Monday, January 14, 2013

Looking Back: Seeing the Sights and Exploring the Magic of Paris

Looking back, my favorite day of the trip was the day we were able finally see all of the sites we had come to Paris to experience.

On Thursday, January 10th a few of the girls decided to explore Paris together, as we made a visit to the Louvre and Notre Dame. The experience was something I will never forget. We woke up early to take the Metro to the Louvre, the Metro really made things so convenient to get to and travel around. Being at the Louvre was incredible; having the chance to be surrounded by such amazing and incredible artwork, like the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, was beyond surreal.

After the Louvre and a quick lunch, we visited the Islands and began at, the famous lock bridge, Ponts Des Arts, and each signed our initials on a lock of our own to be a part of the historical tradition, which was really wonderful. After exploring other areas of Paris we finally made our way to the Notre Dame. I have never been to such a beautiful and peaceful building in my life. The stained glass windows, ceilings, statues, and alter was gorgeous and so detailed. I now see why the architecture of this Church is known as a global masterpiece.

This day out in Paris is something I will never forget and will truly cherish. Having the opportunity to plan to visit these credible sights with great people was so memorable and made my trip to Paris complete.

- Jeanette Morley

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Paris!

After a long eventful week this was the last full day we had in Paris! An early start was a priority for everyone as we tried to squeeze in every last bit of Paris architecture museums and shopping into this one day. The weather was dreary and cold, but we did not care and made the best of the day. 
After breakfast we all headed towards the Metro to start our day off sightseeing. Some of the group headed towards the Notre Dame, while others decided to go shopping at the Champs Elysees and other vintage stores in Montmartre. Other places on our checklist to visit for the day were The Louvre, Eiffel Tower, as well as the Bridge of Locks. 
The Notre Dame is a sight not to be missed on a visit to Paris. The stained glass windows are breathtaking and the size of the church is incredible, especially when one thinks about the time in which this church was constructed. With the museum pass we were also able to climb to the top of the church and see the views including the Eiffel Tower and other large buildings spanning the Paris Skyline.
The Louvre was also one of the most amazing places that the group went to. Everyone was awed by how large the building was and how many different pieces were displayed. We learned that there was also a second Louvre built where many other pieces are currently on display, many of which had been in storage and are now being pulled from the deep depths of the basement. The main attraction that we covered in the Louvre was the Monna Lisa. Many were surprised at the actual size of the painting as it is relatively small. It seems ironic that such a small piece can create such a large excitement and commotion and become so famous. The Louvre was so large that we got lost while inside and spent almost a half hour trying to figure out how to get outside where we had come in.
Our last touristy stop of the Night was the Eiffel Tower! The tower is illuminated at nights from Dusk until 1am, and every hour the tower lights sparkle for all to see from up to 37 miles away. 
After an exhausting day trying to trek across the city in order to see all the sights, we finally made our way back to the hotel, only to meet up with the other part of the group and head back out for our last dinner. All eight of the group had dinner at a quaint little restaurant in the Moulin Rouge district where we were staying. After dinner the right of us all drank our lovely gifts that we brought home from So Bacco and went out around our hotel for one last night in Paris!

-Ashley Breault

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Behind the Scenes at L'Oreal

After a lovely breakfast at the hotel, we boarded a bus around 12:30pm heading to L’Oreal factory. Along the way our tour guide Corinne explained the company as she used to work there. The bus ride was an hour and a half. While on the bus we passed a big field of windmills.  We arrived at L’Oreal where we received our printed ID budges. Before we entered into the factory, we were outfitted with shoes, lab-coats, protection goggles and a hair net. Then we proceeded to a presentation given by the plant manager. He explained to us that the factory launched 365 new products last year. This is incredible considering that it amounts to one new product each day. We were split into two groups. We had a guided tour through assembly line in the factory. One group focused on Esse nail polish among other brands, as well as foundation and lipsticks. The other focused on powders and beauty products. It was amazing to see the products that are not in the market yet. This is one of the reasons we were not allowed to take photograph inside the plant.

I was impressed with the technology used in the manufacturing system.  Most of the work is done by machineries and robots. The plant has 300 workers and they produce 20 billion of products a year. Due to so much technology used in the factory, the workers seemed very relaxed and were eager to show their products. The Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) carried all the finished boxes of products ready to be shipped. It is incredible how they moved up and down the whole building without getting through the use of a preloaded program and a Wi-Fi feedback system.

My group focused on Lipsticks and nail polish. Our tour guide and the Industrial Engineer Gregory explained in details how the assembly system worked.  He was very patient and gave us enough time to ask questions. He would often stop the machine to show how it functions and he would put it back on again. It was impressive to see how a lipstick liquid is turned into a solid bar lipstick in less than 30 seconds. 

