Dispatch: Paris

From East Chop to the City of Paris, Part 2.


From time to time, The Times will feature dispatches from Islanders around the globe. This week, Nicolas Ruderman writes again from Paris. Ruderman has spent his summers on East Chop since he was born (19 years now). He is Franco-American, and during the school year lives in Paris. He is a second-year student at l’Ecole W, a media school. He is also a second-year student in acting at the Cours Florent.

As the worldwide pandemic persists, I would like to share with you my trip to school by taking you on a journey through history. All aboard the metro (subway) line 6!

In the morning, I get on at Passy, in the 16th district of Paris. This location was the home of Benjamin Franklin when he lived in France as the first American ambassador to France from 1776 to 1785.

Once arriving at Bir-Hakeim (the metro is overground), I can see the splendid Eiffel Tower to my left (some will say it is the most beautiful view of Paris). To my right on the river Seine, stands a replica of the Statue of Liberty, which was a gift of friendship from France to the United States to celebrate the centennial of American independence (it was originally designed to celebrate the end of slavery).

Six stops ahead, I pass Montparnasse Bienvenüe. The neighborhood of Montparnasse was home to some of the greatest artists from around the world: Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, James Joyce, Man Ray, Henry Miller, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Getrude Stein, and Joan Miro to name a few.

Saint-Jacques is a metro stop in the heart of the Quartier Latin (Latin quarter). It was named Quartier Latin because during the Middle Ages, students studied in Latin. Many students still meet up there to go to class at the Sorbonne.

The last stop on the line (my stop) is Nation. Every time I hear the familiar voice of the conductor over the speakerphone saying “Nation terminus!” I know I have arrived. The square was formally named Place du Trône (Square of the Throne) in tribute to Louis the XVI, then Place du Trône Renversé (Square of the Throne Overturned) during the French Revolution, where the most guillotines happened.

It was renamed Place de la Nation on Bastille Day, July 14, 1880.

What a trip!

To be continued…