Tuesday, October 30, 2012


For my French 311 Conversation class our teacher has given us a list of topics that we have to speak about with our families/other native speakers. After we have the conversation, we're supposed to write (in english) the date, participants, how the conversation started, key vocabulary used, information learned about the french culture and then a self evaluation. We've been working on these conversations with our families since we got here, but I've been a bit of a slacker on writing about it. Hopefully I can remember all the "juicy" details.

1. L'éducation
Date: Sept 16/October 22
Participants: Lauren (my sister), her friend, and boyfriend/Julienne Family
Conversation: We started with the three of them asking what we were doing in France and what we were studying. They asked how long we had been in school and we asked them the same.
Vocab: l'école, l'université, un stage, les activitiés sociales
Learned: Their school system is so much different than ours. All extracurriculars are done outside of school. School is just for academic learning. They don't have clubs, bands, or anything like the sort. To me, that is just so interesting, but also weird. We talked about what they like to do at school, at home, with friends, etc. We also talked about how much of secondary education is free. Med school? Free. Law school? FREE. It's crazy. I can't even imagine how amazing that would be.
Self-Eval: I definitely could have done better, but they were talking so far. Luckily for me, when I didn't understand something they repeated it for me. Through that, I felt like I could piece it together enough to understand what was being talked about.

2. La famille
Date: September 16
Participants: Our host family -- The Juliennes
Conversation: This conversation came really naturally because we were just trying to get to know each other. We asked about their kids, their nieces/nephews, grandchildren and their jobs. They asked the same questions to us. They asked what we were studying and why we were in France. They asked about the occupations of our parents. Everything was just very natural and easy flowing. It was our first night there so we were both a little nervous, but it was still a fairly easy conversation to have.
Vocab: un frère, les soeurs, une profession, les vacances, l'université, fer/metal, l'histoire d'art, le français.
Learned: French people speak really fast. I was lost for probably half the conversation. Often they had to ask me questions twice because I didn't catch it the first time. I felt like a complete bozo. Their family is just like mine though. Mostly girls, only one brother. The oldest has two kids. It was just really interesting to see how similar we all were. Minus me not understanding sometimes, it was a very easy and relaxed conversation because we could really relate with them.
Self-Eval: I think I did horribly, but I guess for being my first real conversation with real french people that is to be expected. In trying I think I deserve an A. In succeeding, probably an F. Hopefully this whole conversing thing gets better/easier.

3. L'alimentation
Date: September 20
Participants: Mme Julienne
Conversation: This conversation started by us asking our mom where the nearest grocery store was. We are responsible for dinners Wednesday, Friday-Sun and since this is our first week in the area we had no idea where to buy dinners. Neither me nor Carine can afford to eat every lunch and dinner in the city we wanted to find a grocery store immediately. Our dad told us about a chain grocery store called Super U, but our mom told us to where to get our produce. There are little stores that only carry different fruits and she told us definitely go there for produce. It's usually a little more expensive than a chain store, but the quality is a million times better. She also told us about a "farmer's market" type place that is right next to Super U every Saturday morning. I LOVE farmer's markets so I'm super excited to check it out.
Vocab: la nourriture, un marché en plein air, les produits fraîches, une épicerie
Learned: While there are chain stores where you can get nearly everything, but those are few and far between because the French love to go 100 different places for all their needs. It can be kind of a hassle for an American who is used to one-stop-shopping, but I LOVE going the pâtisseries and the boulangeries. These people specialize in just a few things so you know they take their time and what you get is going to be wonderful.
Self-Eval: I think I did pretty well with this conversation, but again I just need to get more comfortable speaking with native speakers--especially people who are older than I because I tend to get really nervous and feel a lot of pressure to speak well and quickly.

4. L'Eglise
Date: September 23
Participants: L'enseigneur d'école dimanche et quelques autres
Conversation: Because I am "young" and "single" and an "adult" I heard about a young single adult dance that the church was having. I didn't think we'd be able to make it because we were going to be gone that weekend on a trip to Normandy, but they told me about it any. I had to ask the when, where, and what time. They also told me there would be a fireside before the dance and then dinner and dancing. They were expecting a lot of people to be there and thought it would be really fun.
Vocab: une danse, très très très amusant, les jeunes gens/garçons, une activité, manger, le diner, une réunion spirituelle, les jeunes adultes, l'heure, commencer, finir, "just dance"--un jeu éléctronique
Learned: French people love their American singers. I think that is what they were most excited for. Also the french love free food as much as Americans. Every time I go to a church function with young people all they talk about is the free food...the same thing happened here. I'm quickly learning that french people and americans are not that different from each other. Not nearly as different as I expected them to be anyway.
Self-Eval: I got the gist of the conversation, but it was a little difficult to understand. I have only been in the country less than a month and these people sound like they're talking a mile a minute. They mash words together and expect me to understand what they're saying. They definitely don't speak the way we've been taught in all my french classes. Everything seems abbreviated or something. I think what's important is that I tried my best. I asked a few questions and tried as best I could to understand the answer.

