7th-10th July 2017
Writing: Paige George (Year 12)
Editing: Joshua Robey (Year 12)
On a sunny morning in England, a group of Year 12 philosophers embarked on a long weekend Parisian adventure. Taking the Eurostar, we set foot in a similarly sunny France early on the Friday evening.
The trip fully began on Saturday with a morning visit to the Musée Rodin, the museum dedicated to Auguste Rodin, the sculptor perhaps most famous for ‘Le Penseur’ (The Thinker), a statue which we posed with in the gardens. As it is the logo of the RS department, how could we not!
Later we travelled to the Louvre and dispersed to explore the gallery in smaller groups, seeing the incredible Mona Lisa in person. After a short rest in some Parisian cafés, we regrouped in Les Jardins Tuileries and, again in smaller groups, held the first of our three seminars on notable French philosophers. In the gorgeous afternoon sunshine, we discussed Descartes’ Meditations, specifically looking at the mind and body distinction. After a long day of walking, we eventually arrived back at the accommodation to prepare for a beautiful evening cruise of the Seine.
Sunday was a similarly busy day, the itinerary including a visit to the Chateau Versailles and a tour of the Pantheon and Saint Germain, as well as another seminar – this time on Jean-Jacques Roasseau’s The Social Contract. However, faced with the enormity of Versailles, with its colossal gardens and the magnificent palace, we ended up staying for most of the day – Rosseau barely getting a look in (although we will be picking up this discussion later in the half term instead).
We stopped briefly at Notre-Dame to see the iconic church while we were there. Unfortunately after such good weather for the first half of the trip, the odds were not in our favour and, during our evening visit, to the square of Montmartre and the Sacré-Cœur, the heavens opened and drenched us all! Taking shelter in a truly French style, we ate crepes and hot chocolate under cover: a great way to spend our final evening.
Monday began with an early start and a trip to Sorbonne, the prestigious university of literature and sciences, with the biggest (and arguably grandest) lecture theatre in Paris. The university alumni include Simone De Beauvoir, the final of our philosophers for our seminars. Sat just outside the university (drinking hot chocolate once again) we discussed feminism in her pioneering book The Second Sex, sparking rather passionate discussions on all fronts.
The afternoon heralded the end of our adventure as we waved goodbye to Paris, clambering on board the Metro for the final time.
Overall it was an absolutely outstanding trip, with much philosophical discussion filling our free time. I would like to thank the RS department for organising such a deeply cultural and enjoyable trip!