I had never been to Europe before I began my Paris study abroad experience with CEA. Actually, let me clarify; not only had I never been to Europe, I had never been inside an airport before. It’s certainly an interesting feeling, flying for the first time while completely alone on an overnight trip across the depths of the Atlantic. But it was an incredible experience, and I was more than excited to begin my study abroad journey.
One of the reasons why I chose CEA as my study abroad provider was because tuition includes some incredible life-changing field trips, more commonly known as excursions. These trips are always educational, creative, and help give students the ability to really immerse themselves in the culture that they’re studying.
My study abroad program is a short-term one; I’ll only be in Paris for two weeks. It’s a very small amount of time to see a city that has taken quite literally centuries to get to where it is today. But each day, my professor has planned a unique excursion which coincides with the day’s lesson plan. Today’s trip was a boat tour along the historic Seine River.
Upon first glance, it’s easy to see how dozens of creatives throughout history have been inspired by the Seine. George Seurat’s famous painting, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, was created in the 1840s and takes place along the river. Both Henri Matisse and Claude Monet found themselves taking strolls along the 483-mile-long waterway when needing artistic inspiration. But you don’t have to be one of the world’s greatest painters to appreciate the endless beauty of the river.
The Seine, in a word, is breathtaking.
It never fails to astound me that being in Paris is literally seeing history all around you. There is a never-ending list of iconic moments in time that have happened along the river. By taking a walk along the waterline or even going on a boat through it, you are putting yourself in the same spot where Joan of Arc’s ashes were thrown in 1431. The same spot where Olympians in the year 1900 swam as fast as they could. The same spot where countless lovers placed a lock on a bridge above.
To traverse the Seine is to go back in time. You get to see firsthand the evolution of Paris: from the intricate centuries-old architecture to the modern pieces that make the city the masterpiece that it is today. As the water winds through the city, you’ll notice the Eiffel Tower, Napoleon’s tomb, the Louvre Museum, and the unforgettable Notre-Dame Cathedral. And that’s just to name a few. In nearly 500 miles, the number of iconic landmarks along the river is impossible to say. Running through the heart of Paris, the river truly helped shape the city into what it is today. Even the 37 bridges connecting the river to the city above are remarkable. Pont Neuf, built between 1578 and 1607, still stands as the oldest bridge across the city.
The Seine is one place in France that I have been so incredibly lucky to visit. I can’t wait to find out what I’ll see tomorrow.
Asha Swann is a Spring 2020 CEA MOJO Blogger studying abroad in Paris, France. She is currently a student at Sheridan College.
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