5. L'influence américaine
Date: October 11
Participants: Lidwine Julienne (my little sister)
Conversation: I have found that it is a million times easier to talk to my host brother and sisters than it is to the parents so we wanted to make the most of it and have one of our "assigned conversations" while our parents were away. I don't worry so much about the million mistakes I'm going to make. I just don't feel as pressured to say everything correctly and that makes speaking so much easier. Also I obviously feel that I have much more in common with them than with my parents so the conversation is much more natural. We started the conversation by talking about music. She asked what kind of music we like and responded with "yays" and "nays" depending on her taste. She knew nearly all the groups/bands that Carine listed (Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, etc) and absolutely none that I listed. It was really funny because she hated nearly every singer Carine loves. She said that the clothing brands haven't really made it this way. There are a few major American brands like H&M and C&A, but not many have seemed to make the trek and survived. American movies are quite big here. Just last night (Oct 29) we had a conversation with our family about the new James Bond movie. Lidwine even said that her brother has been able to find and watch a few American TV shows online. She didn't seem to have a problem with this form of "American invasion". I asked her about American books and she responded with "I hate books and reading, so I have no idea." Being a person who loves to read I thought this was hilarious and also very sad.
Vocab: une invasion, la musique, le ciné, les films, les livres, les vêtements, les émission, la culture, agacer.
Learned: I think it is interesting that even a little of our American culture has been integrated into every day french living. They are so adamant about keeping the purity of their traditions, customs, language, etc., you would think they wouldn't want to have anything to do with what is going on in American, but that really isn't the case. They have some of "our" stores, they watch some of our shows, see American movies, use VERY FEW American words. I have also noticed that they are very interested in American politics. Right now, I have very little interest in the presidential race, but the topic seems to come up in conversation almost once a week. It's little things like these that have made their way into french living. There is much more than I would have expected.
Self-Eval: I think I did really well with this conversation. During dinners, I tend to be a little more reserved. I listen, try to understand what is being said/going on around me, but I don't usually talk that much. I feel like this time was different. Because the topic was something I was interested in, I felt that I was much more comfortable with putting my two cents in. This was definitely the most I've spoken with a native speaker and it was really fun to be able to converse in a regular way/normal, comfortable conversation.

6. Les fête nationales
Date: October 15
Participants: Lidwine and Lauren Julienne
Conversation: With All Saints Day coming up we wanted to find out more about some of their other holidays and which are their favorites.
Vocab: une fête nationale, les vacances, Noël, un jour férier
Learned: The French have a lot of breaks in school/vacations from work. Also when there is a holiday, EVERYTHING is closed. Basically the whole city of Paris shuts down. I thought it was fun to find out that just like in the U.S. many holidays are spent hanging out with family. For my family, nearly every holiday means family time and I thought it was cool that we are very similar in that way.
Self-Eval: I thought this conversation was really fun so I feel like I did a good job. I feel like I contributed a lot. I asked a lot of questions and learned about their favorite holidays and got to share some of my own.

7. La culture des banlieues
Date: October 15
Participants: Lidwine and Lauren Julienne
Conversation: Because we live in the suburbs and our parents weren't home, we thought this was the perfect time to start this conversation.
Vocab: les jeunes, la mode, la langue, les habitudes
Learned: Our sisters said there really isn't much difference between kids in the banlieues and those who live in the city. Just like anywhere, there are nicer areas in the cities and the banlieues than others. They've never noticed any difference in attitude, clothing, language, etc. Since public transportation is so accessible to everyone styles and habits from the city are easily transported to the banlieues.
Self-Eval: This conversation was interesting but really short. I feel like I contributed as much as I could. I asked questions and commented as much as the conversation allowed.

8. Health Care
Date: October 22
Participants: Julienne Family
Conversation: Our parents were absolutely shocked by how much both medical school and health care costs in the U.S. Our dad is a surgeon and he was bewildered when we told him how much surgery costs in America. They were also shocked to find out about how our insurance works and helping the poor/homeless get aid when sick/hurt.
Vocab: les pharmacies, un médecine, une maladie, un hôpital, les assurances, la sécurité sociale
Learned: French health care is incredibly inexpensive if you have to get surgery. I don't know all the ins and outs of the french health care system, but it seems to work pretty well. The government works really hard to make sure everyone has access to aid. Also their pharmacies are completely different here than in the states. Here they function more as a secondary doctor almost. They give our prescriptions and advice like the ones at home, but they are much more involved in patient care than what I am used to. Seeing a doctor is such a hassle most of the time back home and I think we could really benefit from a system similar to the one they have working here.
Self-Eval: Because I don't know much about my own health care system I didn't contribute much in this conversation, but I did contribute the information that I do know. I also think it is really helpful for me to just sit and listen to others talk.

9. L'actualité
Date: October 29
Participants: Lidwine
Conversation: This conversation started because our mother and father weren't at dinner. It was just our sister. We wondered where they were and turns out they were at a manifestation/rally against gay couples being able to adopt.
Vocab: homosexuel, une famille, adopter, un enfant, une manifestation, une opinion, la meilleur chose
Learned: When the french are interested in a topic, they are usually really passionate about it. They really go all out to show their support and get involved.
Self-Eval: I think I did really well. When our conversations involve just our little sister, it is sooooo much easier for me to get involved in the conversation. She usually talks much more slowly and interrupts way less often. I know it's a french thing..it's how they show interest, but it's really difficult for a new speaker to feel confident in their speaking if they're getting interrupted all the time. Sometimes I find myself holding back during conversations just because I don't want to say two words and then get cut off by someone else speaking. When I talk to my little sister that doesn't really happen so I feel that I'm actually able to speak.

