martedì, aprile 25, 2006

Thoughts on Paris

our resident film-maker, Judy Hallet, has interviewed everyone in terms of their thoughts on they are...enjoy.

March, 2006

Interviewed by Judy Hallet


Preconceptions about France: I thought the French would be snooty and stuck up and wouldn't want us to destroy their beautiful language. My first impression was on the train from the airport and there was a French guy sitting next to me and I said to him, "Excuse me", in French as I passed him and he said, "We speak your language here so don't bother speaking ours." The thing I found ironic about it was that he was clearly an immigrant and wasn't a native French person. But then we looked at the architecture and all the glass and I started to like Paris more and more.

Sunday: What I will remember most is that I liked Notre Dame more than I liked Sainte Chapelle. I was expecting to see Notre Dame as a tourist museum. I was pleasantly surprised, astonished, to walk in and see a beautiful parish church. I stayed for Mass and for Vespers. It was so beautiful. They were singing Gregorian Chants and I loved it. They still use the cathedral to its fullest extent in such a way that it would have been used in the Middle Ages. They were using it in the same spirit as then. And to listen to the Gregorian Chant being sung there was otherworldly because that was what it was built to used for -- it was other world. As we were walking outside sketching and walking over to the deportation monument, I just had this burning desire that I knew I had to stay at Notre Dame. I wanted to spend a lot of quiet time in prayer and I wanted to finish the sketch on the outside buttresses of the apse. I also had my first crepe ever on Sunday. It was a ham and cheese lunch crepe.

Monday: Palais Royal. I loved drawing the gardens and sitting under the very formal trees. My favorite part was the first hint of spring that came up there in the garden. After lunch we went back to the Palais Royal to do some more sketching. It was so warm and sunny we could just sit outside and take off our jackets and sunbathe. It was the first time this year and since I am a real spring person, it was perfect. It was such a nice moment.

We went to the Tuileries Gardens and I was immediately struck by the scale of the projects in the city and how wide and long some of the gardens were. I enjoyed sketching that day. I didn't enjoy La Grande Arche de la Defense at all. I didn't like it that much. I didn't like the architecture of it. I didn't like the idea of the big open cube. It was an engineer idea. It was to prove it was something you could do. But I immensely enjoyed sketching that day. I think it was my best day of sketches.

Tuesday: The riots. I am glad we avoided them. I really liked Place des Vosges. I think my favorite memory from Place des Vosges was seeing all the little kids use that little place as a playground and how one of the students leaned over and said, “Damn, seeing all these kids makes me not want to have kids.” And then I leaned over to Judy and said, “Seeing all these kids makes me want to have 20 of them!”

At the Arsenal my back started hurting me. I pulled something. My back gave me problems for the whole rest of the week. I really didn't draw much for the rest of the day. It was the first day Stanley eased up on us on the schedule pace. We went to the Arabic Institute which I loved. I had done the research for it. I found it most interesting how there was all this beautiful art and all we did was look at the exhibit details. What architects we are! We made the trip down to the Foundation Cartier. I did not enjoy it at all. The building was OK but I wasn't impressed by it. Then it took two hours to get home on the absurdly crowded Metro where only a half of the group could get on the metro at one time.

Wednesday: We went to Architectural Studio and Jean Francois Bonne gave a presentation on their work. I loved it. It was the highlight of the day! Just to see the work that they were producing and the quality of it astounded me. It really got me very excited about architecture and then to meet one of the top firms in Europe was beyond what I could ever do by myself. Thank you Stanley.

The long promenade garden -- The Viaduc Gardens. It was a vaulted raised path that used to be used for carriages to enter Paris for the wealthy class to avoid all the dirty streets. It was turned into a garden during the “Grands projects”. Forty feet wide by a mile long. That was the point where I could see the first hints of spring with the blooming trees and flowers and the first hint of the cherry blossoms.

Thursday: We went to the Natural History Museum. It was astounding to see those exhibits. Just the quality of the exhibits and the way they used light to really focus the eye. How well thought out everything was. Beautiful building and beautiful renovation of it. It is definitely one place I am going back to.

We met Dominique Perrault. We met one of the super stars in architecture. I was highly impressed by his work and highly impressed that he gave us the time for a presentation of his work and the ideas his office was putting out.

Friday: Mama Hallet was in full action tending to the ill. We went to Pompidou Center and I went to a small chapel near by and saw the stained glass windows. During WWII a lot of the stained glassed windows had been destroyed by the bombs. In this chapel, they took the chunks of glass that were preserved -- about a foot square each-- and then put them next to the nasty modern stained glass for the rest of the window. It was just like patch work. In the end there were pieces of real stained glass next to the modern glass.

Saturday: It was my day off. In the morning I went to the Miraculous Medal Chapel. It was where there were Mary envisions and where the miraculous medal that many people wear around their necks is from. In the afternoon I went through the Luxembourg Gardens and spent three or four hours there just sitting in the spring weather. One of my favorite memories was there seeing all the men playing chess because I knew someone who was an international ranked master chess player from Liviv, Ukraine. I have two favorite memories of Paris, one being Notre Dame and the second one was sitting under a Cherry Blossom tree for about two hours in the Luxembourg Gardens that afternoon because it was this time last year I started dating Liz and I took her to the Cherry Blossom Festival for our first date. This brought back that great memory.


I had been to Paris before so I had some idea of what it was going to be like. When I was in Paris before I had been solely a tourist and this time it was nice to go as an architecture student and focus on exploring some new things. I definitely saw the difference between Rome and Paris. Coming from the historic center of Rome, when you get to Paris, you get the idea that it is a modern city. There is a life and energy in Paris that isn't less than Rome but just different.

It was disappointing to be welcomed to Paris by the rain but fortunately that wasn't an indication of how the week would go. It was actually beautiful to see the Louvre at night in the rain.

Although I had been to Sainte Chapelle and Notre Dame before, they were both breath taking. Sometimes architecture is so beautiful it is hard to stop taking pictures and really experience the space. I took lots of pictures. That evening the boat ride on the Seine was a great time. Seeing the city from the river is such a different perspective. That night was perfect as I walked by the Eiffel Tower and then went to a café for dinner. I had some French Onion Soup although in France it is called “Soupe a L’Onion”; there is no need to add the French.

The next day was great and the sun actually came out. I got to see a few sights for the first time including the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais where we saw the King of Spain march through with an escort of horses. I have pictures to prove it. Then we went to La Grande Arche de la Defense which was also exciting for me. Ann and I had a perfect afternoon snack of a MacDonald's milk shake and fries.

We started the next day with my presentation at La Place des Vosges. There were children everywhere and the liveliness of the park made it very enjoyable to sketch. The day only got better as we went to the Arsenal, the architectural museum. It was great to see how many amazing projects are going on in Paris. It is a city full of modern architectural projects compared to what is going on in Rome. Unfortunately, it started to rain again but we hurried to The Institute of the Arabic World. A group of us had an amazing Middle Eastern lunch there and I finished it off with some baklava and some delicious mint tea. The tour of the building was really good. And it was interesting to see the context that the screens were in. I have had seen so many pictures of these screens but never in the context of the entire building. Like everyone else, I enjoyed the car seats in the theater. I wish we had time for a nap there.

The rain had let up a little as we headed for The Foundation Cartier. It was another great project and it gives me a lot to think about as I realize I have to start working on my own projects. Fortunately, we avoided all the protests that day but experienced some very crowded metros. I felt I had even less personal space than when I am in Rome!

The next morning we went to Architectural Studio. Jean Francois Bonne gave an excellent presentation. Even for such a large firm, I was so impressed with how many different and interesting projects they were doing. Our lunchtime walk on the Viaduc Gardens was amazing. It started off with a delicious sandwich and as we went on our walk we could tell that spring was starting to arrive.

The afternoon we went to Park de la Villette and to the Science and Industry Museum. I definitely enjoyed the exhibit on perspective as we watched “the little one” grow bigger and “the tall one” grow smaller. I wish the afternoon had been longer so we could have enjoyed the beautiful weather outside in the park. That evening I met up with one of my friends who is studying in Paris. I hadn't seen her in a long time so it was great to spend some time with her and see a fresh face. My friend Kaitlyn, Anna and I went out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It was not your typical French experience but for two Californians and one from New Mexico it was great to have some Mexican food. Mexican food in France is not quite the same as in the US but it was delicious. To read a Mexican menu in French was a little difficult because all the Spanish words were “Frenchified” and not Americanized.

I thought I was all “museumed-out” and I wasn't too keen on starting our morning with the Natural History Museum but the second I walked in the door everything changed. The atmosphere inside that space was different than any other museum I have ever been to. Going to Paris as an architecture student this was one of my favorite buildings that I saw and yet I knew nothing about it and I never expected to be impressed by it. I really enjoyed the exhibit on endangered and extinct species. I enjoyed sketching the butterfly display. For lunch, I went for the typical “Croque Monsieur”.

That afternoon we were lucky enough to go into Dominique Perrault’s office and see some of his work. The space where he showed us some of his projects was what I enjoyed the most -- seeing all his working models and material samples and seeing the way they think about architecture in the office was very interesting. It was very fitting to follow that up with the Bibliotheque National. It was something I had seen before but it was more impressive this time. Afterwards a group of us went to Les Galleries Lafayette. The central space there puts US malls to shame. Unfortunately, I didn't buy anything but it was probably a good thing for my wallet. That evening Sarah, Gil and I enjoyed a delicious dinner at a cute restaurant but it was only after we walked in that we realized it was an Italian restaurant. The French still add a special flare to any kind of cooking.

The next day we headed out to Villa Savoye. It was something I was excited to see but slightly disappointed when I got there. It wasn't what I expected. I had seen so many beautiful pictures of this building and when I got there I expected to feel some beautiful atmosphere or magic. When I got there it felt cold. It might have been because it was empty and no one was living there that the life just wasn’t there.

Friday was the day that the plague hit. Kelly got sick at the Villa Savoye. Zach was already incapacitated. And by the end of the day the count was up to five including one of my roommates. I was fortunate enough to stay healthy and enjoy the rest of the day. In the afternoon we went to The Pompidou Center. We were able to get a tour of the Music Center by Renzo Piano. Everything I saw in the Music Center was interesting but my favorite room was the one that had no echoes. The room was filled with foam. It was the first time my voice didn't carry and I was able to screen and my voice simply died. It was exciting to get into that building. I had been to the Pompidou Center before. This time it was a perfect time of the day being in the late afternoon and the views of the city were really amazing. There were also some great exhibits but what I enjoyed the most was playing hacky-sack outside in the big square. Guil, Anna and I met up with our old professor, Mary Johnson, for dinner. We had delicious Lebanese food at a cute local restaurant. It was one of those long dinners where you could just enjoy the food and the company.

The next day, Saturday, was our free day and Guil and I started off by having snacks in the back of Notre Dame for breakfast. It was great to just enjoy the city without rushing around like a tourist. We then met up with Mary to explore some of Paris's other treasures. We stumbled upon what some call the most beautiful church in Paris, St. Severin. Sometimes you think if you have seen one Gothic church you have seen them all and after you have seen Notre Dame and St. Chapelle you wouldn’t be impressed anymore but St. Severin was more than impressive. When you walk in, one of the first things you see is that the center column in the back of the church twists in a spiral. It is a unique feature in this church. Although a Gothic church, it has a modern twist to it. Behind the column in the rear of the church there is one section where all the stained glass is very modern. In one of the side chapels there is also some modern furniture design. There are so many interesting features in this church. In the back by the baptismal font there is a well. There was also an exhibit going on in the church. There were poems and graphic representations for each of The Stations of the Cross. I was so disappointed that I couldn't understand French well enough to grasp the true meaning. Mary translated a few for us but it wasn't the same as if I could have read them myself.

