A day in the life of David Weller
History Major, Yale University
CUPA Spring 2018
Paris is small. You might hear it, think you understand, even look at a map and see that it’s hardly 10 kilometers wide and fewer still north-south, but it doesn’t really set in for me until I fire up Google Maps on this February Monday morning and realize that the walk from my host family’s place to the Sorbonne would take nearly the same amount of time as the bus ride. Huh. I can’t find a reason not to go for it at 50°F (or 10°C, but the comfort level there isn’t yet what it is with distances), so I throw on a scarf — the first I’ve ever owned — and take off, moving through the city for the next hour-plus as it tries to shake off the weekend. The bus might let you see Paris, but the windows always stay closed; today, the sounds capture my attention more so than the sights. First comes the symphony of a soccer game at a local park, then the uncannily Gershwin-esque honking of taxis caught behind delivery trucks on narrow 17th-arrondissement side streets; the screeching halts and rumbling starts of cars trying to survive a trip around the Place de Gaulle and Arc de Triomphe, and the mélange of languages floating down the Champs-Elysées. Crossing the Seine at the Pont de la Concorde, I turn onto the Boulevard Saint-Germain, where an extremely excited group of young kids is being led north from the Solférino Métro stop — gotta imagine it’s a field trip to the Musée d’Orsay. I’d be excited too. Slowly but surely, the Quartier Latin starts to announce its arrival: first Sciences Po, then the Université Paris Descartes, then the Sorbonne at last. As I reach the courtyard entrance, I hear bells — must be 11:00, plenty of time before my noon class to get me back into the swing of the work week to come.