It’s unbelievable how fast 4 months passed by. The semester is over, the exams are written and it’s time to say goodbye to Paris and go back home. But right now, I’ll tell you about my last month’s/ weeks in the city!
Exam phase at the PSB!
Like I already wrote in my last blogs, you can’t compare the French courses with the German once. We are used to study a lot more in Germany than it is the case in France – that’s at least my experience. But it’s also possible that this was because we were in the international (English) program. I really like the French people but as known they aren’t famous for their perfect English. Anyway, the exam phase was still stressful. We wrote 5 exams in 4 days (the 4 days before Christmas). Most of us left straight after the last exam for Christmas so we basically spend the last week in Paris studying which was a little sad. But speaking of Christmas…
Christmas in Paris!
The Christmas decorations in Paris are awesome! Especially in the big shopping centers, like in the Galerie Lafayette, are the decorations insane! Normally there is always one big Christmas market on the Champs- Élysées, but this year it was canceled, which was sad but no problem because there was another big one in La Défense. This is technically not Paris anymore but 20 Minutes away from the city center and the place where most Parisians work. Many big companies are settled in skyscrapers in this area and in the middle of them is the biggest Christmas market in the purlieus. The offer on the market is mostly the same than in Germany: Vin chaude (hot wine), Christmas presents, food, jewellery and so on. In the weeks before Christmas there where also some smaller Christmas markets in Paris, for example near Notre Dame or in the Marais.
Safety in Paris!
Especially when there are big events in the city like the Christmas markets, many people think of the terror attacks in 2015 and are worried about their safety. I’ve already visited Paris before the terror attacks and compared to now there are some changes. Before you visit a shop (may it be the supermarket, a shopping center or even the University) it is normal that you have to open your bag. This was a little strange for us at the beginning but you get used to it. You also see a lot of police officers and soldiers, mainly in the touristy areas. I can only speak for myself but in the whole time that I lived in Paris, I never felt more unsafe than I do at home. Actually, the contrary is the case because Paris is a city that never sleeps, there are always people sitting in restaurants or cafés or going on the street whatever time it is, so you are never alone. Of cause there are areas that you should avoid, especially in the dark and as a woman, but which city hasn’t those areas? Anyway, in those 4 months there was (luckily) never a safety incident that made me felt unsafe.
I mentioned it a few times – Paris is expensive. So, traveling around in France is a great thing but not possible for everyone. I’ve heard from some of my classmates that they traveled to the Christmas market in Brussels or the Mont- St. Michel. Those trips where organized by the PSB and were less expensive as if you would travel by yourself but of cause it was voluntary to join this trip. I didn’t really travel around but I’ve done a trip to London with a friend for one day. This is something I can really recommend! The “Eurostar” train is very fast and really not expensive if you book your ticket a little in advance. It only takes two hours from Paris to London and the other way around – perfect for one day!
Personally, I leave Paris with a laughing and a crying eye. I met so many new people, learned so much about the city & the culture and just had an amazing time! Even though everyone’s opinion is different, I think I speak for all of us by saying that it was an unforgettable time and experience!