A picture of the Dartmouth Green in the Fall with beautiful fall foliage.
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A picture of students listening to a lecture at the Saint-Pierre Abbey in Moissac.

This term on the Language Study Abroad + in Toulouse, France I'm taking French 9.01 which is taught by two professors about the overarching theme of Art History. On Wednesdays, I have the first professor from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and her course is titled "Art, history and culture of southern France in the Middle Ages: Toulouse from the 11th to the 15th century." Then I have the second professor from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm and his course is titled "Art, politics and society, from the end of the Ancien Régime to the beginning of the Third Republic (the 19th Century, 1770 - 1914)." 

A picture inside the Musée Ingres Bourdelle.
So many beautiful pieces of artwork!

I've never taken Art History classes before, so this has definitely been a new experience. I've been enjoying it because these classes are often conducted outside of the traditional classroom. My cohort of 13 students normally meet our Middle Ages professor in the morning at the Capitol Center metro then proceed to walk together to a museum or church. The class is supposed to help us learn the history of Toulouse and southern France in the Middle Ages, the conditions of creation in the Middle Ages, as well as the major stages in the art of the Middle Ages, through religious architecture, monumental sculpture and mural painting. So far, I've attended class inside the archeological museum called Musée Saint-Raymond, the beautiful Moissac Abbey and the Basilique Saint-Sernin, which is a very historic and important church in Toulouse. Throughout the rest of the term, we'll be going to the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne, Church of the Jacobins, the Seilhan House (where the Dominican Order was founded) and even to other neighboring cities for full-day and overnight excursions.

"This exhibition of Toulouse in the Middle Ages takes place in situ, in direct contact with the monuments and the many major works preserved in the city. These allow students to get to know the southern city first-hand, making it their own."

Both professors take us on three great excursions throughout the term. We just had our first one in nearby cities Montauban and Moissac where the 19th Century professor first took us through The Musée Ingres Bourdelle to see the famous paintings of Ingres and famous sculptures of Bourdelle. Then, the Middle Ages professor took us through the scenic Saint-Pierre Abbey in Moissac. Next weekend we'll be going on an overnight excursion to Bordeaux City which is known as the wine-growing region or capitol of France. In the second to last week of the term we'll go on an excursion to a historic town called Albi. 

A picture of a painting by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.
What an interesting painting—it gives me "Mona Lisa: South of France edition" vibes.

I can't wait to continue discovering the beauty in and around Toulouse. It's amazing to witness the ingenious artistry and engineering of people from the early centuries. Another great bonus is that after every destination, I always end up with a long list of new French words jotted down in my notebook.

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