10. Les Étas-Unis
Date: November 5
Participants: The Julienne family
Conversation: Our parents when to New York at the beginning of October and with the election being TOMORROW so we decided this would be a good conversation to have with them.
Vocab: une opinion, une impression, cher/pas cher, vrai, faux, aimer, savoir, Qu'est-ce que vous pensez...., avoir une idée
Learned: Our family thinks the United States is really interesting, especially the election/campaign going on right now. It seems like all of France knows what's happening..which is crazy because when France got a new president, the only reason I knew about it because I just so happened to listen to an international story on NPR. I did get the feeling that they think americans are must less sophisticated than the french. They seem to think we're all loud, crazy, and all we do is party. They most certainly don't like that. This is definitely a stereotype. Obviously that is actually really offensive and kind of annoying. I guess I came into this experience with way too many expectations and the only thing I knew about french culture is what other people have told me. So far some of it has been right, but much of it has been WAY off. It's been interesting to come here thinking certain things and see how much my opinions have changed in the last two months.
Self-Eval: I think I did pretty well. I spoke and gave my opinions when I had them. I tried to interrupt and show that I was interested (because I was), but when you are as slow a speaker as I am, it is really difficult to feel comfortable interrupting. Hopefully I get better at that. We'll see :) Even if I spent at least half of the conversation just listening, I still really enjoyed it. Also because my comprehension is not super great, I really think that one of the best things I can do is to listen, pay attention, and try to focus on understanding as much as possible. Going into these conversation that way really has helped so much. I feel that my comprehension has improved since getting to France. Even if my speaking isn't great, I do enjoy just sitting and listening to people talk--trying to see how much of each conversation I can comprehend.

11. La mode
Date: November 7
Participants: One of the employees at H&M
Conversation: I was shopping in their store and was looking for a specific item. I didn't find what I was looking for there, so I decided to ask around and find out if anyone knew any other good stores to shop at..anything with a similar style/similar items to those at H&M. I love H&M, but I really do want to buy things from french stores. They have H&M in America and I want to find stuff that not many other people have.
Vocab: Les vêtements, un style, une boutique, le prix, la marque, pas cher, acheter, trouver, coûter
Learned: French people love their shopping. Especially young people. They don't have a lot of thrift stores, but they do have some and those are really fun to go into. You kind of have to hunt to find really good stuff, but it's awesome if you do. They also have a lot of American brand clothing stores that have become really popular here. The prices are generally the same, number wise, here versus in Americ...we just have to deal with the different currency rate. I think that is fantastic. When I came here, I thought the prices were going to be absolutely out of control, but really they aren't. The number on the tag is basically the same. For me, that is really exciting!! I am a girl so obviously I love shopping. It's nice to know that I'm not paying ridiculous amounts of money to get roughly the same products as the ones I can get in America. I have found a couple really awesome french boutiques and I can't wait to go back to buy gifts/souvenirs for my loved ones at home.
Self-Eval: I think because this was a conversation I was very interested in, it was really easy for me to participate. I really joined this conversation. I was able to ask questions and for the most part I understood what the woman was saying. It made talking with her really exciting. I was just overjoyed that I was actually understanding what was being talked about.

12. Quel type d'art préférez-vous?
Date: November 26
Participants: Lidwine, Mme Julienne, Carine
Conversation: This one started because Carine and I were talking about all the homework she needs to get caught up on, mainly reading her book for 345. Our family asked us what type of book, how many pages she has read, how many pages there are, what the book was about. The book is about the impressionists and so that led into other arts and art movements. For me, it was a very easy flowing conversation. It was the most natural conversation I have had here in France. I love talking about art and hearing the opinions of others regarding all type of art.
Vocab: une tableau, l'artiste, un peinture, l'art moderne, l'impressionist, un course d'art, qu'est-ce que tu n'aimes pas?, un ligne fine/clair, les détails
Learned: I learned that my family seems to really enjoy talking about art. I also think they were genuinely interested in what we as Americans thought about the art that basically grew out of their backyards. My mom seemed shocked when Carine said that she didn't like impressionist art. It was pretty funny. It seemed like the french are very proud of much of the art that has come out of this area. It doesn't have to be from one specific art movement or anything, they just seem to like it and take pride in it all.
Self-Eval: I loved this conversation and I honestly feel that this was the most I have talked during a conversation since I got here. Usually I spend much of my time listening and trying to understand what is being said, but this time I actually really participated...even more than Carine..which NEVER happens. I am quite proud of myself for how much I talked during this. Our mom was there, which usually makes me more nervous, but I don't think I was even nervous speaking in front of her. I was just telling Carine that I'm kind of nervous for our Conversation 311 "test" (aka our one on one conversation with our teacher) because I really haven't been speaking that much french here, but with this conversation, I just started talking and it was really fun. It flowed quite naturally. I didn't have to stop and think, "now what am I going to say next." I think that's what catches me up every time and makes it so I don't 100% participate in the speaking part of conversations. I get so nervous about saying things incorrectly that I sometimes don't speak a ton, but this conversation was not like that at all. I just started talking, didn't think about it at all, and I really enjoyed speaking with my family.

