Monthly Archives: June 2009

“Ça Va?”–History of the City of Paris

The Seine River

The Seine River

Casablanca. Gigi. Sabrina. Amelie.  Before Sunrise and Before Sunset (my two personal favorites).

Media has romanticized our imagination of the city of Paris.  The examined and lived, however, brings this city to a whole new level.  As I sit writing this, I am reliving Paris in my imagination.  I was able to examine and experience the city of Paris.

Want to see the Seine River?  It’s only a twenty minute walk.  The Louvre?  Cross the Pont d’Artes and you’re there.  Want to see Notre Dame?  Eiffel Tower?  Pompidou  Center? Done. Done. And Done.

Katherine, Brenna, Kelly, Alissa, Me, and Connie

From front left: Katherine, Brenna, Kelly, Alissa, Me, and Connie

However, what does the everyday person know about the layering of history within this beautiful city?  To tell you the truth, I knew nothing.  Susan Ashley (Dean of the College) and Tip Ragan (Chair of the History Department) co-taught this course.  I’ve never been so challenged by any professor as I have with these two.   Susan focused on teaching the intellectual history of Paris, while Tip focused more on the social history.  Together, they were masterful in teaching the thirteen of us how Paris developed and progressed in the middle ages, the Age of Absolutism, and Modern Paris.

The class was amazing and probably one of the best courses I have ever had in my entire life.  The workload wasn’t too much or overwhelming, but I was challenged by the class discussions.  Susan and Tip would steer discussion by asking a single question, and the class would try to find answers or more questions within the 2.5 hours.  My brain literally hurt after each class, because I had never imagined Paris to be so brilliant.

Oscar Wilde is buried in Paris.  Look at all the kisses!

Oscar Wilde is buried in Paris. Look at all the kisses!

There are no words to describe how I feel about this class–it’s a true “unique, intellectual adventure.” Consider taking this summer block when it’s offered.  I promise you, it will be mind-blowing.

View from the Eiffel Tower!

View from the Eiffel Tower!