The sign in the hallway read: ‘Study abroad: Paris, France. June 2016’ and I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to advance my degree in Social Work while also crossing off a bucket list item. Paris, after all, is the trip romantics dream of and I, my friends, am a romantic. I flew from New York to London and took the train into Paris. I remember the rolling green fields and the sound of the train beating, as I thought about what awaited.
The first thing I noticed about Paris was the architecture. It caught my eyes immediately and every day after. I ran my hands along the old buildings and imagined the people that had touched that same spot; no detail missed in every building that lines the street. It is like the city was built by one person to ensure uniformity and beauty on every turn.
Of all the architecture to note, the Notre Dame Cathedral is at the top of my memory. When I think of Notre Dame, I get goosebumps on my skin just as I had gotten them upon my first entry. The high ceilings, the quiet stillness, the dark and light all mixed into one hit me like a wave. Just like it’s vastness outside, the inside was as expansive, detailed, and hauntingly beautiful. I remember reading about the construction, seeing dates as old as the 1100’s, and just standing in awe at the history I was walking through. As someone who is non-spiritual, I remember praying for the first time in a decade. Considering recent events, I feel lucky to have experienced the epitome of architecture; it made me feel weightless.
Meanwhile, the pace of life in Paris made me feel grounded. Time is centered around reflection, gathering and eating. There is no hurry to get to the next big meeting or thoughts of deadlines. My classmates and I would sit in restaurants for hours with no rush from staff to leave. I lived off the best breads, cheeses, espresso, and wines that had ever touched my lips. We would nibble and sip till we no longer could. Our conversations would dance around the lessons from class, the cute Parisian boys we couldn’t hold conversations with, and the sites we took in from the day.
As I think back to my time in Paris, I can’t help but feel the movies are right, you will fall in love in Paris; I fell in love with everything about it. Do you have memories that you'd like to share with us? Click here and be a Passenger of this Minivan.