Two Weeks in Paris: Architecture Isn’t Just Drawing Lines (Day 1 & 2)

So, I’m in Pairs and this is the view from my terrace. And this is my blog all about it.


Hi! For those of you who don’t know, my name is Jem. I’m an aspiring journalist at the University of Kent and due to graduate in a ridiculously short about of time, but still no closer to working out what I actually want to do next. For the meantime, I’m in Paris.

To continue in the theme of twenty-something clichés I’m writing this blog to help me remember my time in this gorgeous city and perhaps work out what I do with my life. But mainly just to be pretentious and show off.

I’m here for two weeks on a University of Kent 50th Anniversary Scholarship, which means I get to study about a lot of things I know nothing about and see a lot of sights I probably know nothing about, with a group of 16 other people who, helpfully, I also nothing about.

We arrived in Paris on Sunday, June 15th, after an arduous journey of buses, trains, running through Maidstone and telling strange men that no, I can’t give you my number, I’m moving to Paris. Technically not a lie.

IMG_0561So, here I am, and the view from our terrace is absolutely gorgeous. Shame about the crane though.

We’re staying in the Foyer International des Etudiantes. It’s a student hall right in the centre of the city and it’s got beautiful rustic furniture, a lovely terrace and toilets that don’t have a sink with them, which is weird.

Since getting here, I’ve been relieved to discover that all of the people on this trip are, in fact, lovely people, and not, as I had feared, axe murderers.

I’ve already seen some beautiful and amazing things; The Notre Dame Cathedral, a bridge with lots and lots of padlocks on it (not the lovelock bridge though) and the Shakespeare and Company bookstore, which was a favourite haunt of amazing people such as James Joyce, Ezra Pound and Ernest Hemmingway.

We’ve eaten some pretty awesome crepes at a small restaurant that serves cider in bowls, and to be honest, I’m pretty convinced that drinking out of bowls or bottles is the way forward. We also went to a restaurant which was quite frankly pretty poo.

10407220_10152491140850575_6030605842456819052_nHere’s a picture of Jayna and I looking decidedly unimpressed that our food appeared within two minutes of ordering, was essentially raw and very very tepid. There comes a point where one can only drink wine and laugh.

Sightseeing aside a large part of this trip is the lectures we are receiving and the first day of the programme focused on architecture and the work of Bernard Tschumi.

I’ve never even had the slightest inclination towards a career in architecture, so was fully prepared for the fact this might be quite hard, especially considering I have no knowledge in this field at all.

While I probably still can’t explain that many finer details to you now, the lecture and following visit to the Tschumi exhibition at the Pompidou Centre has blown my perceptions of the subject wide open. Turns out architecture isn’t just about drawing lines, building and then hoping it won’t all fall down.


This is one of his plans, which I stared at for a very long time.

Bernard Tschumi has done a lot of work as a conceptual architect and the idea that spaces are shaped by the events which could happen in them. So, when designing a building, perhaps you should think about some of the possibilities that might happen within it; the man dragging his suitcase along the stairs, the woman staring out the window or even a murder that’s yet to happen.

I apologise (sorry, not sorry) if this all sounds very basic and rudimental, but it took a very long time for me to wrap my head around the very basics of some of his plans and left my brain aching so much I had to drink a whole bottle of wine afterwards. Meaning my head still ached the morning after. Logic.

Also, I saw the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night and it was beautiful.


View from the top of the Pompidou Centre


Shakespeare and Company Bookstore


A poster, kind of summing up some of Tschumi’s ideas



The Pompidou Centre from the outside

The Pompidou Centre from the outside

My face at the top of the Pompidou Centre

My face at the top of the Pompidou Centre

No caption required.

No caption required.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

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