At the end of August, Hamilton in France had the pleasure to welcome a new group of students for the fall semester of 2022. Like each semester, students come from a variety of American liberal arts colleges: Williams, Scripps, Amherst, Hamilton, Bowdoin, and Grinnell for this semester. Students then had the opportunity to meet and get to know each other during two weeks of orientation in Paris. A key moment in the semester, orientation is composed of French classes, visits, information meetings and varied group activities, to help students discover Paris—their new home!

Early during orientation, we went on a boat cruise to observe the city from the river Seine. It is a classic but it is an amazing way to get a first idea of how the city is structured. Students were thus able to enjoy a peaceful moment and listen to comments by a guide to learn about the history of some of the most iconic monuments of Paris.

During the first week of orientation, we also went to eat crêpes (bien sûr !) in the Montparnasse neighborhood: the area is full of cute little crêperies, and it is only a few blocks away from Reid Hall.

As most students take a course at a Paris university, before the beginning of classes, they go on a tour of their university to get acquainted with the campus. Below is a photo from our visit to the brand new campus of la Sorbonne Nouvelle.

In France, there is a very convenient, centralized and affordable system of university restaurants called restaurants universitaires. As students went to visit the campus of Université Paris Cité, we took the opportunity to test one of those restaurants—this one located on a boat.

Finally, as part of orientation, Hamilton in France encourages students to discover the lesser-known parts of the city by themselves. After they pick a topic—small museums, thrift shops, cafés, jazz venues, etc.—students explore Paris, and toward the end of orientation, they give a presentation of their findings to the other students. However, their explorations are just beginning!