Isabel Brime: Paris 2022

Isabel Brime is a junior majoring in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communications (PRAAC) at the Florida International University’s Honors College. She hopes to pursue a career in travel or entertainment marketing. Coming from a Mexican background and culture, she was raised in a Spanish-speaking household along her two sisters. She loves to travel and add new adventures to her long list of hobbies: running, wakeboarding, paddle boarding, singing, writing, producing & editing videos, sewing and spending time with her family and friends.

Over Under Paris Project Line 4

“Attention à la marche en descendant du train” by Isabel Brime of Paris, France on July 2022

Metro Line – Taken by Isabel Brime CC by 4.o


Hop on the metro and get on line 4

If the metro’s too full, leave your bag on the floor

If you can’t balance well, then hold on tightly 

Because if you don’t you’ll be swaying slightly 

A month in Paris may sound like the perfect time to thoroughly get to know the city, but the truth is there is so much to discover and visit in Paris. Being away from home can be difficult, but if you learn to appreciate the beauty and culture, you will make a home away from home. Miami is very different than Paris, my home away from home, so it’s easy to go straight into comparing. Instead, they should both be admired on different pedestals and with different critiques. The public transportation system, for example, is not the best in Miami, however, Paris does a great job with its RATP metro line, bus, RER, and tram services. There are 14 lines and 308 stations, so it’s hard to visit them all, but line 4 was like my key to the city. Metro  Line 4 goes from  Porte de Clignancourt to Bagneux-Lucie Aubrac, making 29 stops across Paris. It took me to different parts of the city varying from a catacomb to a mall to a church. Whatever I wanted to see, Line 4 would take me there. 

Étienne Marcel

Highlights of Etienne Marcel – Isabel Brime CC by 4.0

Hop off the doors when you reach Etienne Marcel’s, 

Where you’ll find a big church and hear ringing bells

Between the first and second Arrondissements, you’ll find Saint Leu Saint Gilles

And a couple of garments sold for less

The first stop on the line takes you to Etienne Marcel, which is named after the Merchants of Paris’ provost, who was an important figure in the first Parisian revolution during the 100 Years War. This stop includes a strip of affordable restaurants and stores across a church. Etienne Marcel acted as the spokesperson of the third estate during the 1350s, so he represents the people of France, which I think is represented in this stop. Although you can find restaurants of all types and stores of different vibes, you can find affordable options all around. As you keep walking, you can find used clothing stores and skirt stands, but can also find a museum of illusions or boutique cosmetics stores. Whatever you want to look for, you can find. If you have a lower price range, you’ll be able to find it, and if you have a little extra bit to spend, then you can find stores or restaurants to spend it on as well. For example, a little walk over, you’ll be able to find Centre Pompidou., a modern art museum that has an expensive rooftop bar with an expansive panorama. Right around the corner of the metro, you can find L’escargot Montorgueil, a top-rated, pricey restaurant. However, it has a lunch special where you can get an entree and main dish for a price lower than the original main dish alone. You can also find small eateries nearby all around with cheap affordable food. The Saint-Leu Saint Gilles Church was built in 1235 but modified and rebuilt throughout time. In 1857, the work being done at the gothic church by Victor Baltard led to three dome chapels being destroyed. Much work has been done to it today and it even holds St Helena’s relics. This church used to be considered the one for the poorest of Paris, but today the area has been able to grow and the people flourish. 

Les Halles

Les Halles – Taken by Isabel Brime CC by 4.0

If you get back on line 4 

Don’t get trapped in the door

Because this upcoming stop 

I will have you shopping till you drop

The Les Halls is a forum that goes underground, full of fashion clothing stores, cafes, Monoprix, and gadget stores. You can find anything you need in this location. This big shopping mall attracts people ready to spend money, so people are waiting outside ready to greet them with music or dances, or other forms of entertainment in exchange for spare cash. This shopping mall has stores of all different brands, styles, and prices. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find lots of deals at Les(s) Halles.  If shopping is not your thing, you can still enjoy the street performers around the forum. Some play instruments, while others dance. Whatever they are performing, people tend to always gather around and leave a couple of coins or even bills for their performance. One time I stopped at Les Halles and saw a large crowd of people watching about 5 men and women dancing in African outfits, while another played the Congo drums. These people brought a lively spirit to those visiting Les Halles.  Speaking of spirits, you can find a spiritual place of worship right in front of Les Halles, Eglise Saint-Eustache! As soon as you walk in, you will most likely get greeted by the most famous organ player. This massive Catholic Church also has a lot of historical significance. Louis XIV received his first communion here and it also helped be the first to change the way that the AIDS/HIV pandemic was seen and treated. Saint-Eustache was one of the first to open its doors to those affected. They did acts of service to help, which was not common at the time, because people would shun them and other churches or religions would say it was a disease caused by their sinning. Because of their role in making the world recognize that those affected by HIV/aids still required basic human rights and attention, famous New York gay artist, who eventually passed away because of aids, Keith Haring, gifts a trifold image depiction to the Saint-Eustache Church. This stop is also surrounded by restaurants where you can kick back and enjoy a nice meal.  At Les Halles, you will find H(all)es types of food to eat, music to hear, clothes to shop for, and people to see.  


