Monday, September 30, 2013

A Glorious Week in the City of Light (Part 1)

I am in the middle of a two-week break from classes, as I get the distinct impression that once classes (finally!) begin at the Sorbonne, things will get quite busy. There will be homework assignments, for example, in addition to an average of 4 hours lectures/phonetics lab a day. Last week the weather was gorgeous, so I thought I would just upload some photos, with a little bare commentary. I don't feel up to piercing commentary on French social mores just yet -- maybe later on in my stay.

On Monday, I had to check in at the building where our classes will be held, to do the mandatory level placement test. I was somewhat taken aback at the relatively young age of the others doing the test, and at their relatively low level of French (judging from their questions). But the professor who administered the oral exam was encouraging, indicating that "at your level", there will be a higher level of "mature students". I do hope she is right; nothing against twenty-somethings, but they tend to socialize when others of us are already tucking up in bed. Anyway, the building where classes will be held seems pleasant enough:

After the test, I walked all the way home, through the Jardin de Luxembourg:

As I approached this fountain, it was still turned off, but then this little guy appeared, winked at me, and vanished underground to turn it on, as if he were doing so just for me!

If I am not mistaken, this is a statue of Mary Queen of Scots. Not sure how she ended up in the Luxembourg.

Back past the Palace of Justice

and these animal guardians of the Marais

in time for an aperitif at one of my local caf├ęs:

This iconic fountain, known as a Wallace fountain, was just feet from my table; in fact the waiter was concerned I might get splashed. They are dotted all over Paris, and have an interesting history, which you can read about here

Well, that's probably enough for one post. To be continued ...

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