Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Class Dismissed! Notre Dame, Seine cruise and dinner

Today was officially my last day of classes in my Master's program! Although I'm glad to be done with the work and the worry, I'll miss all the friends I've made over the past 2 1/2 years -- even the ones I only met 3 weeks ago. There are some I will stay in touch with easily (those in Pinellas County) but having moved around a lot in my life, I know that friendships eventually fade because life steps in. But to all those who have crossed paths with me over the past years, I appreciate what you've added to my life.

Now, onto the stories of the day. Our first stop in class today was Notre Dame cathedral. It is a magnificent structure situated on an island in the Seine River and easily walked to via many ponts that cross from the mainland to the Ile de Cite. It was on this island that Paris was first founded centuries ago. It is difficult to get a good photo of Notre Dame from close up because it is so large, so the better pictures are taken from the banks or even from the river. I did not go inside the cathedral (long lines), but instead opted to spend the time at a very unusual bookstore called Shakespeare and Company -- an all English-language bookstore just on the other side in the Latin Quarter. The Latin Quarter is called that because it is in that neighborhood that you will find the Sorbonne -- and the students used to be required to know Latin (no longer). I also took a quick walk over to Ste. Chapelle but did not go in due to the length of the line and the little time I had left before having to meet up with the group again. Around 5:00 we all hopped on a river cruise (Bateaux Parisian) and headed down river past Notre Dame and the Ile de St. Louis (just past Notre Dame). We then turned around and went on the other side of the islands, going under many beautiful "ponts" (bridges). My favorite is the Pont Neuf, which I believe the guide said was the oldest of the remaining bridges. We glided past all the big sites -- Louvre, Jardin des Tuillieries, Musee d'Orsay, Hotel de Ville, Place dle la Concorde, and again, the Eiffel Tower, which is where we turned and headed back. It was a highlight of our trip -- we all recommended that Dr. E take her students on this tour again.

We then walked uphill a "short" distance (for us, anyway) to go to dinner at a wonderful French restaurant where the wine was all you could drink, and the entertainment was given via accordian, guitar, and sing alongs. We had 18 very happy LIS students (and a professor and her trailing spouse) at the end of the dinner.

And so we say good-bye to our friends, but I will continue this blog for another week as we have several other place we will visit before returning to the States.

A bientot!

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