Combined Art, History and English Trip to Paris

In early February the Art, History and English departments took a group of students to visit Paris. Cherry Dodd shares her thoughts and experiences below:

From my, very British-based, point of view I found that Paris was not as otherworldly as I thought and more akin to London than the otherworldly utopia that many make it out to be. Paris has its own Thames, St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower of London in the form of the Seine, Sacré-Cœur (or Notre Dame) and the Concierge. Its own Oxford street and shard in the form of the Champs-Élysées and the Eiffel Tower. The comparisons I make may be inaccurate due to my lack of travel meaning I’m immensely overly familiar with England and the hustle and bustle of London however I did find that these structural familiarities provided a great deal of comfort I did not know I needed. At times this this feeling of comfort did backfire on me causing me to apologise to the French in English and even making me forget I was in another country which spoke a different language , until I was addressed by a French cashier with a welcoming ‘Bonjour’ that ignited more panic than necessary in me.

You may think the familiarities I found between London and Paris dulled the excitement of this trip however I was still amazed by the architectural attributes of Paris. The lack of high rises within the city provided an authentic feel almost as if I was living in the time of Marie and Louis, minus the war and revolutionaries (unless you count the yellow vest movement). One of the monuments that shocked me the most was the Arc de Triomphe due to the sheer scale of it which I was simply unaware of. The Pompidou was another shocking building once again due to my unawareness of how tall it was providing us with a lovely view of the Parisian skyline from the escalators.

Paris is infamous for its many stereotypes such as berets, stripes and red lipsticks just to name a few. However the stereotype I believe it lived up to the most was that of the food. Patisseries filled with luscious cakes and a plethora of colourful macarons adorned nearly every street you turned on to ad did fresh fruit stalls gleaming with plump strawberries.

Apart from the food appeal Paris provided the main attribute of the city that fascinated ne was the cultural diversity. Not only people from France or England graced Paris’s streets but people from all nations including America, China and many other countries seemed to be as equally captivated and intrigued by the cities wonder. This was most noticeable in the art galleries due to the wide array of maps and information booklets that had been printed in a number of different languages. Paris truly is an outstanding city and I would definitely recommend that everyone visits at least once in their life to experience the joy of Parisian culture.