Ever since I learned
that I had been chosen to go on this amazing trip, I’ve had a smile
on my face. Despite taking French classes in school since the 6th grade,
I had never been to France before. I was excited to finally see the city
that I had read about for over a decade. It was even better than I had imagined.
It seemed that everywhere I went, there was something interesting to see,
whether it was a monument, a museum, or just a classic example of Haussmann
style architecture. The whole city is practically once big museum. I loved
just walking around and soaking it all in.
Class of 2005 (fall)
Looking through the pages of our colourful guide Gallimard de Paris at the end of our stay, I understood that these two weeks in Paris were just like a brilliant drop in the immense ocean. There is still so much to see, explore and experience! I am very grateful to the participants of the JSF 2005 and to everyone who made this experience possible for showing me another life, so different from the one we have at MIT, the temple of hard work and studies.
Two weeks of pleasures and delights, when the only tiredness we had was the one from the long and exciting walks on the streets of the city, the only stress we had was deciding among zillions of great movies and shows which one to watch, or choosing which exquisite French dish to enjoy today at a fancy Parisian restaurant.
Learning experience and effort for the future: to combine French attitude to life (la philosophie de la vie) with an efficient work at MIT.
Class of 2006
Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Major
I have studied French all my life, a graduate of a Canadian French immersion program, but I had never before had the opportunity to travel to France. Having spent some time in Quebec, my curiosity of France only grew, as did a desire to become acquainted with the mère patrie that had given rise to the francophone culture of my country. Still, I really didn’t know what to expect when I arrived in Paris. Reading about it in a book or seeing it in a picture is never quite the same as actually being there. I remember quite distinctly my impressions the first time I walked along the Seine. I was surprised by my feelings of familiarity; the colors, the architecture, the river, all of it was so similar to what I had seen of Québec City. Though they were obviously working with different landscape and climates and materials, it was clear to me that they had shared a common philosophy, a common point of view. I had come, to Paris, I think, looking for some kind of understanding of the early, French, Canada, and it was amazing to be able to explore Paris so thoroughly so as to glean out these cultural similarities. It was a significant discovery for me and a personal experience that I shall never forget.
Class of 2005
Management Science Major
Looking back, I still can't believe all that we did. I had been to Paris before, but the journey with JSF exceeded my wildest expectations. A far cry from the typical tourist visit to the city, we were completely immersed in the Parisian way of life for two weeks. I had a chance to feel the rhythm of the city, to come into contact with a way of living at once familiar and strikingly different from that in the United States. I really appreciated the fact that Parisians know how to slow down and enjoy life when they can, whether over a leisurely cup of coffee at a cafe, or a sumptuous dinner in the evening, complete with wine, friends, and spirited conversation.
once read, "When you are tired of Paris, you are tired of life."
Although I forget its exact source, the statement has stuck with me for
many years, and I find it to be true now more than ever. Paris is imbued
with the life of its millions of inhabitants and its centuries of history
and culture. I had such a fantastic stay and managed to glimpse many sides
of Paris I had never seen before. At the same time, I realized that there
is much more to explore and I am anxious to return to the city of lights.
I will forever be grateful for having had the opportunity to participate
in JSF 2005.
Class of 2005
Brain & Cognative Sciences Major
Pour moi, notre séjour était une évasion, l' opportunité de remplacer des soucis quotidiens par le plaisir. Libre d’apprécier la culture locale, je me suis immergée dans la cité. MIT a disparu de mes pensées. Parce que j’ai habite a Paris cet été, je connais bien la capitale française. Pourtant, avant notre voyage, je ne pouvais pas recommander où on peut trouver les plus délicieux macarons (chez Ladurée), le meilleur chocolat (La Maison du Chocolat) ou le plus divertissant spectacle (La Vie Parisienne à l’Opéra-Comique). Maintenant, grâce à JSF, je le peux. Je serai toujours reconnaissante aux individus qui ont rendu ce séjour exceptionnel possible. Merci beaucoup!
our fortnight in Paris was an escape, a chance to replace mundane concerns
with pleasure. Free to savor the local culture, I found myself immersed
in the city. MIT seemed more than an ocean away.