Chatelet by Isabel Brime CC by 4.o

The next stop on this metro is like a connection

Busy people move and transfer in this section

People are on their way to their jobs and ready to work

You’ll have to be patient, please don’t be a jerk

Paris is a busy city with people who work and live there and also those who visit and leisure. The most important and touristy cities of Paris require a lot of workers, but the apartments close to them are very expensive, so most people live a bit further and commute. Châtelet is the center of the metro, so this is where a lot of connections and transfers take place. This metro stop has 5 different lines you can transfer to, so it is a huge underground station. It also has access to stops RER A, B, and D, which is a rail system that reaches beyond the city’s center. Because this stop is so large, it gets very busy, with people trying to get to their next destination and just passing you quickly. Here, people tend to be a bit less nice as they are trying to arrive at their destinations on time. It’s a transfer of people and metros and even cultures. You can find great diversity in this metro line because it helps connect different lines, where different people live and interact.  There are lots of people at this stop. The majority is trying to get to work, home, or touring/there for leisure. However, you can also find people trying to immigrate to a better life. For most, Châtelet seems to be a stop, but not the destination. Most of the people in Châtelet are there to transfer. It’s like a hop-on-hop-off bus. For example, people are getting to work or to eat, or trying to migrate somewhere else. An Algerian guy was trying to get to Dunkirk or a similar place so that he can work without having to get on a plane or pass through strict immigration.


Ille de la Cite – Taken by Isabel Brime CC by 4.0

Hop back in again and let’s go to cite 

Where an island is located in the center of the city 

Notre Dame is currently being restored for further renovation.

Napoleon crowned himself emperor in this popular location 

Ille de la Cite is a very touristy spot, as it has many popular locations across the area around this metro station. This little “island” floats on the Seine River, holding a couple of other important parts. On Cite, you can find Hotel Dieu, which is one of the oldest hospitals in Paris. For a long time, this hospital was the only place where the babies of Paris were born. A walk away, you also have Shakespeare and Co., a publishing company and literacy center for anglo writers that now sells new and used books in English. This bookstore is very popular and attracts long lines of people to enter. However, the most well-known site at Cite is Notre Dame de Paris. This gothic Cathedral is one of the most iconic pieces of architecture in the Paris skyline. The gargoyles in the front don’t just serve as decoration, they also act as protectors by serving and protecting the Church. Its flying buttresses are very important for the architectural structure but are also aesthetically beautiful. This Cathedral is mostly known for its incredible rose window stained glass. Unfortunately, in April 2019, a fire broke out and the roof and spine collapsed. To this day, it has been closed for restoration. This isn’t the only tragic accident the church has endured. During the French Revolution, the Revolutionists beheaded the kings in front of the church, trying to get rid of all signs of monarchy, not knowing that those kings were instead the Kings of Judea. At Notre Dame, Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself emperor of the French, so this Church has historical significance in France’s history. Although I was not able to go on this trip, I was fortunate enough to have visited in 2017 and the windows and inside of Notre Dame are quite beautiful. This center stop is a great place to overlook the Seine River with the views of Notre Dame’s flying buttresses and exterior architecture. 


Latin Quarter – Taken by Isabel Brime CC by 4,0

This next close stop might be the best one yet 

If you want Latin music, you’re literally set

It’s a portal to student bars and eateries where Latin students meet 

To exchange cultures and ideas, which is pretty neat!

