Moving On

Thursday

First day of the long weekend and a couple students headed to Brussels, while others stayed in Paris. As for the rest of us, we headed to Versailles. We got up early and headed on the very long trip to Versailles. When we arrived there were lines everywhere and I really think that they just line up for the sense of lining up. Instead of waiting in line to get into the palace we headed around back to the gardens. There was no line and there was no waiting. 

The gardens where so green and there were so many fountains everywhere. We wanted to see as much as we could until heading into the Palace. We wandered for a little, then we decided to get some lunch at the cute little cafe in the gardens. After that we wandered for four more hours, we seen more gardens, more fountains, and then stumbled across the garden to see Marie Antoinette’s house. It was amazing.

When we headed back to the Palace, the line was about half as long as it was when we got there in the morning. It was so hot and there was no shade to stand in while we were waiting. In line, to make the time go by we came up with games, some where fun while others were not. After waiting 45 minutes or so we finally entered into the Palace. 

We thought we would get to see so much more of the Palace than we did, there was so many rooms that were blocked. Another hinderance was the fact that there were so many tour groups going through that if you got stuck behind one, you were stuck for a while. A few of us tried to sneak around a couple, we succeeded only to get stuck behind another one.

When we got to the end, which did not take us very long, we were disappointed because there was not much to see.  The gift shop had a bunch of little collectable items which was nice. A bunch of us bought macarons from the shop, they were so good. After we collected everything, we headed back home for the night.

 

Friday

We were all on our own for another day. A group of us decided to head to Disneyland where we would have a great day.  We left the hotel around 9am and arrived at Disneyland for 10:30am, and the park only opened at 10am. The lines where long, but they got us through very quick. Since we bought tickets for both parks, we decided to head over to Disneyland first and go on a bunch of rides, then head over to Walt Disney Studios for the hottest part of the day, then come back to Disneyland for the night and see the fireworks. We went on a bunch of different rides, we seen French Buzz Lightyear, French C3-P0, and French Minnie and Mikey Mouse during the parade.  

After spending numerous amounts of minutes at each ride waiting to ride them, we decided to stick around for the 5:30pm parade before heading over to the Studios side of the park. Through the parade we seen a bunch of the main characters that are in the disney movies. The parade was just long enough where we able to see a bunch, while also hearing a really cool song I wish I could have got.

After the parade we noticed a lot of people leaving so we knew when we came back to Disneyland we would not have to wait as long. Our standard waiting time was anywhere from 45-75 minutes. At the Studios, we went on Tower of Terror, Aerosmith Roller Coaster, a studio tour and others. They were all amazing.

When we returned to Disneyland we only had to wait around 20-25 minutes for the rides we wanted to go on. We went on our final ride before heading to get a place to see the fireworks display at the end of the night. We had agreed to stay for a bit and then head out before the crowds. When we got to the train, everyone else had the same idea. The train ride home seemed so much quicker.

Overall Disneyland Paris was amazing and we spent roughly 14 hours there and everyone had a great time there. I would definitely go back again.

 

Saturday

Today everyone was on their own again, but I don’t know if people actually went anywhere. A couple students and I headed to a coffee shop called ‘Telescope’ and then wandered over to a market close by. The coffee shop was amazing, we walked by it twice because there was no sing outside to tell us where it was. When we found the shop, we walked in and found a small little space that had a couple people sitting inside. 

The owner was inside helping customers, everyone spoke english at this coffee shop as well which was nice. I looked at the coffee that they had for sale and bought some more again. After our amazing breakfast and coffee we wandered the neighborhood.

We walked in and out of all the stores in the market area, and then we wandered into store surrounding the area. We found some really cool places, but they were quite expensive to even look at buying anything. 

After we spent a little more than half a day out, we heading back so they could do homework.

 

Sunday

It was a super relaxing day for most of the students, but some of them went to the Electronic Brunch Festival. They all said it was a good time. At around 4pm or so me and a student went to Viplano’s for dinner. It was so good, a nice relaxing friend dinner.

When we were done, we headed back to the hotel to pack up for the long travel day tomorrow. We are heading to Angers tomorrow.

 

Monday

Travel Day. We were to meet at 10am to get everything ready for the bus, but unfortunately the bus was late so we had to wait. When we finally got on the bus almost everyone slept until the first pit stop where we were able to stop and get drinks and food. Once leaving there we drove straight through. The drive was roughly four hours, but it felt so much longer.