Having lived in Paris this summer, I know the French capital well. However, before our trip, I could not recommend where to find the tastiest macaroons (Ladurée), the best chocolate (Maison du Chocolat), or the most entertaining show (La Vie parisienne at l’Opéra-Comique) in Paris. Now, thanks to JSF, I can. I will always be grateful to the individuals who made this incredible trip possible. Merci beaucoup!
Class of 2006
Management Science Major, French Major
Before I was selected to participate in the January Scholars in France program, I felt that I had a strong understanding of Paris. As one of the few students who will graduate MIT with a French degree, I have taken multiple French classes at MIT, Université d’Aix-Marseille, and Harvard University. I have posed as a tourist in front of the Eiffel Tower, strolled in awe through the Louvre, shopped at the Galleries Layfette next to the Opera House, and sipped on a café crème while simply people watching the latest Parisian fashion.
The moment I stepped off of the plane at the Charles de Gaulle airport, I knew that this trip would be like none other – it would not be the normal group of college students who venture through France. I knew that I would be staying in a quaint hotel in Odèon for two weeks and have the time to discover the dream world of Paris, but I had no idea of the amazing adventures that awaited me. I would have never imagined that I would participate in a program where I would sit several feet away from l’Opèra Comique or a hip-hop concert in Chaillot, take part in guided tours through the most famous museums of Paris, and dance the night away at a club on the Champs-Elysées. At several points during the trip, I caught myself saying that I was going to take full advantage of this opportunity and sleep when I got back to MIT. I wanted to fully appreciate every moment.
The most wonderful part about this trip was that each of us had the freedom to explore different parts of Paris and come together for dinner to discuss our afternoon discoveries and our impressions on the difference in culture. Our evening conversations allowed us to share and explore our common experience of falling in love with Paris, all while feasting on some of the most delicious – and sometimes exotic – food I have ever had.
I will forever cherish this sojourn and will look back with the fondest of memories. My two week escapade to France will forever be part of my life. As Phantom F. Harlock describes, “Dreams do not vanish, so long as people do not abandon them.” I’m certain that my reflections of Paris will not fade, because I have already instinctively incorporated my endearing memories into my current thoughts and activities every time I use one of the popular French expressions I learned (nickel!), when I catch a whiff of freshly baked baguettes at the grocery store, or simply upon reading a French magazine to follow the latest fashions. This program has given me the opportunity to live, breathe, and be French.
“Through travel I first
became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that I found my
own introspective way into becoming a part of it.” --Eudora Welty
Class of 2005
Chemical Engineering Major, Biomedical Engineering Minor
"Over approximately 10 years of studying French, I have been inspired time and time again by the enthusiasm and “obsession” of my teachers for French life, history, and culture. They have given me a taste for French I find hard to resist through the readings, stories, photos from their travels, songs, French history, and contemporary movies we have reviewed in depth. How is it that I have been instilled with a fascination of for French culture while my experience learning the Spanish language lags far behind in comparison? Where and how did my professors become so enthusiastic over such a subject?
Hemingway once noted, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” While a two week stay in Paris is not enough time to perhaps move the “feast” as my professors have done, it would be a fruitful opportunity to get a taste of what could be served by soaking up moments of Parisian life…"
Those are words from the beginning of my essay for the JSF scholarship application, and yet did I know what I was really getting myself into! Je suis tombée en amoureuse de Paris. My first few weeks back in the states, I felt ridiculously euphoric and heartbroken at the same time. My two week stay in Paris was unforgettable, unimaginable, a living dream, surreal. Thanks to the generous sponsors of this program, I officially became a francophile. I did everything I thought I was going to do in Paris and far more than I would have achieved on my own, without the wonderful guidance of Professor de Courtivon and Sophie in particular, but also all the amazing Parisians we met during our stay. Through all my senses, I gained a first-hand impression of French culture and how it differs from American culture, stereotypes put aside. I was shocked to realize that the French I had learned in an English speaking setting sufficed, in fact worked very well as I was rarely spoken to in English. I realized that I can, contrary to my initial doubts, reach my goal of gaining fluency in French and that I definitely want to spend a significant amount of time in France in the near future to achieve my goal. Hopefully I’ll have an internship in France this summer!
