So if you didn't catch the last few posts, this series is about our trip to Paris way back in June 2016 when we went there for summer school! Both of us enrolled in a Luxury Management course at a college called HEC Paris. The course itself was 2 weeks long, but we booked our flight a week earlier so we could travel and explore the city.
And in the last post, we headed to HEC Paris for the start of our course! We moved into the hostel on-campus and went through the orientation and met our professor and group mates.
14 June 2016. Tuesday.
So for our first official lesson, we got an introduction to Luxury Management, luxury brands and brand DNA. It was really helpful for me because I knew next to nothing about luxury brands and such.
But anyway, after our 3 hour morning class, it was time for lunch! This time the cafeteria served fries with Bolognese sauce and vegetables. And dessert was apple pie! It wasn't too bad actually.
Anyway, we had a 1 hour debrief session after lunch because today we were to go to the city and visit the physical store of the luxury brand we chose!
To recap, our group project was to choose a luxury brand and propose an omni-channel strategy for them to create a seamless customer experience between physical stores and e-commerce.
So as part of the grading criteria we had to go on a field trip to the store, take pictures and share our findings and suggestions during our presentation.
Sean and I were assigned to different groups of course, and my group chose the brand Aston Martin. If you're like me and know nothing about luxury brands, Aston Martin is a British luxury sports car brand, famously associated with James Bond (I actually did research the night before the excursion so I wouldn't look too stupid in front of my group mates).
Anyway, the Aston Martin store in Paris was located right near Champs-Élysées; a renowned avenue in Paris with theatres, cafés, and luxury shops lining the 1.9km stretch. And that's where my group mates and I headed to!
We took the train to Champs-Élysées - Clemenceau station and arrived right in front of the Grand Palais (a large historic site, exhibition hall and museum complex)!
We also walked past Les Invalides; which a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans.
While walking along, a segway tour zoomed past us on the street, which I've never seen before but thought it was so cool!
And in the distance, we could see the Eiffel Tower!
We also walked past Luxembourg Gardens, which had a statue of Napoleon!
I have to say, the streets in Paris are really pretty though, unlike any street in Asia that's for sure.
We also went past Palais de la Découverte; a science museum! All the museums in Paris had really cool French architecture that I didn't have time to admire unfortunately, since we had work to do. I'm sorry the photos aren't very good, since we were in a hurry to get to the store.
And we finally arrived! The first thing we noted about the shop was how inconspicuous it is, for a car retailer.
Can you spot it?
But man the store was pretty fancy, despite blending into the background. There was a doorman and the doors were locked and everything.
We figured they were probably pretty snooty and wouldn't want to entertain a bunch of broke college students doing a project, so we just sent in the guys (who looked more presentable and more like their clientele) to check out the inside and ask questions.
I did manage to sneak in some shots of the inside of the store, thankfully. The salesperson was eyeing me constantly though.
Anyway, after we were done, we figured we'd just discuss and plan our project when we got back to campus. In the meantime, since we were here in the city and had time to spare, we were gonna walk around and chill.
I have to admit, I felt pretty awkward around my group mates at the time, since we literally just met yesterday, and I was the only Asian in the group (and the only undergrad!). But I just followed along, since I didn't know my way around (and I think I didn't have wifi since Sean and I shared a router and I let him have it. Bad idea, but we'll get to that).
Anyway, we just walked along the street, deciding what to do and where to go, and went pass yet another museum! Man there are just museums everywhere!
We eventually ended up back at Champs-Élysées, and I saw the Arc de Triomphe in the distance!
Which if you didn't know, is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, France, standing at the western end of the Champs-Élysées at the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle. Its name literally translates to "Triumphal Arch of the Star", as a reference to it being at the juncture of twelve radiating avenues.
Anyway, after walking around for a bit, we eventually split up, and I went with 2 girls in my group, Akshata and Isabella, and we just walked along Champs-Élysées, window shopping.
There was a really long line at the Disney store for some reason. I can't remember what though.
We crossed the street to the other side of Champs-Élysées and I managed to get this really cool-looking shot of Arc de Triomphe!
We went to this really fancy dessert shop and they wanted to get macarons so we stepped inside.
They had all sorts of pastries though, not just macaroons. I was really tempted to buy some but I didn't have cash on me either. Well good thing too, since it was really expensive!
And the line was really long! I didn't know at the time, but Ladurée is a really famous French luxury bakery and sweets maker house! It is one of the world's best-known premier sellers of the double-decker macaron, selling at least 15,000 a day! No wonder the queue was so long. I didn't have money to buy anything so I just waited for the girls to get theirs.
The inside of the shop was really fancy too, with renaissance paintings on the wall and candelabras and stuff.
Maybe we should have chosen Ladurée as our brand for the project. Then we'd have an excuse to buy some. 😅
We manage to grab a seat outside and they couldn't resist trying their macarons immediately. I'm not that big on sweet desserts anyway, so I was fine.
After a while, we got up and went to check out Notre-Dame de Paris, since we were close by. We didn't go inside, since it was getting late. But it was still really cool to see it in person.
Side note: I was really shocked when I saw the news about the fire last year. That was insane. I was standing right here in front of the church just 3 years before.
Anyway, it was starting to get dark and rainy, so we hurried back to the street and got in an Uber back to school. I think it was kinda pricey since it was raining too, but my group mate generously paid for my share.
It was around 10:30pm when I finally got back to hostel; I think Sean must've been worried, and I was really tired and hungry. But he bought macarons! So I did get to eat some in the end, yay!
Sorry ignore my wet hair, I literally just bathed before this picture was taken.
Anyway, that's all for now! And just a heads up, there will be a time skip next week, since on weekdays we're just in school attending lessons so there's not much to write about anyway. So the next post will be about our weekend exploring Paris! Stay tuned!
Thanks so much for reading!
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