centre Pompidou chatting for the rest of the evening and decided to call it a night a little after 1 a.m., but a successful and exciting night it had been.


Spedding into Technology said...

Abby, you were the talk of the dinner table Saturday night as all of us Mac's discussed your blog. We are all loving reading about your adventures

Abby said...

Aw! That's great to hear. I am glad you are enjoying reading about my random adventures, mishaps and general fun times in France.