This stop might quite literally be my favorite of all, being the stop I visited the most. The Saint Michel metro stop takes you to the heart of the Latin Quarter, right across the Seine River and Notre Dame de Paris Cathedrale. In the Latín Quarter, you can find Latino bars, Greek food, souvenir shops, candy stores, jazz clubs, churches, and more. The people who you could find here were the most welcoming and sweet. In the Latin Quarter, you could expect to find all sorts of people from different nationalities, varying from the Dominican Republic to Arabia to Italy, so the area is very attractive to students, especially of other cultures. This is one of the oldest districts in Paris, which is what shows us what medieval Paris used to look like. Originally, this area was known as the Latin 1uarter, because the students would move here to study and would only speak in Latin to each other to communicate. This area was a predominately Algerian student neighborhood that was famous for helping the state gain independence in 1968. These are the students who protested by picking up the cobblestone and throwing it saying, “Under the cobblestones, the beach.”  The historical importance of this area is what makes the Latin Quarter so appealing today. Students from all around came to meet there and share the language, just like today this is a hotspot of students from all across the world. I was fortunate to have met students on vacations, locals, and even students on study abroad like me. This region has friendly workers, who are knowledgeable in many different languages and cultures and who make conversation with you in the language you prefer. If you can’t speak French, this is the best place to go and feel comfortable ordering in your language. In this sector, you can have fun in the bars, getting to listen to different genres of music from bachata to French pop. This melting pot of cultures reminds me of home. Eat’s the closest thing to Miami because it has similar music, vibes, and the same sharing of cultures that makes it unique. 


Luxembourg Gardens – Taken by Isabel Brime CC by 4.0

This next stop is also a popular student hotspot

Where they work on homework, sitting in the grass plot 

Odeon leads you to Luxembourg Gardens and the palace

A place where beauty, elegance, and nature balance

The Jardin du Luxembourg is one of the first places we visited in Paris. We were greeted by wonderful patches of green, where we could sit down and picnic or do homework. The first time I came, I remember laying down after lunch and closing my eyes. I felt the sun on my face and a slight breeze. I could smell the champagne from the picnic-goers next to us and hear fading conversations from all over the park. It was a beautiful park that made me feel relaxed, so I came back just a couple of days later and decided to do my homework there. I never went inside the palace, but I learned that it belonged to Marie de Medici, because she did not want to continue to live in Louvre after her husband, Henry IV, was assassinated. She decided to move out and build the Palais du Luxembourg alongside its gardens. The architecture is inspired by her childhood home in Florence, Palazzo Pitti. Along the rest of the gardens, you can find little stands and tables selling crepes, ice creams, and more. In the next block, there is the Odeon Theatre situated on the left bank of the Seine River. It is one of the six national theaters in France, situated on the left bank. Today, Odeon Theatre still has showings of theatrical performances that you can watch at one of the oldest operating theatres in Europe. This stop resembles elegance with the Luxembourg Palace and the theatre, but it shows an embracing side of royalty, where all are welcome. The Luxembourg gardens invite anyone to come and sit on the grass and enjoy the beauty. The theatre opens its doors to welcome any who would like to watch. 


Saint German des Pres – Taken by Isabel Brime CC by 4.0

If an artist experience you had planned, 

In Saint-Germain-des-Prés you should land.

This area hosted writers, philosophers, and creators 

But now they’re expensive restaurants with angry waiters 

Saint Germain des Prés was a cafe sector where all creators would come and meet. Some of the people that met here regularly include Paul Veriene, Andre Duran, Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, and Simone Devobois. Two of the most famous cafes are Deux Maggots and Cafe le Flore. This spot was a culturally important place because it was where many writers and philosophers were inspired to create or where they spent all their time. Although these cafes were once good enough to eat daily or affordable enough for artists, today they are now made for tourists, raising their prices and lowering their service. Place de L’Institut is also located in the Saint German des Pres stop. When Louis XIV built the Academy of Sciences and Arts, he decided that he also wanted an institute of France to protect the French language. They make sure that you use the proper words correctly and not shorten them or say them wrong. The church located just behind the metro stop shows the original colors from the 19th century that were found on the walls and columns. When a little bit of the original pigment was found, they created a replica to make it look real. Outside on the weekends, they sometimes have an open-air market where they sell wooden trinkets, soaps, jewelry, and other fun stuff. Saint-Germain-des-Prés is a busy stop, where we see how culture and experience meet art and hard work. This stop has helped preserve, modify, and share the culture and art of France in a great way. The institute of France protects the language, ensuring that everything is well said and written throughout the different grammar rules. Its grand columns and gold-plated details show that France is large and important, so their language is important and must be kept. You don’t have to be religious to appreciate being able to see a restoration of what the inside of the gothic churches looked like so many years ago. Being able to take a look into the past is inspiring and this Church does a great job at opening its doors for us to observe. Although religion, might not be an important part of the French culture anymore, the architecture of different religious institutions, like this one, still shows culture and beauty that can be admired. 


