An Academic Tour of Paris

Once again…. I am a little behind in blogging. I’ve found that if I don’t immediately write about whatever I’ve done during the week, I forget everything. So this post might be a tad unorganized, but the general consensus is WE WENT TO PARIS FOR SCHOOL!

Traveling to Paris with my class ended up being a great experience with new academic material as well as fun stories to tell. Like our short study tour, the week was split into academic visits, cultural visits (mostly food), and a bit of free time. The project we were assigned was a mood diary, where we recorded our emotions during the visits and applied different emotional regulation techniques in an analysis of these emotions. Currently working on my mood diary analysis has prompted me to finally let you guys hear about Paris.


We arrived on Sunday the 28th and spent most of the time getting transport to the hotel and checking in there. Then we walked to the river to see the Eiffel Tower and take a boat cruise. It was bitter cold, windy, and dark but the walk was definitely worth it just to see the Eiffel Tower. The night ended with a fancy dinner and a walk back to the hotel.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were our main academic visit days, meaning that we spend three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon at various research labs and one children’s hospital. We discussed the use of robots in social learning, different types of neuroimaging techniques (including seeing where the largest human MRI is being built, a crazy 11.7 Tesla), and current neuroaffective disorder treatments/studies. I will admit that the academic tours were a little overwhelming with just the shear amount of information, but overall, a good representation of what you can do in the field of neuroscience.

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Say hello to our little robot friend being used in studies on how robots can learn from humans and how humans can learn from teaching.

Our cultural visits in Paris were spread out a little more, though again mainly Thursday and Friday. On Tuesday night, we attended a comedy opera at the newly build opera house. The whole night was full of laughs, confusion about the story, and discussions on how emotion can be portrayed without being able to see facial expressions (we were in some pretty high seats). Thursday morning we got a chance to go to the Louvre, where we had a guided tour throughout about half the museum. Trying to visit every exhibit in the Louvre would take an entire day and that’s if you just walk around quickly! The Louvre tour was again focused on emotion so we delved into how emotion expression has evolved in paintings and statues. In most cases, early art did not show that much emotion as the focus was more on art techniques or proper anatomy. Pretty cool stuff.

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Thursday afternoon on the other hand, we visited the Paris catacombs. (insert creepy music here) DUN DUN DUHHHH! The catacomb walk was equal parts sad, fascinating, and scary. Fun fact: At some point in the late 1800’s, a group of rich gentlemen held a concert in the catacombs. They invited 100 other esteemed guests and an entire orchestra. The music consisted primarily of funeral marches or music dedicated to the dead. This took place at midnight until 2:30 am in the morning, so just imagine how spooky that must’ve been.

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Friday was the day of sun. The whole week was generally gray, cold, and rainy, but Friday was blissfully sunny for our last day in Paris. Fittingly enough, we went to Versailles before having to head home. Versailles was absolutely beautiful and also massive. We had about three hours or so to tour it, of which my friends and I spent 45 minutes inside and then the rest of the time in the gardens. We even walked all the way to Marie Antoinette’s apartments ( a 30 minute hike), which actually ended up being practically empty for another art exhibit. Thankfully, it was free for us to enter because we had our Swedish residence cards.  TIP: You can use your residence cards to get into most museums throughout Europe!

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To finish up, when we weren’t in “class” or at an event, we spent our time exploring Paris. Monday night, we managed to visit Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur Basilica, and the Arc de Triomphe altogether! Wednesday night, we ventured up to the top of the Eiffel Tower which was exhilarating and cold (creating shorter lines). Here are a few pictures from our adventures and hope you enjoyed a taste of our time in Paris. Keep an eye out for an upcoming post about thanksgiving and ending the semester (hoping to keep on track this time)!

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