We went to the Luxembourg Gardens. It was a very sunny and warm day despite a few rain showers. We definitely hit the beginning of spring. In the garden is a beautiful Rodin statue. It was great to see this statue in the garden. He is one of my favorite artists. When Mary was studying in Paris twenty years ago, she loved coming to see this statue. Just recently she again stumbled upon it. After that we found another hidden treasure when the French switched over to the metric system, they installed in the walls a picture to show how much a meter was. There are only two left in Paris and we stopped by to see one carved in stone out of the wall.

Guil and I went to the architecture book store where we ran into Dave who was starting to feel a little bit better. We walked by the Pantheon quickly before meeting up with Mary at her apartment. We were able to see some of her pictures and drawing of when she visited Maison de Verre a month ago.

She also made us some delicious coffee that we had before going to a big group dinner that we were late for. On the way we actually saw a rainbow. I hadn't seen a rainbow in years. We also took some pictures of the Opera on our way to dinner. The group dinner had delicious food but I found the atmosphere a bit disappointing. It was the only time I had been rushed out of a restaurant in Paris. They kept looking to see if we had finished. Although I wasn't looking for a fast dinner, it did make it possible for us all to see the Eiffel Tower at night. Despite all the hassle and long lines it was beautiful to see the tower at night. We went all the way to the top. It took us an hour to get up with all the long lines. It was cold and windy at the top but it was a beautiful view. It seemed that the city of Paris went on forever.

After the eleven of us went up the Eiffel Tower, Guil and I headed off to meet up with Mary again. I was surprised that she was such a sport to go out with us that night since it was already getting quite late. It was great once again to avoid all the tourists and see the local side of Paris as we went to a couple of bars that night. We did it true Parisian style where we were out all night and waited for the metro to open in the morning to get back to the hotel. We had a couple of crepes before we got on the Metro.

I definitely slept in the next morning. Gil and I just walked around and got lunch and were very sad to say goodbye to Paris. However, when we arrived back in Rome, it seemed like the city had changed in the week we had been away. When coming back to Campo de Fiori, it was full on a Sunday night as if it were a Friday or Saturday night. It was quite the surprise. The next day, it was sunny and warm. Spring had hit Rome as well. The tourist season was about to hit Rome.


I knew we were going to get into something that was far more contemporary than what we had experienced in Rome. It was immediately apparent as soon as we arrived at the airport. We entered the terminal through glass-enclosed pathways. From there our trip to the hotel via an efficient public transportation system was quite different from what I had been used to in Rome. Outside of the well-ventilated rooms and comfortable beds, Paris exceeded my expectations both qualitatively and quantitatively. I still can't believe how much there was to see.

It was interesting to see an entirely different vocabulary of old religious architecture in Sainte Chapelle and Notre Dame. The openness of the spaces within the churches was something I hadn't expected and the abundance of stained glass windows were beautiful. Particularly interesting in Notre Dame were the suspended glass confessionals that were almost entirely transparent. As it turned out, this was just an introduction to what we were going to get into in the next couple of days.

When we first arrived at the more traditional gardens of Palais Royal it was very cloudy and threatening to rain. Aside from the students sketching, the space was very empty. The proportional system was still very evident and beautiful in itself but the dynamic nature of the garden was not apparent until the sun came out and the Parisians began to fill the garden. It was interesting to observe the way people interacted and congregated and actually used the space devoted to recreation. Something that really isn’t present at least in DC. Once the sun came out, the modern sculptures and their purpose in the courtyard were very clear. The distorted reflections of the sculptures were very interesting.

In Place des Vosges it was great to see children congregating much like the adults were in the Palais Royal. As we were sketching, the kids were running around us. There was all this chaos around us as we were trying to figure out proportion and scale of the facades. Pertaining to the Viaduc Gardens, the place was particularly interesting to me because of the narrow and linear aspect of it because it is very similar to what I am working with in my studio project. It was great to see the way that manipulations of the space by the landscape architects affected the movement through the garden. It was also interesting that spaces set aside from the main path of circulation were being used for conversation. Other than that. The displays in the shop windows below were very beautiful and all quite unique.

What gathered my attention at the Arabic Institute was the low ceiling. Despite this, once sitting in the café the space felt quite comfortable and intimate. Once we were upstairs, the detailing and the simplicity of the detailing of both the spaces as well as the exhibits were very beautiful. It was a place where I felt compelled to sit and sketch and break down the way things were put together. From there we went to the Foundation Cartier. It was disappointing that exhibition walls had been constructed which took away from the transparency of the building. The art itself was both interesting at times and disturbing at times. Compared to the gardens we had seen up to that point in Paris, the landscaping around the building seemed very Roman.

We visited Architectural Studio the following morning. It was a surprising experience. I had never been in an office in which the work and the environment were so pleasant. The light filled, well-ventilated, very open space that not was not cluttered with piles of drawings was quite a contrast to what we would later see in the office of Dominique Perrault. It seemed that this atmosphere manifested itself in the people who worked there. Both Jean Francois Bonne and the other employees of Architecture Studio were very friendly to us and it seemed to us in very good spirits. In contrast, Dominique Perrault seemed to speak only of himself and when talking about all of his competition victories, he never talked about the group winning but only him winning even though he didn't know how to put together his presentation. He obviously didn't put the presentation together himself.

Beyond the visit to the office of Architecture Studio, Le Parc de la Villete was my favorite experience. La Cité des Sciences et de L’Industrie -- I have never been in a museum that was so interactive. From the children playing in the building area, to the satellite map of Paris, all the way to the anatomy and genetic exhibits, people were really interacting. Typically I am usually very bored in a museum setting. My experience there was entirely different. It is somewhere that I will definitely return to during a trip to Paris. Parc de la Villette is something I had studied at length in past studios and it was something I was really looking forward to seeing in Paris. It didn't disappoint me. I really enjoyed walking through the place and exploring all the different parks. It was also great just standing in the grass and playing hacky-sack.

The Natural History Museum, much like the Science and Industry Museum, was more interactive than any museum that I have ever been in the US. It was fascinating to see the juxtaposition of old museum exhibits with the new ones. It was like the city as a whole -- you have against the walls exhibits that were able to viewed from one visual plain right next to ones that could be experienced in a 360 degree fashion, that you could sit on, walk around. The topic matter of the Natural History Museum is not something that interests me a lot yet, I still had a very enjoyable experience. I learned quite a bit from the exhibits that were displayed there.

Pompidou Center: Immediately after coming out of the Metro tunnel and approaching the Pompidou Center it took over the cityscape. It was as grand as I had imagined. The space around it was more dynamic than any urban space I have ever experienced on foot. Particularly interesting to me was the sloped pavement in front of the building where people sat and gathered organically in smaller and larger groups around the free-lance performers. Unfortunately, I was not able to see all the exhibits in the museum because of the stomach virus or what ever it was that hit me after walking into the café. But the next day, Nikki and I returned at night when it was all lit up. The building is just unbelievable.

As a whole, to sum up everything, Paris not only had more buildings, things to see, but more diversity in general than I had expected. The feeling and the mood of the different neighborhoods that we encountered were far different than what I had become comfortable with in Rome. It is a place I know I will visit again and hopefully be able to bring first-timers to it too.


I was excited to go there because of all the modern architecture that it is there. The one preconception of the French that I had was that they suck. I personally didn't have any problems when I was over there but I heard stories from others. Paris kind of reminded me a lot of DC in many ways. It was definitely more modern than Rome. I thought it was a beautiful city. It definitely had character to it. I think Paris is a good mix between the old and the new.

The Louvre, I think the coolest part was that it was all underground. At least the I M Pei addition was underground and you had no idea it was there. Walking around looking at the big pyramid and the little pyramid was quite fascinating.

I thought Sainte Chapelle was absolutely beautiful. The thing I liked the most about it was the transparency with the stained glass windows. I wish we could have seen it with the sun coming through the windows. In terms of Notre Dame, I though it would have been a lot more decorated on the outside but I loved it. I think it is one of the most fascinating churches I have ever been in. Mass there was a good experience even though it was hard to follow because it was in French.

The boat ride going up and down the river was nice. Being on the water and getting to see everything in the area from the river was interesting. The Seine was a very important factor in the city's existence so it was nice to be on it.

Palais Royal -- the best part was the landscaping inside of it. The way they cut the trees -- on one side they were straight and on the other side the trees created an arch type structure.

The Tuileries: I had fun in them dancing among the sculpture and doing the "escalator: and the “elevator” and the “kayak” and the “stairs” behind the hedges.

We hopped on the Metro and went to the Grande Arche de la Defense. That area seemed like a modern city -- massive buildings were scattered about the area. It seemed more like our modern American cities. The Grande Arche was awesome. I really liked it. I think my favorite part was looking at the paintings at the top. You would look at a dot for 30 seconds and then look at the black frame next to it for 10 seconds and then you saw the image of the person you were staring reflected in the black frame.

As we were walking down the Champs Elysées, we wanted to find Chris Cornelle's restaurant and we found it and then we left. We went to a crepe place for crepes. I had first an egg and cheese crepe. Then a sausage crepe which turned out to be a hot dog and then the last one had apple sauce in the middle. It was good.

I thought the Arabic Institute was awesome. It sticks out the most of that day. I think the best part about it was the detailing and the architecture. There were a lot of simple things put together very nicely. The display cases you could do a whole study on that alone. I loved the elevator core. The Renault car seats in the auditorium were phenomenal. It was also awesome going to get kabobs in the pouring rain and then walking all the way back in the pouring rain.

The Cartier Foundation I thought was a cool building. There were, however, two things that kind of boggled me -- one being the art that was displayed there. I was not into that. The second being the landscaping outside the building. It didn't seem up to pare with the rest of the landscaping in Paris.

Afterwards, the Metro was crazy because of the strike that day. I think I got pizza for dinner and a few of us went down to the Place de la Republique to see what was going on because of the demonstrations. I have never seen so many cops in my life. We didn't see much. There were a small group of protesters still there that the police had contained in one spot. They kept bringing one by one out of the crowd and putting them into buses. They shot pepper spray on one dude. One kid started mouthing off to a few cops and then about seven cops jumped on him and threw him in the van.

Architectural Studio. This was my favorite day. I loved the firm itself. I loved the actual studio spaces, their offices. I actually enjoyed sitting through the slide show and looking at their projects. It just seemed like an awesome environment to work in and everyone seemed very nice.

That afternoon we went to Parc de la Villette. The museum itself was cool -- actually the whole area was cool. I enjoyed going through the museum and looking at all the exhibits. My favorite part of the day was playing hacky-sack outside for about two hours since it was such a beautiful day. I also liked going down the kids slide.

We went to Chez Clemente for dinner. I had crab ravioli for a starter and penne and salmon for the main course and then all you can eat profiteroles for dessert.

The Natural History Museum: When we first walked up to it, I had no interest in it what so ever but once I got inside it, I felt completely different. It was very cool inside. There were a lot of neat exhibits to see. Just walking through it, seeing all the animals on display was terrific. I wished we had had a little more time because I spent most of my time sketching and I would have liked to see some more of the exhibits. I liked how they displayed certain animals especially the birds that went all the way up the elevators.

Dominique Perrault's Office, I enjoyed visiting his firm. I didn't like it as much as Architectural Studio. It might have been the weather but it seemed like the dark evil empire was going on there. Everyone was so quiet and kept to themselves. It didn't seem like a lot of life was going on there. I did enjoy seeing Dominique’s projects, the things he was working on. Then we went to see the Bibliotheque National. When we drove by it on the bus, it didn't seem that impressive but when I actually visited it, I liked it a lot. I thought the transplanting of the trees in the middle courtyard was very cool. I enjoyed seeing that. I also liked the interior in the building, all the details and the mixture of materials. I thought it was very well done.

For dinner, we went to a kabob place in the Latin Quarter. Zach wussed out on his challenge. He said he could eat three kabobs in one hour. I said he was wrong. There was no way he could eat three kebobs in an hour. He would explode. But Zach never even tried. He only had one kebob! Then he got sick and so we never finished the challenge.

Villa Savoye: Overall I enjoyed Courbu's house. When we first walked up, I wasn't too impressed but after spending a couple of hours there, I was more impressed. It is definitely more interesting from the outside than the inside. It was somewhat cold. It could have had that feeling because no one was living there.

