Today, it rained.
After waking up at 6 am, due to my good friend Jetlag, I got ready to head to our first day of orientation. My roommates and I decided to walk to campus, only 30 minutes away from our apartment. It was sunny this morning, and not too cold, and I think this will probably be how I get to campus for class most days: the walk is beautiful, its a good bit of exercise, and as long as the weather is nice it is a lot less trouble than the crowded Metro.
Our first day of orientation consisted of about an hour and a half of lecture, introducing the staff, and telling us some more general info about the program. Then we split up into 2 groups (there are about 65 of us total) and my group headed to lunch at Nectarine, a small restaurant at Place des Vosges. The lunch was pre-ordered (and prepaid!) for us by our directors: a delicious cheese & vegetable quiche and a salad. I meant to take photos of Place des Vosges, but as I pulled out my camera I realized I left my memory card in my computer. It is located in the Marais District, and is a planned square made up of a park about the size of a city block in the center, bordered by a road, and then lined by one long connecting building around the edge, with one street exiting. The architecture is beautiful, the pinkish-red brick standing out against the sea of white and grey throughout the city. Being winter, the trees were bare and the fountain was turned off, but if you click here, you can see the square in full bloom.
After lunch we began our tour, which was accompanied by rain. It was cut short but we managed to briefly see l'Hôtel de Sully, the surprisingly large BHV department store (we all desperately needed new pillows), l'Hôtel de Ville, and rue des Rosiers, the street central to a large Jewish community in Paris, notable because it is one of the only places where nearly all the businesses are open on Sunday (as opposed to the Christian traditions of businesses being closed Sundays throughout Europe). I will have to return to all of these places in the future to take photos, of course.
I did, however, buy my metro pass today! One of my roommates and I used the metro to get back to the apartment rather than walk through the rain, and it was successful. It really is so easy to navigate. The pass seems pricey but when loaded for a week or a month you get unlimited rides. I'll definitely take advantage of that one weekends to scope out the city.
My very parisienne dinner: une baguette avec brie & saucisson sec