The American perspective on France tends to leave out some of the good, some of the bad, and a lot of the ugly. When I imagined my trip to France, I saw cobblestone roads and immaculate cafés. While those definitely existed, there are also many parts of France that aren't so sophisticated. One of my favorite things to explore was French graffiti. Under bridges, on the sides of buildings, and on sidewalks, there are hundreds of clever sayings and pictures sprayed by anonymous artists. Some of my favorites;
"It is nice and sunny outside and the little birds are singing"
"Love is not dead"
"It is forbidden to forbid"
"God will conquer and eat spinach"
Graffiti written in different languages on a bridge by the Louvre in Paris
"I feel nothing"
This symbol was painted in a bunch of different places throughout Arles
"I am Charlie"
"All parents are different"
One of my main goals for studying abroad was to see a side of the country that I wouldn't be able to see from America. These little pieces of art are the best example of the sweet surprises that I found in France. They showed me that the American perception of France as immaculately sophisticated is skewed, but that what it leaves out isn't always bad.
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<p>Jessica Castellanos is a freshman at Northwestern University majoring in Slavic Languages and Literatures and International Studies with a minor in Religious Studies. Even though her major revolves around the Russian language, Jessica loves the French language and French culture and she hopes to become fluent someday and use the language in her career. In her spare time, Jessica likes to run, volunteer with animals, and read.</p>