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 –
- 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.
- The several small museums around the city that work as spaces for inspiration and enlightenment.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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…
- 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.