Montparnasse-Bienvenüe Taken By Isabel Brime CC by 4.0

Hop on as we reach the end of the line

This next stop is one that sticks out on the skyline 

We’ve been welcomed to the tallest skyscraper 

Where we can find the mistakened caper 

This stop is an interesting one because it is one of the most modern skyscrapers and the newest additions to the Parisian skyline. They created this building to test the waters, but it ended up backfiring. People were upset, and the idea of turning more of them into actual skyscrapers was quickly abandoned. Although Bienvenue sounds like it’s just welcoming you to Montparnasse, it’s important to note that it’s the name of a person. This man is very important to know in history, because it’s thanks to him that line 4 exists, and every line for that matter. He is a French civil engineer that organized the construction of the Parisian metro. Today he lies in Pere Lachaise, but we stop to thank him today for his help in making this transportation system possible. Some rumors say that the Bienvenu part was added last minute when naming the metro stops because they wanted to find a way to honor Fulgence Bienvenüe, the father of the Paris Metro. He was one of the most outstanding engineers in France and the big skyscraper want meant to also pay homage to him and his work. So, although it may stick out like a sore thumb, it was not just a silly project made to mess up the architecture of the whole city. I personally even think it was a nice touch. At first, the Eiffel Tower was first seen as an eyesore and not understood, but today it is celebrated and adored, I think that the Montparnasse Tower is a nice touch of modernity to add to Paris skyline. It’s not meant to disturb the peace or change the city. It’s meant to connect the past and the culture from yesterday with a touch of science and modernity of the future. Instead of viewing it as a fish out of the water, I see it as a little touch of today to show that Paris culture and architecture are here to stay, but they embrace modernity and the future. 


Inside the Metro Line 4 – Taken by Isabel Brime CC by 4.0

When you hop off the metro, you’re greeted by restaurants 

Different options to eat and a couple of storefronts

It’s nicer than some and simpler than most 

But this Metro stop is worth the boast

Alésia is one of the closest metros stops to the university with different food options. After spending a month eating hectic takeaway lunches or gulping down falafel sandwiches or kebabs, going to Alésia is a great refresher. It has friendly workers that are ready to recommend you different options on the menu. The area around this stop is quite calm normally, which is a bit of a juxtaposition based on what it was named after. Alésia was named after the Battle of Alésia between the Gauls and the Romans. The Gauls eventually surrendered, securing the Roman authority and power over the area. The name of this stop, although kind of ironic, is a bit like a sign of peace. To me, it shows that amid chaos, there can be peace. Alesia is normally a peaceful stop to pass, except sometimes it does get loud or full of people. This shows that not everything has to be so black and white. It doesn’t have to be a violent location to commemorate the war, it can be peaceful or just neutral, just like Alesia.

Porte d’Orléans

Port d’Orleans – Taken by Isabel Brime CC by 4.0

Hop on the metro to get to the last station 

Porte d’Orleane is the final destination

This place means I’m home, I can go to the bathroom

Or at least that’s what reminded me of my room 

Although Line 4 goes all the way to Bagneux, my trip ends at Porte d’Orleans. To remember what line to take to go home, I used the little trick of using “Bagneux” and using it like a pun by referring to it as the bathroom “Baño” in Spanish. When I come from a long day, I’m usually thinking of taking a shower, washing my hands, or going to the bathroom, so it’s a helpful trick.  Porte d’Orleans is a place of confusion because, on one side, It feels like a safe zone where you know you are home and have like three restaurants you could go to. On the other hand, there were a lot of people who would sleep on the streets or sit asking for money. It was supposed to be a student area because Cite International Universitaire is located right off this stop and down until even after the next stop, but the majority of people who live there and commute in this area are older men and young adults in need of help. Across the university, there is a street of immigrants who sleep on the street with all of their belongings around them. However, it is also a nice area with student opportunities to connect. Bistro 27, just a five-minute walk from the metro, is very near to the exchange of RERs, so its good food attracts quite a couple of people. The best thing in this line stop is Cite Universitaire, La Maison des Etudiantes de la Sud Asie. It allowed for a place of sharing cultures, language, food, music, and good times. It was like a little home away from home. Porte d’Orelans helped me get closer to my school by sharing stories with other students and recommendations. We also were able to interact with them quite a couple of times, in the basement particularly. 


