Coming to Paris for the semester, I was faced with something I did not think about before I left: When I got here, I didn’t want to go see all the traditional sights of the city. As this is my third time in the city, I’ve been able to see my fair share of the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur, and I don’t necessarily want to go again.
These famous hot spots of Paris are completely incredible, for sure, but many are near all-day affairs and almost always incredibly touristy. Once I realized I didn’t have any desire to go to these crowded locations other than to show them to any visitors I may have, I decided that this was my chance to really and truly get to know Paris. It quickly became my mission to find all the niche spots and exhibits I could, or to make it to the museums I hadn’t had the chance to check out in my previous visits.
Lucky for me, my host mom was just as quick to help me out. One night at dinner, after asking me about the dilemma of having already seen most of the must-see spots of the city, she jumped up and ran into the other room to look for something of the utmost importance. She quickly returned, magazine in hand, and flipping through the pages, she found a page titled “Expos” that she proceeded to show me. What I found was a list of about thirty exhibits - art exhibits, photography exhibits, fashion exhibits, you name it - that could be found throughout the city. All were housed in small galleries that look much like any other storefront, all were temporary, and almost all were free.
With this new tool in hand, I began planning my afternoon excursions. This proved to be an incredible resource that I have now used several times to explore rotating galleries around the city. This fact in and of itself has been great for my getting to know Paris better, as sometimes these galleries are housed in areas I have never been to before, allowing me to discover even more places in the area after I finish visiting my original destination.
Going to whatever new gallery strikes an interest is also a great way to begin to feel more of a personal connection with the city, as searching for and finding exhibits that speak to your interests quickly reminds you of how Paris truly has something for everyone.
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<p>My name is Jeanne Torp. I'm a junior at the University of Mississippi majoring in International Studies and French and minoring in Environmental Studies! I will be studying abroad in Paris, France for the Spring 2020 semester, working to better my language skills and immerse myself in the French culture. After graduating, I hope to enter into the urban design or architecture fields, which I'm especially excited to be pursuing as new green and sustainable methods are being introduced to the field every day. Some of my hobbies include traveling, writing, photo- and video-taking, music, and reading.</p>