Friday, June 18, 2010

The Students Arrive!

The students arrived today. Collecting everybody at the airport and taking the RER (light rail) into town was very uneventful. But on the flights over, the students had some adventures. One student who expected to fly on Continental from Baltimore to Newark to Paris arrived at BWI to find her flight to Newark was cancelled. This happened to me two years ago. Apparently that flight is only theoretical. NEVER BOOK A FLIGHT FROM BALTIMORE TO NEWARK ON CONTINENTAL.

Two years ago, the folks at Continental put me (and four other people going on the trip) on Amtrak. This year they could not even do that. The student’s mother had to drive her to Newark, fighting rush hour a good part of the way. But she made it and arrived safely and on time.

Another student’s flight was double booked and an irate passenger had to be physically removed from the flight. And there was more that wasn’t pretty.

But everybody arrived in good spirits. Dr. Nell and I met everybody and I took the first group into town and Dr. Nell followed with the late arrivals. After getting to the hotel, we took a tour of our neighborhood, locating our friendly neighborhood café and other important locations. We went to Republic Place where there is a memorial that provides a concise history of the development of democratic government in France through 1880.

After our rooms were ready, the students took short rests and then freshened up. We then took a walk through the Marais district, the former Jewish Quarter which is now a trendy boutique area. We visited both the Holocaust Memorial and a memorial to the deportation of the Jews during World War II. This tied into some the reading we had done earlier.

We then went to the Cathedral de la Notre Dame. Awesome and a great way to really start the experience. We finished with a dinner of crepes and traditional French sparkling Apple Cider in the Latin Quarter. The consensus was that the desert crepes were much better than the dinner crepes.

We then headed back to the hotel. Most of the students headed to bed early, which is a little hard because it is light until 10:15. A few decided to chill a little at our friendly, neighborhood café.

Tomorrow we are off to the Louvre and we will really be underway.

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