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HISP 470: Preservation Abroad – Paris

Course Outline

The Preservation Abroad program abroad aims to educate students in the architectural and planning history and historic preservation practice in Paris, France. This will entail learning about the city, both in readings and in experiencing relevant sites. Students will be expected to make connections with architectural and planning history and preservation practice in the United States. What can be learned from Paris in an American context? How does Paris illuminate architectural and planning history in the US?

As a primarily preservation-oriented course, pre-existing familiarity with France and/or the French language are not required for the course. The course will be taught in English.

Course Objectives

Foster an understanding of the different types of preservation issues and challenges abroad.
Acquire familiarity with architectural and planning history of Paris.
Provide experience in researching and writing for historic preservation purposes.
Foster students’ curiosity and desire to continue seeking information regarding current issues and challenges affecting preservation and historic resources both in the United States and abroad.

Course Schedule

WEEK 1
7/1 M Arrival in Paris
7/2 T Site Visit: Quartier Latin
Meet at 1 pm at Métro Denfert-Rochereau. This area of Paris, at the intersection of the Boulevard St Michel and Boulevard St Germain, retains its medieval character. Early Parisian urban and architectural history will be explored among the winding, narrow streets of the neighborhood.
7/3 W Site Visit: Île St Louis/Île de la Cité
Meet at 1:30 pm in front of the Charlemagne statue in front of Notre Dame cathedral. 
The islands at the center of Paris have historically been the heart of the city. Their design and preservation will be the topic of this visit, which will span the length of both islands and a visit to Notre Dame cathedral.
7/4 R Site Visit: Jardin du Luxembourg
Meet at noon in front of the Port Royal RER station. 
The Luxembourg Gardens are the second largest public park in Paris. The visit will observe the multiple uses of the park (the Senate is housed there, there are regular art exhibits, sports facilities, etc.) and the planning and management issues related to the park will be discussed.
7/5 F Site Visit: Cimetière du Père Lachaise
Meet at 2 pm in front of Métro Père Lachaise. Cemetery (and later, park) design in the United States was directly derived from the Père Lachaise, starting at Mount Auburn in Boston and continuing in the designs of Frederick Law Olmsted, Calvert Vaux, and others. The features of the Père Lachaise and the resulting influence will be explored.
7/6 S DAY TRIP: VERSAILLES (organized by MICEFA)
Versailles has been and remains a notable influence on urban and architectural design, particularly in Washington, DC. These two locations will be discussed and compared during the visit, which will explore both the palace and gardens.
NOTE: this is a full day trip.
WEEK 2
7/8 M Independent Study Meeting
7/9T Site Visit: Montmartre
Meet at 2 pm in front of Métro Anvers. Montmartre has become a tourist center of Paris, and as such must grapple with a number of preservation issues, including conservation of resources and maintenance of authenticity. These issues surrounding heritage tourism will be discussed as students ride the funicular up to the Sacré Coeur, visit the basilica, and tour the Place des Tertres.
7/10 W Site Visit: Eiffel Tower & Viewshed
Meet at 1 pm in front of Métro Ecole Militaire. 
The Eiffel Tower is greatly relevant to historic preservation practice as well as architectural history. During the visit of the site, the import of the World’s Fair in urban design will be emphasized and the parallels with the Chicago World Fair will be discussed. The preservation of the Eiffel Tower and its viewshed will also be explored, particularly in how this contrasts with American preservation practice.
7/11 R Site Visit: Musée Carnavalet et le Marais
Meet at 1:30 pm in front of Métro St Paul. 
This old section of Paris was once the Jewish quarter, and is now a vibrant, multifaceted community. During this visit, students will get to experience the development and changes of Paris through the medieval times to the 19th Century.
7/12 F Site Visit: Grands Magasins & Opera Garnier
Meet at noon in front of Métro Tuileries. 
Nineteenth Century parisian architecture was revolutionary not only in style (Second Empire) but also in their functionality. Both function and design will be observed in this visit, which will start at the Rue de Rivoli and then to the opera and Boulevard Haussmann.
WEEK 3
7/15 M Independent Study Meeting
7/16 T Site Visit: Quartier Bercy
Meet at 1pm in front of Métro Quai de la Gare.
 This most recent example of urban renewal in Paris is unique in the way it has merged new design and adaptive reuse. It is a very rare case of renewal that has not displaced the majority of residents. Students will visit the neighborhood, paying particular attention to anchors of the neighborhood and the new pedestrian-oriented infrastructure.
7/17 W Site Visit: Égouts de Paris, Musée d’Orsay & Les Quais
Meet at 11 am in front of Pont de l’Alma RER station.
 Another major infrastructure component in any city is the sewer system. Paris’ system, developed under Baron Haussmann, is open to visitors. This is not generally the case in other cities, so the visit will allow students to explore this facet of city management in a gold-standard example. Nineteenth Century redesign of Paris included the use of rail and intensified use of the river. This visit will include the Musée d’Orsay, a train station adaptively reused as one of the most beloved museums in the world. The importance of the river will also be discussed.
7/18 R Site Visit: Les Halles et le Métro
Meet at noon in front of the Eglise St Eustache. NOTE: The station at Les Halles is huge and confusing. Just get outside and try to find the church. We’ll go from there. Les Halles were once the “stomach of Paris”. Since the destruction of the original market buildings and their replacement with the commercial center present today, there has been a growing dissatisfaction with the appearance and functionality of the hub. As students visit the gardens of Les Halles, the transit station, and the commercial center, the design of the space and proposed re-designs will be discussed.
7/19 F Site Visit: Catacombes
Meet at 11 am in front of Paul’s. 
Dealing with the dead is an ongoing problem in any major city. Paris dealt with the issue in unconventional ways. This visit will discuss the different solutions to prevent disease in disposing of the dead.
7/20 S DAY TRIP: LOIRE VALLEY (organized by MICEFA)
NOTE: this is a full day trip. 
WEEK 4
7/22 M
7/23 T DAY TRIP: POSTMODERNISM
Details TBA. NOTE: This is a full day trip. Be ready to leave at 8 am.
7/24 W Site Visit: Louvre
Meet at 1:30 in front of the Apple Store. No explanation necessary: this is the largest museum in the world. Everyone needs to see it.
7/25 R Site Visit: La Villette
Meet at noon in front of Métro Porte de la Villette. The Parc de la Villette is an example of large-scale urban renewal at the edge of Paris. This complex houses numerous museums as well as green space. This site will jumpstart a discussion of urban renewal challenges today.
7/26 F Site Visit. Details TBA
WEEK 5
7/29 M Scavenger Hunt! Details TBA
7/30 T Course Conclusions. Details TBA
7/31 W DEPARTURE TO U.S.

