Ice Skating in a Festive Setting

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ISABEL LAI

Hôtel de Ville - A not-so bleak midwinter! Hôtel de Ville: A not-so bleak midwinter!

This ice rink has become a prominent feature of the urban chit-chat in Paris. Given that it is situated at the heart of Paris, in front of the iconic Hôtel de Ville, it is pretty difficult to go unnoticed. Whether you are a tourist or a local, this seems to be one of the must-do activities if you’re in town during the winter months (December – March). I, for one, was not prepared to let this opportunity slip by. What better way can you think of to get in the mood for winter?

My friend and I arrived at Hôtel de Ville the day after Chinese New Year. We were pleasantly surprised by the red lanterns that were hung up around the ice rink. It was an odd combination but it brought a extra, fusion or somewhat dynamic touch to the scene. Although I have…

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Crêpe after class

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ISABEL LAI

(26 Nov 2013) I have an urge to write about my blissful crêpe experience.

It was a horrible day: 3 big deadlines and 1 exam. Besides, walking out of Sciences Po at 9pm in itself is a pretty good reason for getting a crêpe!

I ventured over to the crêpe stand next to the Saint Germain-Des-Prés metro station, asked for a banana and Nutella crépe and devoured it as I walked home. It was a wonderful feeling: crêpe in one hand, bag with heavy books on the other shoulder. Suddenly, all my anxieties escaped out of my system.

Simple pleasures go a long way to brightening up one’s day. Even at night.

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The Louvre Experience

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ISABEL LAI

Louvre Museum is huge and it contains one of the most valuable collections of art work in the entire world!

There was absolutely no way I can look at every single painting and ornament on display within a day. After 3 hours of walking around, trying to find the masterpieces and the highlights of the museum, I was already looking  for the exit sign. Today, I came to the conclusion that wandering around museums is an exhausting activity. You must have the fitness and stamina to walk from one hall to another, painting to painting for a good couple of hours. Otherwise, you just have to like art enough to put up with the pain in your feet.

This was not my first time visiting the museum. However, I felt that entering Louvre without setting eyes on La Joconde (portrait of Mona Lisa) would not be classified as an official…

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Interviewing the Doctors

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ISABEL LAI

Receiving an email from the Editor of Young Post, SCMP (HK) on Tuesday 8 October prompted a last-minute trip to London. I couldn’t believe it; she asked if I could possibly conduct an interview with Tom Baker and Peter Davison, the two actors who played the Doctor in the longest running sci-fi TV series in history – Doctor Who.

This year, we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the show. The everlasting appeal which Doctor Who seems to have generated over the years really is an amazing achievement. I guess that’s exactly why I was sent to London to interview the Doctors and to write about it!

It really was a pleasant surprise. I got off the Eurostar at St. Pancreas on Thursday (10 October) evening and I honestly can’t tell you how strange it felt. First of all, everyone spoke English around me. As I made my way…

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Versailles Bike Tour

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ISABEL LAI

If you would like to take a good look around the Versailles gardens as well as the château, you need a bike!

As my friends and I boarded a train on Saturday (28 September) morning, we headed off to the most iconic palace in France. It was built during the reign of the ‘Sun King’, Louis XIV which eventually housed the court, the nation’s centre of political power.

This was the first ever bike tour I have ever been on. As we rode swiftly in and out of Louis XIV’s back garden, we noticed how all the trees, plants were meticulously maintained. The interestingly cone shaped trees we see dotted around the grounds  are meant to symbolize the fact that Louis XIV saw himself as being so powerful that he can control nature. What is remarkable about this world heritage site it that it continues to be preserved the way it…

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Claude Monet’s House & Gardens

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ISABEL LAI

Instead of enjoying a nice lie-in on Saturday 21 September, a couple of friends and I decided to catch a train early in the morning to Vernon. What was there to see? Perhaps the photo and the title already gave it away…It was Claude Monet’s House and Gardens located just outside of Paris.

Walking around Monet’s stunning gardens felt like a dream. If you have ever seen any of the impressionist artist’s work, you’d immediate recognize the scenery which Monet famously painted. It was not difficult to figure out what inspired him…

His house, which was surrounded by the gardens, was also stylishly arranged and decorated…as one would expect!

Spending one full day at Monet’s estate was an awesome and refreshing change for me, the urban dweller. As a group, we took hundreds of photos next to flowers, bridges and colorful plants as if we’d never been exposed to the…

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Techno Parade 2013

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ISABEL LAI

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be part of a large-scale demonstration or a student movement? Well, I got a flavour of it on Saturday 14 September. I wasn’t on a strike to agonize about the lack of universal suffrage or about bankers’ bonuses. Rather, I participated in the Techno Parade and took to the streets of Paris with hundreds of thousands other young people.

Reports of the same event last year reveal an astonishing turnout of 300,000 people. To say that the parade was a lively event would be an understatement. Whilst these giant trucks (see picture) blasted out variations of techno music, we danced to the beat and marched all the way from Place de la Republique to Place d’Italie, crossing the River Seine along the way.

It was fascinating to see the event progress from a cheery, civilised gathering to a state of anarchy…

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Meeting the Editor-in-Chief of Bloomberg News

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ISABEL LAI

I have to mention that one of the best parts of studying at Sciences Po is that we get to attend an amazing range of public lectures. Thanks to the central location of the university and of course to its prestige, we are blessed with the access to some of the most influential people in the world. Matthew Winkler, the Editor-In-Chief of Bloomberg News paid a visit to our campus on the 2 September.

It was the inaugural lecture for the School of Journalism here at the university. Starting as a journalist for the Wall Street Journal back in the late 1980s, Winkler gave a vivid account of how Bloomberg came to be what it is today and how he got involved with the business.  From the phone call which he received from Michael Bloomberg in 1990, asking him what it takes to get in the news business, the legal…

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Freshers’ Week (Part 2)

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ISABEL LAI

It feels strange to be blogging again after 2 months of inactivity on WordPress. I do apologize for the lack of reporting on my part! I promise to tell you everything that has happened since my last post.

So carrying on from where I left off – the first day of the ‘bar a day’ programme, the rest of the welcome programme went well. It was a fun and effective way to integrate into the Sciences Po community.

To familiarize ourselves with the neighborhood around our university, the student union organized a scavenger hunt for us. What really surprised me was that every corner you turn or even every alleyway you enter in Paris has some sort of historical significance. Of course, being based in Saint-Germain-des-prés you cannot avoid the cafés where Ernest Hemingway or Jean-Paul Sartre used to write or ‘philosophize’ in… It was a smart way of getting us…

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A Bar A Day

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ISABEL LAI

So I am currently participating in the Welcome Programme at Sciences Po. During the day, we have ‘methodology’ classes in which we learn the French way of writing essays and doing presentations. It is interesting to learn a new style but slightly odd to be told that a proper introduction requires 3 paragraphs!

This evening, we went to Bar Les Pères Populaires in Buzenval (20th district) of Paris. It is the first bar we went to out of the 4-day ‘A Bar A Day’ scheme organized by Bureau des Eleves of the university. After changing twice on the metro, we arrived at a quirky local bar that was experiencing a placid and calm evening – what you would expect on a Monday night. Suddenly, around a hundred of us exchange students swarmed into the place.

There were so many of us, we had to stand out on to the…

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