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HISP 470: Preservation Abroad – Paris

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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


7/1 W Arrival in Paris
7/2 R Orientation, Bateaux Mouches & Welcome Dinner
Meet at 1 pm at Métro Denfert-Rochereau. This first day will be spent acclimating to Paris, taking care of logistics, and then taking a boat tour of the Seine. Plus, welcome dinner!
7/3 F 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.
7/6 M 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.
7/7 T 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.
7/8 W Jardin du Luxembourg
Meet at 1 pm in front of RER Port Royal.
The Luxemburg Garden predates public parks. Its various parts show the development of Paris and also design styles over the years. This visit will allow students to explore the park and its history.
Site Visit: Louvre
Meet at 5:15 in front of the Inverted Pyramid. No explanation necessary: this is the largest museum in the world. Everyone needs to see it.
7/9 R Site Visit: Le Marais & Place des Vosges
Meet at 2 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.
7/10 F  Site Visit: Cimetière du Père Lachaise
Meet at 1:30 pm in front of Métro Père Lachaise
This Cemetery inspired new burial practices throughout the Western world, particularly in the United States. During this visit, students will tour the different parts of the cemetery, paying particular attention to layout and architectural and sculptural motifs.
7/13 M No class. Maybe work on your project proposal…
7/14 T No class due to Bastille Day
7/15 W Site Visit: Égouts de Paris, Musée d’Orsay & Les Quais
Meet at 11 am in front of Métro Pont de l’Alma.
 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.
7/16 R Project Proposal Due. Project proposal feedback in the afternoon. Specific time TBD.
Site Visit: Catacombes
Meet at 4 pm in front of Café du Rendez Vous.
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.
7/17 F No Class. Go do something fun!
7/18 S DAY TRIP: LOIRE VALLEY (organized by MICEFA)
NOTE: this is a full day trip. 
7/20 M
Meet at RER Denfert-Rochereau at 8:30 am. NOTE: This is a full day trip.
7/22 W Site Visit: Les Halles et le Métro
Meet at 11 am 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.
7/23 R Site Visit: Quartier Bercy
Meet at 4 pm 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.
Meet at RER Denfert-Rochereau at 7:30.
NOTE: This is a full day trip.
7/27 M 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.
7/28 T MICEFA Farewell Dinner. Site Visit TBA.
7/30 R Awards & Dinner
Details TBD.
7/31 F Travel back 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.
Project Proposal (10%) A proposal detailing the chosen topic for the final project, the outline of the paper or details on the media, and two relevant references will be due on July 15th. 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.
Final Project (30%) The course will culminate with a final project, due August 10 . The project will focus on one or more aspect of Paris urban history, architectural history, and/or historical preservation. Thorough analysis of the topic will be expected, whether the student chooses a creative or analytical project. The paper should be emailed in PDF format to alsmith@umw.edu. Other media can be sent as TIFF or other high-resolution files. Please include your name in the file name.

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