anderstoodanderstood 13344 bronze badges, & user8690user8690. (1965, June 1). Why did Paris name a metro station and a street after étienne marcel? History Stack eh Exchange. Retrieved August 2, 2022, from 

Bureau, P. C. and V. (n.d.). Odéon – Théâtre de l’Europe – Paris Tourist Office. Retrieved August 2, 2022, from 

Chaulin, C. (2021, January 13).  Te urt était Etienne Marcel, chef de la Révolution Parisienne ? Retrieved August 2, 2022, from 

Church Saint-Leu-Saint-Gilles – monument in Paris. France. (n.d.). Retrieved August 2, 2022, from 

Cuttle, J. (2018, January 17). Montparnasse Bienvenüe: The greatest mystery of the Parisian metro system explained. Culture Trip. Retrieved August 2, 2022, from Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. (n.d.). Battle of alesia. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved August 2, 2022, from

Isabel Brime: France as text 2022

Paris as Text

“Paris, the City of Love” by Isabel Brime in Paris, France 14 July 2022 

Paris – Taken & Edited by Isabel Brime CC by 4.0

According to popular legend, Paris is the city of love. I imagined this statement to be related to the type of love that comes from romantic relationships or friendships, where you can stroll along the Seine River with your partner and share a crepe. However, my perception of Paris as the city of love is now not about kisses and holding hands, but of a different love instead. I saw a love for oneself, for others, for innovation, for God, and for nature. I can see love for oneself through Louis XIV. I see love for others through the revolutionaries willing to risk their own lives for others to be free. I saw love for innovation in the Eiffel tower. We saw love for God throughout the many different churches we visited. We saw love for nature through art nouveau works. Love is not just a feeling; it is a choice. It is a sacrifice, a commitment, a connection, and so much more. Paris has proved its name as the city of love. 

Louis XIV & The Carnavalet Museum – Taken &Edited by Isabel Brime CC by 4.0

Many people confuse self-love with narcissism, but I would say that you need a certain amount of self-love in your life. Louis XIV may be an extreme example, but it previews an extreme version of this love. Louis XIV said himself, “L’Etat, c’est moi.” There are statues of him all over Paris, not just in the palace of Versailles. Although he was not a perfect king, he did show a lot of confidence in himself. He wanted his face everywhere and even commissioned paintings of Roman and Greek gods, but with his face on them. He showed a selfish love, an inner sense of love and fidelity to himself. Although he might have exaggerated this love, he was the first to come to mind when thinking of this type of love.  

To contrast, the French revolutionaries showed the selfless love. They put their life on the line for the benefit of others. People were willing to die and not see the fruits of this revolution just so that the rest could live free. The Musee Carnavalet is a museum with the largest French Revolution collection. As we walked around and heard from our guide, I increasingly learned about different people who were influential in this time. So many of them had no fear to speak out “radical ideas,” some of them were even killed for expressing them. Georges Danton, for example, wanted to incite the people by famously saying, “Audacity, more audacity, always more audacity!” He was a leader and a warrior, risking his death, for the freedom of others. He ended up giving his life when he was guillotined in 1794.  

Innovation – Taken & Edited by Isabel Brime CC by 4.0

Another love very present in Paris is the love for innovation. We see this in the enlightenment, in the French revolution, and all throughout the pendulum. The Eiffel tower is namely the most famous landmark in Paris today, but in 1889 when it was unveiled, it caused quite a controversy. Some thought that it was an eyesore. Others thought it was an offensive structure because it was taller than a Church. The Eiffel Tower was not just a random structure placed in the city to stick out like an eye sore for no reason. It was an homage to the 100 years of the French Revolution, built as a monument to science. It is the symbol of love for innovation, featuring the name of male scientists. Just like all love, it is not a perfect one. Even though they pay homage to science, they leave out women. One step forward is better than staying stagnant. This love for innovation is highlighted by making a permanent innovative monument. The Eiffel Tower itself is innovative because it is made from raw iron metal, rather than stone like most buildings. It shows the love for the innovation of people and stands as a symbol that anyone can be innovative without fear. 

