January 25, 2020 – Bus Tour de France (OOTD #602)

I really wouldn’t say that a tour bus is the best way to experience Paris.

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I almost didn’t even go because even before I took the bus tour, I was pretty certain that it wasn’t the sort of thing for me. I was also absolutely exhausted from the night before — Friday had been the last day of the Welcome Programme (well, technically, the bus tour was the final event, but it was optional), and I was out late the previous evening at a club.

What ultimately convinced me to go was that I figured that, as a bus tour, I could sit there and look out the window most of the time. I love long train rides, and I thought, if nothing else, a bus tour of Paris would allow me to see some of the tourist sites without moving my feet. I just needed a big sun hat and plastic sunglasses and I could be a proper Asian tourist lady.

What I didn’t count on with this tour, though, was that the bus was mostly just a vessel for us to get from site to site — from there, there was actually quite a bit of walking. It was hardly a hike — honestly, I walked more on my first day in Paris and in Versailles — but I think when combined with how tired I was from the previous day (and the whole week in general), it ended up being a lot.

My social battery was also running out. I’m truly still shocked that I managed to be so extroverted during the whole of Welcome Weekend. I went to almost event, I accepted every invitation, I made an effort to be friendly and outgoing even after I was semi-comfortable in my established group of friends. I don’t normally subscribe to fomo — that is, the “fear of missing out” — but this time, I did.

And I’m glad I did. Though by the end of the week, that bus tour (followed by going to a café with friends later in the afternoon, and then going to a friend’s apartment after that, and then to dinner that night with even more friends) was absolutely draining, I think it was necessary. Compared to my semester in Washington DC, where I ended up regretting turning down a few early invitations because it meant it took me a bit longer to establish a group of friends, I started the semester in Paris with a pretty strong group. I mean, I’m sure there was also luck involved — sometimes, groups just don’t clique and there’s nothing you can do about it — but, given how my time in Paris was ultimately cut short, I’m so grateful that I spent as much time as I could early on with such a great group of people.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester abroad in the Paris, France. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Jacket: A vintage shop in Budapest  (thrifted)

Sweater: Forever21

Skirt: Pitaya

January 24, 2020 – Seine It All Before (OOTD #601)

I’m going to run out of French-related puns soon. It seems like the time hasn’t come quite yet though.

The Friday before the start of classes was essentially the final day of the Sciences Po Welcome Programme. The ~official~ final day was actually Saturday, in that it was the day of the very last event, but Friday felt like the true end. It was the last day when I met with my Programme group for our méthodologie class, for one, which had been a defining element of orientation. We gave presentations in groups to show how much we’d learnt about French pedagogy (spoiler alert: my group didn’t learn much), and an instructor gave us feedback (spoiler alert: our instructor wasn’t very nice).

After that somewhat harrowing experience, Friday culminated in a Seine river tour and a party at a local club, which made it feel like a true conclusion. While Saturday still held one more event (a bus tour of the city), it was mostly optional, and so not everyone I had gotten to know from my Programme group showed up — and it was really the people who defined the whole Welcome Programme experience anyway.

Like I said in my last blog, I actually really enjoyed my experience during the Sciences Po Welcome Programme. There were about two-ish weeks in between my arrival in Paris and the actual start of classes, one of which was taken up by the Welcome Programme. Though I was afraid it would just be another hokey ice breaker-filled orientation, it was actually a really fun way to get acquainted with my new city and make new friends. It allowed me to get some more tourist-y activities out of the way (taking a Seine river tour, pour exemple) while also getting to know other exchange students.

If any of you reading this blog happen to be aspiring Sciences Po students, I’d actually highly recommend coughing up the extra 200 euro or whatever it is to participate. The friends I made during the Welcome Programme ended up being the friends I stuck with for the rest of the semester (or at least however much of the semester was in-person), and I don’t know how I would’ve made friends without it.

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That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester abroad in the Paris, France. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Sweater: Thrifted (Goodwill)

Trousers: Express

Jacket: Thrifted (Goodwill)

January 23, 2020 – L’Assemblée du jour (OOTD #600)

(Unrelated to the rest of this post: this is my 600th OOTD blog! I can’t even believe that. Thanks to everyone who’s read my stories over the last four years — it really means a lot).

I’m really proud of this blog title: L’Assemblée du jour. Because…I’m standing in front of l’Assemblée nationale. And because…my blog is called L’ensemble du jour. I thought I was clever.

I mentioned this briefly in my last blog, but before the start of classes at Sciences Po, I participated in a Welcome Programme for international exchange students. I was initially hesitant about the idea — I remembered how awkward and horrible Welcome Weekend before the start of my freshman year at Notre Dame was, and I was not eager to go through that again.

