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Arts, Culture, and Dancing: Studying Abroad in Paris

February 14, 2014
by CEA CAPA Content Creator
I have been in Paris for four weeks now, and I can honestly say that, for the most part, it is like a dream. When I walk across the Seine on my way home at night and the Eiffel Tower is all lit up, or I’m walking to class just as the bells of Notre Dame are tolling, it is magical. Every so often, I think “Wow. I actually live here.”

This feeling is only intensified when I got to museums or other cultural events. With my CEA student ID, I have gotten into the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay for free. You can use it for free entry at many other Parisian museums as well.

The Musee d’Orsay is the first museum I visited when I arrived in Paris. It is located in the 7th arrondissement on the left bank of the Seine. It is located in a former train station, the Gare d’Orsay. The museum has the largest collection of impressionist art in the world. I was able to see the Degas sculpture, Little Dancer of Fourteen Years, as well as Edouard Manet’s painting The Luncheon on the Grass, which I learned about in my art history class in high school. It’s one thing to learn about art and appreciate it on the screen, but it’s an entirely different one to see the works up close.

The Louvre is the most famous museum in the world. It is absolutely beautiful – and huge. You can only see so much in one afternoon before you’re tired out. Since I can get in for free, I’m committing to going as many times as possible. The Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, the ancient sculptures – all of these works that I have grown up hearing about were right in front of me, and it was almost surreal.

My host mother gave me two tickets to a dance show last weekend, so I brought my friend Alex. We may not have understood 90% of it (and I’m still not sure if it was a competition or an exhibition) but it was a fun cultural event I wouldn’t have been able to attend in the States. It was all types of dancing: Zumba followed by ballroom dancing followed by hip hop. It was a fun look at what events are like in France – they don’t always start right on time, but everyone is lively and engaged, at least!

There are many museums I still want to visit in Paris, and since students can get into most of them for free, there’s absolutely no reason to delay my visits. Paris is full of opportunities to learn about history and culture, and I love it!

Eleanor Harte is the Spring 2014 CEA MOJO in Paris, France. She is currently a junior at the University of Massachusetts.

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