I’m Ashley Dunbar, a senior on the Yale women’s hockey team, and right now I am taking a class abroad in Paris, France. The class I’m taking is on the Belle Epoch, which is considered the Golden Age of France. This took place during years following the French Revolution and preceding World War I, and it was during this time period that Paris saw a proliferation of culture and development. Our class meets twice a week for a 3-hour lecture and discussion on the assigned readings and once a week for a cultural excursion. We are staying in the 7th arrondissement, across from the Bon Marche at St John’s University campus in Paris.
I’ve only been here a week but I’ve managed to explore some landmarks and museums. My first full day in Paris was Sunday, June 2nd, which happened to be the first Sunday of the month. Paris has a tradition of offering free admission to several museums on the first Sunday of every month so I took advantage of that and went to Centre Pompidou, a modern art museum. The building has an interesting looking exterior because it was built with all of its functional and structural parts located on the outside.
Our class took a trip on Wednesday to Monet’s house and Garden at Giverny. Claude Monet was a painter during the Belle Epoch period and we saw the lily pad pond that he made as well as all of the flowers and scenic landscapes that served as a subject for many of his impressionism paintings.
Then, on Friday I climbed (almost) all the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Due to certain restrictions, people are no longer allowed to walk up to the top but I did climb 670 stairs and then took the lift to the third tier and took in the view of Paris from 1000 meters above the ground. The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris, which also took place during the Belle Epoch period.
On Saturday, I took a train outside of Paris and visited the Palace of Versailles with some of my classmates. The gardens covered so many acres that we didn’t have enough time to explore the whole grounds but we did tour through the Chateau and visited some of the fountains.
Overall, it’s been a great first week and I’m excited to spend four more weeks in Europe. I’ve been able to get my running in around the city and I’m definitely not complaining about scenery. After my time here, I’ll head back home for a weekend to celebrate July 4th with my family and then I’ll be back in New Haven taking math and training with our strength coach, Emil. I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying their summer! Can’t wait to see you all again in the fall! Au revoir!