- Alain Rwabukamba

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Night Out at the Moulin Rouge

Thursday January 10th I spent a good portion of my day walking around the area of the hotel shopping with Jeanette, Grace, Maureen, Amanda and Michael. We found some great stores and made some purchases. I bought a neutral toned satchel which I ended up wearing later that night to the Moulin Rouge. I also bought my mom a small leather coin purse. We then walked back to the hotel and quickly got ready for the Moulin Rouge.

I met up with the rest of our group and our tour guide Corinne in the hotel lobby at 6:30. The Moulin Rouge is a short walk from the hotel we passed by a very long line of people waiting to go in. I guess because we made reservations in advance so we got to skip the wait which was nice. The food all came out shortly one after the other. My appetizer was some kind of fish and shrimp. For dinner I had chicken and pasta. I really enjoyed the sauce for the main course. For dessert I had what seamed to me like chocolate pudding with edible pearls on top. It was my favorite of the three dishes. As for the Moulin Rouge show it self it started a little after nine and finished a little after eleven. I have never seen the Moulin Rouge movie and I had no idea what to expect from the show. All in all it was very entertaining. I liked the rollerblading scene, the 2 men that robbed the bank and the little man in the bag and the comedian act more than the dancing and dancing scenes. I didn't know the Moulin Rouge was so famous until I came to France so if it turns out that this is my first and last time I am glad I can say that I went to the Moulin Rouge.

-Dimitria Maris

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

So Much So Bacco!

Today the MBA students were up bright and early as we made our way to our meeting with So Bacco, the start up tonic wine company that was founded in 2010 by French rugby star Christophe Dominici. We were brought in by Monte Bacco Group to help bring their product to the United States and we took them by storm. After three hours of discussion and getting all of the brand information, we were able to get back home and work on a feasibility analysis for the company. Hopefully we will be able to give them a great business plan to work with next week, which seems probable since the meeting was a success today!

Chartres and St. Malo

We arrived at St. Malo yesterday evening, after a long day of church tours. st. Malo is a quaint village filled with small oceanfront hotels, a castle, marinas, and many restaurants and shops. The village was almost completely empty, since the summer is when majority of its visitors stay. The hotel we stayed in, oceana st malo, was amazing and St. Malo was really beautiful even though we only got to see it at night.

We were scheduled to leave early in the morning, so we would not get a chance to see st Malo in the daylight. Due to an unexpected turn of events, we left the hotel a later than planned and the sun began to come out, allowing us to see the beautiful Oceanside scenery.After a few hours on the bus we arrived at Chartres, another quiet French town. We arrived at the cathedral de Chartres for our guided tour. The cathedral was constructed in the early 1200s, and is a gothic style cathedral complete with one of the best known labyrinths in Europe. It has been preserved impressively over the years, and was undergoing maintenance while we were visiting. Most of the stained glass in the church was original, as well as the carvings on the inside and out.  The church was covered in art illustrating everything from the key religious stories to who sponsored the church. In the Middle Ages most could not read, so the religious teachings were displayed in pictures for churchgoers to understand.One of the most notable pieces of this church was the sancta Carisa, a veil that has been carbon dated to the time of Jesus and believed to be worn by the Virgin Mary at the birth of Christ. To this day many Christian pilgrims venture to Chartres to see this famous relic every year.
After the tour of Chartres we had a chance to explore Chartres, grab a bite to eat and shop a little bit.
Tomorrow, we will be visiting the startup company that we will be working with in market entry for the remainder of the MBA project. We are ready to work and looking forward to using our Manhattan College minds to create some innovative solutions for this company.
- Grace Gilmore

Monday, January 7, 2013

Traveling the Countryside

In order to fit in all of the activities we had planned for today, we left our hotel around 7:45 this morning. We began our trip with a stop in Caen where we were able to visit two beautiful churches. We then got back on the bus and headed towards Mont Saint Michel. On the bus, we were able to view the scenic countryside and when we finally arrived to Mont Saint Michel, I think I can speak for us all when I say that it was truly breathtaking.

We got in a shuttle that took us right to the mecca of tourism and began our journey to the top! The ground level of the village was full of quaint little shops and restaurants. We then headed up almost 300 steps to the top! The plus side is we worked off all of those croissants! We saw everything from the dining halls to the giant wheel that was used as a human elevator.

We left Mont Saint Michel and got back on the bus for a short ride to our hotel for the night in Saint Malo. Our rooms overlook the ocean and a beautiful city. We were able to explore the surrounding area which was quiet but beautiful. Myself and a few other students wandered into what is known as "the old city"; a small village full of cobble stone paths and little cafes and restaurants, one of which we decided on for dinner. We feasted on fresh cod, roasted chicken and steak all of which was delicious. After dinner we headed back to the hotel in order to get a good nights sleep for a full day tomorrow!


Maureen O'Connor