Alona Birjiniuk

This is to wandering through the deserted streets of the sixième at 8 AM to get breakfast and watch the sunrise, to the Rue Bonaparte, to walking everywhere in order to avoid taking the metro, to chestnuts roasting on the street, to art history and architecture, to the trees that are still covered in lights mid-January, to the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, to the Eiffel Tower lighting up on the hour, to traversing the Seine at sunset. This is to anything and everything that made me fall in love with the City of Lights. Paris, je t’aime.


Alicia DeFrancesco

Favorite new food: flammeküche. 
Favorite experience: going to see 'Le Corsaire' at the Opéra Garnier. 
What I miss most about Paris: all the chocolate shops!


Lauren McLendon

Favorite food: A large, pink, rose-flavored, Pierre Hermé Parisian macaroon filled with fresh raspberries. It melted in my mouth; I almost died as a result of its deliciousness. Wow. 
Favorite show: “Le Corsaire” as performed by the Bolshoi Ballet in the Garnier Opera House—home of the Phantom. 
Favorite museum: The Centre Pompidou. I’m just so impressed that some of that stuff is actually considered art. I loved it!!! 
Event I look back on and think “Did I really do that?” One word: Celine—need I say more? 
Saddest thing that happened: I had to leave. Paris, je t’aime!


Carmel Mercado

Favorite newly discovered food: foie gras, macarons, and I still like crepes. 
Take away lesson from Paris: All my life I’ve been told by people that I smile A LOT. Well in Paris, unless you want the attention of suave servers from La Coupole, avoid smiling too much. A smile is all that it took to suddenly get myself a fiancé who calls himself James Bond and proclaims for the whole restaurant to hear that he’s going to marry me at the Parc de Bercy with a happy honeymoon afterwards in Venice. At least I got a sparkling cake from it.


Emilienne Repak

Favorite dessert: Vanilla ice cream rolled in crushed hazelnuts, doused in Grand Marnier, flambé at the restaurant Chez la Mere Catherine in Montmartre. 
Favorite historic site: La Sainte-Chapelle on the Île de la Cité. The stained glass was incredible. 
Most memorable experience: Finally getting to meet my two French penpals with whom I’d been writing since late 2001. We’d never met before, so it was really exciting to get a chance to meet two old friends for the first time!


Lisa Song

Favorite food: fruit pastries. 
Quirk: took too many pictures of food, and of JSF students doing silly things. 
Favorite exhibit: Caravaggio drawings at the Louvre


Serginio Sylvain

So, what did I like most about Paris? Maybe it was the high concentration of museums, historical sites, and small movie theatres (I love French Cinema). Or maybe it was the differences (large and small) between the twenty municipal districts and the multitudes of cuisines. So, what did I like most about Paris? Everything…


Tess Wise

Favorite food: la choucroute. 
Favorite museum experience: fainting during the Courbet exhibit and getting to meet attractive French firemen.

Isabelle de Courtivron

Isa's fondest memories of JSF 2008: 
-Tess's clever strategy for meeting handsome French 'pompiers' at the Grand Palais 
-Carmel's colorful engagement at la Rotonde after the 'choucroute' 
-Alicia being crowned 'Reine' by the owner of the Hotel des Balcons who found the 'fève' in the 'galette des rois' 
-Lauren hilariously lip-synching a Celine Dion song during our Seine dinner cruise 
-Lisa finding numerous new ways of using the word 'étrange' as she hunted down Metro musicians 
-Emilienne finally connecting with her French pen pal of 8 years whom she had never met
-Alona's macaron-philia (including her passion for the truffe blanche/noisette which I fail to understand) 
-Serginio's gastronomic audacity as he savored 'ris de veau','joue de boeuf,' 'escargots' and a few other untranslatable dishes 
-Finding out that the seats in the 'nosebleed section' of the Opera Garnier were in fact excellent ones (thanks Shannon!). 
-Our JSF students' elegance, their fluent French, their intellectual curiosity, their happy disposition, and their seamless assimilation into French culture. 
-My beautiful Kenzo scarf and the delicious farewell Mega-Macaron that I ate wistfully as everyone headed off to Charles de Gaulle airport 
-Our sponsors extraordinaires, John and Cindy Reed


Sophie de Loubens

One of our two amazing tour guides who explained the architectural history of important monuments. She also led us on long walking tours through various neighborhoods, showing us hidden treasures and non-touristy sites.


Vincent Delaveau

Our tour guide for several museum visits, Vincent's detailed knowledge of history gave us a deeper understanding of the role of art and architecture in French culture over the years. Visit his website at