When we arrived in Angers, we met with Claire and Louis and they gave us a tour of some of the locations around where we are staying. There is so much so close to us. We will venture to school tomorrow, apparently it isn't that far.

 

Tuesday

First day of classes at ESSCA Angers. We had a nice welcoming breakfast that included fresh orange juice and croissants. We had class about European studies and the affects between Canada and France. We learned that most people believe Europe to be very historic, geographically small, and to have a very diverse culture.

 

Wednesday

At school again to learn about European Studies. This time we have a different professor and he is talking about European Economics. There was first a true and false test to see how much each of the groups know, as the professors we only got 11/20 while the best team got 14/20 which I think was very good.

Our first excursion while we are here is to visit Cointreau, it was originally founded here in Angers and it has never expanded or anything. They also said they would never plan on expanding because the whole Cointreau family is here. We seen the history, where the Cointreau is made, and all the advertising. It was so interesting learning about how they create such a wonderful beverage.

After the whole tour we got the chance to try their newest mixed drink called the Cointreau Fizz, which included some Cointreau, lemon lime juice, and some plain perrier. Super simple and very delicious. Everyone enjoyed it very much.

 

Thursday

This morning we are back at ESSCA learning about European Studies and how the EU works. We learned that the EU doesn't have a ‘President’, and there is no ‘White Hhouse’, but there is a ‘President of the European Council’, and a ‘High Representative of Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy’. We also learned that the EU is composed of 28 members, 1 President and 27 commissioners. 

We were also shown the Institutional Triangle which walks you through how the EU makes a decision. The commission proposes something and then it has to be sent to Council and the Parliament and they both have to agree before anything else happens.

In the afternoon we had another class that we learned more about the EU and how everything came into place. Everyone became a part of the EU at different times;

    1958 - France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands (6)

    1973 - United Kingdom, Ireland, and Denmark (9)

    1981 - Greece (10)

    1986 - Spain and Portugal (12)

    1995 - Austria, Finland, and Sweeden (15)

    2004 - Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia, 

                Cyprus, and Malta (25)

    2007 - Bugaria and Romania (27)

    2013 - Croatia (28)

After class we headed over to the Musée De Beaux-Arts D’Angers, which the the Angers Museum of Beautiful Arts. There were so many beautiful paintings and sculptures. There were some really strange pieces too, which included two canvas’ that were painted white and yellow with nothing on it. I don’t know how that is considered art, but to each their own.

 

Friday

In class, last time this week, talking about European Economics. What the professor has done has added in a way for the groups to work on their designer projects while also working on what he would like them to do. Before the groups separated to work on their projects, he talked to us about a model to help them find information about exporting from Canada to France. There are so many steps that are involved, including making sure that there is the proper tariffs and regulations added. Once he walked through the steps to find this information, the groups worked on finding the export and import costs of their products. The groups worked on this until the end of the class, and then we all just came back to the residence so everyone could work on the homework that they all had. It was a nice quiet night.

 

Saturday

Up bright and early for our trip to Normandy and the Juno Centre. When we arrived at Normandy we started our tour of the bunkers, which was really cool, our guide told us the history. They were built really bad so they had to rebuild almost all of them to make them stable for people to walk through. The first bunker was bigger but the ceilings were really low.

In the second bunker it was so small, only room for two people if that to be in there. When we were all in there it was so small. We looked around and when I looked up I seen a huge spider (a little bigger than a two dollar coin) and I slightly freaked. I hate huge spiders like that. So as soon as our guide was done talking, I got right out of there.

We then all got the chance to go an wander the beach. A couple of students decided to walk right into the ocean, it was so cool. It was their first time seeing the ocean. We all collected sea shells by the sea shore which was a lot of fun, there was so many out there. It was impossible not to get your feet wet even just walking along the beach.

After the beach we headed over to the American Cemetery. It was so peaceful and beautiful. It is an amazing feeling to walk through there to see how many people fought in the wars. We were very fortunate to be there just before the D-Day recognitions, so we got to see War Bombers fly over the cemetery multiple times. It was so amazing.

Shortly after the amazing walk around in the American Cemetery we headed to the German cemetery. It was a whole different experience. It was not as big and not as peaceful. In the middle there was this tower that you could go up and see the whole cemetery, it was not as big as the American. Still interesting to look around though.

