Hello again! It is time to update on my Parisian living experience now that I have officially been here for a month, goodness how the time has flown!
I have been truly blessed with my housing location, although I didn’t initially realize it since many of my peers in the CEA program live quite far from me. My apartment is located in the 5th arrondissement, or neighborhood, also known as the Latin Quarter (named from the Middle Ages when university students here exclusively communicated in Latin). Some of the other CEA students live in the 7th or 8th, but a large amount are in a building of studio apartments in the 20th. If you have ever examined a map of Paris, you’ll know that the arrondissements spiral out from the center, or the 1st, all the way to the 20th on the eastern side of Paris. Being so central has been my favorite aspect of my study abroad here: La Sorbonne, the oldest university in Paris, is near my apartment, meaning there are many affordable restaurants and people my age in the area. I am a five minute walk from the Panthéon and fifteen minutes from Luxembourg Gardens, my absolute favorite place to sit, read, and eat my lunch (even in current 45 degree weather)! My classes at Institut Catholique mostly take place at a smaller branch location ten minutes from the main campus in the 6th, so my commute to school only takes ten minutes on the metro. Oh, how I love European public transportation! I wish I could pick up the metro and bring it back to Pittsburgh.
In terms of my apartment, I am located far back in a charming courtyard (which I expect will look beautiful when it blooms this spring), amongst many types of older families and younger residents. I enjoy the true community feel of the area, and not living in a student residence makes me feel more like a local. I live with three other girls, also in CEA taking courses with Institut Catholique, so it is nice to share similar schedules and academic experiences. The apartment is certainly small, but I had no expectations upon arriving; I was simply happy to discover we had a full-sized fridge! Sharing my bedroom has been reminiscent of my freshman year at Pitt, but we are making the limited square footage work and being very responsible about tidiness. Certainly, the greatest challenge has been a smaller main living space and kitchen, one bathroom (with the smallest shower I’ve ever used), and no washer/dryer. We’ve worked around some of the space struggles by being very organized in the kitchen and purchasing an inexpensive mini oven to fix the lack of an actual oven. Surprisingly, doing laundry has not been too expensive or much of a hassle, and you can’t beat the proximity of our laundromat, grocery store, and pharmacy.
I feel lucky to have a good set of roommates, to be in an excellent location, and to be taking such beneficial French classes with two great professors. I am looking forward to playing super-tourist and master trip-planner next week when two of my best friends from Pitt come visit (shoutout Judey and Maddie)! À toute à l’heure…