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See Giuliana's Paris

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It is hard to believe that it’s been more than a year since I was in Paris. Not so much because of the things that I have done after Paris, but because of how vivid my memories are and how strong the passion and excitement still is when I see something (yes, anything) French.

There are so many things I could say about Paris. I could give you specific places and stories about the 11e arrondissement, my home, Rue de Charonne and, yes, the famous Rue de Lappe (if you ever go to Paris, you will know what I mean). I could talk about Le Marais, Montmartre, the Latin Quarter, and that sneaky area in the 20e arrondissement around Rue the Pyrénées. However, as you can imagine, this short article would extend to a whole book, so I am just going to give you a list of random, sometimes unconnected things that explain why you should go to Paris:

• Walk to your closest boulangerie, get a fresh baguette thinking that it is too big and you will have to eat it for the next seven days – amazed at the fact that by the time you got home, you already had eaten half of it (you will eat the other half later at night with a bottle of Bordeaux).

Pastries (there is not enough I can say about them, words are just not enough)

Walk around pretty much everywhere! Paris is a city to explore, it is full of mystery and hidden beauty; you only have to open yourself to it.

Chanciness. This is one of my favorite characteristics of Paris. Days are never exactly like others; you cannot find monotony even if you wanted it! You walk on the streets and there is always something going on, a protest (several I would say), a brocante, art festivals, concerts, a fait du pan or just people dancing in front of the Latin Quarter metro stop.

• French people are never badly dressed; even if you are one of those “dress down” people, you will find yourself excited about choosing what to wear almost every day.

• Outside and inside Paris Parks: beautiful! You will never get tired of the chairs around the fountains at the Tuileries.

• Making French friends - they are great!

• Hidden bars with people dressed in '40s fashions. (Yes, they have those!)

French language.

• Museums, history, culture, the Pompidou library and the Seine.

Wine, cheese and jam; and picnics everywhere, but especially under the Eiffel Tower.

• People from the CEA program are the nicest and most helpful that you will find!

Philosophers, poets, gays, artists.

Well, this is my short list. It is not exhaustive at all, but it illustrates (I think) the diversity and mélange of things you will find and experience in France. It was the experience of my life.

Giuliana Carducci studied in Paris in Spring 2009.
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