MIT Professor, Department of Foreign Languages
Professor Isabelle de Courtivron shared her life in Paris—her family, her friends, her neighborhood, her favorite food—with us. For our stay, she chose the films, museums, shows, and restaurants that allowed us to easily discover the various sides of Paris. Always open and enthusiastic, she helped create an atmosphere full of warmth and camaraderie. We cannot thank Prof.de Courtivron enough. Spending a fortnight in Paris with her was a true pleasure!
de Courtivron a partagé sa vie à Paris—sa famille, ses
amis, son quartier, sa nourriture préféré—avec
nous. Pour notre séjour, elle a choisi les films, les musées,
les restaurants et les spectacles qui nous permettaient de découvrir
facilement les faces diverses de Paris. Son esprit ouvert et son enthousiasme
ont crée une ambiance très chaleureuse. Nous ne pouvons pas
suffisamment remercier Prof. de Courtivron. Quel plaisir d’être
à Paris avec elle!
Sophie Garny de la Rivière, our extraordinary guide, gave us tours of several Parisian neighborhoods, enabling us to get a good understanding of the city’s evolution. A graduate student in art history, Sophie shared her favorite works of art with us; she brought us to Musée Jacquemart-André and the “open air museum” at La Defense. She also suggested that we join Arnaud and her for the rare evening event at Versailles, From teaching us popular French slang to discussing films with us, Sophie made many efforts to introduce us to Parisian life. She made us feel like Parisians. Friendly and lively, Sophie made our trip extremely memorable.
Sophie Garny de la Rivière, notre guide extraordinaire, nous a montré des quartiers parisiens. Pendant nos balades autour Paris, elle a expliqué les faits qui nous ont donné une bonne connaissance de la ville. Une étudiante en histoire de l’art, Sophie a partagé ses œuvres préférées avec nous; elle nous a emmené au Musée Jacquemart-André et au « musée de plein air » à la Défense. Aussi, elle a suggéré la visite nocturne à Versailles, une soirée exceptionnelle. Sophie a fait bien des efforts pour nous introduire à la vie parisienne. Elle nous a donné une liste des boîtes de nuit. Elle nous a enseigné des phrases courantes que la jeunesse utilise. Après le film Jules et Jim, elle l'a discuté avec nous au café; elle nous a donné l'impression d'etres des Parisiens. Aimable et vivante, Sophie a vachement enrichi notre séjour.
Arnaud Creachcadec, Sophie’s boyfriend, accompanied us as we toured modern Parisian neighborhoods and Versailles. An illustrator and graphic designer, he was our source for learning about popular contemporary artists. Although usually quiet, Arnaud showed us his livelier side when he sang and danced with Prof. de Courtivron and Sophie on the boat cruise.
Arnaud Creachcadec, le copain de Sophie, nous a accompagné pendant nos balades dans les quartiers branchés et pendant notre visite à Versailles. Un illustrateur et graphiste, il nous a parlé des artistes qui sont en ce moment célèbres en France. Arnaud, qui était sage la plupart du temps, nous a montré son côté enjoué la dernière soirée. Avec Prof. de Courtivron et Sophie, il a chanté et a dansé sur le bateau.
Ana Isasi, one of Prof. de Courtivron’s former MIT students, went to Claire’s reading and La Coupole with us. Currently working towards an MBA in Paris, she gave us insight into life at the Cité Universitaire. Friendly and funny, she humored us with stories of her travels. In Nepal, Anna, who is from Paraguay, was accosted by a Bengali soap opera director who tried to convince her to become the “Jennifer Lopez of Bangladesh”. Anna also told us the delightful advice Prof. de Courtivron has given her over the years.
