March 22th, 23th, 24th, 25th
“O brave new world/ That has such people in’t!”—Act V, Scene 1, The Tempest, William Shakespeare.
My memorable Senior Project in Paris officially ended when I arrived at Philadelphia yesterday afternoon. I still can’t believe that three weeks went by so fast, but at the same time, I feel like I’ve seen and learned so much during my trip to Paris that I definitely have to have stayed there for more than three weeks.
Now looking back at the list of things I wanted to accomplish before I left for Paris, I’m really proud to say that I’ve done most of them and even went beyond. First of all, I used Paris public transport system to get around the city a lot. With its complex bus and metro network, Paris is definitely the most navigable city by public transport. This experience also helped me understand why public transport strikes in France are as common and effective as they are. Secondly, I’ve had an amazing experience with my host family in Paris. They are the most considerate people I’ve ever met and had interesting dinner conversations with.
Most importantly, I got to explore more amazing smaller museums and churches than I’ve originally expected. Since I was staying in Paris for three weeks and I only have free time during the afternoon, I thought it would be sensible to spend more of my time visiting smaller museums and temporary exhibitions. Going through many museums, I soon discovered that I’m particularly interested in Romanticism, Impressionism and post-Impressionism paintings, especially Renoir, Monet, Mary Cassatt etc. Thus, I went online to look for museums and art shows that focus especially on these artists. In fact, during my last two days in Paris, I was fortunate enough to see two more amazing temporary exhibitions in the Petit Palais: Dutch artists in Paris, 1789-1914 and The Art of pastel from Degas to Redon. I was so intrigued by my experiences with smaller private museums and temporary exhibitions that I’m starting to consider interning at private auction houses in the future.
Furthermore, I found myself really enjoying visiting churches during my stay at Paris. I am often drawn to the serenity and impressive art and architecture of the grande churches in Paris. I’ve found these visits to churches a pleasant temporary getaway from the busy city life and my busy traveling schedule.
Awesome as my Senior Project trip to Paris was, my stay was not without minor disappointments. First of all, several of the museums I’m really excited to visit were closed for renovation: Musée du Cluny and Musée de la vie romantique. Even though I was able to see part of Musée du Cluny in the Louvre Museum, I’m still a little disappointed to be unable to see this amazing museum of Middle Age at its full glory, especially the remains of the frigidarium of the Roman bath incorporated into the museum with its famous mosaic, Cupid riding a dolphin.
Secondly, I wished there were less rainy days at Paris so that I could have more time wandering in the numerous, gorgeous public gardens like Jardin du Luxembourg, Jardin des Tuileries and Les Jardins du Château de Versailles. On the same note, I hoped I’ve have stayed even longer at Paris so that I would have more free time to walk casually around the artistic neighborhood of Montmartre and Le Marais, to explore some boutiques, and to have more sit-down meals and afternoon tea at the local café, salon de thé and bistros.
All in all, I’d love to think that every successful trip should have highlights and some unfulfilled wishes so that one would want to return to the city again for more inspiring experiences. This is exactly what my trip to Paris has brought to me, amazing surprises, discoveries, and the strong wish to return someday!