13. L'avortement en France
Date: November 27
Participants: Julienne Family
Conversation: Our little sister was talking about this topic because they were discussing it in school today. We started asking questions, whether this was as controversial issue here in France as it is in the United States. Yes was the answer. Then we talked a little about whether we were for the issue or against it. Carine is anti and I am pro. For me it was really interesting to see how just how strongly our parents feel about this. We could tell just by how "upset" they got when we talked about how many abortions there are every year. Our mother also told us a story about how her friend has a handicapped child and how many people told this poor women that she should have aborted as soon as she found out there would be problems with her child. Our mother said that everyone told her she should abort. I may be pro abortion, but to hear what some of those people said was really sad.
Vocab: un avortement, se faire avorter, une poubelle, handicapé, handicapé mental, un échec.
Learned: Our family seems to have many of the same values that we, as mormons (in general) do. I know that is a very broad statement, but I feel that for the most part, the Church feels certain ways about certain issues, whether they publicize those views or not, I think that they are pretty well known. It's kind of cool to see how, even though we are so different in many ways, we're exactly the same in many as well. We also learned that there are over 200,000 abortions ever year in France. Once again, when the french are passionate about something, they really are passionate. Our family is very against abortion.
Self-Eval: I didn't speak up a whole lot in this conversation because their views on this topic are so different from my own, and I didn't want to start an argument and not be able to defend my opinion. I did talk a little bit. We discussed the views of many americans in general and I participated in that portion of the conversation. While I didn't contribute much orally, I do feel that my comprehension of french has gotten much better. I do feel that just being able to listen to people speak has been wonderful for me. I've noticed that I don't have to concentrate so hard to understand what people are saying. Sometimes I still don't understand, but some things are coming a little easier for me now and that is so fantastic.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sorry to disappoint

So I think I've decided that Paris is not the place for me. I think maybe I came in with too many expectations and now the city just isn't living up to all of them. Don't get me wrong, I think it's pretty here, and I love that its history is written building every building and every cobbled sidewalk, but it's just much different than I expected. Many people told me that Paris is the most beautiful city in the world and that I was going to "absolutely love it"; so far, not the case...on either accounts. I am so glad I got this opportunity though, to come here to live, study, and play. I'm sure I'll come back for future vacations and week long stays, but I would never want to live here. Being here has also curbed my need to become fluent in the language. I used to want that so badly, and though I still think that would be marvelous, I'm just kind of over it. I have just less than 40 days left and I'm counting down the days. I have never appreciated America as much as I do now thanks to this experience. I think I've heard that phrase from nearly every person on our study abroad. Oh the things you realize with time and space.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Les deux châteaux

Saturday, October 13 Doc H. took us to two of the most well known castles in France. First we visited Fontainbleau--which was once owned by one of the Napoleons. There's about a million and I always get them confused. That place was like Baroque on Speed, Coke, and Acid all at the same time. It was like a thousand home decorators all went in a the same time, placed things EVERYWHERE, worked for about 10 years straight--without break, and nothing that another artist placed was allowed to be moved. The walls and ceilings were covered in paintings and elaborate decorations. The floors, rugs, beds, and other furniture all matched and seemed to blend into each other. Nothing was left untouched or empty. Definitely took the idea of "l'horreur de vide" literally. There were things I loved about this idea and this decoration, but most of it was even too much for me. I honestly can't image living in a place like that. I guess the Lord was right when he said "all things in moderation".

Ballroom at Fontainbleau. Our "moves" were being instructed by the nude ladies dancing on the wall above us and to the left. They were good teachers, but Doc H wouldn't let us really get into the spirit of things and strip down. Such a party pooper. 

Next we went to Foquet's place -- Vaux-le-Vicomte. This was much more tame and actually seemed livable. I studied Foquet a little bit in French 202, but had no idea that we were touring his house until after half way through. I saw a picture and realized who it was. Pretty crazy. I think that aspect of this trip has made everything so much better. For so long, I have studied much of what I've been seeing these last few months and it's been amazing to be able to put size/scale/glory/brush strokes/construction style, etc all into it's rightful perspective. I'm not just looking at pictures or reading about these people/places in text books. I'm seeing them and really getting to experience everything they have to offer. It's been incredible. Anyway---this castle was definitely more my style. The decorators didn't throw everything they had into the rooms. Everything was beautiful and even elaborate, but nothing seemed like it was trying to outshine the others or "show off". To me Napoleon just seemed to want to show off and brag about his wealth. Foquet seemed to do MUCH less of that. Also interesting about this place, it has a rather significant connection to Leonardo DiCaprio!! Who would have thought?! So I tried to watch the movie Man in the Iron Mask a few times and always got super bored, but apparently it is some what of a true story and actually happened here at Vaux-le-Vicomte. From what I understood, we saw part of the "dungeon" where the actual mask wearer was kept. Sad for him, cool for us. Maybe one day, I'll have to give that storyline another go. I hear the movie is an adaptation of the book. Maybe I'll go for that instead. 

