Architectural history

After stepping off the plane in Paris, there was no hesitation for us. We began our adventures straight away. Although inevitably a bit tired, everyone’s faces were bright and smiling as we took our first walk around the beautiful streets of the city. First starting by exploring the archaeological crypt beneath Notre Dame and then admiring the unimaginable allure of inside the cathedral, we were both somewhat taken aback and excited for what else was to come, I mean, it was only the first day! For me, it was not just the architecture itself that astonished me, but the history behind the architecture that really got me thinking. I knew so much about the building of Notre Dame (which started in 1163 and finished in 1250) and had even been to see the outside, but standing inside brought a whole other level of intrigue. As our time in Paris continued, it was amazing to see how this sense of history within the architecture continued to an almost increasing degree. On the second day we visited the Musée d’Archéologie Nationale in Saint-Germain-en-Laye which was not only an incredible museum experience, but also the château where Louis XIV was born. The next day in Versailles we were able to feel the weight of the Treaty of Versailles which ended World Word I in 1919 with people like Winston Churchill, President Woodrow Wilson, Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau of France, and Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando of Italy present in the very room in which we were standing. Not only that, but also realizing that a decent amount of the incredibly famous paintings hanging on the walls of the Palace, and even in the Louvre, were completed after the establishment of Andover in 1778. That realization was something almost unfathomable to a lot of us. The simple history within each room of these buildings was something I never would have imagined affecting me the way it had, but it did, and I am cannot stress enough how being able to have this experience challenged what I knew of history on the surface. There simply is no way of grasping the depth of our past from reading history books and having discussions. This kind of understanding and knowledge about our history is something that can only be gained from physically being within the same walls where so much of our history was created and staring at the same ceiling our great historical figures once had. All of this really allowed me to question why some of us work to erase our past of simple misfortunes, when our larger scale past, as a civilization and a culture, can have such a lasting impact on a young girl like me.


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