Before You Study in Paris…

In Paris, The Art of Travel Spring 2015, Tips by Elizabeth Buckingham

I would absolutely recommend anyone to study in Paris. I have traveled to various countries over the last few weeks, and each time I visit a new place I am constantly thinking how grateful I am that I chose to study in Paris. This city is not too big but not too small. It’s small enough where I can walk almost anywhere I want to go, and it’s big enough because I know there is always something new to discover. There are more restaurants, museums, gardens, and stores to visit than you can possibly imagine. I will forever remember my time living in Paris.

Things to know in advance:

In terms of Paris, there are so many things to do while you are here, so I definitely recommend creating some sort of list on definite things you would like to get done throughout your semester. This includes monuments, museums, shops, and especially restaurants. You are going to receive endless amounts of recommendations from people before you come- listen to them! Also, make sure to discover a few places of your own. In terms of traveling to different places, I would definitely recommend planning every trip in the beginning. You will save money and energy planning everything early. Again, you will receive recommendations for every place you visit, and I advise listening to people’s suggestions as you have minimal time in each place you visit. Make sure to give yourself enough time to relax between trips. It can be very exhausting, not to mention you want to make sure to enjoy Paris!

What I wish someone told me:

Thankfully, I was lucky enough to have a lot of my friends travel abroad before I did, so I was pretty prepared to study abroad. Not very many of my friends studied in Paris, however, so there are a few things I wish I knew. First, although sometimes you might feel intimidated to speak French while you are here just go for it! There is absolutely no harm in fumbling a few words. The more you speak, the better you will get! In terms of school, I would definitely recommend scheduling your classes in the morning and one after the other. It’s a bit of a pain having a morning class and then having to go back to school in the late afternoon. The afternoons should be used for exploring!

Where to live:

To my dismay, someone advised me not to live in the Marais. My recommendation: live in the Marais! It is without a doubt my favorite neighborhood. It has a young, low-key feel, and there are endless things to do in terms of eating, nightlife, museums, etc. I find myself there almost every day. Now that it is spring in Paris, all of the gardens are blooming and it is absolutely beautiful.

My favorite places:

My favorite museum in Paris is L’Orangerie. One of my favorite days in Paris was the first time I visited this museum. It is a beautiful, small, and intimate museum with an amazing collection of impressionist paintings, including of course Monet’s Water Lilies. It is definitely my number one recommendation. One of my favorite areas in Paris is the Canal Saint-Martin. When the weather is nice, go! There are endless amounts of things to do there. My favorite crepe place is without a doubt Au Petit Grec, which is located on Rue Mouffetard in the 5th. Go there. There will most likely be a line when you visit, but the crepes are worth the wait.

Finally, enjoy every single moment you have while you are studying abroad. It is an experience you will remember and cherish for the rest of your life. You will make new friends, create new memories, and explore new places. Have fun and good luck!

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  • Musee D’Orsay: Elizabeth Buckingham