Friday, January 7, 2011

Au Revoir Paris!

Hello once more.

So I am sitting once more in my hostel lobby where I cam receive internet. Since this is my last evening before we leave for Amsterdam, I thought I would write about the last two days.

Yesterday we started out at the Shoah (Holocaust) Memorial and then spent the afternoon at the L'assemblee nationale (National Assembly). The Shoah Memorial was really interesting and unsettling at times. What made it different than many other Holocaust memorials/museums I have visited is that this one showed how the French Government and not actually the Nazis actually deported people and eventually handed them over to the Germans but that it was conducted by the French themselves. Since the theme of our seminar is European Identity and focuses on immigration and minorities, it showed what can happen when the government starts taking statistics and organizing people based on ethnicity, a very un-French concept since the revolution when everyone was declared simply French. It was also eerie because except for approximately 100 names, Shoah/Holocaust historians have been able to identify every person who was deported from France during this time.

After that we walked around that part of town and had lunch before catching the metro over to the Place de la Concord. This is where the primary guillotine of the revolution stood and now an Egyptian Obelisk marks the spot. Conveniently it is across the street from the US Embassy and across the river from the National Assembly where we took an audio tour and got a unique look into a different type of governmental structure which is very top-down as opposed to our American system. That evening we had some interesting speakers from the embassy who talked about the US' role in French minority and immigration issues.

That evening a couple of us went out to the eiffel tower where we waited in line and went up to the second floor. We would have gone up to the top except that it was closed since it is winter. After eventually coming down from the tower, we all got nutella crepes with bananas which of course are one of my favs! Then we came back to the hostel to rest our feet and get an early night.

Today was fun as well and we went to Versailles. As expected, it was beautiful even though the grey skies and rain of Paris and its surroundings. After getting in free since I am now a student and resident of France :) and visiting the palace, we went for lunch and then walked around the gardens after grabbing pastries of course. I tried two new flavors of macaroons, Rose Lichi and Pain d'Epice. I was trying to be adventurous but not very successfully, oh well. After that we walked around the gardens and saw purple water. After getting a little lost, we walked back to the bus and got on it to go back to Paris where we had more speakers on the issue of French multi-culturism.

Tonight we had a lot of fun as well and went to l'Aric de Triomphe, le Champs d'Elysses et la Place de la Concord again. It was nice to walk around in downtown Paris and just have a good time. Now onto Amsterdam and then Cologne. While I am excited for this, I really cannot wait to actually get to Strasbourg and explore. Oh well, now its time for bed so I will write more in a few days!


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