On the second day of class, we got more exploration of the city on our feet. We met our art history professor outside the Museé Delacroix for our first round of site-specific art visits. The museum was Delacroix’s studio when he was working on the frescos at St. Sulpice, the magnificent church just a few blocks away.
The morning felt felt fresh and I was excited to meet my art history professor, Professor Kasper, who is originally from Germany and speaks English very well. She’s an adorably chic professor. I don’t know why I was imagining an old, French, difficult woman. Pretty sure Prof Kasper has taught in Australia, and I know she’s taught students from New York in architecture and cinema. Sweet!
After class, my roommate Elizabeth and I explored the area around our IES building called the Montparnasse. We grabbed a sandwich from a bakery on Rue Daguerre and went to the Montparnasse Cemetery, which reminded me a lot of New Orleans cemeteries. Though there were some tombstone-style burials, the majority of the tombs were above-ground in mini-mausoleums. Many were miniature chapels, and some were practically monuments.
Besides the diversity of the sites, the most striking feature to me were the loving articles placed on top of the tombs. Stones with the inscriptions of poets and Bible passages were left on Olivier James’ grave. Toys and odd ends that might have bellonged to a child strangely adorned the tomb of a boy who died at 3. The site was chilling; recognizable miniatures and a fish bowl filled with a green, blue, and gray goopy substance curiously attracted and repulsed me.
Visiting famous artists’ graves was also strangely interesting. I felt like I had a connection to all of them – famous or not – in just passing them by, acknowledging life.
We finished the final IES introduction / orientation with dinner at the bistro right next to our building. They actually had wonderful vegetarian options like falafel and vegetarian lasagna- really delicious.
The day was really exhausting and I found myself missing home a lot… but really just wishing my loved ones were here to experience Paris with me! Doing this blog helps with that I hope 🙂