7:00 – My alarm goes off, I’m supposed to get up right away and start getting ready. I have a very precise schedule in the morning, I just don’t often follow it. Instead I sit up in bed and browse the Internet, today I read a Buzzfeed article about a guy whose phone ended up in China and how he went and became friends with the new owner and simultaneously a Chinese Internet sensation.
Anyway, at 7:28 I accept that I absolutely MUST get out of bed. My first class starts at 9:00 which means I tell myself that I need to leave at 8:00, this is not true but it keeps me more or less on a schedule I like. So I get up and get dressed, Thursday’s are my big days and this one in particular is quite hectic so I’m wearing very basic and comfy clothes today, my favorite jeans, a tank top, my trusty blazer, and my favorite scarf. It only takes me a half an hour to get ready, of which fifteen minutes is devoted to makeup. This is again basic for today, foundation, mascara, lipstick, a tried and true regimen which I know will last all day. Then I roll up the window’s privacy screen and check out how Paris is looking this morning.
8:05- I walk out the door, which means I actually had pretty good timing today. On Thursdays I have three classes at two Universities and I don’t have time to come home between them, which means my backpack is chock full of everything I will need throughout the day.
. This means that in my backpack I have, my water bottle, the two syllabi/reading materials/class guides for my Paris VII courses (each about 100 pages), my class notebook, my book I’m reading for my Ethnologie class, lipstick, my wallet, gum, my ID case (it was originally a manicure set from H&M which now contains all my Paris ID’s: my NaviGo unlimited metro card, my Reid Hall ID, my Friends of the Louvre card, my Smith One Card, my Paris VII student card, and an emergency pocket map I have never used), then there’s my tech bag full of phone chargers, my personal notebook, a box of Ricola, my house keys, and four pens and pencils. It’s a lot of crap which is exactly why I now carry a backpack.
8:15 – I arrive at the line 14 quai at Gare Saint Lazare. It is a five minute walk from my house to the Gare and a five minute walk from the entrance of the Gare to line 14. Saint Lazare is one of the big regional train stations in Paris, from here trains leave for Basse-Normandie (Rouen, Caen, lots of places that only French people go to) this also makes it a major travel hub within Paris, there are four metro lines that stop here in addition to one RER (commuter line train). I really like living so close to it because all the lines here mean I never have to transfer more than once no matter where I’m going, and the Gare is also a shopping mall with 80 stores, including my grocery store.
Anyway, I got to the quai just as the train was pulling up, more excellent timing. 14 is one of the automated metro lines in Paris so I always sit at the end where you can stare out at the tunnels you’re going through. The 14 is also interesting in that it only has about 8 stops, Saint Lazare is one of the ends and Paris VII is at the stop Bibliothèque François Mitterrand which is just one before the other terminus, so I always get a seat.
8:34 – Arrive at Bibliothèque François Mitterrand. From here it’s just a five minute walk to the University.
All my classes this semester are in the building on the right of the picture. If you were looking at it and thinking it looks kinda industrial you’d be right! This entire area of Paris is revitalized industrial area, meaning there’s lots of construction and new hyper modern apartment buildings (see header pic) and that all my classes are held in a converted flour warehouse. It’s kind of cool, but it also means that the layout makes absolutely zero sense and you need to consult a map to find any classroom.
Since I didn’t get out of bed early this morning, I didn’t have time to grab breakfast. Which is why I’m grateful that there is a bakery right next to campus where I can buy a croissant for 1€. Now I’m really ready for the day.
The university has mandatory bag checks at every entrance to every building right now due to the heightened security status since the January attacks. You’ll also have someone peeking into your bag at any museum that doesn’t already have metal detectors/X-rays for bags.
9-10:30 – TD d’Ethnologie Contemporaine. Or the discussion section for my contemporary ethnology class, except the idea of ‘discussion section’ isn’t quite right, it indicates some lessening of the academic hierarchy and indicates that there will be discussion. TD actually stands for travaux dirigé or directed work, they’re taught by TAs and are almost universally composed of very long student presentations and some small amount of lecturing that actually relates to work we have to do. In this class each group is presenting their fieldwork to the class and then answering questions, each presentation takes around forty minutes.
After class I go to the library to loiter. I have a very large gap around lunch and usually just hang out before going to buy lunch at Monoprix (rhymes with Brie because French; think of as an upscale Target). They have premade sandwiches and a good bakery section so I can get lunch and a dessert for under 4€. Today however Smith is providing a picnic! But it’s at 1 at Reid Hall, which means I loiter at Paris VII until around 12:30.
Today Smith has provided a picnic lunch, which we ate in the classroom because it’s still gross out. It’s a nice little nearing the end of the year tradition, we talked about plans for Easter mostly, I got to give travel advice for Berlin, which I always love to do.
Afterwards I have to get back to Paris VII for my Medieval History lecture class. Called CM, Cours Magistral, these classes are exactly the same as a large lecture class at a big American University. This particular class has about 150 students in it and focuses on the 11th to the 15th centuries. After this class ends I have exactly thirty minutes before my French theater class starts at Reid Hall, which is convenient because it takes exactly thirty minutes to get between Paris VII and Reid Hall.
The theater class is great, we go to plays and one opera, and then discuss different elements of the performances in class. Today we have a play about an hour after class ends, so we’re having pizza and dessert in class.
This performance is of Pauline à La Plage, which was a very French movie from the 80s where a bunch of adults are really immature and the fifteen year old is the most mature person and everyone has lots of conversations about love. A lot of the lines are quite ridiculous. It was ok, but we’ve seen some really fantastic plays this semester and this one just isn’t on the same level.
The theater was also really far away, outside of the Périphérique, the boulevard that wraps around the city limits of Paris, so it took a long time to get home after the play but luckily it was right on one of my metro lines.
So I got home at midnight and went right to bed, I didn’t even do my stretches and my legs were actually complaining about it! But anyway, that’s what a day looks like for me in Paris (results will vary), I’ll write again soon, Love ❤