Sunday – July 20th:
We woke up around 11:30, got dressed, packed up and left to meet our group at Hotel Courceilles Etoile. We were sad to leave our first friend we made in Paris, Illeyes (we really don’t know what his name is, but this is what it sounded like). He was so helpful the first two days of our adventure and we are forever grateful.
We met at the hotel and had about 2 hours to walk around. We walked around (nowhere in particular) with 2 of our group members to look at the different buildings and architecture. We met up with some other team members and taught them some of the little French we know over a glass of wine.
After everyone got settled in, we took a group boat tour of the Seine (pronounced sin) river. We were able to see Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and other building we had seen but weren’t sure about their significance. Afterwards, we enjoyed a 3-course meal with our group at a restaurant nearby.
Our new hotel is incredible! Now the color of the room is probably not one we would pick, but the shower is amazing and GREATER than sliced bread. After seeing this shower, eating a loaf of bread whole would not be a big deal. It has 4 shower heads – a rain showerhead above, and 3 sections that spray the rest of your body. We have the luxury of air conditioning (something that we didn’t think about when booking our other hostels).
Monday – July 21st:
After enjoying a French croissant with Nutella and some delicious coffee, we met up with Dominique, who was the guide for our walking tour of Paris for the next 3 hours. The French are very proud of their country and Dominique’s passion for her country was obvious in the way she spoke and the knowledge she has. Brittany felt like a bum for not knowing more about our country’s short history and historical landmarks. We are thankful for Dominique and the knowledge she passed on to us – it really made the sites that much more incredible.
After our tour we stopped at a small bakery for lunch where we split a chicken salad pita and a chocolate croissant for dessert. De-lish. After lunch, we met up with the rest of our group to take a train outside the city for our visit to Schneider Electric. Apparently, our program guide, Jessica, had difficulties obtaining a map from Schneider that accurately showed their location. We walked around for about 1 1/2 hours realizing that we were lost, but weren’t given much direction from anyone at Schneider on where to go. Finally, someone walked to meet us and we were nowhere near the site. We were greeted by two friendly representatives at Schneider, Martin Henna and Luz Rojas. They put together a great presentation and helped our class better understand how a global company like Schneider Electric soars to the top in the industry while managing and acquiring companies along the way. Because we arrived late, we skipped the showroom floor and had coffee at their in-house cafe. Brittany was able to meet both Martin and Luz and talk to them about her working for TAC, a company that Schneider Electric owns.
After the corporate visit to Schneider, we went to the train station to reserve our seats on our trains to Barcelona (this weekend) and Nice (August 11) and to receive our ticket to London. We were SO thankful for our representative at the ticket counter; not only did she speak English, but she was also very friendly! We told her to tell her boss (who couldn’t understand our English) that she was amazing and needed a raise!
After reserving our tickets we went to a small pizzeria to enjoy the “Pizza de Bari” which included sausage, ham, mozzerella, black olives, and egg. We were interested to see where the egg would be on the pizza and which of it’s many forms it would reveal itself in. It came to us sunny-side up, in the center of the pizza and was delicious!
Our friend and team member, Shaun P. Stakem, is an amazing photographer and took the following pictures. Check out his site at http://www.spsphotos.com/
to see more of his work.