“Marian in Paris”

“Joie de vivre”

Sydney Waters, Crown Writer & Travel Blogger

“Joie de vivre” in French refers to the happiness that is derived from life. Throughout my first week as a Parisian, happiness has come from the little things like the many croissants and millions of different phrases, but this particular French phrase has stuck with me. This week in Paris, I have already encountered so many new experiences that will change me forever. Whether that be meeting individuals with diverse backgrounds and incredible personalities or discovering the everyday lifestyle of the Parisian people, I know this will be the journey of a lifetime that brings me everlasting happiness.

Within this week, I have learned the difference between the French and American cultures through my new host family. The family I am living with is made up of five children, along with a vibrant mother named Bibiane, who works at the bank, and a father named Roland, who owns his own architecture agency. I also have an adorable puppy with long fluffy ears. Another student living in my house is a kind-hearted girl named April. She is studying in her junior year at George Washington University and is here in Paris for the semester as well. Her energetic personality gives off the best vibes and reminds me of my own older sister Abby.

When leaving my host family’s house each morning, I pass by flowers shops, filling the air with beautiful flowery scents, and joining the locals on the metro, which is the most popular form of transportation in Paris. Because all of this is new and exciting, I tend to “people watch” constantly. In Paris, the fashion trends change rapidly. Brands such as Adidas and Longchamp are amongst the top of the trends. A typical Parisian woman would be found wearing a very long coat, matched with a scarf, jeans, and booties. Men usually are spotted with suits on, but younger men wear a casual sweater and jeans. Paris, rather than the US, is a lot fancier; therefore, you would rarely see a Parisian in yoga pants, a sweatshirt, or Uggs.

All of these little things make up the Paris culture and experience. Although I have already grown to love this city, this week has really made me appreciate the support system I have at home and the Marian community which has helped me prepare for this. I am so blessed to be able to share this opportunity with my friends and family. For now, it’s not a “au revoir,” it’s a “vous parler bientôt!”