We are leaving Paris tomorrow for Rome, and the feeling is bittersweet. Not the bittersweet like the cappuccino I just had at Le Loir dans la Thiere with a slice of dark chocolate cake, but the kind that makes you feel sentimental. Bitter in that it will be hard to leave the city that has left such an incredible first impression on me, but sweet in knowing that, as the staff as the center said, "you'll be back someday." And bitter in that we are leaving the Paris BIA Center staff who have done everything to treat us like family, but sweet in that we are sure to have just as amazing an experience in Rome and Madrid. We all knew it was coming, it just happened to hit us so soon.
The past two weeks have been nothing short of marvelous, and it has taken me some time to really figure out my favorite memories from the first part of this three-city adventure. And with that, I want to share my Five Favorites of Paris:
5) Living like a local. Coming from a large suburb, I thought that adjusting to a city lifestyle would be difficult. It amazes me how quickly I was able to learn how to use public transportation, learn my way around, and most importantly figure out what to eat each day. It even allowed me to explore areas that I may not have gotten to visit if I had been a tourist, including my favorite area of Paris: Le Marais.
4) The 14th and 15th arrondissements of Paris. When I learned at first that we would be living quite far from the city center, I was nervous that I would not get to see everything that I had hoped. Living and going to class in this part of town allowed us to live like locals and still get to experience the tourism side of the city.
3) Being an art history student. Thanks to IES, we received student ID cards that granted us free or reduced admission into all of the museums that we got to visit. In class we had the opportunity to visit a wide range of museums, from Musee d'Orsay and the Louvre to Fondation Louis Vuitton and Centre Pompidou. On my own time I even got in free to the Victor Hugo House and Picasso Museum!
2) The Eiffel Tower. No surprise there, I have visited the Tour Eiffel probably six times at least and varying in times of the day. On one of my last nights here in Paris, I sat in a nearby park to watch the sun set and see the tower light up at dusk.
1) The Paris BIA Center Staff. I did not know what to expect when I signed up for this program, but the staff members at the center did everything to make sure we were well-adjusted and happy in Paris. Literally everything. From helping me retrieve my lost luggage the first day I got here to touring us around Versailles on the hottest day in June. Without them, I am positive Paris would not have felt like home.
It is bittersweet to be leaving tomorrow, but I know that the memories we have made here will last a lifetime. We'll always have Paris but I have heard that all roads lead to Rome. And I cannot wait to find that out myself. May the abroad adventures continue.
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Hannah is a rising senior at University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, majoring in Human and Social Development with minors in Psychology and Education. When she is not in class, Hannah serves as Vice President of Coordinators on the Panhellenic Executive Board and a member of the Student Government Senate as well as being a member of the Homecoming Executive Committee and Kappa Kappa Gamma. While she has been on a safari in Africa and tried fresh sushi in Japan, this will be her first time studying and traveling in Western Europe, a dream of hers since high school. She is excited to document her adventures and hopes to share this blog on the study abroad adventure of a lifetime.