With love, from Rome.

Nearly the entire pinky toe of my right foot is a blister. I'm pretty okay with the hard work I did in Rome.

Rome is INCROYABLE! It is quite possibly the best city I will ever visit. I had been wanting to visit for as long as I can remember, but never thought it would be possible. This weekend was the best I've ever had! My program director, we call him Doc E, was hoping I'd appreciate Paris so much more after returning from Italy, but so far this hasn't been the case. I did miss the Paris metro system those three days in Italy. Italy needs a major improvement and Provo just plain needs a metro system.

Thanks to my one hundred or so art and humanities classes, I know quite a bit about the history and many of the monuments/works of art and when I got there--all this stuff I have studied in text book after text book was just...hanging out. I walked out of the metro and there was the Colosseum. THE Colosseum! We walked a couple and blocks and saw Trajan's Column. I've studied it a million times, but never really thought about how wide it was. It was gigantic. A few more blocks lead to Gelato, fruit, the Pantheon, and then Trevi Fountain.

Oh hi Colosseum, it is so nice to meet you. Finally.

(Pictures courtesy of Constantine/Olivia)

Our second day we spent nearly the entire day at the Vatican.  Didn't know that was even possible. This was the second best I've had since arriving in Europe. The surprises just kept coming. I saw things I didn't even know where in Italy. Among them, my favorite works Laocoon and Bernini's Ecstasy of Saint Theresa. I just stood and looked at Laocoon for at least 10 minutes--and then had to go back through the museum to see it again. It is incredible. The Ecstasy was less impressive than I was expecting, but still beautiful. I've written papers on both these works and never imagined I'd get to study them in person. I still can't believe I've been steps away from both. On top of those two breathtaking works, I saw Michelangelo's Pieta. I real statue!!

And to make it even better I saw 4 more Bernini's at Galleria Borghese on our last day. Three of them where amazing, the other...not my favorite, but undeniably Bernini. The way he sculpts flesh...it's more realistic than any other artist I've seen. The way Hades' fingers dig into Persephone's thigh, I was staring at it, knowing full well that it was stone, and was still having a hard time believing it wasn't real skin. I have never seen anything look more realistic and natural.

I know I've said this about a hundred times so far, but I still can't believe I shared the same space as these works! I was right there. Next to them. Within inches in some cases. It's crazy.

It's crazy to think that people live there, walk past these incredible works every day, and don't ever realize how lucky they are.

The only thing that could have made it better was if Ryan was there with me.

I decided to put on a special crown just for my visit to this Holy City. I think it's rather fitting.

Model of/Model for.....right Doc H?
Doc H taught us all about his (and my) favorite building on campus--the JFSB. It was designed after this plaza/square (which is actually a circle) in Rome. We pretended to walk about and contemplate our lives--both within our university and our future lives after we leave. What we were really doing was arguing about the lecture Doc H gave us about this place and missing him a lot. I think we all wished that we had been able to experience this place with him. It was great but could have been a MILLION times better. We definitely miss our teacher...a lot. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

It's a running list of France


The fruit
The constant rain
The beautiful architecture
The pâtisseries/boulangeries/charcuteries
The split pea soup
Notre Dame
The history written all over the city
The atmosphere at Montmarte
The weird money
Having a house keeper
Public transportation
NO flies
Fromage blanc
High efficiency toilets EVERYWHERE
Le petit déjeuner at hotels
That Halloween is called Helloween
That water/energy-efficient toilets are EVERYWHERE


How fast people talk
No American TV
How far away church is
The tiny washers/dryers
How early everything closes -- 8pm. Ridiculous. Stores don't even close that early in Provo
The lack of good cereal
The lack of cotton balls
The weird money
The separation of the WC and la douche--having to walk down the hall to pee in the morning
Putting my hands on/above the table when I eat
Grapes with seeds
My art history teacher
The rude man at Chartres
Crazy french drivers
That water/energy-efficient toilets aren't always energy/water efficient.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Walking Through Paris' History

As part of my French 365 class, we have 16 walks to complete. Each take us around nearly the entire city and we get to see some of the largest museums along with some of the smallest. The architecture of Paris is incredible and these walks allow us to learn more about our surroundings and the history of this city. It's one thing to read about this history/architectural style in a book, and it's another to be able to walk around it, touch the stones, and see it in person. Around every corner is a building centuries older those that surround it. You definitely don't see anything like it in the United States.

1. Le 19 septembre
Promenade 1: Paris in Layers: Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, Conciergerie

Je voulais Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle pendant des années et maintenant, finalement, je les ai vues. C'étaient formidables! Elles sont incroyables. J'ai presque pleuré quand je suis entrée dans Sainte-Chapelle. Elle est vraiment incroyable! J'ai commencé mes études de cette cathédrale il y a 5 ans et maintenant, je ne peux pas croire que j'ai été là. Je pensais toujours que j'aimerais Sainte-Chapelle et je le aime, mais après avoir visité l'intérieur de Notre Dame, je suis tombée amoureuse! Je suis dans l'amour. J'aime toutes les choses de cet edifice. Elle est très vieille, mais très très très jolie. Je crois qu'il sois difficile pour les personnes à imaginer la hauteur de l'espace intérieur quand on lit dans un livre. Pour moi, ça c'est vrai. Je ne peux pas dire assez de la beauté de cet edifice. Elle est vraiment belle.

