This month I wanted to write a fun article that was a bit more lighthearted. I have been living in Sweden for the past few months, and one of the things that have been so special about living in Europe is the access to all of the other surrounding countries which are easy to access. I was incredibly lucky to visit Berlin with my Gender Studies class, and I was able to continue on to Paris after. It was such a beautiful time that I wanted to share what I got to experience. I started speaking French in middle school when I was determined to be a fashion designer and thought that speaking French was the gateway to my dream career. Although my professional goals have since changed, it was so magical to be in a place speaking a different language as the seasons were changing.
I woke up in Paris. WOW! It felt like a dream, and honestly, the whole trip was. We went to Saint Chapel this morning which is famous for its 15 stained glass windows. It is a stunning, old church and was such a beautiful way to start the trip. We walked along the Seine for the next while and ended up at the base of the Eiffel Tower right along the river bank. It was magical to look up and see it there in real life. The sound of the river was so peaceful and all of the people around the tower laughing and experiencing something together that is so famous in almost everyone’s minds. We had lunch and continued to walk all around Paris. We were staying in the 6eme Arrondissement (the sixth neighborhood). Paris is categorized numerically by neighborhoods and ours was so gorgeous and peaceful.
We spent the morning in the Luxembourg Gardens walking around. The leaves were changing and there were little ones all around. It was so special. We went to an art exhibit by a woman named Vivian Maier. She was an incredible photographer from France who worked in the states as a nanny. She did photography in her free time and mostly photographed who she called “people we just walk past”. Pictures of everyday people on the street and helped them to look so beautiful. Then we walked to the Pompidou center, an incredible library designed by the famous architect Renzo Piano. We had lunch at the top of the building and then got to see the Georgia O’keefe exhibit which was there. She is my namesake so it was so incredible to see all of her pieces and learn more about her spectacular life. Her expression of female power and sexuality are really meaningful for me to explore as that is what I am studying in Sweden currently. We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around and enjoying delicious coffee and food.
It was our final full day in Paris and we absolutely made the most of it. The Morozov brothers were two iconic art collectors from Russia. They amassed in their lifetime one of, if not the, most massive collections of modern and impressionist art. Their collections were being shown together for the very first time right outside of Paris and I am SO glad we went. It was held in the Louis Vuitton Foundation in the middle of the woods in the 16eme arrondissement. This building was designed by the famous Frank Gehry. The collection held hundreds of paintings and sculptures and was so breathtakingly large and beautiful. We then made our way back into the city for our final afternoon of exploring the tiny streets of our beautiful neighborhood. We stumbled upon a gluten-free bakery (so rare, and so yummy!). We drank wine and had dinner at a small corner cafe and got to watch as Paris flourished around us.
Our final morning we spent drinking coffee and having bread with jam. We talked about how important art is to everything, especially politics. The past week in Paris and Berlin was so focused on art. It is easy to just take the art for its beauty, but so much of what we saw was a protest. Georgia O’Keeffe made a name for herself as a woman and an artist. All of the impressionist artists who were creating art seemed so faux-pas when it was created. Vivian Maier photographed “people who were unassuming”, the people we all walk past on the street without a second thought.
I feel so fulfilled after this trip to Paris, as is the mini fashionista from 6th grade inside of me. Being abroad is such a special experience and I am so grateful for the ability to get to travel to these places I have always longed to go. When we were younger and would travel for a weekend or to see family my mom would always ask what one thing we would take from the trip and apply to our lives. I will be taking how important it is to have art and to create discussion around art, and that politics and change are in no way separate from art.