We went to Pompidou Center. We actually went into the City of Music, the building next to the Pompidou. We got a tour of the music center. I thought the Pompidou Center was phenomenal. The best part is definitely the top. We took the escalators on the side to the top and we had a perfect view of the city and the sun going down. It was awesome being up there on top. There was also cool reflecting pool by the café on the rooftop. The inside of the restaurant had free formed shaped rooms decorated in different solid colors. There was a Morphous exhibit which was done in a very unique way. It was a giant display space that angled up to the back of the room and the way you viewed all the exhibits was by walking on top of the glass. All the models were underneath the glass.

The LA exhibit was quite interesting too. The one thing that kind of stuck out was this artist -- shock art -- he had pictures and a video of this guy shooting him in the arm. In another one, he asked someone to put pushpins in him. In another he wrapped himself in a bag in the middle of the street. He two road flares that lasted 15 minutes and he just lay there in the middle of the road. He actually got arrested. All this stuff was very strange. I kept asking myself what was going through these artists’ minds when they were doing these things. It just seemed like everyone was whacked out of their minds.

Overall I really liked Paris. It was definitely a lot better than I thought it would be. It is definitely a lot better place to study modern architecture than Rome. There is so much to do and so much to see in Paris.


I had been to Paris before in 2001 and my impression from then was that it was gloomy and dark. I didn't really like it because it rained the whole time I was there and the people were not really that nice. This trip made me think the opposite. I love Paris now. I think Paris feels more like the US than Rome does. After nine days in Paris it makes Rome seem like a different time. I liked how in Paris there was much more green space than in Rome.

I thought it was cool to see the Louvre at night. I had never seen it at night and I thought it was really beautiful. Notre Dame was smaller than I remembered it being but the Mass we went to in Notre Dame was beautiful. The boat ride we went on that day was really fun to see the city from the river. I thought the Grande Arche was impressive and I liked the walk we took from the Louvre down the Champs Elysées. The king of Spain waved at me during the parade that we saw with him and his escort of horses. We went to a crepery for dinner and had the best crepes I have ever had. I had one with spinach, cheese and eggs. For dessert I had one with pears, pear sorbet, whipped cream and chocolate.

I thought the architectural museum, The Arsenal, was very interesting since there is nothing like this in the US. I thought the Institute of the Arab World was amazing. It was such an interesting building and so well detailed. I thought the screens were very innovated. The Arab food was really good that we had for lunch in their restaurant. The Cartier Foundation was also very interesting although I think it would have been more interesting in the Spring. The layers of glass in the building were very interesting. We went to a restaurant, Le Cannibal, near the hotel. I had really good pea soup. The best pea soup I have ever had. Then I had calamari and for dessert, a crème brulé which was really good.

Architectural Studio was really impressive. The scale of their projects was huge and they were all very interesting. The people were very nice and the studio was beautiful. I was amazed that they could so many large-scale projects at the same time.

When we went to the Parc de la Villette, I thought the park was very modern. The museum, La Cité des Sciences et de L’Industrie was really cool. There were a lot of great exhibits. I could have stayed there all day. In another area of the park there was a giant slide that we went down a couple of times. We also went into the chocolate exhibit house and we got free chocolate mousse. It was really good. I wish we could have gone into the Museum of Music but it was closed. We went to Chez Clemente with Dave for dinner and had all you can eat of profiteroles which were tasty. I had raw oysters for the first time. They were really good.

The Natural History Museum was gorgeous. The way they had preserved the animals and put them on display was very interesting. The exhibits were also very interesting. There was one about endangered and extinct animals which I liked a lot. We then went to Dominique Perrault’s studio. I thought the environment in his studio was really cool. It reminded me of an artist's studio. That night we walked around the Bibliotheque National that he designed and I thought it was interesting. Then Amanda and I went shopping at Les Galeries Lafayette. It is a beautiful mall. It has a dome in the center and was ornamented. It was so pretty. I bought a pair of French jeans. Afterwards, we walked around the Latin Quarter and got dinner and we came back to the hotel. Then we went to the same restaurant where I had the delicious pea soup for some drinks.

The next day I woke up and I didn't feel well. In fact I threw up but we were going to the Villa Savoye and I really wanted to see it so I went. As soon as we got there, I had to throw up again in the Villa Savoye. Afterwards I felt better and kept sketching and then I decided I should go back to the hotel for the rest of the day. I thought it was just food poisoning from the day before because I get that a lot but it was a weird French gastro-intestinal disease. So Dave took me back to the hotel but on the way out of the Villa I had to throw up again. Then on the bus to the train station I was feeling very sick and almost threw up another time. I made it back to the hotel and Judy took me to get some medicine from the pharmacy and I got in bed. I only threw up two more times and then I was better. I stayed in bed all afternoon and slept until the next morning.

On Saturday we had a free day and I slept in since I wasn't feeling 100% good. In the afternoon I went to the Musée d'Orsay with Anna. I loved the Musée d'Orsay. It was second time I had been there. The Impressionists are my favorite period of art. I saw a lot of Monet paintings. Monet is my favorite painter. Going to that museum made me feel better. I enjoyed it a lot.

We had the group dinner. I couldn't really eat that much because my stomach was still feeling kind of funny. Then after dinner, we went to the Eiffel Tower. It was dark and we went up to the very top and it was absolutely beautiful. The lights were on and every hour on the hour it would sparkle. We saw it sparkle four times! We just walked around the area until about midnight.

The next morning Ana and I did a little shopping and I got some souvenirs for my family. We went to Notre Dame for Mass. There was a choir and it was really beautiful. Then we had our flight back to Rome. When we came back to Italy everything was crazy again, especially the traffic. In France people and cars actually obey the traffic lights unlike in Italy. But the weather was really nice in Rome. It was sunny and in the seventies. I was glad it was not rainy anymore in Rome. I thought the trip was great all together. We saw so much and I feel I know Paris very well now. It was nice to see some modern architecture after being in Rome so long where everything is very old.


I thought the French people would be rude and that was true. As for preconceptions of how it would be, I thought it would be similar to Rome in some ways but I don't think it was similar at all. I don't think you can draw much of a comparison between Rome and Paris. They are so different. They both have the good and the bad parts.

I found it a bit stressful getting to the hotel on the Metro. It was a bit difficult handling all the luggage and going to some place I was not familiar with but we made it through OK. I enjoyed going through the Louvre at night and seeing the light at night on the big pyramid from the outside. I was able to take some cool pictures.

I thought the stained glass windows at Sainte Chapelle were absolutely beautiful. It was a beautiful place to visit. I was very impressed with the over all size, the massiveness of Notre Dame. It was just impressive to see a religious space that was that large. We had always heard of the famous flying buttresses and it was nice to see it in person. The Deportation Monument was very nicely, very simply done. The boat ride was nice to see how everything fell into context after Stanley had explained it the day before. We went to a restaurant in the Latin Quarter. I had some good French Onion Soup.

Palais Royal: I was amazed by the size not just in Palais Royal but in all the gardens and how they were integrated into the city itself. I thought the modern bridge over the Seine was pretty impressive.

La Grande Arche de la Defense was massive. I hadn't expected to see anything so large. I thought that whole area felt futuristic -- sort of unnatural -- sort of forced. Then going back to the L’Arc de Triomphe was nice because that was one of the things I had wanted to see when in Paris.

The day of the riots. I was kind of worried about the riots because I had seen the news on CNN so I was a little worried at first. The park, Place des Vosges, we visited earlier that morning, I thought was very characteristic of what an outdoor park would be like in Paris.

I thought the Arab Institute was a very impressive building. There was such a level of detail that you don't see in other projects and certainly not in the US. To take the time to put together a project like that was very nice. In the US we would have to get it done for the cheapest price and never take the time to put together all those pieces. I was disappointed with the Foundation Cartier, not because of the architecture, but because of the way they had destroyed the architecture with the exhibit and the very poor upkeep of the building.

The metro ride back was quite an adventure. It kind of made us all think twice whether we should have gone there in the first place but we made it. We went to get crepes in the Latin Quarter. I had a hot dog in a crepe and a scrimp salad and a chocolate and banana crepe. The hot dog one was called sausage crepe so I thought it would be a ground up sausage in a crepe but it turned out to be a hot dog. I discovered there was no way to eat and live economically in Paris.

Architectural Studio: The quantity of projects that they did and the magnitude and the size of the projects were very impressive. I thought it was a nicely set-up office and I was very impressed with the presentation of Jean Francois Bonne. Le Cité des Sciences et de L’ Industrie at the Parc de la Villette was a giant building. I hadn't expected to see anything like that in Paris. I really enjoyed seeing all the kids who were enjoying all the exhibits as compared to the US where the exhibits seen neglected.

After that I played hacky-sack for a while. We had dinner at Chez Clemente where I got all you can eat profiteroles. I had a big clam and scrimp and snail appetizer and for my entrée I had what was called the “grande rotisserie” which consisted of four kinds of meat and huge pile of potatoes. I ate ten profiteroles for dessert. That was a pretty good meal.

The Museum of Natural History was impressive to see a collection of so many specimens in one place. It was also nice to see the exhibits out in a space where the kids were invited to interact with them rather than behind a glass wall. After that we walked over to Dominique Perrault's office. I thought his office was kind of weird. It gave me a strange feeling. I thought the building that it was in was very awkward and very poorly maintained which was not what I expected for an architect of his stature. I think it would have been a lot more beneficial to visit his library first so we could have asked some questions about the library. It seemed as though those who were working in the office didn't seem like they were enjoying their job. It did seem like he was doing some interesting work and it was worth going there certainly.

On Friday at about 3 am, I started feeling very ill. Then I started throwing up. I finally stopped throwing up at about 8 am. I decided to stay home. Then Judy took me to the pharmacy but I didn't quite make it back from the pharmacy without throwing up again. So I enjoyed sleeping because it made me feel better after taking the drugs. Then I feasted on boiled rice and cooked carrots and a half a baguette.

On Saturday I woke up feeling a bit better. Since I was greatly disappointed that the program hadn't taken us to the Eiffel Tower, I decided to go. I waited in line for about an hour to get to the second level and then about another half an hour to get to the top but it was very worthwhile to get up there. The view was very impressive and you could see how things fit together.

After that I was so exhausted that I went back to hotel and went back to sleep until dinner. We went to the big group dinner in which the waiter was very rude which I think stereotyped French waiters for me but the food was good and it was certainly nice to eat something besides rice and carrots. Afterwards I went back to the hotel and to bed.

Sunday we got up and decided to go to a diner called Breakfast in America which was very good. We got American breakfast food which was a nice taste of home. After that we walked by the Pompidou Center. I wanted to see it since I hadn't seen it yet. I still feel it is a bit awkward. It is different. Then we came back to Rome.

To sum up the trip, it was an enjoyable week even though a quarter of us got violently ill. I was glad that the riots and the protests didn't interfere with our plans. It is nice to be back in Rome.


I had been to the Paris airport numerous times before but I had never stopped to look at the architecture. I have always thought it was a bad airport because I have always had bad experiences there. This time it was quite nice not to have any problems there. It was nice to look at the subtle designs that I hadn't noticed before. I also noticed it felt like we jumped a 100 years into the future between Paris and Rome. It was nice to feel like we were in the modern world again. As far as the week went, I tried keeping up a journal that I have been keeping all the semester but I was so exhausted I didn't get a chance to write as much as I wanted. One thing I did notice right from the start was that Paris had a very European feel to it. For some reason, Rome doesn't have that same feeling. It might be because Paris has a more modern metropolis atmosphere. It was a huge relief to go and see so many buildings in such a short time and to be able to remember each and every one of them instead of seeing the ruins that we have been used to in Rome.