2. Le 25 septembre
Promenade 5: Place de la Concorde

Il faisais froid. Il y avait plu et beaucoup de vent. Mais quand j'ai vu la Place de la Concorde, je suis tombée amoureuse. Je n'ai jamais vu un endroit comme ça. Elle est l'endroit que je préfère à Paris. Elle est très grande et un mélange de les choses nouvelles et vielles. Il y a beaucoup d'histoire ici et je l'aime. Dans cette promenade, j'ai vu aussi beaucoup de bâtiments governementaux et plusiers des magasins qui vendent les vêtements très chers. J'adore cette partie de Paris. Nous sommes allées au Jardin des Tuileries mais parce qu'il faisait froid, nous n'y sommes pas restées longue temps. Il était un peu beau et je pense que j'aimerai à retourner au printemps ou en été.

3. Le 2 octobre
Promenade 12: Time Travel, Tricks, and Treats around Saint-Sulpice
Avec l'exception d'Olivia, j'ai pensé que cette promenade était très ennuyeuse. La Cathédrale de Saint-Sulpice est TRÈS grande et jolie. Mais tout le reste de cette promenade n'était pas bien. Je ne me souvien pas la plupart de la marche. Il était un peu interessant à voir un magasin du XVIIIe siècle, mais juste un peu. Olivia et moi avons parlé beaucoup de français et c'était très amusant. Merci à toi, Olivia.

4. Le 3 octobre
Promenade 3: A Walk in the Park: Montparnasse and the Jardin du Luxembourg
Le temps aujourd'hui était très horrible. Il faisait froid et il y avait plu BEAUCOUP. J'aime la pluie, sauf quand je n'ai pas un parapluie. Mais, il y avait deux choses que j'aimais. J'ai mangé le meilleur macaron. Je ne sais pas le nom de la pâtisserie mais les biscuits étaient très beaux et vraiments delicieux aussi. L'autre chose, j'ai vu beaucoup de magasins qui vendent les papiers speciaux--comme <> ou pour <>. Je ne sais pas pourquoi que j'aime ce type de papier. C'est une chose un peu bizzare à aimer, mais ça va pour moi. Dans le reste de notre tour, j'ai vue un edifice TRÈS GRAND s'appelle Tour de Montparnasse. Je ne l'aimais pas. J'ai pensé qu'il était moche. J'ai aussi visité le Jardin du Luxembourg et une très petite <>. Elle était jolie. Je l'aime bien. Le jardin était un peu déprimant parce qu'il faisait froid. Triste. Malheureusement, je n'y suis pas restée longtemps. Peut-être je retournerai un autre jour.

Un macaron Pistach'in

Multi-colored and flavored macaron

Tour de Montparnasse

So we're supposed to be doing these in french, but apparently these only like 2 of us who are actually doing that. I want to be able to share these experiences with my friends and family who don't speak french so I'm following the lead of the others and I'm going to be posting in english from here on out. I hope you enjoy.

5. Le 5 octobre
Promenade 16: Montmartre Walk
This was the best day I've had here so far. It just kept getting better and better. The area surrounding Montmartre was so fun and lively--filled with tourists and young people. The steps of the cathedral house all kinds of tricks, trinkets, and talents. We were lucky to catch a guy with a little amp and an acoustic guitar. He was fantastic. Played original songs and covers that you'd never expect. We didn't want to leave. We all pitched in and bought his CD and so far it's the purchase I'm most excited about. We hung out and watched him for close to, if not a bit longer than 30 minutes. After that, we found ourselves in another major tourist trap -- a street lined with beautiful shops and artists' canvases without stop. I definitely want to return and probably spend a lot of money on overpriced stuff. Next we made our way down some beautifully old streets and we eventually came van Gogh's old house. I can't stand his work, but it's still pretty cool to be able to see where he lived and experience a little of the inspiration he found in the area. We moved a little further down and found ourselves in front of Moulin Rouge. Before this experience is over, I'm going to a show there. This is where our official walk ended so we crossed the street and at the entrance to the metro was a stand with....COTTON CANDY! Only my most favorite thing on the planet. Best. Day. Ever. We planned a group dinner for a couple hours after our walk so we had a bit of time to spare. Why not just pop on over to the Louvre for a few minutes. Who does that?! Bored? Louvre...okay. Why not?! Haha So cool. Jacques-Louis David is one of my most favorite artist. I had been dying to see his work since I realized I'd actually have the opportunity so we headed that direction and just sat in front of his pieces for several minutes. I still can't believe I've seen a David in person. They are so incredible. HE is so incredible! Bester. Day. Ever. We hung out there for a while, stopped by the Islam art exhibit and then headed to dinner. We found a little chinese/japanese place and had decent food and good company. So far, for me this has been the most fun and most memorable day we've had here so far.

