First Day in Paris!

After months of preparing and the excitement leading up to studying abroad, I’m finally here in the famous Ville de Lumiéres (City of Lights)!  After an eight hour flight, I managed to navigate the massive Charles de Gaulle airport and catch a taxi to my apartment in the 15th arrondissement of Paris.  My apartment is above a fantastic boulangerie, or bakery, where I purchased my first baguette.  French baguettes are like nothing I have ever tasted before.  Something unique to Paris that I love is that it is completely normal to walk down the street eating a giant baguette with a bottle of wine.


Photos of my apartment and room on Rue de la Convention, 15th arrondissement (the old green doors are my favorite!)

After unpacking, I headed to my first Paris outdoor café with my roommates Karlie, Ann, and Nanxi.  At first, we struggled to order food in French and were very unsure of how to politely get our waiter’s attention.  We quickly learned it is a custom in Paris to spend hours eating a meal, where the waiters will only come to the table if you call them over.  There is no tipping waiters in French culture, and the staff will get offended if you don’t finish your meal (lesson learned).  Despite the stereotype that French people often face, Parisians are some of the most polite and friendly people I have met.  Everyone so far has been completely willing to help us with our French and speak to us in English.  In fact, a few Parisians told us they were excited to meet Americans because they wanted to practice their English skills.

Later on, we had orientation at the IES center.  Meeting the rest of the students in the program was a blast and I can’t wait to get to know everyone!  After a long travel day, I am very excited to be in a place I have never been before and experience everything Paris has to offer!

Au revoir!

-Alissa Smith

P.S. I never get tired of looking at the Eiffel Tower!

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