Every once in a while I receive emails from blog readers, usually from the U.S., who share their experience of living in Paris for a period of time.
Karen Donner is a high school French teacher from the U.S. and recently sent a colorful story about being a university student during the May 1968 riots. Karen is proud to have her story told in a French history text book and now jokingly tell her students she’s old enough to be in a history book.
I posted another story in 2008 by an American student who also witnessed the May 1968 riots. Click here to read her story.
May 1968 Riots by Karen Donner
For my third year of university studies, majoring in French (and later having earned my MA) I studied in Paris. About 40 students from all over the U.S., under the auspices of The University of Alma, Michigan, flew by prop jet from JFK to Reykjavik, Iceland - for fueling - to Luxembourg from whence we were transported into Paris - and this was end of August 1967! Hence the impact of this story. Fast forward to the fact that we were there during the May, 1968 riots, which were wisely staged during the annual "grêves" (strikes) of most of the government businesses/agencies, such as the railroad, the Metro, and the trucking industry. The graduating university students nationwide were protesting the system by which their final exams were graded as passed or not passed. Tests were sent to professors in different regions of the country so they would not know the students. The government considered how many jobs of what kind would be available for that graduating class. The number of students considered to have "passed" was entirely according to that statistic. Thus, even a grade of what we would call 85%, for example, might be called "not passing". The students unfortunate enough to be below the "acceptable" % that year had to attend university another year and try again.
We American students heard that the American Media was hearing that the rioting students were tearing up the cobblestones on the St. Michel and turning over "many" cars and setting them on fire. Of course the Guard, who was called in, had to use tear gas to disperse the agitated students. We heard the klaxon of the emergency and police vehicles. A few of the students of our group decided to approach the St. Michel from back streets (many of us were housed in two Pensions next to the Jardins de Luxembourg). They saw only one car overturned, no fires and only a few cobblestones picked up (which had been thrown into one store window). I called my parents to let them know that we were safe and the disorder was mostly noise. Someone through a tear gas canister up onto the balcony of a larger bedroom where a bunch of us were gathered to wait out the sirens and excitement. I ran to the open window and kicked off the smoking canister and closed the porte-fenêtres. However, just enough gas had escaped to enter the room. We couldn't believe how much that small amount made our eyes burn. The part of this moment in history which adversely affected us was that the transportation strikes made it complicated for us to return to the U.S. "on time". My sadness was much more intense as my "French Family" was unable to obtain enough gasoline to pick me up to have a "last" visit with them and I was unable to get any mass transit to get to them. (They still live in Meudon and we still see each other).
My Paris Apartment for Rent October 29 to November 11
I am renting my fabulous Paris apartment in the heart of the Marais near St. Paul metro, from October 29 to November 11, a total of 14 nights. It's a spacious one-bedroom 750 sq. ft. loft style apartment with 12 ft. ceilings, decorated in chic Mid-Century Modern furniture and sleeps one or two people in a Queen size bed. Amenities include washer/dryer, 16" flat screen TV, dishwasher, internet connection/Wifi and free long distance calls to the U.S. The apartment is located on the second floor with an elevator.
The price is $225 a night with a minimum rental 5 nights. Price is negotiable if staying more than 7 nights. Photos upon request. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Eye Prefer Paris Postcards
I am thrilled to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Postcards, a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription service where the subscriber receives three physical postcards of my iconic Paris photos every month. Each month will have a specific theme, from architectural street scenes to romantic outdoor cafes to beautiful gardens to unique shots of iconic monuments. Each mailing will include two postcards in color and one in black & white or sepia, beautifully packaged in a special French Blue postcard holder with a custom designed seal.
Each 6” X 4.25” traditional size postcard is printed on thick matte coated card stock, similar to traditional vintage postcard stock that enhances the vibrancy of every image.
Only $30 for a 3-month subscription plus shipping or
Only $60 for a 6 month subscription (plus shipping)or
$110 for a 12-month subscription (plus shipping)
Click here to order a 3-month subscription from my Etsy store
Come experience Eye Prefer Paris live with Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I personally lead. Eye Prefer Paris Tours include many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes, food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks and gardens and much more. In addition to my specialty Marais Tour, I also lead tours of Montmartre, St. Germain, Latin Quarter, in addition to Shopping Tours, Gay Tours, Girlfriend Tours, Food Tours, Flea Market Tours, Paris Highlights Tours, and Chocolate & Pastry tours.
Tours start at 225 euros for up to 3 people, and 75 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 195 euros per person (about $210)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.