On the way home, everyone slept on the bus again. Such a peaceful ride home.

 

Sunday

Homework day. Everyone stuck close to the residence and worked on their multiple projects that they have to complete for upcoming dates. It was a very relaxing day.

 

Monday

Today is the day that we head to the Brissac Castle only a half an hour away. The castle was so beautiful, peaceful, and amazing. We had a guided tour so we could learn the most about this most amazing historic castle. We learned that there is a family of a future Duke living in the castle right now, little did we know we would actually meet him near the end of our tour.

We seen guest bedrooms, dining room, gallery, the tunnels and the wine cellar. Every room had a history to who has been in there and who has been to this castle. When we were nearing our final location of the wine cellar, we were met by the current owner and we talked a little. We found out he is an alumni of ESSCA, which we thought was very cool.

Heading down to the wine cellar we got to taste three kinds of their wine and then got the chance to purchase our favourite. A bunch of us ended up buying one to three bottles.

We were going to walk around the historic town, but since it was a holiday there was nothing open, so instead we decided to head back to the residence instead. If there would have been some places open, then we would have walked around the town to see what was there. The bus ride home was a lot quicker than the ride there.

Venturing Out

Wednesday

Again we got up early to head off to ESSCA for our class.  During class the teams each presented on their designers, they had to touch on a bunch of different aspects of what they had learned and how they do what they do.  Once class was complete we were given some time for lunch, a bunch of us headed over to a little cafe around the corner from the school. It has amazing specials and really great food. When we were done lunch, we headed back to the school to meet Catherine, Luce, and Paul to head over to the Balenciaga exhibit.

There were so many beautiful pieces of his work and to accompany the pieces there were blurbs around the exhibit talking about Balenciaga and how he worked.  This exhibit focused on his black pieces with features of white and pink. After the exhibit, Luce and Paul took us over to a couple of the department stores (malls) and a store front to look at a couple other Balenciaga locations.  When we were looking through some of the products we found a jacket that looked like a life vest and it was 1900 Euro. There is no way any of us students could afford that.

 

Thursday

Back at ESSCA, this time we are talking about the fragrance market which is a collection of skincare (36.3%), haircare (22.9%), make-up (18.2%), fragrances (12%), and hygiene products (10.5%). Today was also the day that we learned about the five different kinds of perfumes and the top notes, the heart notes, and the base notes. The five different perfumes from strongest to weakest are parfum, eau de parfume, eau de toilette, eau de cologne, and eau fraiche. Who knew there where so many different kinds?  As for the top, heart, and base notes we were shown this amazing triangle that explains the different smells. A top note is the very first scent you will smell and the first to leave, a heart note will be your next smell that will stick around for a while, and your base note is the last to arrive and the one that will last the longest. 

After class we had another excursion with Leah and this time we were heading over to Les Gobelins to look at how tapestry, carpets and banners, are made. The process is absolutely amazing. Some of the pieces we seen took them over six years to complete. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take any photos while touring this area. 

 

Friday

Another day at ESSCA, and we got to smell a ton of different kinds of perfume, some were amazing, like the Jimmy Choo Man, Jimmy Choo Illicit, and many more. We looked at the different kinds of branding that is involved in creating an advertising campaign for these scents. There was a lot more put into that than I thought.  Props to those who have to make sure that all the different avenues flow together correctly.

After class we headed over to meet Leah for our last excursion with her at the Kimono exhibit at a beautiful museum.  We seen so many amazing Kimono’s, it was small but the ones that were on display were beautiful and exciting to see. There was so much information given about these Kimono’s and who would wear them and what each of the different ones symbolized. 

When we had completed that exhibit we headed off to the next exhibit on Dalida, who was a French iconic singer, who died at the height of her career.  We got to see all of her iconic outfits that she wore on stage and in her movies, some of them were really fancy and other were everyday wear items. It was so cool to see all of her outfits.

Our final photo with Leah.

Our final photo with Leah.

 

Saturday

Today was a very relaxing day. Some students went out and explored some of Paris while others stayed back to work on their assignments that are due on Monday. I believe that some of the students headed over to Notre Dame and the Luxembourg Gardens, the Louvre, and some other really small shops around Paris.