But the one upside of Notre Dame’s Welcome Weekend — and it’s a major, important upside — was that it helped me make friends. I met some of my best friends during Welcome Weekend. It was a harrowing, exhausting experience, but I think the trauma of nonstop manufactured socialization brings people together.

Sciences Po’s Welcome Programme also helped me make friends. But it did so in a way that was not…traumatic? Is that even possible?

Sciences Po’s Welcome Programme was, dare I say, legitimately fun. Yeah, the first day was pretty stressful getting to know people and navigate my way around the buildings. But after that, the events and activities they put together for us were things I actually wanted to do — it wasn’t a chore to convince myself to go to the wine and cheese tasting or the Seine river tour or happy hour drinks at Montmartre. Making friends came naturally because they put together a schedule of programming where socializing didn’t feel forced. No offense to Welcome Weekend 2017 at Notre Dame, but “go stand there in an open field with 500 other kids while we blast loud music at you and 18 year-old boys have all been tasked by their Welcome Weekend leaders with getting you and other girls’ numbers — also you can’t have alcohol” really wasn’t an event that made making friends feel natural.

And I’m so grateful that I made friends so quickly and naturally at Sciences Po. It made saying goodbye to them suddenly in mid-March significantly harder, but it made the two months that I did have all the better.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester abroad in the Paris, France. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Sweater: H&M

Blouse: H&M

Trousers: Banana Republic

January 22, 2020 – Parisian Uniform (OOTD #599)

I wish I had worn this blazer more while I was in Paris.

Okay, there are a lot of things I wish I had done more of while I was in Paris. I’ll try not to harp on that too much. But after I’ve had a look through the photos on my phone, I believe this is the only set of pictures I have in which I’m wearing this beautiful yellow blazer — and that’s really quite a crime.

I also don’t think I wore this scarf much while I was in Paris either — another terrible offense. It was a Christmas gift from my Uncle Tim (yes, the one who has gotten referenced a few times before in this blog — for example, as my tour guide on my day-long layover in Philadelphia before I headed off to Rome last summer or as the giver of some of my name tag shirts), and I’m very fond of it. I also think its well-suited to France — the scarf is a depiction of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and, while Van Gogh isn’t French and while The Starry Night is housed in the MOMA rather than the Louvre, the painting itself depicts Van Gogh’s view from his asylum room in the South of France. Plus, the painting is pretty heavily inspired by the Impressionists, a movement which began in France.

This outfit is a pretty good example of what my day-to-day uniform in Paris was like. These pictures are from pretty early on in my semester, long before I had fully masted of the “Parisian look” (if I ever really did master it) but I was beginning to get a grasp of it.

Here’s the formula: Blazer or jacket of some kind, turtleneck sweater, trousers (see, the jeans here are much too casual for a French woman — especially with the tears, which are a dead giveaway that I’m American), and round wire-frame glasses. A cigarette à la main can’t hurt your chances of being mistaken for an authentic Parisian either.

I wore this outfit out to a club after the Welcome Programme activities at Sciences Po were over for the day, and I think it held up pretty well. This was actually one of my only nights out properly clubbing — as you’ll find out later, I spend most of my subsequent weekends traveling out of the city (and sometimes out of the country) so I really didn’t to go out dancing much.

(Don’t worry — I’ll stop myself before I end that paragraph with “I wish I had”).

Still, I think this night was one of the best ones I spent in Paris. The club, a place called La Rive Gauche, was pretty small, and the only people there were other Sciences Po exchange students. The DJ played a mix of international music because of the diverse crowd — I think they even played “Party in the USA” once.

I think one of the reasons why this night stands out so much in my mind as well as that it ended up being some of my first meaningful encounters with the people who became my closest friends over the course of the semester. I’d been getting to know them a little during our Welcome Programme activities, but it’s hard to really get to know anyone until you interact with them outside of the formal classroom setting. I was hesitant about the Welcome Programme at first — I thought it was silly to show up literally 2-3 weeks earlier than the first day of classes just to go through orientation — but I’m so glad I did it. It helped me make friends beyond the few Notre Dame girls I shared an apartment with, and making friends outside of that bubble was what really made the whole “study abroad” semester special to me. Wherever I go, I want to feel as much as I can like a true local, like someone who’s at home in the city she’s in — and you can’t feel at home in a city without friends who live there too.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester abroad in the Paris, France. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Jacket: Express

Top: FreePeople

Jeans: Hollister

Scarf: My Uncle Tim