Ana Isasi, une ancienne étudiante à MIT, a assisté a la lecture de Claire avec nous. Elle nous a accompagné à La Coupole aussi. Parcequ'elle termine son MBA en France, elle nous a expliqué sa vie parisienne. Amicale, Ana nous a raconté des histoires drôles. Au Népal, une réalisatrice bengalie a essayé de la convaincre de jouer dans des feuilletons. Pourtant, Ana, qui vient d'Uruguay, ne voulait pas être « Jennifer Lopez de Bangladesh ». Ana nous a amusés quand elle a raconte ses citations préférées de Prof. de Courtivron.
Annick Marie, Prof. de Courtivron’s sister, treated us to a delightful cooking lesson. For our lunch, she chose food that we could easily make in our own homes later. Annick, the author of three notable cookbooks, lucidly explained her French recipes to us. Thanks to her, we will be able to eat well at MIT.
Annick Marie, la
sœur de Prof. de Courtivron nous a donné la leçon
de cuisine. Pour notre déjeuner, elle a choisi des plats que
nous pourrions facilement faire chez nous. Annick, qui a écrit
quatre livres célèbres
de la cuisine antillaise, a clairement expliqué ses recettes françaises.
Grâce à elle, nous pourrons bien manger à MIT.
Jean-François Stuyck-Tallandier, a friend of Prof. de Courtivron, opened up his apartment in the Marais to us; our cooking lesson took place in his home. A former director of international relations at the CNRS, he told us stories from his days living in Poland and Texas. During lunch, Jean-François led a discussion on French politics. He has a photo of Ronald Reagan, “the man who defeated Communism,” on his fridge.
Stuyck-Tallandier, un ami de Prof. de Courtivron, nous a ouvert son
dands le Marais:nous a fait notre leçon de cuisine chez lui.
Un ancien directeur des relations internationales au CNRS, il nous
a raconté des histoires de ses boulots en Pologne et au Texas.
Pendant le déjeuner, il a discuté avec nous lla politique
en France. Sur son frigo, Jean-François a une photo
de Ronald Reagan,
«l’homme qui a vaincu le communisme ».
Charlotte Marie, Prof. de Courtivron’s niece, gave us a tour of the Sorbonne, the renowned university she attends. Charlotte recounted her summer working at Gap. Although her experience with McDonadization was horrible, she, thankfully, did not hold us accountable. Last semester, Charlotte studied in Madrid. She introduced us to Steve, an American student also studying abroad in Madrid, whom she had befriended in Spain.
Charlotte Marie, la nièce de Prof. de Courtivron, nous a montré la Sorbonne, l’université célèbre où elle étudie. Elle nous a raconté l’histoire de son boulot chez Gap. Son expérience avec la macdonaldisation était horrible, mais, heureusement, elle ne nous a pas blâmé. Le semestre dernier, Charlotte était à Madrid. Elle nous a présenté Steve, un étudiant américain qu’elle a rencontré en Espagne.
Prof. de Courtivron introduced her niece Emmanuelle Marie, her niece's partner Xavier Cucuel, and their adorable girls Laura et Lise. They are a typical “bourgeois-bohème (bobo)’’ family. While Emmanuelle works at the publishing house Gallimard, Xavier is a techie. They dined with us at a classic bistrot across the street from their newly renovated loft.
Emmanuelle Marie, Xavier Cucuel et leurs adorables filles Laura et Lise étaient la famille bourgeois-bohème (bobo) typique que Prof. de Courtivron nous a présenté. Emmanuelle travaille chez Gallimard; Xavier mélange la créativité et la technologie à son boulot. Ils nous ont montré leur appartement, qui était récemment rénové. Emmanuelle et Xavier ont dîné avec nous dans un bistrot (typique lui aussi) en face de chez eux.
Jean-François Marie, Prof. de Courtivron’s brother-in-law, joined us at l’Opéra-Comique to watch La Vie parisienne. An investment banker, he told us about the recent problems that the Paris Stock Exchange has faced.
