Welcome back to my year abroad series where I bring you along on my time in Paris this semester! With restaurants and bars finally opening up and exams ending, the past few weeks have been very different to the rest of my experience here.
The month of May saw the French exam period come and go, which in general was not as bad as anticipated. I’d say most of my assessments went reasonably well and so far I’ve passed every module that I’ve received final grades for which is a major relief. It’s a very weird feeling to know that I’ve finished my courses here and will most likely never meet the other students or professors in person. And for some people, I’ve never even seen what they look like. Feels almost like I dreamt the last few months in that way. Very strange.
May also saw the reopening of restaurants and bars for outdoor use and even museums! It genuinely felt like a different city the day the restrictions changed. Whilst walking around I saw places that I never even realised were restaurants or bars as they had previously been closed, bordered up and lifeless. Even on the road, I live on, there’s a bar opposite my front door that I just never realised was there – a very handy location indeed. With this new freedom, my friends and I wasted no time in booking all the museums and typical tourist visits that we’d missed out on. Last week we went to Musée d’Orsay which is home to some famous Van Gogh and Monet paintings, followed by a visit to the Louvre the next day to see the one and only Mona Lisa amongst many other infamous works. Being able to step foot inside these museums was such a nice feeling especially after walking past them for the last four months. Plus it’s a good time to visit them with very few tourists around. We managed to get to the front of the Mona Lisa queue which, according to my friends that have previously visited the Louvre, was crazy. I’m sure the following weeks will see similar activities as I aim to cram everything into my last three weeks here in Paris. Alternatively, my bank account would prefer a more laid back period but we’ll see who wins that argument.
Yet with the ending of the semester also comes the time for people to leave. Once exams finished I’ve gradually seen my friends start to depart from the city which has caused a bittersweet time. Realising that our year abroad is coming to an end is quite surreal. But it also makes me more inclined to enjoy all the moments and people that remain. Or otherwise live in denial until the last possible moment. Who knows?
My main takeaways: don’t take bars and restaurants for granted, lockdown was a blessing in disguise for my bank account, and the best time to visit museums is just after a global pandemic.