Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sacré Cœur seen from the bell tower of Notre Dame

Photos from our visit to Notre Dame

January 17

The last two weeks have been very rich and full of excitement. However, I feel that the heart and soul of Paris lies in its people, language food and music. The architecture in Paris is absolutely breathtaking, but what I will remember is getting lost with Adam and Jacob while we were trying to find the closest Lavarie (laundromat). So many French people saw our obvious stress and constantly gave us encouragement. We received directions which eventually fit together like pieces in a puzzle. Then there was the French woman in the lobby of the FIAP today who spoke to me for an hour about the concerns she had about one day waking up and finding herself unemployed. This let me know that no matter who you are or where you come from we all have similar concerns. We talked about a networking convention she went to, laughed over our inadequate sign language, and admired the beauty of a fickle sun which appears on special occasions. Which occasions? Well, I don't know... but the sun in Paris is an arrogant one which knows how to make an entrance.

I enjoyed the music in the streets, which included a man playing a small box piano, another playing at least three instruments at once, people roller skating and doing all sorts of fantastic tricks to the sounds of a nearby radio. I wondered how often they came and performed in front of the Seine River.

I laughed as Lorraine, Jacob, Tyler, Adam and I stood on line at the Notre Dame Cathedral while a comedian with a scary mask teased and played with all of us on line. He shared his wonderful gift of entertainment freely, and then humbly lowered his mask for anything anyone who laughed and appreciated him on that long line could spare.

I enjoyed the way people seem to cook the food here with love and passion..... Yes, I enjoy the passion, love, heart and Pulse of France--it's people. Its aesthetic beauty and historical sites, though important, are just icing to the cake.

Everyday life ... yes, that's what I like in Paris!

Paris is gay after all ...

Photos - January 16

January 16

These last two weeks in Paris we have seen so many interesting things. We have been made aware of a lot of historical facts about Paris, which makes the experience even more meaningful. I loved taking the boat ride down the Siene in the beginning of the trip because it allowed us to see all that Paris had to offer and set us up for the things we would be doing for the rest of the trip. I enjoyed the Eiffel Tower because it glittered and was very beautiful. It was interesting to learn that the French actually didn't like it and thought it was ugly. The Catacombs was also an interesting experience because there were so many bones, I didn't realize that so many people died and were used for that project.

Friday, January 14, 2011

January 14 - Photos

January 14

The venture to the top of the Eiffel Tower was so much fun. With the bright lights of the city, it seemed as though we could see for miles. Another exciting outing was a stroll down the Champs Elysées via the Arc de Triomphe and ending at the pyramid of the Louvre. It is cool to see so many people, both Parisians and foreigners, experiencing this lavish walk down a popular street in Paris.

I conquered my fear and went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, where I saw the skyline of Paris at nightfall. With the twinkling tower, night sky and street lights it was quite a site see. Also the group went on a tour of the Champs Elyssées and the Arc de Triomphe. We then went on a tour of the 18th-century gay district in Paris, which today is a very popular shopping area. On a side trip we went to the Catacombs and saw the underground graveyard and the wall of skulls. So far Paris is AWESOME!!!!!


This week we did so many great things! We went to see le Château de Versailles, and went to a fabulous Creperie. My favorite thing that happened this week was our impromptu trip to the Catacombes de Paris. After we left, we recognized Justin Kirk from the popular Showtime series Weeds, and after following him for a few minutes, we were lucky enough to take a picture. It was so great; I was enamored!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Students at the Eiffel Tower

More Pictures, January 7, 2011

Photos by Tyler GreenPope

January 7, 2011

So far, despite the rain, we’ve visited the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysées, the Tuileries Gardens, the Pyramid of the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Town Hall (the mayor of Paris is gay!), and a couple cool French restaurants.

A Message from the Director, Dr. David A. Powell

For the past four and a half years, Hofstra University has offered students courses in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies – the only academic program of its kind in the metropolitan area. In January 2011, the program will take students to Paris to discover another facet of LGBT studies: what does it mean to be gay elsewhere than in the United States?

Being gay is the only minority that does not entail preparation and instruction within the family culture: one does not learn how to live one’s homosexuality at home but in the subculture which finds its place, after a fashion, in the larger culture. Being gay in the U.S. is not the same as being gay elsewhere, as the majority culture dictates the context in which gays live.

The goal of the Paris LGBT program is to study and observe a different gay experience, offering students the opportunity to witness French culture as it shapes gay culture. At once a cultural experience and a study of “queer” sensibilities, the course “Queer Paris” challenges students to confront the concept of universalism central to the French Republic, which in turn influences the construction of the gay experience in France.

In addition to classroom study, students tour the gay districts of Paris and witness first-hand the components of French gay culture that differ from the American experience. Besides gay aspects of Paris, students also benefit from their visit to explore the City of Lights: sightseeing tour on the Seine, visit of the Louvre and the Orsay museums, and Versailles as well as traditional and ethnic restaurant meals and walking tours through various neighborhoods. After-Christmas sales offer interesting shopping excursions (on your own); and one can hardly ignore the ever-present delights of French cuisine and wines.

David A. Powell, Ph.D.
Professor of French, Director, LGBT Studies Program