Of all the places that we went to on Sunday, the two that really stand out in my mind are Sainte Chapelle and the Mass at Notre Dame. When we were at Sainte Chapelle a little boy started speaking to me in French and I had no idea what he was saying so I had to ask Stanley to translate for me and he was more than happy to do that. It was funny how the boy kept looking up at the window that I was drawing and looking down at my drawing and adding little comments. Then his Dad finally came to tell him it was time to go. I was surprised that his Dad looked like a French version of Keith Richards! As I was getting to leave myself, a lady came up and asked me to point out where a certain window was in the chapel but she only spoke Spanish. I had to explain to her in Italian where the window was and surprisingly we were able to converse and I was finally able to put my Italian skills together.

When we went to Notre Dame for Mass, the thing that surprised me the most was the fact that the church was entirely packed which was a huge difference from the churches in Rome. I have gone to the Vatican several times and every time there was hardly anyone there for Mass. So it was really uplifting to see so many people show up for Mass. With that and the fact that it is a beautiful cathedral, I couldn't ask for anything more. Ironically, one of the best things about the Mass was that I got to fall sleep during the sermon. Ann had to wake me up before I fell over into the person sitting next to me.

After the Mass we had the dinner in the Latin Quarter at a fondue place. It was as little bit of a disappointment although I did get to eat snails for the second time in my life. For the main course, I ordered fondue thinking they would bring side dishes to dip into the cheese. It turned out to be just a couple of potatoes.

One thing I remember about the parks was Maureen going around and taking pictures of us. I thought it was a really nice thing to do especially to let us come up with our own personal expressions. Then we went to see La Grande Arche and I absolutely loved it. It was probably one of my favorite buildings that we saw. It was a really simple design but so massive that it was inspiring to see how they made such a simple design so grandiose. I really liked the three dimensional exhibits that they had upstairs. Pat and I tried to see if we could link the glasses together and see if we could take a picture and have it show up three dimensionally but it didn't quite work.

The next day we went to Place des Vosges. I really liked watching the kids especially the boys fighting in the sandbox. It was just like what stereotypical boys are supposed to do. The next thing that struck me was the Institut du Monde Arabe. I think of all the buildings that we saw that week, the details that we saw in that building were fantastic. They were all fairly simple but so elegant. I learned the most from that building. I really appreciated that Stanley got us in to several of the different studios so that we could see what our French counterparts were doing. I particularly liked Architecture Studio. I fell asleep for almost half of the lecture. I was so exhausted that morning. I felt absolutely horrible after missing so much. I think the one of the things I liked the best Architecture Studio. It seemed like more of team rather than one man taking all the credit which is the feeling I got from Dominique Perrault's set up.

I absolutely loved the National Museum of Natural History. It was probably one of the most beautiful museums I have ever seen. I really liked how they integrated the modern exhibit designs with the old fashion rod iron structure. It was a perfect blend creating a gorgeous space. The museum was also a lot of fun.

In Dominique Perrault’s office, I was really surprised by the number of projects they were doing outside of France. I was particularly surprised that the first project Dominique presented was in St. Petersburg. I have a good friend who lives in St. Petersburg so it was neat to see what is going to be built there and to see a building that she will be able to enjoy after it is constructed.

The last day in Paris was really nice. Pat, Ann and I had planned on taking a train to Normandy to see the V-Day invasion of the beach heads, but I didn't wake up in time to make the earlier train so it didn't make sense to go out for just a couple of hours. Instead, I went to the Louvre and spent close to six hours there and tried to see just about everything that they had on display. I absolutely loved the sculpture. I thought it was magnificent. The paintings, of course, were just unbelievable. Some were the size of an entire wall. Painting is one of my favorite hobbies so imagining painting a composition that huge is completely mind boggling to me. The only thing that I wish that I had gotten to see was the French Impressionist artists over at the Musée d'Orsay.

Saturday night we had our big dinner at Le Chartier. It had an old fashioned feeling to it that I really enjoyed. When we left I couldn't believe how long the line was to get into the restaurant.

The flight back was another great experience because I was sitting in the exit seat so I had tons of legroom and the curtains for the first class passengers were right behind us. So when they closed the curtains we were bumped up to first class! Ann asked me if we could order champagne and I said why not! So we ordered the free champagne. We toasted to a good trip in Paris and we flew back in style.

I think Paris is one of my top five cities and I just think it has a vibrancy that I haven't found anywhere else and this despite all the anti-French sentiment that is swirling around back home. I think after this trip it has definitely disproved all the stereotypes that we have for the French.


The first time I went to Paris, I was 13. I went with my parents and I didn't like it much in fact I hated it but I think I was going through that rough teenager phase when you are traveling with your family and you don't really enjoy anything. I felt like it was polluted and I really didn't like it. This time around I loved it! I loved it so much that I didn't want to leave. Even though I like Rome, I felt depressed about coming back. I think it is just the fact that Paris feels like a very large cosmopolitan city and Rome is lacking that feeling. Overall, I felt that the people were so cultured. I don't think I have ever experienced that so much in my life. Where you can talk to a person about, for instance, architecture and know that they knew what they were talking about. That really did it for me.

I loved the fact it was so beautiful, so clean and such a great blend of the old and new architecture. There was always something to do. Like other cities I have been in my life -- I love Rome because of its charm. I love San Paulo because of the amazing social scene there. There is always something going on there. In London there is this intense energy, an international vive. Paris seemed to have it all.

I guess the highlight of the first day was Sainte Chapelle. I had never ever seen such a place like Sainte Chapelle. The endless amount of glass was so beautiful. I enjoyed the boat trip too because I had never done that before. Even though the boat went faster than I thought it would, it was nice seeing the whole river frontage all at once and getting a feeling of it as a whole. The highlight of day was by far ending up with a friend from home. We took a nice walk from Notre Dame to The Eiffel Tower and there was a sunset and it was beautiful.

I don't have much to say about all the buildings since I had seen them all before and even though they were really great to see again with someone like Stanley who give a lot of insight, for me a lot of what happened was the people I saw and what I did on my own time.

The second day I went out with my friend who I went to high school with. His name is Justin and he lives in Paris. Basically we went to dinner. First of all, it was nice to go to dinner where there were no Americans and only French people. It was nice to leave the American bubble. After that we met up some of his friends who also live there. It was great socializing with new friends. We went to an underground club that was really small. It must have been not larger than 30 by 30 and it had 200 people in it. There was a crazy eighties band and it was great. After we finished with that we went to a bar and had some drinks and just caught up since it had been four years since I had seen him. We talked about Paris. He got me hyped up about Paris and we were there until 2 in the morning talking. After that I got in the cab. I tried to have a conversation with the taxi cab driver and since none of the taxi cab drivers speak anything but French it was interesting but I managed to get home.

I really enjoyed going to Architectural Studio. It was great to see a firm like that because I had never seen a large firm that treated their projects with such attention like a smaller firm would. It was really exciting and added to my Paris kick. This really built up on how I was really impressed with how the French people really deal with architecture. Then we went to the Arsenal which is about the 8th the size of The Building Museum in Washington DC. It said so much more about architecture than the National Building Museum. It fueled the fire again. After that we went to the Institute of the Arabic World -- the building was great but the highlight was the food. I hadn't had Arabic food in so long. For me the last highlight of the day was the collection by Tanadori Yokoo at the Cartier Foundation. If I ever win the lottery, I would buy one of his paintings -- at least one of the ones without the sexual organs.

As for the riots, to be honest, I didn't see any riots or anything. It wasn't that big a deal at all.

The day we went to Le Parc de la Villette I was in a really bad mood. When I was sketching in the Science and Industry Museum, I had my legs crossed for too long. So when I got up for about 20 seconds, my legs were still asleep and I collapsed and broke my sketch book.

The next day we went to the Museum of Natural History. I thought it was great. I thought it was one of the best museums I have ever walked into in my life. Every second I spent there I really enjoyed. It was so exciting to see a natural history museum actually engage the person. Usually it is such a snooze fest. The tour we got from the lady was really interesting. There was a plaque with the name of the architect that had done the original museum and another plaque next to it with the new architect who had done the renovation of the museum. On the plaque under his name was written: "To conserve is to transform" I thought that was really powerful because back in the US when we conserve we don't add anything, we just conserve. You could tell how this architect put his entire self into this building and it became this amazing space.

After that we went to Dominique Perrault's office. I enjoyed that even though his presentation felt a little rushed but I understand that since I know he is a busy architect. I didn't like anything about his office. I thought it was a horrible, smoky office. I felt really bad for all those interns who you know were not being paid anything but I did like his work a lot.

The really exciting day for me was going to the Pompidou Center. Villa Savoye was a little disappointing although I don't know why. I thought the tour of Renzo Piano's Music building was really exciting. It was really great. That night a couple of us went to dinner with Mary Johnson and we had a great time. It was a little restaurant where she knew the guy and they kept bringing out amazing Lebanese food.

The next day was our day off and we again met up Mary and we asked her to show us around what she had come to know in Paris. We went to this amazing church, St. Severin. It was so beautiful. There were candles lit throughout the church. Everywhere there could be, there were candles, even on the columns. There was a contemporary exhibit on the Stations of the Cross that was very powerful even though I don't speak French and I couldn't read it.

There was so much character in this much smaller church that you don't find in the bigger churches like Notre Dame. After that we sat down to dodge the rain and had a glass of wine and lunch and just enjoyed. The weather was crazy that day. It just poured and then it would be a beautiful blue sky.

We just walked around the neighborhood where Mary lives. We found post cards and books from the 1600's in little antique shops. We found this huge architecture bookstore and walked in and found Dave there too. We ran up to catch up with everyone and went to the group dinner. After the dinner we went up the Eiffel Tower at night. I had never done it at night and it was really beautiful although it was freezing at the top. After that we went to the hotel and got dressed and went out for drinks with Mary. We had such a good conversation and kept talking and talking. We went to one bar after another since they kept closing. We decided to wait for the Metro to open in the morning. We walked around a little bit and she showed us the Pompidou Center at night. It was so bizarre since you always see it with movement but at 4:00 in the morning the building and space around it was lifeless. We got on the Metro and said good-bye.

To sum up, it was such a great week. I could have spent a year there just on vacation soaking it all up. It was a combination of the people's attitude and the place and so much more. It was so moving to me. It brought a lot of questions in my head about where I want to be and what I want to do which is good and frustrating at the same time.


I had been to Paris before and it hadn’t been one of my favorite cities that I had been to in Europe but this trip really changed my view of it in a good way. I actually really liked Paris this trip.

On previous trips we had been to more cafés and bars than actual sites in Paris. This time I was able to see a lot of Paris that I hadn't seen before. Personally, I think Rome and France are opposite cultures for a lot of reasons. France was a much needed breathe of fresh air.

I had been to St Chapelle before but this time I felt I was looking at in a completely different way -- looking at the structure and all. I had never been to the Louvre before. That was an interesting place even though we got to experience just a little piece of it. Obviously, I liked the boat ride since it is so nice to be on the water even for a little bit of time. I wish the weather had been better that day -- that it hadn't been raining. My favorite thing Sunday was Mass at Notre Dame which was pretty incredible.

I couldn't believe the scale of La Grande Arche. It was really interesting. It was neat to see where my Dad works as well in one of the adjacent buildings. I just missed the King of Spain. I looked away for one second. I actually made fun of the fact that he was riding in a Ford mini-van. I was just making fun of that idea and then he actually came by riding in that van.

I think the Institute of the Arabic World was probably my favorite building that we visited. The level of detailing was inspiring. The entire project was inspiring as well. Hopefully I will be able to create projects with that level of detailing and have as much control over the detailing.

The weather the day we went to La Parc de La Villette was perfect. It was the first time I have been to a museum and not wanting to leave. The only reason I left was because it was so nice outside. I felt like it engaged adults in a way that it engaged children. In the same way that you engage children, I felt the museum engaged you only at a higher level. My curiosity perked up just like it was back when I was a kid going to museums. I felt that money was not really the issue. They were willing to put the extra Euros into the quality of displays and presentation. I feel sometimes that US museums hold back because they feel it might be too expensive.

The day of the riots: I wish we could have seen more of the riots. We walked down to La Place de la Republique that night but by the time we got there it was pretty much over.

