The other day, someone asked me to name my favorite part of my Humanities II trip to Paris, and I honestly could not answer. Since I spent an entire month in Paris doing and seeing so many different things, I think it is too difficult to assign a true favorite experience.
Had I been asked something more specific, such as my favorite classic Parisian monument or what my favorite class trip was, I would be ready with a response: the Eiffel Tower and the Musée d'Orsay, respectively.
I spent a day looking at modern art at the Centre de Pompidou, I ate crepes on the banks of the Seine and I even people-watched from the café where the movie Amelie was shot. Each experience was so unique from the other that it's a challenge to compare them. I don't want to sound overly cheesy and say that everything I did the entire month was my favorite, but it's too hard to nail down a favorite day when I was lucky enough to live in Paris for a whole month.
In a city like Paris, almost every attraction includes climbing a tall monument to admire the sights. Though the view was beautiful, what made it particularly special was how, after a while, we were able to look at the skyline and name the buildings, find the direction of our hotel, and link an experience to everything we saw.
"There is the Champs-Elysees where we saw the tanks for the Bastille Day Parade," we would say, referring to the famous boulevard that intersects the city, or, "If Notre Dame is there, then St. Michel [a street in the Latin Quarter] must be in that direction."
There is also something to be said for being lucky enough to experience Paris in the summertime. If this trip had not taken place in July, there would have been no Paris Plage, where even Parisians vacation, or Bastille Day celebrations for us to meet the pompiers at the Fireman's Ball. The weather would not have been nice enough to sit on the steps of Sacre-Coeur and look out at the best view of the city while listening to nearby people singing Beatles' songs.
Perhaps what I took away most from the trip was not just one day or one experience, but the fact that I spent my life in Paris for a summer. I treasure the countless memories and experiences from the trip that could not have happened anywhere else.