Bonjour de Paris!

Kelly Crewse
May 29, 2016

What a whirlwind five days it's been! Since landing in Paris on Wednesday morning, my days have been filled with places to be and things to see. The other four girls in this program are sweeter than the crêpes at the cafés on every street corner. ​Since arriving here, we've been so incredibly lucky to have the support of the IES Abroad Center staff who have made the transition into a foreign country incredibly easy.

I took three years of French in college, so I should be fluent, right? I can hold simple conversation and understand accents and pronunciations very well. The only thing is, Parisian French is very different than the French I was taught. It's mainly the pace at which they speak, to be honest. I can barely pick up words and by the time I'm translating in my head, the speakers have moved on and onto another subject. Though I am becoming better with each day that passes, I predict I'll be able to understand things perfectly by the time I leave for Rome, and then I'll have to start completely new with Italian!

There are a few words and phrases I've learned here in Paris that prove useful, and a few words and phrases I knew that I've used more than I thought. My Survival Guide of French Words & Phrases:

- Pardon! : to be used in everyday busy and crowded French situations, from walking along the streets to trying to squeeze into the Métro.

- Je parle un peu français, désolé. : for moments when I am in over my head talking in French and find myself frozen with what to respond. Most Parisians are very happy to practice English with me, and are happy that I even attempt to speak in French first.

- une carafe d'eau : a jug of water for the table. In Paris, they will charge for fresh water in cafés, but this is just a jug of tap water, free of charge. Very useful for a traveling student like myself.

- Ça suffit! : I haven't used this one, but I'm keeping it in my arsenal if I ever do need it. It means "that's enough," to be used if someone is coming on a little too strongly for my taste.


We had our first class on Friday where we visited the Notre Dame. I love history and I love Paris, so I thought I knew a great deal about this historical neighborhood through my own individual research, and boy was I wrong. There's absolutely no detail that was not of importance or that didn't have meaning in the creation of the Notre Dame -- from the direction the cathedral was built to the layout of the inside. I had always appreciated the beauty of the Notre Dame, but I am in awe of it now. Seeing the incredibly intricate details of the sculptures and the stained glass left me humbled and grateful to be in the presence of such a work of art.

We've also been on a boat ride along the Seine River, walked around our neighborhood in the 14e arrondissement, perused the chic shops on the Champs-Élysées, and perfected our Métro routes to and from the IES Abroad Center, the middle of Paris, and back to our housing.


The thing that surprises me most is the fact that I'm not tired from these five days. We've walked miles upon miles and taken our fair share of Metro rides, but the anticipation and the excitement of being in Paris keeps me awake. As it is Sunday, and most places are closed for resting and family time, I suppose I should rest as well. Perhaps one of these days my lack of sleep and overall rest will catch up, but for now I'm not taking a single minute in Paris for granted. Just last night, as I walked along the Seine with a glass of wine and the illuminated Eiffel Tower in front of me, I still could not believe I was really here. I will repeat myself over and over again until I sound more like a broken record than a person, but I am so, so, SO grateful to be studying in this program and to have these opportunities. 

Kelly Crewse

<p>I&#39;m Kelly, 21-year old senior anthropology and museum studies student at Indiana University. When I&#39;m not working or studying, you can find me drinking too much coffee, watching unhealthy amounts of tv, or writing one of the 4 stories I&#39;ve started - usually all at the same time. Lover of pugs, the color green, and good wines. My blogs are for you if you&#39;re interested in traveling with anxiety, culture discussions, bad puns, tourist-y photos, sarcasm, and many, many useless facts.</p>

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Indiana University
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