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.