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Axel on his solo, visiting the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery and saying hello to his idol, Frédéric Chopin.

EAC S'14 Week 3

The Euro Crew departed to the city of lights, Paris, for our first excursion out of Aix into the wonderful world of art! As the most visited city in the world, and considered the cultural capital of the world, I thought that I knew everything that Paris had to offer, how wrong I was.


photo: Axel Getz




photo: Ben Mello

Paris has a way of surprising its visitors. As we exited the train into Gare de Lyon, the exquisiteness of the city percolates into every crack of the city.



Picture: Le Train Bleu, a restaurant situated in Gare de Lyon, opened in 1901 with the over the top Rococo design


Photo: BM

After checking into our Hotel, we walked into the heart of the city. We explored multiple churches, and stopped in on the famous gelato in the city, until we finally saw the illustrious Notre Dame towering out of the most ancient part of the city.


photo: AG

After hanging out in Quasimodo’s old stomping grounds we headed to Dave and Jen’s own stomping ground in the Latin Quarter along St. Germain.


photo: BM

After our walk down memory lane we headed to dinner together to have some artesian pizza, walk across the Seine, and call it a night.


photo: Vance




photo: BM

As our second day began, we headed to the National Opera, “Opera Garnier”. We exited the subway to this beautiful building.


photo: Vance

Not a single detail was left untouched.


photo: Vance

It epitomizes Rococo design. Golden ceilings, marble pillars, and artisan woodcarvings plaster every corner of the building. It even inspired the broadway play, The Phantom of the Opera.


photo: AG








photo: AG

After having an overload of beauty, we walked just across to the Galleries Lafayette, a department store that puts New York City’s own Bergdorf Goodman to shame. The most established designers grace its floors.






photo: AG





After some shopping, we met up at the Mussé Dorsey to see some of the world’s most famous artwork. Van Gogh, Rodin, Renoir, Monet, Cézanne and countless other masters’ work are on its walls. After hundreds of masterpieces, we ended the night with a beautiful boat tour on the Seine river, seeing the Eiffel Tower in all its glory.


photo: AG

We left Paris the next day to head to an old friend of Dave and Jen’s, the amazing British painter, James King. First we stopped to sketch “Corot’s Bridge”.














photo: Vance





James’s etching plate for “Souvenir de Rome”



Detail of “Sourvenir...” Adroit in multiple forms of art, James is a Renaissance man in every sense of the saying. Painting, printmaking, and etching are all forms of art that he actively participates in. He walked us through the etching process to create our own prints.



After creating our own prints, and saying goodbye to James, the group hopped onto a train back to Paris to the World Famous Louvre.


photo: Vance




photo: Vance

Here we saw arguably the best art the world has to offer. The Mona Lisa, Psyche and Amore, and Winged Victory are part of its more than 35,000 collection.


James King’s painting of the Mona Lisa. This is pretty much what you get.

After Dave’s tour through the Louvre, we were given free time to explore its collections and with it, we saw Vermeer, Michelangelo, Rubens and many others. Following our second dosage of concentrated beauty, we got on the metro to Champs Élysées, and as we left the underground, we saw none other than the Arc de Triomphe! As we walked on this world famous street, we stopped at Ladurée with the world’s best macaroons, and ate at a delicious restaurant with great food and even better deserts! It was an amazing way to end our day!


photo: AG





We were set loose the next morning for our first set of solos! On these special days, we are able to look at the city and see what facets of it we want to explore on our own because it interests us. We went to fashion museums, sculpture parks, tanneries, street art covered alleyways, cafés, cemeteries, catacombs, chapels, churches and cathedrals. As a whole, we saw some of the best that Paris has to offer. We reconvened and told stories about our escapades and promptly left to Chartier, an old school, working class restaurant for some of the classics. Steak tar tar, escargot and lamb brain were consumed by our brave group of foodies.

Our final day in Paris consisted of one of the best artist’s finals days, Vincent van Gogh.


photo: AG




photo: AG

We took a train out to Auvers sur Oise, a small village on the outskirts of the city. There we followed Van Gogh’s foot steps through the end of his life.


photo: AG




photo: Vance

We walked to the Field of Crows where he painted and shot himself, saw the room he died in, and his grave next to his brother.










photo: Vance




photo: AG




photo: Nathan French

Afterwords, we went to an interactive museum that walked us though the Impressionist movement with led screens and high quality visuals.



We returned to Paris to the Jewish district for some lovely falafel! As our meal progressed, we soon came to the realization that we were leaving this amazing city, and maybe for some of us, never returning.


photo: Vance

Even though this realization was not easy to come to terms with, we all knew that the brief time we spent in this city was well spent!


photo: Vance





As I boarded the high speed train to Aix, exhausted, I went back to my original idea of what Paris would be like, and I was so happy that I was wrong. It is so natural to fabricate what a trip will be like, but it looses its spontaneity if the fabrication is true. On every street corner I was surprised, confounded and flabbergasted by the world that is Paris.


photo: Vance

The high speed life of Paris was incredibly fun but it is nice to be back home in Aix. We had a relaxing day in Aix and went to a Symphony Easter eve orchestral performance.

Ben, Dave, Eli and I decided to attend a Catholic mass on Easter Sunday. We went to the Cathedral, watched the incense spread throughout the building, heard the Bishop’s sermon in French and watched three babies be baptized.


photo: Vance








photo: Vance

After a beautiful ceremony, we returned to the homestead to a delicious brunch of Jen’s amazing crêpes, sausages, and French omelets, which we all learned how to create thanks to Dave.


photo: Vance

We finished off the day with the Euro tradition of preparing and eating Rabbit! Take that Easter Bunny! Happy Easter everyone!
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  • Annie MacKenzie
    Axel - It sounds like you are appreciating every minute...good for you. Miss you here but glad you're having such a good time.
  • Anne Getz
    Well done Axel! Loved seeing the photos and reading your blog. I loved seeing the Macaroon Shop and also the museums.
  • Suzanne Thoms
    Axel, I am so happy you are still sharing yourself, your escapades and your point of view with all of us. I love that you are enjoying every minute and every inch of your experience. XO and thanks for sharing!
  • sue houston
    So wonderful! Fantastic photos!
  • Brenda Godwin
    What a pretty kitty! Can you keep it? The French do love their animals.
  • Valerie Ferris
    It is so fun to read the blogs and see Paris through your eyes. Thanks for sharing your photos and adventures!
  • Kayden Will
    It is such a joy to think of you in Paris, Axel! Your descriptions of each day allow those of us in Andover to get a lovely glimpse of all that you are seeing and experiencing. Thank you.
  • Stephanie Paine
    Thank you Axel for capturing your wonderful adventures in words and photos !
Located in  Andover, NH,  Proctor Academy is a private coeducational day and boarding school for grades 912. Students benefit from a rigorous academic program, experiential off-campus programs, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.
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