Journėe #7 in France

To all the parents and friends back at home who are wondering about how the terrorist attack yesterday on Charlie Hebdo has affected our trip, we’d like to begin by saying that we are all safe. Security is up all around the city, and our chaperones have explained to us that they are always available to talk about any concerns we may have.

We went to the US embassy and the Senate today, and experienced the tighter security protocols taken up by government associations following the attack. At the embassy we spoke with the US Cultural Attaché (in English, which was a nice break for everyone). We discussed her path to entering the foreign service, her life and work in many different countries around the world, and advice she has for young women interested in foreign service as a possible career path. She was a truly vibrant and intelligent woman.

From there, we took the bus to the Palais du Sénat, which is located in Luxembourg Gardens. We pulled over at noon to have a moment of silence in solidarity with victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack. We then arrived at the Senate to speak with Green Party senator Leila Aïchi. She talked about a typical week for a French senator, obstacles she has overcome to get to where she is today, and her reasons for choosing the Green Party. She is passionate about many environmental issues, including clean air and the banning of BPA in manufactured products. Walking around the Palais du Sénat was absolutely amazing — we felt like we were in another world, surrounded by gilded decorations, beautiful artwork, and even Napoleon’s throne.

After a wonderful lunch, we had a chance to do some touristy activities. We headed to the Musée D’Orsay, then walked along the Champs Élysées, and finally ended up underneath the Eiffel Tower, glittering in all its glory at 7 pm. We grabbed some Greek food for dinner and ended the night right with some ice cream sundaes. We are so lucky to be able to meet and learn from such amazing women as we met today. Enjoy the photos (attached in a separate posting); more word to come later!

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