Villa Savoye - it was interesting but it didn't feel like a home. I don't know if I could ever live there. It was too cold there. When I imagined how progressive it was at the time, it was pretty interesting.

We went to the Pompidou Center. I never actually made it inside the Pompidou Center because we stayed outside looking at the water sculpture garden. Then we went inside the Music Center. I guess the most interesting thing about that was how much of it was underground and how they were able to bring light down into the spaces. Then I went home with Amanda who was feeling sick. Afterwards I went off to Lyon to visit my parents. It was nice to see their apartment and visit my parents. We had a lady who lives upstairs over for lunch on Saturday and, of course, home cooking is always a plus. We had scrimp Creole.

To sum it all up, it was a nice breathe of fresh air but it was at the same time good to be "home" in Rome.


I don't know what my preconceptions were about Paris but they were far surpassed. You always hear that the French are not a welcoming people but I didn't find them that way. I didn't expect Paris to be such a trend setter in terms of museums and the enjoyment of life for the people living there. I am not sure if it was because we were with an architecture group but I have the feeling that any person visiting Paris feel the ideas that become reality built all around them as they walk through the city. I think Stanley was totally correct when he said that Paris sets itself apart from things we recall back in America by the fact that they can hold a competition, take the best idea and run with it to see how citizens might react to it. I thought Paris had the best museums that I have been to from The Natural History Museum, to The Pompidou Center, to La Cité des Sciences et de L"Industrie.

I had always seen the pyramid of the Louvre in pictures but when I realized there was an inverted pyramid as well, and I saw how vast the complex was underground and I realized what year it came to fruition, I was very amazed.

For how small Sainte Chapelle was compared to other Gothic churches and the light inside forced me to call it my favorite church ever. I felt like it was made of stained glass. There were barely any columns holding it up. As for Notre Dame, it was neat to sit in the rear with all the lit candles -- the reflection area -- and to think about life back home for a short time. Returning later to experience Mass was really a grand experience although I could hardly stay awake. The French language was more like a chant to me than a natural service.

The Deportation Monument -- You wouldn't notice it until you go down the stairs and experience it. I really appreciate modern and symbolic ways to honor such a significant event in history. I thought it was a very solemn place that led you to reflect on the people who were put through that pain.

Palais Royal -- This was my first peak into what an outdoor garden space would be like in France. This was a more traditional garden area with a twist of a modern approach. The best part was when I realized how many people actually used the space when they came out of their offices for lunch and seeing the students who were walking through the park. It was also great when I realized that the city provides the people with movable lounge chairs. That day and the rest of the days I got the feeling that Paris had a dedication to cleanliness and to a quality of living. Everyone could respect these garden systems and not take advantage of them.

La Grande Arche was the project that I researched so I had a preconceived notion of what it would be but when we popped out of the Metro station at the base, this thing was huge. The whole complex around it -- I felt I was in a new galaxy. I began to understand the vision of the Grands Projets of Paris. I just enjoyed sitting and sketching that day. The weather was also very nice that day.

Place des Vosges -- It was interesting how they could take this park and use it also as a playground. The kids from the nearby schools could use this park and make it a lively area. Otherwise, it was a place for people to relax and especially for toddlers to play in the sandboxes.

The Arsenal -- A French man approached me as I was looking at a project. He seemed to be either in the architectural field or really interested in architecture. It was nice to be on a one on one talk with someone who lives in a city and who takes the urban planning so seriously.

The Arabic Institute. I never thought I could get so excited about detailing. I asked Stanley if there were jobs strictly for detailing and he said: “Yeah, that is all you want to do.” I laughed to myself because I thought the attention to details in this building were significant projects in themselves. I would just say I enjoyed sketching the display case that I chose and seeing how the different component lined up for a really clean presentation. The first floor was the height of one Seth. I didn't realize I was a measuring tool.

The Cartier Foundation -- there were some shocking things hanging on the walls but they were very fun to laugh about with my friends.

Architecture Studio had a very open and airy office that I appreciated seeing. Everyone was cheerful. The projects that we had the privilege to see, that we actually could see developing, impressed me very much. It was great to see the aggressive designs that we do in our own studios actually being followed through here in a large firm. I was impressed at how the government or concerns on how others might react don't hinder such good ideas being built.

Compared to the older parks that we had seen, Le Parc de la Villette’s modern approach just got my mind churning and saying, “Wow!” as I was turning around the corners because every sight I saw seemed so ridiculous. It seemed sort of ridiculous but I realized what it was doing was giving the chance for both children and adults to act like little kids. The museum that we went to in the park, La Cité des Sciences et de I’Industrie, was very interactive and I could have easily spent many more hours there. After sketching, five or six of us played hacky-sac for two and half hours and just soaked in the nice weather. Le Parc de la Villette will definitely be a place I will return to.

Just when I saw my favorite museum, we had another great visit to The Natural History Museum. I thought the arrangement of the exhibits, the lighting and the mix of the old and new architecture was something that allowed the visitor to wander through and not get bored at all. I just really liked the way they had the animals displayed and again how they had interactive display cases to make learning easy for all ages.

Dominique Perrault -- The office was arranged in stark contrast to Architecture Studio but the amount of impressive work they were doing was one and the same. It reminded me a little of our desks around the studio and so did the thirty workers in the back room. It was a very unique experience that our program had us meet with both of these firms because to hear them talk so nonchalantly about such huge projects in foreign lands was an experience I had yet to have.

Villa Savoye: When you see pictures of famous architecture, it is hard to grasp what the surrounding area is like and then all of a sudden we jumped off the bus and turned the corner and bam there it was. The thing that impressed me about this house was that as I walked through it, I was constantly reminding myself of when it was built and how much of an “in your face” shock it must have been with the people who viewed it for the first time. You could see it as very modern in today’s standards and this was built almost a century ago.

We had a group of twelve people who visited the Pompidou Center. First we visited the fountain next to the Pompidou Center where the funniest contemporary art pieces were in the water, spinning around and shooting out water. It looked like a miniature golf place near my house but the children were up to their waist running through the water and having a great time. It led me to stand there and watch them in awe thinking if I were three or four feet shorter I would go in too. It was great that we got a tour of the Renzo Piano Music Hall. We felt like we were privileged to see something that wasn’t planned. It was really neat because it stretched underneath the fountain. The majority of it was underground.

The Pompidou: Maybe it is because we had seen so many best approaches to architecture in Paris, but I wasn’t so shocked by the look of the Pompidou as you might think I might be. It makes you wonder because when you are studying architecture, so much is said about pertaining to your context and this is just an obvious statement to stick out from what’s around you and take control of your building. I thought it was neat because the building was so alive outside. People were just sitting outside, some performers and some people having lunch. Then the whole side of the building seemed to be alive because the people were moving up the long escalators taking them to the different floors. Once inside, I added to my list of my favorite museums. They had a Morphosis Exhibit where all of their work for the past many years was underneath a glass floor that you walked on. They gave you slip proof covers for your feet that said Morphosis on the bottom. I stood and watched the videos of one of the main architects of the their group who was being interviewed. He seemed like a man whose mind was always churning. He was very tenacious and it intrigued me a lot. It was really fun to watch people interact in a museum all the while looking down at their feet and not straight at the wall. As I was leaving the museum, I realized the idea of the exhibit was probably the work of the architecture group as well. I thought that must have taken a half a day to figure out. There was a Los Angeles Art Exhibit from the 60’s and 70’s. I would call it “shock art” for someone who didn’t live during that period. But my friends and I had a good time responding to these really extreme ways of expressing themselves. I would just say when we left the Pompidou Center, Pat, Paul and I met a French guy named Thomas and I can say he humbled us in our hacky-sac abilities.

The next day was a free day. Pat, Ann and I decided to go see Parc Citroen. On the way there we actually ran across a project that I saw at the Arsenal Museum where the Metro tracks ran through the grass like it was cutting through the carpet. It was neat. Once at the park, we just wondered around. The architect who designed the park offered a lot of opportunities to get yourself lost within tiny gardens. I am sure once everything comes into bloom, you could easily spend a whole day there. I will certainly be returning to that park to take a ride in the balloon. I watched a mother taking in the sun in one of lounge chairs while her baby was asleep in the carriage next to her. I thought this is what I am talking about, how France provides opportunities to enjoy the world around them.

I walked around Les Halles, the shopping area in the afternoon, and although the items were enticing, I couldn’t give into the prices, having hemorrhaged away my money for three months. The place was packed with people I think because it was Saturday but what really stood out in my mind was how popular the store “H and M” is in Paris. I couldn’t even move once I was inside. I figured I would wait until I get home.

The nights: I kept waiting for that one spot where people flocked to for shopping, eating and people watching. Once I was shown the Latin Quarter and the area surrounding it, I realized I had found it. I think throughout the week, I had about 8 kabobs adding to my overall total from Greece and the rest semester to probably around 30. I know, it is totally gross. Otherwise, we made it out to a few bars and sports bars. I remember thinking to myself that the French people were very considerate to us if we showed an effort. I could see myself going back there.


I had been to Paris before but it was a long time ago. We were not there as long and there wasn't much English in the trip since it was a French language trip. I was more hesitant to try out languages back then. This time, when I went, I wasn't sure how well I would remember my French. I ended up in a conversation with Stanley and a women on the train from the airport into town. At that point, I knew I would have a good time. I was also excited in seeing the city after having studied architecture in school. I was open to seeing the differences in Paris and Italy since I had spent so much time in Italy before going. So I had fresh eyes when arriving in Paris. It was neat to try and see the architectural differences from both countries and trying to see how the social political history kind of manifested itself in the urban fabric of today in both cities. I guess they are way more for change in Paris than in Rome. I think both cities are metropolitan but I got more of a sense of this in Paris than in Rome. It is more racially integrated. I saw more integrated racial couples in Paris. What I also found interesting was how they treated their children compared to other countries. They talk to their children like little adults and if the children start talking in baby talk they say that is not really interesting: "Lets talk about something else". In the parks, there were a lot of children there -- either younger ones with their parents or older ones playing alone. It seems like they really spend time with their children in France. I also saw the dichotomy of having a lot of urban regulations which made it stiff but at the same time so much easier to get around in. It is a kind of Parisian duality.

The way the museums were set up was fantastic. I think the Musée d'Orsay was definitely my favorite museum. As compared to Rome, the French celebrate the modern as well as the ancient. They like their city so much that when the Nazis invaded it during WWII, they just laid the city down at their feet instead of letting their city be destroyed. Just being there where there was the French Revolution and where all this intellectual hot bed of ideas and change has happened, I loved it. I guess, it is like Florence where they really respect artists and people who can think for themselves. I could truly live there.

As far as architecture goes, they have it right. They make public transportation and bicycling as important as cars, if not more important. The city is very pedestrian friendly. Their sidewalk cafés are institutions. Unless the city was designed that way, they wouldn't be. They really celebrate their parks and it is interesting how they integrate them in with their urban structure. I loved the art nouveau decorations on many of the buildings and the integral ornamentation of the buildings. Basically every piece of civic structure from parking meters to lampposts to benches has all been designed. It shows their caring for design from the macro to the micro.

I liked the talk from Jean Francois Bonne, one of the partners at Architectural Studio. I liked how he took his time out of his day to show us his projects, He was very enthusiastic about it even though most people didn't understand his French but he kept on in an enthusiastic way. I understood what he was saying so that helped. It was my best French lesson the whole time because I could also hear Stanley's translation back to back. I liked that. I think Jean Francois Bonne's attitude permeated the whole office.

To sum up about Paris, I want to go back. I loved it.


I had been to Paris once before when I was fifteen. This time, I had a different appreciation all the way around because I now had an architectural background. I had a minor concern about the predicted riots but that turned out not to be a problem for us.

Paris obviously had a lot more modern architecture than Rome, which was good for us in where we are in our projects. In Rome, where we are in the historic district, there is not a lot of modern architecture going on. It was a nice contrast to Rome.

