We quickly emerged from the Chunnel and arrived in Paris. Although I had been once before, I got to see and do a lot of exciting new things. Paris is so much different than London, in good ways and bad, but it is fun to experience more than one culture on a trip. Although it is generally less inviting than the British, the French culture is one I have a deep appreciation for so I was happy to return to the city of Paris.
After the fast train ride we checked into our hotel and headed to the Louvre for a group cultural experience. The Louvre displays sucha wide variety of works of art from all different time periods andplaces all over the world. It’s a bit overwhelming to try to grip theimportance and historical value of everything you see. A few of thethousands exhibits included Michelangelo’s Dying Slave and Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. I really appreciate the effort of Professor Kirton to make the cultural events part of the course. Not only have I learned a lot about aviation, but also I have broadened my global thinking.
On Tuesday we visited Musee de L’Air et de L’Espace. Filled with all kinds of aircraft, this museum was my favorite in France. The museum had everything imaginable, from man’s first flight in a balloon to full size Concorde jets. My favorite exhibit was the retired Air France Boeing 747-400. I had never been on a 747, and I got to see everything: the cockpit, cabins, cargo holds, wirings, and so much more. The effect of the Boeing 747 on civil aviation is almost immeasurable, and it was an extraordinary experience to study the aircraft inside and out.
On Wednesday (July 8), the group headed south of Paris to an Aerodrome at Cerny. It was quite a trek to this location, but it was a fun little adventure. After an hour on the train, we hiked up a hill for about 30 minutes in the middle of nowhere. Needless to say, we were all happy about finding the airfield. The hangars were filled with old airplanes from the World Wars and other events, all of which were still flyable. An American working at the Aerodrome gave us a walking tour of the planes and answered all of our questions. He was very knowledgeable and his stories were fascinating. While eating lunch, a French Army helicopter landed at the field in the pouring rain, which was neat. After leaving Cerny we went back to Paris for our group picture at the Arc Du Triumph.
Thursday was our free day at Paris, and we accomplished a lot. A group of five of us visited Notre Dame, the Sacre Couer, Centre Pompidou, and the top of the Eiffel Tower. Each attraction was a little different, but I found all of them very interesting. Although they are quite close geographically, the cities of Paris and London feel worlds apart. I love both of them, but I still believe London ranks higher for me. Tomorrow however, we are switching it up again as we fly to Munich to begin our German section of the trip.
Au revoir from Paris,