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Monday, May 7, 2012

Versailles, Giverny & Paris

Visiting Monet's house and gardens in Giverny.
by Jeff Charbonneau

I have now entered my fourth month here in Paris. Thus far, I have seen quite a bit of what the city has to offer, however, with the clock rapidly ticking towards my departure date I’ve realized that there is still plenty more things to experience and get a glimpse of.

It has become a goal of mine to see as much of the city as I can. Therefore, in recent weeks I have made a significant effort to explore as much of Paris and its surrounding area’s points of interest as possible.

Just a small amount of the remains of nearly
6 million people that are located in the Catacombs.

One place that I particularly enjoyed was the Catacombs of Paris. I had heard mixed reviews about them before I arrived so I was anxious to visit and develop my own opinion regarding the unique destination. I nearly turned away upon my arrival at the site, as the line for entry was quite extensive; however, my friend and I had met and made good conversation with a very nice Australian tourist behind us in line which helped the two hour wait go by much faster.

Visiting the Catacombs.
Our patience paid off. The catacombs were like nothing else I’ve experienced in Paris or anywhere else in the world for that matter. I had never come so close to so many skeletons. It was very surreal. The remains of nearly six million people were down in that underground ossuary. It was an unforgettable experience.

Another place of interest that I really enjoyed was the Basilica of Saint Denis. It is located just outside of Paris but was still reachable by the metro. The site in which the church is located originated as a cemetery back in the time of the Romans. We were able to see the archeological remains that still lie beneath the cathedral.

Saint Denis Cathedral.
The remains of Saint Denis himself, Marie-Antoinette and almost every French King since the 10th century are located in the cathedral. The church was also the place for the coronations of many of the French queens.
The tombs of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI
(Left Center & Right Center)

I have also had the opportunity to go to Monet’s house and Gardens in Giverny as well as to the Palace of Versailles with the GSE group. Both places were incredible. In Giverny I was able to go inside the home of Claude Monet which displayed many pieces of art and his personal items. I was also able to visit the Gardens where he created his famous water lily paintings.

The Japanese gardens with the water lily pond in Giverny.

Canoeing in the Grand Canal in the gardens of Versailles.
After Giverny, the group and I went to Versailles. I had been before but was excited to go back. This time around I was determined to take a canoe out on the Grand Canal. It was a cold day out in the gardens of Versailles and it even rained a little bit but I still rented a canoe and had a great time out on the water.

With just a short while left in Paris I still have much to see but have thoroughly enjoyed everything that I have already experienced. I am excited to make the most of the rest of my experience here in France.

Until next time,


GSE Spring 2012 - Paris, France
American Business School Paris

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