The Paris parks struck me as very organized and rigid and very clean compared to Rome's parks that are more relaxed. They are not as tartan with cut trees and that kind of thing.

I really enjoyed going to the different architectural studios and seeing some of the parti ideas coming to life in real buildings. Jean Francois Bonne was very nice spending as much time as he did with us considering the position that he has that is very busy and time consuming. I really appreciated the time he took out to be with us.

I think the most impressive building to me was Renzo Piano's Music building. It was interesting to me because it was underground which helped with the sound for recording and performing.

Park de la Villette was wild. You never see things like that at home. I guess you wouldn't ever have it at home. The ideas were interesting and it was nice to see them carried through.

The Pompidou Center was more impressive once I saw it in person than when I saw it in pictures. It looked bulky and out of place in pictures but once you saw it, it seemed to fit in place.

The History Museum was interesting to me because the way they took the old building and redid it and preserved the exterior at the same time.

I think the trip to Paris happened at a good time in the semester where we could look at more modern buildings. It gave us the final push for our projects and a closer look at the details.


I had been to Paris before. This was my second visit. I was there five years ago. My last visit I didn't enjoy that much. I think I was younger and I remember the weather wasn't as good. This time what I valued the most was that Stanley had such a plan on focusing on the architecture and he was so well versed on the architecture, the language and the city. This made Paris easier to enjoy because we had such an organized plan. Compared to Rome, I enjoyed the modern architecture so much more. It is obviously so much more abundant there and it was a good break from the classical architecture that we have been looking at for the past four months in Rome.

The language barrier was huge for me. I found I couldn't even order myself a cup of coffee!

Because I am huge Lance Armstrong fan, I loved the Champs Elysées. At the end the Arche de la Triumph really stuck out to me because it is such a huge monument of Paris but when you are there it is so huge you don't notice all the traffic moving around it.

The architectural offices of Architecture Studio and Dominique Perrault were awesome. The experience was really valuable in seeing how they work. Just the opportunity to see them was amazing. I liked the Louvre and the Institute of the Arabic World. If you compare the two, there is the huge scale all the way to the detail that we looked at and being able to do this all through Paris was enjoyable and very valuable.

The Latin Quarter was fun and had a lot of character. I don't remember it from the last time I was in Paris. It reminded me of what New Orleans must have been like.

I went to the IMAC film on Everest in the Science and Industry Museum. I loved that. The design of the museums was good. I really liked the Natural History Museum because of the design of both the building and the exhibits.

Villa Savoye I liked too because we were on the train for thirty minutes or so and it was an escape from the city. I enjoyed seeing the Paris suburbs. I liked the interior space more than the exterior space. A lot of times in school the way we study it is from pictures but to be inside Villa Savoye gave an entirely different perspective. It was a very peaceful house to be in.

I also went to Lyon on the weekend. That was my first time there and I liked the city a lot more than Paris just because it was the same friendly people and bustling atmosphere but at a smaller scale. I wasn't as intimidated. The town was beautiful. I would definitely go back there. I enjoyed seeing the French allées with the cut trees forming almost a vaulted colonnade. I have always wanted to get married under an arched colonnade.

I like Italian food much better for dinner and breakfast than French food. Coffee is better in Italy but bread is better in France so the sandwiches were good but that is not to say that panini are bad.

I enjoyed the trip much more than I thought I would compared to the last time I was there. I was happy that both Stanley and Judy were there since they knew the language so well. Both Paris and Lyon are cities that I would like to get back to in the future -- hopefully without the riots next time.


I had high expectations about Paris because a couple of friends had just visited it and they said it was a city that I was going to love and so my hopes were very high. I was excited to add another country to the places that I had traveled. The biggest challenge was being in a place where I had never studied the language. Italy was fine, Spain was fine and, obviously, Ireland was fine. France presented a new obstacle. That aside, everything was amazing. I was glad the days were so packed because I wanted to see as much as possible and I think we really got to see a lot. Even though it was a little disconcerting, the fact that we were there during the riots was kind of exciting. I think it added to the experience of what France is and what is important to France and the French people.

As I am sure everyone has already said, I really enjoyed seeing modern architecture. Being able to go to Dominique Perrault's office and Architecture Studio was really incredible. I had seen their work and I knew their names but I don't know who they were and that helped me add another piece to the puzzle to their identity.

I liked everything. One of my favorite things was the Natural History Museum. I loved the layout. The way they used cinematography was great. You could tell everyone there was having an awesome experience without even knowing it.

I want to say I liked it all. I guess I liked the fact that France is more "hands on" than Rome. The way you perceive their modern architecture is to have the person become involved in it. You can always get up close and there is something for you to do in the space. While I still appreciate Rome's history, it is mostly just looking.

It was definitely refreshing to see some green open spaces even if it was raining and everything was not in bloom. There were still people enjoying the parks despite the weather conditions we were in.

One short antidote, I went to the Eiffel Tower the day that everyone went to the Pompidou Center. I then went back by myself to the Pompidou Center to see what I had missed. I had heard that during Stanley's visit to the restaurant on top of the museum, you could not take any pictures. So I thought maybe I could get away with it, since I was by myself. Sure enough I just walked into the building, put a little smile on my face and took pictures to my heart's content. Stanley congratulated me when I came back. He said: "I knew you could do it".

To sum up, I can't wait to go back.


I was in Paris two years ago for Spring break and I liked it much better this time. I think it was because it was 15 degrees warmer and it was not raining every day. There is definitely a different feeling within the city from Rome. I really don't know how to explain it but the feeling is definitely different. It does help that a lot of the buildings were not 1000 years old!

It was really cool to see the gallery spaces inside the Louvre. I had been in the Louvre before but I had never spent much time in that section of it with the pyramids. I had never seen the inverted pyramids and especially to see how it glowed at night was really pretty.

The next day we went to Sainte Chapelle which is probably one of my favorite churches. I like smaller churches like Sainte Chapelle as compared to a lot of the churches in Rome that are very large. Since we got there so early, there was almost nobody upstairs so we could sit on the side benches and sketch without a lot of people bothering us although Paul still managed to attract a bunch of people.

The archeological crypt under Notre Dame was OK. It was really dark so it was hard to see anything and it was mostly ruins so it was like being back in Rome.

The Martyrs Deportation Center was really interesting. I had been to Notre Dame but I didn't know it was there just behind the cathedral. It was really interesting how it was underground right on the tip of the island with this little view of the water. It was almost creepy because you felt you were secluded from the rest of the city.

The Palais Royal was really nice since it was actually sunny and warm. It was fun to go jumping around on the black and white stepped columns that were at all different heights. Then we went to the Louvre and got to see the Pyramid from the outside. Afterwards we went walking around the gardens because we were supposed to see how the paths meandered and see the interaction of spaces but instead we all walked fifty feet and laid down on the grass for half an hour. It was much more fun.

Just by chance, we got to see the Spanish king arrive through this huge procession. We joked with Stanley that he had arranged for the perfect time for us to see the king. The horses were really pretty. It was amazing how they were so in sync and they had combed their hair in different directions on their rear humps to look like checker boards.

The Grande Arche was really impressive. It was unbelievable how windy it was on the inside where the hole was. We got to rest up in the exhibit upstairs. We almost forgot to do our sketching assignments. That night we went to the restaurant that Dave knew that had never-ending profiteroles. It was one of the most fun restaurants that I been to in Paris because the people were joking with us the whole time and making fun of Ryan Novi every time they came to the table. They were just picking on him -- no reason.

We went to the Institute of the Arabic World and that was really impressive especially to see that wall with the screens on it even though the screens didn't all work. It was really interesting to see all the ways of detailing the museum exhibits. One of the favorite parts was probably the auditorium where we all fell asleep in the car chairs. They were so comfortable. We should get some of those for Coubek.

We had our trip to Architecture Studio which was a little strange because there is this huge office with this international firm and the door is practically non-existent. It was really nice to meet Jean Francois Bonne and really nice for him to spend so much time talking to us and showing us all their projects that they were working on. It was really funny to listen to Stanley translate everything he was saying because Stanley would react right away to everything Jean Francois was saying and then he would translate it to us. As Stanley got more excited about the projects and as the discussion went on, his translations became looser and looser.

Le Parc de la Villette was really pretty and it was interesting to see these red follies everywhere. I really liked The Science and Industry Museum. The exhibits were hands-on and interesting as was the building itself. There was one exhibit that had this thing emerged in water and when you pushed a button, it was like an air pistil shooting off that made a really loud noise. As Amanda, Ann and I were playing with it, Zach came over to see what we were looking at. We told him he had to get really close to see what it did. He stood right next to the Plexiglas to see what it did and we pushed the button. He jumped back like two feet because of the noise. Then we went back outside to sketch the follies and Amanda, Ann and I went to the dragon slide. We climbed up the tail to go down the slide.

The Natural History Museum had some of the biggest stuffed animals I have ever seen. They had an aquatic exhibit on the first floor where they had fish mounted on glass at all different angles and underneath it was lit with blue lights so it really looked like they were swimming in water. It was really fun to watch all the little kids on the first floor filling out their work sheets about the animals on the stampede and watch the teachers trying to run after all their little students. It made me miss school field trips even though this is like one big field trip.

I was more impressed with Villa Savoye than I thought I would be. It was really cool to go and see and stand in the building that we had learned so much about in school. It was kind of weird see a whole bunch of other architecture students sketching because everywhere else we have been, we were the only students sketching. Here everybody was sketching.

On our free day, I went up to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. I really wanted to do this since I had not gotten a chance to go the last time I was in Paris. It was nice to meander around the piazza where all the artists were and watch them paint. I ended up buying this really cool abstract painting of the Eiffel Tower. Then I went up to Sacre Coeur where I had a pretty view overlooking the whole city. I was disappointed to see how run down the church was and how much of it was covered in graffiti. I did read a sign that said they were going to restore it.

That night after our group dinner, we went to the Eiffel Tower and spent over an hour there which was fun. We got to see the light show from one side and then an hour later we saw it from the other side even though it was the same on both sides.

To sum up, I had a lot more fun in Paris than I thought I would. It was definitely very exhausting. If it were not for Mama Hallet, we would probably have only gotten four hours of sleep a night from the schedule Stanley had put together -- except that she kept pushing our schedule back in the morning. I think I will definitely miss the croissant au chocolate but it is nice to be back in a country where they know how to make cappuccino.

AMANDA Ganginis

I had been to Paris before with my sisters and I absolutely loved it. This time I was so happy to know I would get deeper into the architecture than I did with my sisters who weren't interested in architecture. Paris is so much cleaner and prettier to look at. There is not much graffiti -- in fact no graffiti. There was definitely a different feel in the air. It was definitely like a different city, completely different than Rome.

Sunday was our first day and we went to Sainte Chapelle. We had studied it in our history books and it was so much more beautiful than I had thought it would be. I was surprised at how light it was inside. Usually when you think of Gothic Churches, you think of dark and heavy interiors but this was so light and just completely the opposite. People always describe Sainte Chapelle as a jewel box and it really felt like that when I was in there. It was the nicest in the early morning when it was quiet and there were less people. As soon as more and more people came in, it was less enjoyable.

I had been to Notre Dame before so it was not such a thrill for me this time. Going to Mass at night was nice but I didn't get a very spiritual feeling being in there even though I did enjoy the music.

Then we went to the Deportation Memorial. I was really moved by this memorial. I didn't even know what it was before we went but it just immediately struck me as soon as I figured out what it was. I was down there by myself for a few minutes and it was really powerful just finding the space, finding the memorial with the light, hearing the water and just being down underground. It was really moving.

I really liked The Palais Royal. It was great because we got to spend a good amount of time studying and sketching it. We really got to experience it the same way the Parisians were experiencing it. Then we went to lunch at a really cute bakery -- one of the oldest bakeries in Paris -- like 100 years old -- and they were so nice and they let us use their bathrooms. We passed by the rotisseries of chickens and the baked goods. We just squeezed by.