Jean-François Marie, le beau-frère de Prof. de Courtivron, nous a accompagné au spectacle La Vie parisienne. Un banquier, il nous a expliqué les raisons pour lesquelles la Bourse de Paris avait bien des problèmes. Jean-François nous a recommandé la brasserie Gallopin.
Anne Merlet, a former administrator at the Louvre and a close friend of Prof. de Courtivron, arranged our nocturnal visit at the museum. After the guided tour, she dined with us at Le Fumoir. Anne and young goddaughter Marthe watched the Fables de La Fontaine with us. Quite affable, Anne discussed the avant-garde production with us. Marthe explained the schooling and upbringing of French children.
Anne Merlet, ancienne administratrice du Louvre et une amie de Prof. de Courtivron, a arrangé notre visite guidée du Musée du Louvre. Après la visite, elle a dîné avec nous au Fumoir. Anne et sa jeune filleule Marthe nous ont accompagné à la Comédie-Française pour voir le spectacle Les Fables de La Fontaine. Très aimable, Anne a discuté la mise en scène avant-gardiste avec nous. Marthe nous a expliqué l’éducation des enfants et les études en France.
Philippe Merlet, Anne’s husband, spent a wonderful evening with us at the Louvre and Le Fumoir. Il told us that the Minister of Finance was forced to move his office from the Louvre. During our tour of the Louvre, Philippe was charged with keeping the group together. Like a shepherd, he made sure that we did not get lost amidst the enchanting artwork. We'd like to thank Philippe for the photos he took for us at the Louvre and Le Fumoir!
Philippe Merlet, le mari d’Anne, est allé avec nous au Louvre; ils ont ensuite passé une très bonne soirée avec nous au Fumoir. Il nous a raconté l'histoire "triste" d'un ministre des Finance de France, qui a du quitter sa résidence royale (ok, juste son bureau) au Louvre et déménager avec le ministère entier dans un autre arrondissement de Paris. (Ah! Mais quand même, imaginez vous avoir un bureau pour quelques années au Louvre, oh la la!) Pendant notre visite au Louvre, Philippe était très gentil de preserver l'intégrité de notre groupe dans ce musée gigantesque! Comme un berger, il s'occupait d’escorter des petits moutons qui avec des bouches ouvertes étaient enchantés par les oeuvres d'arts et qui ainsi pouvaient se perdre facilement.
Daniel Soulie, a historian at the Louvre, gave us an insider’s tour of the museum. He explained the history of the palace—its construction, its residents, its importance, and its collections. Thanks to him, our admiration of the Louvre and its art has vastly increased.
Daniel Soulie, historien au Louvre, nous a fait faire une visite guidée personnelle du Musée du Louvre. L’initié a expliqué l’histoire du palais—sa construction, ses habitants, son importance et ses collections. Grâce à lui, notre admiration du Louvre et de l’art au musée a encore grandie.
Claire Chaufour, Prof. Furstenberg’s niece, read two essays at a monthly gathering of Latin Quarter intellectuals at Les Editeurs cafe. Thanks to her, we will now read aloud when trying to grasp the meaning of compositions.
Claire Chaufour, la nièce de Prof. Gilberte Furstenberg de MIT, a fait une lecture au café-restaurant Les Editeurs. Sa lecture nous a permis d’apercevoir des intellos du Quartier Latin. Grâce à elle, nous lirons à haute voix désormais.
For this incredible
trip, we would like to thank the following individuals:
Pour ce séjour exceptionnel, nous voudrions remercier les individus suivants:
anonymes (Anonymous donors)
Prof. Isabelle de Courtivron, Foreign Languages and Literatures, MIT
Nancy Lowe, Foreign Languages and Literatures, MIT
Andrea McCarty and Rheka Murthy, Comparative Media Studies, MIT
Shannon McCord, Foreign Languages and Literatures, MIT
Sophie Garny de la Rivière
Le personnel du Grand Hôtel des Balcons