Why hello Nicole Kidman.
(Picture courtesy of either Heather Virgo or Caitlyn Pearson...can't remember. Love them both.)

6. Le 9 octobre
Promenade 11: Lutetia Pulchra Est: Musée National du Moyen Âge, Sorbonne, Pantheon, Saint-Etienne-du-Mont, Arènes de Lutèce
I think I was most excited for this walk because I did my prep class report on the Latin Quarter. I was familiar with a lot of the things we saw and even some of the history behind these buildings/monuments. Being hugely interested in roman history, I think my favorite part was the Arènes de Lutèce. It's crazy to think about all the history that are in these stones. This place is older than anything I can even imagine. I really can't even wrap my head around it. The best part of this walk is just thinking/imagining all the things that happened in these places. These places have seen and experienced so much and I'm very appreciative that I have been given the opportunity to experience just a piece of it as well.

7. Le 11 octobre
Promenade 14: Eighteenth-Century Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous: Musée Jacquemart-André, Musée Nissim de Camando Museums, Parc Monceau
This was a pretty miserable day. No umbrella and no letting up on the rain. I've visited so many museums and seen so much art it starts to blend and mesh together. I forget what I saw where and when I saw it. I think the most memorable part of this walk was the park. Though it was dreary and cold, it was still beautiful. Huge trees, old and new, grass a beautiful green color that Utah has never seen, people strolling under umbrellas, and charming bridges that span lovely ponds. I loved this park and I would love to come back on a beautifully sunny day. Sad part is that it might have to be on another trip to France later in life. I don't know how many sunny days we have left here on our expedition.

8. Le 16 octobre
Promenade 18:

9. Le 17 octobre
Promenade 17: Small Buildings Need Not Apply: La Défense
This was quite possibly the shortest walk I've been on so far and maybe the most boring...at first. This walk is mostly just weird buildings. We saw some modern art (Moretti Tower) which I hated and buildings that looked like they belonged on a "futuristic" movie set of 1970. Though some of the buildings looked somewhat modern most looked like they were trying too hard to be different/cool and new. I found them just..ugly. The view at the beginning of the walk is pretty cool though. Directly behind you is the Arc de Triomphe in all it's decorative, old, beauty and straight ahead is the Grand Arc and the other buildings of the future with their steel and glass constructions, funky colors, and "interesting" space age shapes. As we walked through the square all I remember thinking was how tacky these buildings looked. They seemed fake and unnatural. Like they were trying too hard to be inventive. As I looked around I just kept getting the feeling that nothing was real, but made to look that way--as if I was on a movie set or something. The walk did end on a positive note -- aka me finally going shopping and buying not one hooded sweater, but two. This was my first "shopping spree" of France and I definitely walked away a happy camper. 

10. Le 23 octobre 
Promenade 15: Saint-Ouen's Labyrinth: Navigating the World's Largest Flea Market
When we first got to the flea market, instantly we thought, well this isn't a flea market and it's definitely NOT the world's largest. For every item for purchase, there was about 10 different vendors to chose to buy it from AND none of it was the old "junk" that one expects to find at a flea market. There were booths and booths full of new shoes, "leather" jackets and "designer" purses, jeans, and watches. Everything was in bulk and everything had a perfect little box. Only after reading the map did we realize while headed the right direction, we hadn't reached the actual flea market yet. When we did, wow. Could definitely now agree with the "world's largest" title. It was crazy. There is absolutely NO way you could see everything. I'm sure you could spent every day for months here and not even make a dent in the number of shops there were to visit. While they did still have the bulk jeans and shoes there were also typical flea market stores mixed with a combo of junk and treasures. I told everyone that if I was in need of antique furniture, that would have been the way to go. Everything reminded me so much of the stuff we had just seen at Napoleon's Fontainbleau. And while that place is way too over the top for every day living, many of the pieces could have fit into modern day home. I told Ryan that he'd have to return when it was time to furnish his home. Sadly I didn't find anything I absolutely had to have, but perhaps if the weather had been better, I would have tried a little harder and spent a little more time browsing.

(Picture stolen from Caitlyn Pearson. Thanks lady.)

11. Le 30 octobre
Promenade 6: Marcher le nez au vent: Sights and Smells around the Madeleine
This walk was fun for many reasons. First, the Madeline church is amazing. I saw it and immediately loved it. I am obsessed with Ancient Greek and Roman architecture and this reminds me so much of the Parthenon. It was fantastic and enormous. Sure it looks big from far away, but sometimes I can't really image the size of these buildings until I am right up next to it. This building was very neoclassicalesque outside, but almost baroque on the inside. Lots of gilding and light reflecting off every surface. It was amazing. There was also a statue of Jeanne d'Arc which was cool and sad. We miss Doc H quite a bit and seeing her always reminds us of him. Thanks to him, I will forever know almost every detail of Jeanne d'Arc's life. Lucky me. *winky face. Second, after exploring the Madeline, I stopped at Ladurée which is obviously amazing. I am so excited to bring my family back some of these amazing macaron. Hopefully they make it to my family. I might just end up eating them on the train. Third, the smells right along side the Madeline. Oh geez. Flowers, flowers, and more flowers. And soaps and perfume stores. I didn't buy anything then, but before I leave I might have to return for something wonderfully parfumed. Really the most memorable thing about this walk was obviously the church. I've passed it a few times and never went it, but I'm so glad I finally did. I love this church. It really is so beautiful. It's soooooo different than the other major churches/cathedrals in Paris (i.e. Saint-Chapelle et Notre Dame), but it's still really cool.

