Ma vie à Paris

Un rêve devenu réalité.

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This sumptuous loft in SoMa, with 5,000 square feet of livable space, was converted from an old warehouse by Martin Building Company.

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The Smitty Knitting Factory of lovely Rincon Hill, San Francisco was built in 1928.  In 1998 it was converted into this luxurious 3,132 square foot home by Abrams & Milliken. For $3.25 million, it can be yours.

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Conseils - Faisez du shopping! [go shopping]

1.     The flea markets at Porte Clignancourt are a must!  You can find just about anything there from brand new clothes, shoes, lingerie, jewelry, etc to knock-off designer bags that look real, to a huge selection of vintage clothes, accessories, house ware, records, deco, etc.

2.     The mall at Les Halles may not be so attractive, but they have almost every store you could need from H & M, Mango, Pimkie, to Mineli shoes, Muji (great for school supplies, organization, and travel stuff).  The little random stores that are scattered around Les Halles and the program center are often hidden treasures offering incredible prices on shoes and accessories, though you may have to dig through a little bit of tacky, plastic to find the good stuff

3.     The store Episode is one of my favorites (boys and girls) for really cool unique clothes, shoes, hats, bags, belts, and jewelry at really really impressive prices.  Metro Etienne Marcel.

4.     To avoid spending too much money and accumulating too much stuff to fit in your suitcase, organize a share with a friend of the same size.  You can buy clothes and split the price.  Decide when you make the purchase who will take the article home—that person pays a larger percentage.

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Conseils - À l’ecole [at school]

1.     Do not worry about how chaotic things may seem compared to your home school when you start choosing, attending, and finalizing courses.  They have a ehhem… “different” way of operating here, which may appear senseless, but things will work out if you follow the program’s instructions. 

2.     Do your best to confirm hours and locations ahead of time.  If possible, spend some time mapping out your schedule and finding the classrooms just before your first day of classes. 

3.     Don’t show up late.  Even if it seems like the professors don’t mind, they will have more respect for you if you show respect for them.  Plus it simply never feels good interrupt after the class is in session.

4.     DO not be afraid to check out school associations, trips, events, parties, sports teams, etc.  I cannot stress this point enough; although it could seem a little bit intimidating, this brief moment of discomfort will only last a millisecond compared to the really great experiences and memories you could potentially build. You will never know if you don’t try and you have absolutely nothing to loose if you really think about it.

a.     I saw a flier for a one-week student ski trip organized by the ski club at Dauphine.  About 4 days before the trip began I decided that I really wanted to go snowboarding in the alps and could use some help breaking into the ‘real’ social scene, even though none of my friends were up for it.  I went to the office of the ski club on campus asking for a spot, only to be told that it was full and applications had to be submitted 3 weeks earlier.  That answer didn’t satisfy me so that evening I wrote an e-mail to the club (I found the address on their website, which I found through an easy google search) explaining—in probably not so perfect French, but who cares?!—that I was an exchange student and really really wanted to go on the trip.  Sure enough they responded saying that they could fit me in.  I brought the money to school the following day and left on a bus that night for an 8 hr ride to the mountains.  It was scary at first to show up for the buses not knowing anyone, but by the time I got to the alps, I had made a couple friends.  From that point on I only made more and more friends.  It was truly the most rewarding experience in everyway.  I was able to practice my French, even though it was frustrating and tiring at times, it was more than worth it!  By the end I had a dozen great friends who I never would have met otherwise.  The whole experience proved the incredible value in trying something entirely by yourself.  Even if it’s just a single dance class or a sailing course, you will have a richer experience if you go without your safety net of familiarity for once.  Sure I would have had fun if my friends went on the trip too, but it would never have been such a profound, pivotal, rewarding, invigorating, satisfying experience.

5.     Take a course with real French students if possible.  Even if it’s just an elective course or a first-year course or an art class, it’s worth it to help integrate, experience more of the authentic culture, and meet people who can change the way you see the city.

6.     Even in courses with strictly exchange students, take advantage of the opportunity to talk to people (before and after, or during breaks, of course).  Don’t just stick to the few people you may already know.  Ask someone new to borrow a pencil, be in your group, explain something, anything!

7.     Use your CROUS!  It’s really an amazing deal!  A sandwich, drink, and desert for 2.95?!  Nowhere in Paris but at CROUS.  I even bought juices, yogurts, and fruit to take home with me when I had some room in my bag and money on my card.  It’s totally worth it.  Don’t forget that you can use your CROUS (which is actually a Moneo card) at all the Relay stores in metro and train stations, even outside of Paris.  Here you can pick up French magazines, books, snacks, souvenirs, and lots more!