Study Abroad Diaries: Paris Week Three, The Art Scene

Bonjour! So, the past couple of weeks have been filled with lots and lots of exploring of Paris’s artsy side.

I just got back from the most wonderful museum I have ever been to. It’s called Musée d’Orsay, and it’s dedicated mainly to 19th century and impressionist art, which is what I’m studying in one of my classes here. We saw some of the most beautiful and famous works of art in the world, by Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas, Toulouse-lautrec, Béraud, Cezanne, Moreau, you name it. I wanted to pass out. I was so in love with it all.

Some friends and I discovered this really, really cool live music venue/bar called “Le Piano Vache” (literally means the cow piano). Every monday they have live Jazz musicians playing. When we went it was such a nice environment; everyone was hanging out and sipping their drinks while watching this group of guys just jamming together like the music was coming from the depths of their souls. You couldn’t help but smile with them and move along to the music.

Thanks to NYU, some of us had the opportunity to go to the beautiful opéra Garnier and watch 3 different ballets, choreographed by Robbins, Millepied, and Balanchine. I've never been to a ballet before, and this was so, so lovely. Even though I was feeling sick from that bug that's been going around NYU Paris, I found all of them to be soothing and wonderful to watch. It also inspired me to hopefully become super flexible and coordinated. (One can hope). I think the funniest part about the ballet was that in between each act there was an intermission of 25 minutes! Apparently back in the day, going to the opéra was a major social event (oh, the French), so long intermissions and cocktails breaks were a necessity. It was also really nice to dress up and feel all fancy and classy because, well, I go to ballets on Monday nights. What do yooou do with your time?

On another evening, we went to another NYU-paid-for event at the opéra called "20 dancers of the 20th century". It was cool because you got to walk around the absolutely gorgeous building and enter various rooms, halls and balconies where there were dancers performing different kinds of modern dance.

I joined this atelier (workshop) at school led by my French professor. The workshop includes hanging out with University of Paris students and talking to them for an hour in French and an hour in English! We broke off into teams of five and have to spend the rest of the semester working on a project centered around a specific area of Paris that we’ll be exploring. My group chose Montmartre, a really old and quirky area of Paris (ever seen Amélie?) It was sort of embarrassing to practice my flawed French with native speakers, but I realized it must be just as difficult for them to speak to us. I think it's going to be really cool to practice my French with them and hopefully make some good friends out of it!

One day, one of my classes and I went to the Musée du Quai Branly. It's a museum for anthropology and culture, and we saw an exhibit specifically about tattoos! It was SO COOL. Tattoos weren't always a voluntary thing, but once they became an expression of art, man, they were so cool. It was also pretty close to the Eiffel Tower, which is walking distance from my place, so it was a lovely, sunny walk getting there.