Graded Course Requirements

Class Participation (30%) Students will be assessed on timely attendance to events, enthusiasm, and participation. The format of the course makes this a particularly crucial component, and students will be assessed accordingly.
Journal (30%) A web-based journal in blog format will be maintained by each student and updated with a new entry at least twice a week. The entries should focus on the visits made that week, but may discuss any relevant aspect of the site/visit/experience. Extensive use of media is strongly encouraged. In addition, students will also comment on at least two other entries by classmates per week.
Paper Proposal (10%) A proposal detailing the chosen topic for the research topic, the outline of the paper, and two relevant references will be due on July 16th. The proposal must be approved before proceeding. The proposal should be emailed in PDF format to alsmith@umw.edu. Please include your name in the file name.
Term Paper (30%) The course will culminate with a term paper, due August 1 , which must include illustrations and a formal bibliography. At least six separate sources must be used for the paper. The term paper will focus on one or more aspect of Paris urban history, architectural history, and/or historical preservation as it relates to the United States. Thorough analysis of the topic and substantive comparison with the United States will be expected. The paper should be emailed in PDF format to alsmith@umw.edu. Please include your name in the file name.

Instructor Policies

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Thinking of enrolling for a future trip?

General information about the trip can be found here.
Questions? Please ask Prof. Smith!