 

Sunday

Today was another relaxing day for students since a bunch were working on assignments and others again went out and explored. Some students went to the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and markets. A student and myself headed over to the Montorgueil neighbourhood and visited a little coffee shop called MATAMATA. A cute little coffee shop. (for more information please visit extremecoffeefreak.com

Shortly after that we wandered the area and stumbled across a very cool street, much like our Kensington or Inglewood, with a bunch of shops on either side selling artisan food and novelty items. We found so many interesting shops that we would like to go back and visit. A little bit more wandering and we stumbled across an outdoor ‘farmers’ market that was absolutely amazing. After a while we decided to come back to the hotel to pick up a couple more people and head back out again. This time we were heading to the Eiffel Tower. 

We got over to the tower at a perfect time, we wanted to be there for sunset to see at the top of the tower. We headed up, and up, and up, and up, which seemed like forever and then we got off the elevator and we were at the top. The view was amazing. I couldn't believe it, it actually took my breath away at the amazing views. I was so happy that I got the chance to go to the very top of such an amazing location. I can only hope that I will get the chance to do that again.

 

Monday

To start off the week, we are back at ESSCA to learn more about branding and how to prep us for the mystery shops this afternoon.  Catherine told us there were some common rules of mystery shopping and they included:

    - No photos inside the store

    - No filling out the feedback form in the store

    - No electronic recording of conversations

    - DO NOT let staff know it is a mystery shopping exercise 

    - AVOID unreasonably wasting time and abusing goodwill of staff

    - Be polite and respectful

    - Dress decently

Armed with this advice we headed out, each team of two headed to their assigned location. I tagged along with two students heading over to Chanel. The first store we went to, we had very little service in the sense that they only said hello and nothing else to us. It was unfortunate that there was such poor customer service at this location, because it was really busy inside this store. There were people lined up everywhere to talk to a salesperson. This is where we located a little purse that was priced at 460 000 Euro. Way out of student budgets. We had better service at the next location, but not as good as what it should have been. It just tells me that even if I had a ton of money I would not shop at Chanel.

 

Tuesday

Back in class today talking about fragrances and then in the afternoon we are heading over to the Perfume Museum, which should be a lot of fun. As an in class exercise we were tasked to draw what we though the new bottle and packaging would look like for the new Rochas. Everyone’s designs were very inventive and exciting to see, their ideas for how it would smell were very interesting as well. What Rochas did for the bottle and packaging design, I felt could have been better, I like the packaging (very Chanel) and the bottle was nice until they added a bow. The smell was very sweet and I don’t think I would wear it.

After that we headed over to the museum which was absolutely amazing. There were so many interactive exhibits about how our nose works when smelling things. We got to smell a bunch of different scents like what we smelt in class and we also learned the history of perfume and how it all started. I wish there was a location there to create your own perfume because I would have done that in a heartbeat.

 

Wednesday

Last day at ESSCA so we have half day with luxury brands and half day with fragrances. So in the morning we talked about the rest of the presentations and the teams got some very powerful advice about what needs to change or what can be improved. This will also help the teams with the look books that they have to complete for an upcoming assignment. Once everything was shared and talked about in the morning we broke for lunch.  As a final farewell to ESSCA we headed around the corner to our favourite local cafe where we got some really good food.

After lunch the teams presented their fragrance brands to the class. They were so amazing, I would wear almost everyone that was presented. Then we talked about travel retail and where the most money is made when it comes to selling fragrances and assorted items.

Once class was over we went out front to take a final farewell picture. As a class we would like to thank those talented individuals that made our experience at ESSCA unforgettable.

Whirlwind Experiences

Since I arrived on Friday, we have done quite a bit.  Friday was a super chill day for those who had arrived, we went to the Monoprix to get some groceries and then just lounge around and get used to it here. Being up for 32 hours straight is actually one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do.

Saturday

This morning we got up for a call time of 10:00am. We knew we were going to be walking a lot so we prepared. We headed off to Vedettes du Pont Neuf and Montmartre, we started at Vendettes du Pont Neuf for our guided boat tour of the Seine river. During the tour we seen locations as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Church, and the Lock Bridge.

After this amazing boat tour we headed over to Montmartre where we seen Moulin Rouge and sight-seeing around this sweet little village.  There was so much to see around this village, we came across a bunch of little boutique shops, including a very sweet little button shop and large fabric shops.

