Week 2 Paris

The past week and half of the Paris Study Abroad has seen travel outside of Paris to Chartres, Fontainebleau, Versailles, and Giverny. Having the chance to explore outside of Paris has been wonderful and has given me so many perspectives on French life and culture.

My area of study is the medieval period, so visiting Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres has been at the top of my list of places to visit. We spent a few hours exploring the town of Chartres, France then made our way to the cathedral for a tour focusing on how to read the cathedral’s twelfth century stained-glass windows and royal portals.

Next was a trip to the Château de Fontainebleau, which lies a little over an hour outside of Paris. Construction on the Fontainebleau we see today was started by Francois I in the 1520s as a hunting park and has been added onto successively over the centuries. In addition to the amazing architecture, art, and décor, the gardens and park are a wonderful place to spend an afternoon.  There is both a French and English garden, and the surrounding forest provides hiking trails to explore.

As one would expect, Versailles was both amazing and overwhelming. After a tour through the palace, I spent all afternoon in the surrounding gardens and parks, including Marie Antoinette’s Le hameau de la reine.

The final trip of the week was to see Claude Monet’s gardens at Giverny, a quaint village located in Normandy – one of my favorite stops. We toured Monet’s home and expansive gardens, which were  in full bloom. After the tour we explored the village of Giverny before making our way back to Paris.

Until next week!

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