12. Le 1 novembre
Promenade 7: Marais Walk 1
I absolutely love how the history of Paris is written all over the city. Every building, every street, and every sidewalk is marked with any number of different parts of the city's past. I think my favorite part of this walk was seeing the old Roman wall. Can you image seeing something that is over a thousand years old? It is very likely that we don't even see rocks on a daily basis that are that old. These Parisians have it so good. They get to really know their history because all they have to do is walk around their city and they see it everywhere. I really am so jealous that they live so close to all of this "stuff". It's also very cool to get to know more of the area that we walk in every day. Our school is in this area and it's cool to see parts of the "neighborhood" that we don't get to see on a regular basis/won't get to really know. Another walk on another cold day. These walks are really interesting and so far I've learned so much about the city and it's history, but it really is very difficult to get into them when it's freezing and windy outside. Hopefully it warms up a bit so I get the rest of my walks completed without becoming a walking popsicle. We'll see. Wish me luck!

13. Le 16 novembre
Promenade 9: Follow the Money: Palais Royal, Bourse, Covered Passages.
Honestly this walk was not all that entertaining...that could have been because it was freezing though. We kind of moved from place to place trying to keep warm. The park outside the Comédie Française was really pretty though. With the tree lined passages ways and the falling and changing colored leaves, it was beautiful. Oh and the fountain in the middle. Lovely. I know absolutely nothing about economy or stock markety stuff, but it was really funny how much Olivia freaked out when we walked by the "French wall street". She was quite excited and maybe just a bit too giddy. The covered passages ways were also really cool. It's amazing how many stores they could cram into each one. I'm not sure what kinds of stores were in there a long time ago, but now it just seemed like food places. I guess that's nice if you're not sure what you want to eat...go there and you have almost everything you can imagine at your disposal. I did see an Indian place I might have to make a return trip for. I'm horrible with directions so we'll have to wait and see if I ever actually make it back without getting lost.

14. Le 18 novembre
Promenade 21: Get Lost! The "Anti-Walk" Walk
This walk was kind of had by accident, but I'm glad it happened the way it did. There was an accident on the tracks a few stops away from my house and so the trains all stopped and forced everyone off the trains. Since I live out of the city, I had to find my way home. It's pretty amazing that I even made it home...and within a responsible time frame. I am horrible with directions when I have them, and here I had none. I just picked and path and hoped it was the right one. I saw beautiful things. Old buildings mixed with new ones. Views of the Seine that I've never seen before. An actual freeway which is another thing I have never seen in Paris. And the best part...a circus. Carine and I have both seen posters for it and we're expressed our desires to go and now, thanks to me :), we know exactly where it is. I made it home safely and I got to see things I never would have otherwise. Thank you train for stopping and forcing me to find my own way home. The news is speculating that someone jumped in front of the train. I hope that's not true, but I sure am thankful that the train stopped when it did.

15. Le 23 novembre
Promenade 19: Parisian Necropolis: Cimetière du Père-Lachaise
This walk was cool, but honestly way too long and pretty difficult to navigate. The cemetery is ENORMOUS, but it doesn't feel like that when you're walking around in it. It really seemed like we were in our own tiny village. Many of the grave markers look like miniature houses which is both cool and semi creepy. We also noticed something that we thought was very strange...many of the doors to these little houses were open. Many of them looked broken, but I'm assuming it's because many of them were a few hundred years old. Also, WHY are people so obsessed with Jim Morrison's grave? We met some very strange drifters (who claimed Jersey as their home state) who sat at his grave site singing and playing the harmonica until long after we left. What else is there to do at a grave site after about 10 minutes? I LOVE Géricault, but I still only managed to "hang out" at his grave for about 60 seconds. If he was there, and we could have had a conversation yes, I would have stayed longer, but truth is, it's just a bunch of marble with someone's name printed on it. Being "in the presence" of soooo many very influential people was pretty cool though. I think we were all quite surprised by how many asian grave markers there were, but also how many newer ones. There were graves from this year there. I think we were all under the impression that it was mostly a cemetery for the bodies of long ago. This really was the coolest cemetery I've ever been to or even seen. I've seen pictures of the ones in places like Louisiana, where everything is above ground, but these grave markers take grave marking to a whole other level. Everything was so decorated. I couldn't stop thinking about how cool it would be if we had cemeteries like that in America. Since I've been in France one of the things I've always noticed is how cool their cemeteries are. I've seen several during our many travels and they're always very cool looking. They're so compact compared to the ones in America. I guess that's just fitting, considering everything about Paris is more compact than anything in the states. New York City isn't even as compact as Paris is. Anyway it was just really cool to be able to see a combination of many different cultures and cultural beliefs regarding the treatment of the dead all in one place.