Today’s entry and the accompanying photo are by guest blogger, Valere Demunyck, a student in my AP French class.
In the heart of France, Paris shines as a symbol of sophisticated art, business, politics, education, fashion, and just about every other vibrant aspect of today’s urban society. From the Louvre to the Catacombs, Paris’ spectacles attract people from all corners of the world. Until last March on my school’s trip to France, I had only read, heard of, or seen in movies what makes Paris one of the world’s most sought-after cultural hubs. But after my first step onto its bustling city streets, my eyes were opened to why Paris has been one of the most famous cities in the world: its dazzling people, carefully-prepared foods, and artistic beauty overwhelmed me in a way that no other city has done before.
Located on the Seine River, Paris comprises 20 arrondissements, or sections, organized in a clockwise position starting from the center of the city; many of these arrondissements are known for their unique culture. Art, music, business, education, fashion, and research districts and areas traverse Paris’ beautiful landscape, each contributing to the most innovative and famous aspects of both the ancient and modern eras.
Not only is Paris France’s largest cultural center, but it also contributes extensively to its economic prosperity; around a quarter of France’s GDP comes from Paris; it’s France’s most economically beneficial city.
Of course, living in Paris comes with a price. All that fashion and culture renders it one of the most expensive cities to live in. Simply renting a studio apartment can cost several hundred euros per night, depending on the arrondissement it’s located in.
And that brings us to today’s expression: être sans le sou (ehtra sawhn luh soo), meaning “to be penniless.” Literally translated, this idiomatic expression means “to be without the penny.” Living comfortably and experiencing all that Paris has to offer is no cheap excursion: if you’re penniless, a vacation in Paris might not be the most feasible option. So, I guess my school trip to Paris will be the closest thing I get to living there, at least until I can scrounge up enough money to rent an apartment on the edge for a few days.