Then we went to L'Arche de la Defense. It was great because I didn't know much about. It was great to see so much modern architecture in one place. On our way back from the Grande Arche we stopped at the Champs Elysées to look at the Arc de la Triomphe and we got to go shopping. As we were walking, Ann and I found a movie theater that was having what looked like a movie premier. So we stayed and waited around for over an hour and eventually a lot people started showing up. There were cameras and people interviewing obviously famous people. We were so excited even though we didn't know who they were. But we did know one famous person that was in the movie. Her name was Kristen Scott Thomas who was in "The English Patient" and "Four Weddings and a Funeral". We got a great picture of her -- a really good close-up.

Tuesday we went to another great park -- Places des Vosges -- and as we were sketching all the kids came out for recess to play in the park. They were all playing soccer and we were sketching in a little sand pit that they had dug into the ground. Stanley was speaking to them in French. Stanley told us that they wanted to play-fight and, sure enough, they started attacking one another and wrestling. It was distracting but it was fun to watch.

Afterwards we went to the Architecture Museum, L'Arsenal, but I wasn't too impressed by it. I thought the displays were kind of confusing. That was disappointing.

We went to the Institute of the Arabic World which was better than I expected. We ate a great lunch inside the museum as it was pouring outside. I really liked the transparency of the whole museum and looking at the displays and looking at the art itself. I wish we had a little more time to walk through and look at the art itself that was amazing. We had to sketch a display case that left little time for looking at the art.

Then we went to the Foundation Cartier and they had a display that was apparently blocking the whole idea of the transparency of the building so I was disappointed. I would have to go back and see it and how it was meant to be to really judge it. They had some strange art in there that made for some entertainingly conversation. That night we went to the great restaurant, Le Cannibal, near our hotel. The restaurant was full of smoke but the food was so good. It was on Rue Jean- Pierre Timbaud. I tried “steak tartare” for the first time and I fell in love with it. Kelly had pea soup and it was so good. We all tried some and Stanley kept dipping in to it the whole time.

On Wednesday we went to Architecture Studio. I really enjoyed going there and seeing that office. Jean Francois Bonne was so nice and well dressed. He had a blue sheen to his jacket and he wore a bright blue scarf. It was so nice.

Then we went to Park de la Villette which was really fun especially the Museum of Science and Industry. Ann, Zach and I just stayed until closing time and played with all the toys. Then Ann, Allie and I were going to find a folly to sketch but we found instead a cheeseburger place which turned out to be a folly itself. After we ate our cheeseburgers, we sketched for about a half an hour. That night we went to the Latin Quarter and we had dinner at a Greek restaurant. The food was not very good compared to my grandmother's but what could it be!

On Thursday we went to the Natural History Museum which was one of my favorite things we did the whole time. I had been going to the one in DC and I didn't realize how bad it was until I saw this one. I realized how great it could be and how you could really relate to the exhibits so much better. I just kept thinking I wanted to take my little cousins there and how much they would really like it. I would never think of taking them to the one in DC but here I know they would really enjoy it.

We went to Dominique Perrault's office which was very different from Architecture Studio. It was interesting and it was very nice for him to lecture for us but I was so tired at that time that I didn't get as much out of it as I would have like to. After that we went to La Bibliotheque National which had a lot of beautiful detailing. We had a free evening and a bunch of us went to Les Galleries Lafayette to go shopping. It was so incredible. I loved walking in there and seeing all of the designer displays like Tiffany or Dior all in one place. It was not your typical American mall. Kelly and I sat at the Dior counter and tried on some designer make-up and I bought eyeliner and a lip-gloss that tastes really good. Kelly and I then went upstairs and bought jeans because we both needed new jeans. Kelly and I went to get kabobs in the Latin Quarter and we met up with Zach and Allie by accident. We ended up the three of us going out after dinner to the same wonderful restaurant, Le Cannibal, for a beer.

The next day we went to Villa Savoye. Kelly and Zach had been sick all morning and I wasn't feeling well but Kelly and I went anyway which was probably a mistake. I thought that we had food poisoning because I wasn't feeling as sick as Kelly and Zach. I thought it would just get better but throughout the day it just kept getting worse and worse. We ended up going to the Renzo Piano Music Building across from Pompidou Center. We got a tour through the building, which was really neat, but by that time I was feeling pretty nauseous. Then I got a phone call from Dave saying that Kelly and Zach were not getting better and if I was feeling sick I should come home. Coincidently Catherine had to catch a train to see her parents and so she and I left together a little early. About thirty seconds after I left the building, I threw up. I saw the trashcans with the clear bags and I thought, "Oh, god, this is terrible. It is so embarrassing. I don't want to do this." But I didn't have a choice. I saw a trash can not quite on the street corner like the first one I saw, so I told myself I could make it. I ran and there was a small cardboard box next to the trashcan so I didn't have to stand up and be sick in front of everybody. Catherine was really great. Thank God she was there. She kept sort of giggling behind me so it made me feel less embarrassed and she made me laugh too. She has a way of getting people to laugh. We took the Metro home which was kind of a risk but it was fine. I made it to the apartment and pretty much stayed there for the next 24 hours until I felt better. I am not going into detail about those 24 hours but they were really bad -- really bad.

I was a little sad I missed my free day on Saturday because I was sick but on Sunday Sara and I went to Montmartre in the morning. We got to see the permanent Salvador Dali Exhibit which was really incredible. Then we went to Mass at Sacre Coeur and when we were walking around we realized this was where one of the scenes from Amélie was filmed which is one of my favorite movies. I loved Montmartre. I definitely want to go back one day with my Mom because I know she would love it.

To sum up I loved Paris. I can't wait to go back.


I did have a few ideas about Paris before I visited it. I thought that France was very sophisticated and elegant from what my friends had said about it. I heard that the food was really good especially the wine and the pastries and that there was beautiful scenery in the countryside. I also heard that Paris was a large city that a lot of tourists went to. When I got there, it did prove to be true but I learned a lot more about Paris from experiencing it myself.

I saw a lot of difference between the two European cities. I could tell that Paris was more modern not only did it have more recent modern buildings but the older buildings were still newer than the old buildings in Rome. There wasn't as much sun in Paris and it rained more, which I didn't really like. The city seemed to have more 'hardscape" than Rome. (It means the opposite of gardens.) Even though Paris did have gardens and even though I thought they were very beautiful, it seemed that you could look but you couldn't touch because they would yell at you if you stepped on the grass. The parks in Rome were more of a free and open plan and looked more like nature to me.

One of my favorite things in Paris that I saw was the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The façade of the church was so delicately ornamented that even though it was made of heavy stone it had a very light and airy quality to it. When I went to Mass inside the church, it was a very beautiful service. It was really neat to hear the French language spoken and the choir singing in such a large space where there were echoes that made it sound even better. I also liked Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier. When approaching the house, you could see the pristine white façade of the building through the trees. I liked how it seemed to be floating since there was a portico underneath that was a green color that blended in with the landscape.

I really liked the art. I went to the Louvre one day just to see the Mona Lisa because I knew I wouldn't have time to see all the exhibits. It would have taken me a month. I really liked the addition that I.M. Pei did with the pyramids and I thought it was an interesting contrast to the older buildings. I also went to the Musée d'Orsay with the collection of Impressionists paintings -- some of my favorites. I got to see Degas's pastels of his ballet dancers. I was looking forward to seeing these before I came.

I thought that the Natural History Museum had really nice displays of the animal and marine life. I liked how they worked with a movie director because the exhibits looked like they could have come to life. It was very evident that the French are very artistic and put a lot of thought into their art and architecture. I could tell that it played a large role in their culture.

I enjoyed going to Architecture Studio to see the projects that they were currently working on. Jean Francois Bonne was really nice and took a lot of time to talk to us. It was neat to see projects that were not only being planned for Europe but for all over the world.

To sum up, Paris was a great travel destination. I learned and saw a lot but I have to say that I like Rome better because of the welcoming people, the sunny weather, the great food and the easy going Italian attitude towards life.


I had been to Paris Freshman year over spring break but my trip then was very rainy the whole time. So when we got to Paris and the weather was gorgeous I was so excited because even though everyone says that part of Paris's mystique is the rain it was so nice to walk through spaces and not have to see them from under an umbrella or under a rain jacket. It was like seeing Paris again but for the first time. Because the weather was so beautiful, we really got to enjoy the parks of Paris which are so famous. The contrast between the public spaces in Paris and the public spaces in Rome really came out because in Paris you have long expansive green, green grass and yet no one is out lying in the sun or playing soccer on it. It is meant to be enjoyed from a distance and left in its pristine condition whereas in Rome you know people would be all over it picnicking and playing hacky-sac. Because the weather was so beautiful, I was really glad we had a day to do just what we wanted. I made a trip to Park Citroen. I found the gardens to be actually three different gardens each with their own personality. I would love to make it back sometime in the summer when all the flowers will be out in full force.

Another really great experience for me was the morning before we left for the airport. One thing I wanted to do in Paris was to visit Sacre Coeur because I hadn't made it there my last trip to Paris and I really wanted to make it there. The trip up to Montmartre was a lot easier and faster than I had expected and this part of the city really was like in the movie, Amelie, that I had seen. The sun was shining and it was just nice to walk around the town before going up into the church. I arrived at the church for what I thought was going to be a 9:30 Mass but when it reached 10:00 I realized that it was actually Eucharistic Adoration and that Mass wasn't going to start until 11:00. so I spent the time that I had wandering down into the neighborhood and found the Salvador Dali Exhibit and spent the time in there before returning for Mass. When I got back to the church, I was really taken aback because when I left it was empty but when I returned every pew was filled and it was all I could do to find an empty seat which luckily I did. My parish back at home is called Sacred Heart so it was such a neat experience for me to be going to Mass at Sacre Coeur in Paris and I offered up Mass in a special way for everyone back at home.

I can't say enough about what a great job that Stanley did in organizing this trip. The emphasis on detail really opened my eyes to how advanced design in France really is. The trips to Architecture Studio, to the Natural History Museum and the nighttime trip to the Pyramid at the Louvre really blew me away.

To sum up this trip left me with such a great feeling about Paris that I only have fond memories of it and look forward to the next time that I am able to return.


France was completely different than the way I had heard about how the French would respond to us as foreigners in a country that is very nationalistic and where there is little need to change their culture for others. The French won't go out of their way to speak English to you but that doesn't mean that they are indifferent towards you. It means that they choose to speak their language. So show them some courtesy and they will be 100 % courteous in return.

The Parisians have this sense of control over their city, of course, minus their social problems of the past couple of weeks. But design wise, they really have a grasp on what they want their city to be perceived as. It is beautiful. There is an attention to detail that is not shown at all in Rome. In Paris you really even see this attention to detail from their monuments to the trashcans. Rome seems to have lost touch with the need for its responsibility to its property and to its landmarks. It is an old city. And I mean "old".

I parallel Paris to Washington DC very easily. One of my favorite things of Washington DC is its ability to present its very large open spaces so that it attracts hundreds of thousands of people. I find that the Parisians have certainly figured it out and I think one of my favorite things of Paris would be the large open spaces around the Louvre and actually throughout the city. The medieval squares such as Palais Royal and the Place des Vosges, though hundreds of years old, are still used immensely today and we were there on a cold day. I was amazed by the way the elementary school dumped into the Places des Vosges and an entire recess simply scattered throughout the park.

I had to see the Gothic cathedrals. I think that becomes a symbol of Christianity which is such a prevalent part of our culture today that if you have the opportunity to see Sainte Chapelle and Notre Dame you should certainly take advantage of it. Sainte Chapelle amazed me with its use of glass. I have never seen stained glass that beautiful and that transparent before. The history of Notre Dame was more than enough of a reason to spend at least a good amount of time in there and to really understand what had occurred there.

