Studying in Paris – Thanksgiving List

In the spirit of thanksgiving, here are a few aspects of Paris that make it a great city in which to study and a great city to study. Among many other reasons to be thankful for being a graduate student in Paris, a few reasons be grateful are – 
  1. Academic liberty in French PhD programmes in the humanities: there is a greater sense of liberty to take charge over your work, greater latitude to be in charge of your thesis.
  2. The several small museums around the city that work as spaces for inspiration and enlightenment.
  3. The sense of history in academic institutions – Very few places feel entirely new, it is perpetually  inspiring to have access to the resources and institutions that have been key to this city’s progress and human history.
  4. Extensive archives in Paris thanks to a legendarily bureaucratic state and a long history. There is remarkable access to old records and documents ranging from police records to maps. 
  5. A pedestrian culture makes the city an interesting and accessible field to study. It is an interesting place to be a student of urban life.
  6. Art and  music as research sources – several small museums that give data on France and French history, politics, and other facets of life. It is a great place to study beyond written texts, to engage the senses toward the study of French city life and history.
  7. Libraries – the spelling ‘libraries’ translates to ‘bookshops’ in French. However, here I am referring to ‘bibliotheques’, Libraries in the English sense. Paris is a great place to access centuries of the written word.
  8. Cinema as classroom – around the Latin quarter are several small cinemas that enrich the experience of being a student in this city by offering cinema from the different ages of this endlessly fascinating city
  9. Stationery heavens – the city is brimming with artisan stationers for cool notebooks, unique pens and other essentials. One only need to take a walk in the Latin Quarter…
  10. Cafes as study spaces – there is something about being in ‘La Rotonde’ where Hemmingway was a regular, or in discovering a café and making it your own, that is infinitely inspiring. This is one of the chief joys of being a student here; What is there not to be thankful for about being here?

These small things add reasons 256-265 to this blog’s list of 365 things to be grateful for being a grad student in Paris and London.