By Dr. Ruth Thomas
The Sorbonne Study Program, the longest-running Temple University study abroad program, celebrates its 60th anniversary in summer 2010. For the past six decades, program participants have taken advantage of both intensive in-class language instruction at the Sorbonne and life in the great city of Paris, to further their study of French language and culture. Here, Program Director Dr. Ruth Thomas writes about the vibrant summer life in Paris that students experience beyond the classroom walls.
Paris is relaxed and laid back in July and August, and the hectic pace is slower with the warmer weather. But Paris also “swings” in the summer. The Bastille Day celebration with its impressive military parade down the Champs-Elysées, spectacular fireworks, and balls at the neighborhood firehouses on July 13 and 14th, bring tourists from every country and are known to all. Equally famous is the Tour de France which ends in Paris on the Champs-Elysées. Paris Plages transforms some of the banks of the Seine into “beaches” with sand, palm trees, deck chairs, beach games and even boating, and the Festival Quartier d’été offers free music, dance and theater performances in various “quartiers” or neighborhoods. The Festival Cinéma en plein air, an outdoor film festival at the ultra modern Parc de la Villette, offers free outdoor screenings in the late evening. And again for cinephiles, there is a Paris Cinema Film Festival with tickets costing only 5 euros at theaters and outdoor venues throughout the city. There are boat rides to take on the Seine and the Canal Saint-Martin, art exhibitions at almost every museum from the medieval Cluny to the modern Centre Pompidou, photography exhibitions at numerous galleries, bikes to rent on many streets, and cafés with their open terraces where you can sit for hours and relax. And last but not least are the semi-annual “soldes,” the sales that will let you keep up with fashion at more affordable prices.