In the US, I have only really experienced a city such as New York as far as modern architecture that compares to Paris. And New York is hardly any comparison to what Paris has to offer. I used to think that the Pompidou Center was a disaster. I didn't understand it at the time and since my perspective on architecture has, in my opinion, matured and now I am fascinated by the building. The city just seems to really want to push that edge as a whole and I don’t think we see that enough anywhere else. I spent some time really exploring the Pompidou Center and actually being able to get into some of the artwork that was there which I find is very important to any education let alone an architectural education. Just as I explored Le Louvre later on in the week, I was able to see so many pieces of art that I had studied in the past or seen in the past and actually to get to explore and really see them. I think the large French paintings in the Louvre were my favorite. I really liked the "The Raft of the Medusa" by Géricault. The painting is actually based on a true story about a ship that was wrecked and there were several hundred crew on board but only twelve survived. It is very graphic and very surreal.

Villa Savoye was impressive to me and it was an exciting day. I think mostly because it was my first day out in a while since I had gotten sick and I was feeling a heck a lot better. I was also lucky not to get sick like everybody else. That was the day everybody got sick the stomach flu. I wouldn't have thought at the beginning of college that I would have seen Villa Savoye seeing that it is in Paris. I never thought that I would be going to Paris for a trip such as this.

I wasn't able to really explore the nightlife the way I would have liked to mostly because of being sick. However, it did appear to be more subdued in a volume sense than in Rome. The Romans are much more of a “gathering group” of people than the Parisians.

To sum it up, I want to say that it could all be summed up with my last night. Several of us made it to the top of the Eiffel Tower. If you have ever seen the movie "French Kiss”, Meg Ryan is always trying to see the Eiffel Tower and she keeps missing it. That is how I felt. I felt that before that night, I was never going to get a chance to see it and go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I had already gone to the top of the Arc de Triomphe and the Arche de la Defense but they were minimal compared to the Eiffel Tower. But in going to the top, I think all of my preconceptions of Paris were dispelled and it was simply beautiful.

The funny thing was we were actually going up to the top of the Eiffel Tower with a bunch of other Americans and I never felt so satisfied with being away from home. They were quite annoying, loud and “in the way” and not sensitive. Now I see what the French are talking about!


Preconceived notions: I had been to Paris before, actually with Stanley, so I had a notion of what the trip and the city would be like. I knew what we were going to see and how we were going to experience it based on my history with Stanley. Knowing that France was changing so rapidly, I knew there would be new buildings and new places to go. The last time I was there was in 1996. Obviously, in ten years things were going to grow, however, it was not the same growth patterns that I was accustomed to in American cities, so I was not exactly sure what to expect to see. I knew that we would eat well. I knew that we would see not just beautiful architecture, but beautiful art, beautiful gardens and beautiful people. These all were a given.

You and I know that our first day was a little on the crazy side. We got to the airport to find Maureen and that was not the case. After getting everyone else organized and on the train, you and I decided to do one more full-scale search. Unfortunately, while we were searching, she was searching and we were chasing each other around in circles. As Murphy's Law would have it, we got on the train to town and then she called. She was still at the airport. So we arranged to meet at the hotel and were on our way. Thanks to Stanley's incredibly detailed planning, when we got to the hotel amidst rain, we were not out of options of things to see and things to do, we immediately adjusted our schedule to go to the Louvre instead of the Eiffel Tower. While I was greatly disappointed not to start out at the Eiffel Tower and give the students the broad stroke view of Paris, the interior spaces of the Louvre were beautiful and equally as rich at night as during the day. The first day was not lost.

Sainte Chapelle astonishes me every time I go. I have never been in a more beautiful church. The scale is intimate, the ornamentation is exquisite and the most dynamic part of the experience is the capture and presentation of light. The experience is one that is beyond religion; it is an experience of an understanding and appreciation of life.

Notre Dame is a gorgeous place as well. It doesn't have the intimacy that you find in Sainte Chapelle but still is a dramatic exploration of light and dark. What Notre Dame lacks in intimacy makes up in its situation on the site, the proximity by the river and the development of the gardens. With just a little more sun, sitting in the gardens would have been a spectacular experience.

I think that The Deportation Memorial is one of the most moving monuments that I have experienced. Its simple geometries, abrupt angles, harsh surfaces and deep shadows provide a very haunting experience. This is not a place of jocularity and amusement but one of reflection and remembrance. I truly cherished my time at the memorial.

Our second day was sponsored by Dr.Scholls thanks to our "seasoned" leader. Walking from one end of the grand axis to the other proved to be an exhausting experience. The visit to the Palais Royal is always wonderful. It is so simple but so complex through its use of grid and axis. It is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the surroundings. Going up through the Tuileries and the other gardens provided a fantastic compliment to the morning session, by understanding the creation of space through landscape. The connection of city and garden to river is not what one finds in Rome and therefore is a very interesting juxtaposition to study. The visit to Arche de la Defense and the Arc de la Triomphe reinforced the ideas of axis and grid on a scale much grander than we experienced in Italian cities.

The Arsenal was very disappointing to me this time. I had been there twice before and it was very much about the art of designing and building and that expression of art form seemed to be lost this time. So much effort was put into pretty computer drawings that the emphases on the subject matter of architecture and building was lost. I remember models of buildings in every corner of the building and this time the models were replaced with bright green paint and flashy computer models without much substance.

One of my many fond memories of the trip was lunch this day. About twelve of us made a pilgrimage through the pouring rain in search of the illusive kabob god. We got to a restaurant completely soaked, hysterically laughing at the fact that we had trekked so far in wet soaks for a sandwich. It may seem like lunacy but it was so worth it.

I always enjoy the Arab Institute. It is a design that was far ahead of its time and has proved to be a timeless creation in context to a historical city. The details are so rich and well thought out making the design just masterful. It is just an amazing place. Conversely, the detailing of the Foundation Cartier is not as rich. The beauty of an open design was destroyed by an over-zealous installation hiding what I believed to be the most successful design element of this building. Through clunky details and a now enclosed space, this building proved to be nothing more than a travel nightmare for our faculty and students.

The visit to Architecture Studio was one of the highpoints to our trip. The hospitality of the firm's staff, the beauty of their offices and the quality of their work proved to be an inspiration to the students and myself. I had been to their offices before but continue to be impressed with them as humble individuals through their many incredible successes.

Le Parc de La Villette is a great place. You need to spend at least a full day there running around and seeing it all. As I had gone through the park before, this visit was spent more inside the wonderful museums. The Museum of Science and Industry was an amazing place with no age requirement to do everything. The French mentality of museum design was very evident in the interaction between visitor and exhibit. Maureen and I left the museum to go "quickly" downtown so I could buy appropriate clothing for our dinner with Jean Francois Bonne. This experience proved to be harrowing. There were incredible crowds in stores, outside stores, getting to stores, making the experience mind numbing. After almost two hours we found success. The evening's dinner was another highlight in the world of French food. We dined near a restaurant near the Opera with two handful of students enjoying incredible seafood and the challenge of consuming unending plates of profiteroles.

The Museum of Natural History was nothing short of spectacular. Again visitors are encouraged to interact with exhibits showing the French philosophy of museum design. Children are on their hands and knees, eye to eye with bobcats and walruses and polar bears allowing a truly incredible educational experience.

The afternoon with Dominique Perrault and his work was also extremely interesting. His hospitality was also phenomenal. However, his office was not as impressive as our previous hosts. The work he showed was exciting and inspirational and even more effective through our personal visit immediately following to the Library. My preconceived notions of Paris were shattered on this day. In 1996, there was nothing but four library towers and a blank landscape far from downtown Paris. In ten years this area has exploded. Apartments, shopping areas, office buildings and civic spaces have all flourished around Dominique's skillfully executed library complex.

Thursday night was nice in that Maureen and I snuck in a date night at a quiet local restaurant dining on amazing grilled calamari.

Friday proved to be an adventure. What started off as a tourist visit to Villa Savoye turned into our hotel being transformed into a French hospital. Within eight hours five of us were horribly ill. Thankfully Mama Hallet and Maureen were making multiple visits to the local pharmacy and grocery store providing medicine, water and soda to downed troupes. Friday afternoon into Friday night is a blur. Unfortunately Friday night was our scheduled dinner with Jean Francois Bonne…needless to say, my clothes sat unused.

Saturday was a recovery day. I was able to get up and move around but had zero energy. I was determined to visit the Pompidou Center. So I consumed several saltine crackers and a coke and saddled up to go to the museum. I made it to the museum and through the museum with enough time to visit the architecture bookstore before collapsing from exhaustion. The excursion to the museum was worth the energy strain.

We ended with a nice group dinner in which Mama Hallet forbade me from ordering French fries. She even ordered for me in French not giving me the opportunity. I was allowed a half a glass of wine and some chocolate mousse so not all was lost. We concluded our final day with a spectacular visit to the Eiffel Tower that night. Sitting there for two hours discussing the week with the students proved to be a wonderful end to an incredible week.


Having already visited Paris, perhaps six or seven times with students, I was principally concerned with the weather. I spent close to two months putting together a highly charged program but always knew that dramatic and sudden changes in weather would be the deciding factor. It seemed like a “Plan B” was required at every turn of the corner. I was not disappointed. April in Paris is a pivotal month and an unusually cold Europe was already a month behind in truly welcoming Spring. This left the fabulous gardens and parks of Paris stripped down to their bare bones. However, in certain parks this provided its own extraordinary esthetics as beautiful carved branches were dramatically contrasted to the sky above. On the other hand, the Gardens of Bercy, La Villette and Park Citroen were best left to those students passionate about the landscape. One would just have to imagine the dramatic colors still hidden underground.

My other concern was the predicted student demonstrations in La Place de la Republique just a few blocks from our hotel and the much-anticipated slow-down of the Metro. In spite of these conditions, I believe Paris still captured the imagination of our students. From the first night in the rain where instead of climbing the Eiffel tower we entered the dry spaces of the Louvre, just under the magical pyramids of I.M. Pei, the students seemed very enthusiastic about "Les Grands Projets". During the days that followed, the sun did break through, transforming La Place des Vosges, Le Palais Royal and the one-mile long garden Viaduc into magical outdoor parks.

Rome has a great deal to offer with its rich history of classic, Renaissance and Facismo architecture and with the extraordinary rich fabric of the old city. Paris offers another alternative. It is clearly a modern city where the trains run on time and the streets are cleaned with the most sophisticated equipment designed for the task. The historic building facades are carefully preserved and maintained and, most important, throughout the great urban fabric of the city, contemporary structures co-exist. These offer critical lessons to our students who must intervene in historic urban fabrics with proposals that reflect our own times.

Although the first days were spent exploring the extraordinary Gothic history of Paris, the love of structure and the love of transparent spaces such as those found in Sainte Chapelle and the soaring structures in Notre Dame, they provided a launching pad to understanding and appreciating the contemporary works that would soon follow. The Parisian love of engineering, soaring spaces and consistent detailing only seemed to be reinforced by I.M. Pei’s "ground breaking" pyramid, the great structures of the Parc de la Villette, the Institute of the Arabic World and even the Grande Arche de la Defense.

When it rained, we retreated into the museums where the students were quite impressed with the combination of exhibit design, graphic communication and architectural lighting that turn so many of the French museums into dramatic teaching spaces. The Museum of the Natural History and La Cité des Sciences et de L’Industrie (the Museum of Science and Technology), are wonderful examples of architecture and exhibitions that teach both children as well as adults.

Finally our wonderful visits to the offices of Architecture Studio and Dominique Perrault as well as the lectures they presented of their work gave the students an inside look at the high level of architectural discussion still taking place amongst the architects of Paris.

I believe Paris offers a wonderful but also needed contrast to Rome. Given where we were in the development of our studio programs in Rome, the week in Paris provided a new push to the final development of the student's projects.

Given my own personal contacts with French architects and scholars, I would love to see a more serious program in Paris offered to our Fourth year and/or Graduate students. Eight days was but the tip of the architectural and urban ice-burg that Paris represents. Paris could provide a teaching context unequal in the variety of modern work woven into a living urban city full of history but also facing challenges unique to today's political and cultural conditions. In spite of all the strikes, a basic right of the French people, it continues to feel its way into modernity, defining a new Paris, equally comfortable with its past as well as its future.