GT in the EU

An extraordinary education

Author: Charlotte Kaye

We’re in PARIS!

These first two days of our trip to Paris have been fantastic. Everyone in the group is giddy because of how excited and grateful we are to be here, and a lot of that has to do with the all of the cool activities included on our itinerary for this week.


One of the famous Love Lock bridges in Paris!

After arriving at the hotel Sunday afternoon, we quickly settled in and set off for the Quartier Latin (the neighborhood where the Notre Dame is), where half the group got crepes for dinner and the other half had falafel sandwiches. Already, we knew what we were in for in terms of quality food this week. Afterwards, we strolled for about an hour in the area, and watched street dancers and walked through shops, etc.

Around 9:30, at dusk, we started our boat tour on the River Seine. The tour guide explained all of the major bridges and landmarks that could be seen from the river, as well as an explained the history of some of the neighborhoods. It was a great start to this week, because it gave us some much needed information for exploring, site-seeing, etc.

One of the breathtaking views from our boat tour of the sunset.

One of the breathtaking views from our boat tour of the sunset.

To top off our beautiful boat tour, we stopped for gelato at Dr. Birchfield’s favorite spot. The flavor choices were endless, but I decided on raspberry, lime-basil, and chocolate hazelnut. It was SO good, and I’m already looking forward to going back (maybe or maybe not every night this week).

Raspberry, lime-basil, and chocolate hazelnut gelato!

Raspberry, lime-basil, and chocolate hazelnut gelato!

Monday started with a lecture by Professor Cottle of Georgia Tech’s School of Architecture on the architecture of Paris’ arcades. He explained to us the history of the architecture and how the arcades have both evolved and maintained their original styles, and then took us on a walking tour of Paris’ arcades on the Right Bank. It was super informative, and a great way to explore an area that we otherwise may not have discovered!

The very typical glass ceiling of the Parisian arcades.

The very typical glass ceiling of the Parisian arcades.

Portrait of George C. Marshall

Portrait of George C. Marshall

George C. Marshall Center

George C. Marshall Center








The beautiful view from the George C. Marshall Center.

The beautiful view from the George C. Marshall Center.

And like any typical tourists in Paris, we finished our first full day first with the climbing of l’Arc de Triomphe for a beautiful view of the city, and next with a picnic at the Eiffel Tower. We spent time discussing some of our favorite experiences so far this summer, and gushing over how lucky we are to be here in Paris!

No picture can justice of our view from the top of l'Arc de Triomphe.

No picture can justice of our view from the top of l’Arc de Triomphe

Me, Madeline, and Rebecca at the top of l'Arc de Triomphe!

Me, Madeline, and Rebecca at the top of l’Arc de Triomphe!

An accidental candid of Will in front of the Eiffel Tower during our picnic!

An accidental candid of Will in front of the Eiffel Tower during our picnic




A Taste of “Home” in Brussels

In a class assignment prior to arriving in Belgium, I wrote a bit about my stereotypes of Europe and Belgium. While I did not realize it at first, my mind was completely programmed to associate Belgium with France. My mother is French, and growing up I used to spend my summer vacations with my grandmother in Brittany, France. My grandmother lived in Brussels for a couple of years and worked for the European Community. She was absolutely in love with the city, as was my mother who would visit her on the weekends from Paris. Hearing their stories growing up, I subconsciously associated my experiences with France and French culture with Belgian culture.

I hate to admit this, especially publically, but I was royally disappointed when I realized that I was not in fact in France (or at least culturally), but in Belgium. It’s unfortunate that my own ignorance is what led to this disappointment, but because my stereotypes were so pre-programmed, there was no other way to learn about Belgian culture than by being fully immersed in it. I stayed with a Belgian family the first night and couple of days that I was in Brussels, and they really taught me more about the culture and identity of Belgium. After some sight seeing and doing some more research on my own, I have to say that I developed a sort of fascination with the country’s mixed cultures and languages and history. It has given me more of an appreciation of my own culture, and has led me to develop an interest for learning about other cultures, as well.

Finishing up our third week here in Brussels, I have fully come to terms with and have almost wrapped my head around what Belgian culture encompasses. I have come to love the routine I have developed here, and am really feeling at home in Brussels. However, the destruction of my stereotypes has only made me miss France more, especially Brittany, where my grandmother lives.

It’s safe to say that I was a more than excited when Dr. Birchfield pulled me aside and told me she would be taking us to a Breton food truck this past Tuesday after our visit to the European Commission. The food truck served “crêpes” and “gallettes”, which are native to Brittany, France. Galletes differ from crêpes because they are made with buckwhear flour, and generally served with savory ingredients. Dr. Birchfield let us get one of each, and it was one of my highlights of the trip, so far. I chose to get a classic “jambon-fromage” (ham and cheese) gallete, with a pear and chocolate crêpe. The taste of well-made crepes and galletes is so unique and I am thankful that I was able to enjoy them in Brussels. While Brittany is not my temporary home (I was born and raised in Atlanta), a piece of my childhood is there, and getting to enjoy Breton food made me feel homesick yet satisfied all at once.  Below are some pictures from the afternoon!

My ham and cheese galette looks small but it was so filling! I unfortunately did not get a picture of my pear and chocolate crêpe…I ate it too quickly :p

The pans where our galettes and crêpes were made.

The menu of galettes! I will definitely be ordering the “chevre-tomate”, or goat cheese and tomato galette after trying Victoria’s.

Suraj, Will, and Conner anxiously awaiting their food. Sorry for the candid, guys.


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