Today was our first full day in Paris, and we were able to go to four different museums. The museums we toured were the Orsay, Louvre, Rodin, and Musée de l’Orangerie. Going to these museums we were able to see so much French history in just a few hours. The first museum we attended was the Orsay Museum. The Orsay was a train station from 1898-1900, but now it has been abandoned and turned into a museum. This museum was so different than any other museums I have ever been to before. There were huge clocks located throughout the museum (one is pictured below). One of our pre-travel readings was the book titled The Invention of Hugo Cabret. This is a story written by Brian Selznick set in Paris during the 1930s about a little boy named Hugo that becomes orphaned and lives inside a train station. His job is to maintain the clocks of the train station. I think this is so awesome and so relative to this museum.
After the Orsay museum, we went to the Louvre. This is actually the only museum of the four that I had ever heard of before this trip. This museum is where the Mona Lisa is kept. It was so awesome to be able to see such a historical painting in person. I didn’t know about the other things that this museum had to offer, but it was unbelievable. It was MASSIVE. I read recently that it’s actually the largest art museum in the world. It’s so cool to be able to say that I have been to the largest museum in the whole world! We were only at the Louvre for a few hours, but it would probably take days to be able to explore the whole museum thoroughly. The architecture, paintings, and sculptures were all so amazing. It’s so hard to believe that people actually made/painting those! The creativity and patience these people had is incredible!
After leaving the Louvre, we went to the Rodin museum. Here we were able to famous sculpture of The Thinker. After leaving the Rodin, we went to Musée de l’Orangerie where we were able to see the famous painting by Claude Monet of the water lilies. Walking through these museums there were so many things I saw that I had never heard of before. I learned so much more in the five-six hours in these museums than I ever have in a classroom. Being able to see these beautiful works of art in person was something I’ll never forget. There were way more things I saw that I had no idea about than things I did. I never really learned much about French history when I was in grade school. In America we don’t really learn about other country’s histories. We learn American history and some world history…. but it’s from America’s perspective. This makes me think about a class I took in the fall of 2018. The course was called School, Culture, and Society. In this class we discussed this and how learning history from your own country’s perspective can be very biased. Your country will make the events in history seem like they were in their favor. They lack a little bit of historical accuracy and kind of “hype themselves up.” While reading the article called “Circles and Celebrations: Learning About Other Cultures Through Literature”, it reminded me of this class and I thought about it after going back to our hotel tonight. This article discusses how schools teach about other country’s cultures based on the “five F’s”. These are food, fashion, fiestas, folklore, and famous people. While these concepts are very interesting to most people, these aren’t necessarily all, or even most of, what a country’s culture actually is. The article also talks about how culture can be split into two sections: big C and little c. The big C of culture includes the arts, literature, music, etc. The little c of culture includes the components of the “five F’s”. I wish that schools focused more on the big C of culture to give children a better perspective of other countries and not just their own. I’m so grateful for this experience because it really made me sit and think about the issues with public education in America.
After going to the museums, we were all extremely tired from the miles of walking and the 85 degree heat and headed back to the hotel. We actually walked a grand total of about 12 miles! I definitely got my cardio in for the next week. While I, myself, was very tired, I really wanted to go out and explore the city a little bit. Me and Taylor headed over to a small subdivision (not really sure if that’s what they would call it here) called Le Village Royal. Here were a few small stores and boutiques, but the most amazing was the street with multicolor umbrellas hanging from the buildings. I saw someone who had previously been to Paris the week before me post pictures of “The Umbrella Street”, as I have nicknamed it. I have talked about going to see this ever since then. I was so happy to be able to go and see this in person. It was such a pretty scene! After walking around the area for about an hour, we headed back to our hotel. We had such a long, eventful day today, and we still have 8 days left!