After our amazing tour with Leah was completed a couple of us students decided to head out for dinner and a couple drinks.  We had passed a restaurant called Le Relais Gascon where we seen these amazing “salad bowls”, they consisted of salad as the bottom layer, a layer of bacon bits, two slices of baguette with brie circles, and topped with crunchy potato slices. I have to admit one of my most favourite dinners since we have been here. Tonight we headed back to the hotel and played card games to unwind from a really long day.

By the time we got back to the hotel we had walked almost 27,000 steps, we were all wondering if that is how everyday was going to be.

Sunday

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mother’s out there.

We all woke up knowing today was going to be another busy day since we are heading to a flea market and to the Indigo workshop. This morning we left the school at 8:15am for our call time of 9:30am. 

This flea market started back in 1870, the rag-and-bone men were forced out of Paris due to hygiene issues and settled down between the fortifications and the first houses of Saint-Ouen village. The unloading of mismatching objects used to be done straight on the floor from then onwards, every Sunday. In 1908, the underground started to alight at the “Flea Market”, when the crowds were already gathering. From 1920 onwards, the “Puces” expanded and the markets Vernaison, Malik, Biron, and then Vallès were created.  We spent a long while there visiting four distinct locations and the surrounding shops.  There was so much to see and do, we wish we could have had a little more time there.

When we were leaving to head over to the Indigo Workshop we got caught in this crazy torrential rain storm.

Eventually the storm let up and we were able to head to Alexander Dumas Metro Station and get the first group of students to the Indigo workshop. The students were given a 3 by 3 piece of hemp where they were allowed to tie string to create a ‘tie-dye’ like design.  Then they all dipped the pieces into the vat of Indigo pigment to create designs. If the students wanted to get crafty they could with moving strings and re-dip it into the vat of Indigo pigment. Once it was complete they were asked to soak it overnight in water and then ring it out and let dry. The designs were absolutely amazing.

The group that didn't do the first workshop got to go and visit the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.  It was absolutely beautiful, so much history, and it was very peaceful. After wandering for a while, we eventually found the grave site we were searching for which was Jim Morrison, the lead singer of the Doors. We were expecting a bigger mausoleum, but instead it was a tombstone and flowers, Jim Morrison’s grave blended in with all the ones located close to his. 

After we got back from the cemetery the first group that completed their Indigo workshop and where looking at heading back to the hotel, so we call decided to head home together.  On our way home we all stops at Marks and Spencer's to get some dinner.  Then we all came home and just hung out to get ready for the next day.

Monday

Today we headed off to class at ESSCA where we were taught about Luxury Brand Management. We learned about the pyramid brand and management model which the groups were asked to use for their projects as well as the brand DNA chart. After the discussions the students worked on their projects and then we were let go for lunch.  

When lunch was over we headed over to meet Catherine Brickhill who was a former designer with Alexander McQueen and Givenchy and now she is with ASH.  She talked to us about what it takes to put together a fashion line and accessories. Catherine also touched on work in Paris outside of the regular fashion system. She was absolutely amazing to listen to and hear from.

After our amazing encounter with Catherine the group headed over to the Louis Vuitton Foundation where we got to go in for 10 Euro. It was gorgeous inside. We walked around the whole first floor and then we made our way outside to a beautiful water and light display.  We sat there for a while and then we decided after all the heat of the day, it was time to relax. 

When we got back to the hotel a couple of us decided to go out for dinner and a drink for my birthday, so we headed back to Le Relais Gascon. After dinner we just walked around Montmartre for a little to see more of the sights. At the end of the night I wanted to let the people that took me out for dinner, made it a wicked birthday.

Tuesday

We didn't have school today, so we were told to meet Leah for some more cultural experiences. We left early today to make sure that we arrived on time.  We waited at the Opera for Leah to arrive to head over to visit Laurence Aguerre in her studio to talk about her hand made flowers using various techniques of hand crafts, including lace, embroidery and beading. Her work was absolutely beautiful and elegant. Each piece taking her a long time to create.  Each piece is created from an image that she has in her head, inspiration from nature.

After looking at such beautifully made products, we headed over to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs to check out the beautiful jewels they have on display there. This tour was specifically created for our group, so in other words we had a private tour from the Louvre. It was absolutely amazing, we got to see the bit of the Museum that is under construction, no one has gotten to see it yet.  It was pretty amazing.

Shortly after our tour, the students headed to visit MTX Embroidery.  MTX is an architectural embroidery company creating room decor and architectural compliments for companies like Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel using the Luneville stitching.