Basilique du Sacré-Cœur- Taken & Edited by Isabel Brime CC by 4.0

Although their intentions were not so pure, the churches were built as a place where individuals could love and worship God. It is a place of devotion, where you can express your religion and spirituality. One of the places I saw this love for God the most was in Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre. My mother and father got engaged at this basilica almost 22 years ago, so coming in I may have been biased, but I really did see the love that people have for their faith in my own eyes. The statue of St. Peter for example, had flowers at his feet. They had an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which had about 20 offertory candles lit. The statue of the Virgin Mary and Jesus also has many flower bouquets at her feet. Also, there is always a person inside the church praying 24/7. These gifts and sacrifices that people are offering show the devotion and love they have to their faith. People go out of their way to leave flowers and buy candles to light in thanksgiving or prayer. People can worship and show their love for God here, because it was a made to be a space where people can share their love and have a tangible place that they might be able to feel it back.  

Art Nouveau – Taken & Edited by Isabel Brime CC by 4.0

The last love I have seen around Paris is the love for nature. Paris is a city, so there is a lot of architecture, but nature in Paris is seen everywhere and it is very well taken care of. They have many parks open to the public and many choose to spend their afternoons here. The love for nature is shown by taking care of it and by having so many people visit these different green areas. The love for nature is even seen in the art nouveau movement. They love nature so much that they try to imitate it in art and in architecture. Most of the metro entrances are art nouveau, taking their inspiration from nature and insects. In the Carnavalet, they had a giant peacock art nouveau statue that is another attempt to create art based on nature.  

Love is not black and white. It does not have a cookie cutter single definition. Love is fluid. It is free to take and feel and choose and act. Love can be seen in many ways throughout Paris and the beauty of this love is that it can be seen in various places showing diverse types of it. If you are a religious person, you will find beauty in the churches and how they show love for their faith and God. If you find comfort in nature, you will find love in the greenery and flowers being kept by the bees. If you are more logical, you can find beauty in innovation and science. You can see the love for freedom and people through the sacrifices of the revolutionaries.  All you must do is search and connect to the type of love you relate to. If you seek love, you will be able to find it all over Paris, the city of love.  


“Danton’s Statue – Parcours Révolution, Paris.” Parcours Révolution,

Versailles as Text

For Just One Day” by Isabel Brime of FIU in Paris, France, 3, July, 2022.

The Palace of Versailles – Image Taken & Edited by Isabel Brime CC by 4.0

Walking into the grandeur palace, my mind couldn’t help but daze off and daydream that the gold-plated gate with a sun in the front will let me in to live like a king for just one day.

For just one day, I can roam all the halls
where the magnificent art covers all the walls
Where people will dance for the king in their best dresses
And I can pretend to let go of my stresses
There’s a large hall of mirrors where I can admire
Hoping in a palace like this I’ll retire

Wandering around, I struck the reality
That all this beauty is not what it seems to be
This palace is gold plated, not made of solid gold
There’s something hidden, like under a blindfold
It shows that these fancy mirrors may come with smoke
Because it all forms an illusion from this palace baroque

However, from this day on, I know the truth.
To uncover the tragedy, I’ll be like a sleuth
I am not just roaming gardens and fountains of beauty
I’m uncovering the lies from the king who’s a bit snooty
I am not just admiring the unnatural nature
I’m unveiling the lies from this selfish legislature

For just one day, I’ll leave aesthetics behind
I will not allow myself to be blind
To the efforts of the third estate
That were taxed and held up all the weight.

I can admire the beauty of the palace
But you cannot separate it from the malice.
These people worked hard and payed a lot
For a palace that sparkled, while they were left to rot

Gardens of Versailles – Image Taken & Edited by Isabel Brime CC by 4.0

The palace of Versailles is 2,550 acres ornate, baroque 2,300 room palace with gardens full of cut greenery and magnificent fountains. It was originally a royal hunting lodge, until Louis XIV decided to move the court from Paris to Versailles and make it into his main palace. Moving to Versailles would give him a place where he had more control of everything, because in Paris he was more at risk of being attacked by an uprising mob. In 1682 he decides to make the official move and tells the whole court that if they wanted to keep their titles, they had to move with him.

When building the castle, he made sure to make the path uphill, so that it can be seen from far and so that when people came to visit, they would have to go up to see him. He used ornate baroque architecture to show how incredible France was. When famous artist Bernini was hired to design the palace, he condescendingly agreed, which Louis XIV did not like, so instead he created the rococo architectural movement to show an even more ornate style to show that France has culture. Louis XIV wanted to be seen as the ultimate king, so he chose his room to be at the center of the palace where the sun hits, so it’s like he was the sun shining on everyone’s faces. He also wanted to portray himself as powerful, but also as the ultimate Catholic king, so he used Greek and roman mythology in art and sculptures to portray this without being blasphemous. He did not want to be blasphemous and call himself a god, but he expected to be worshiped like one, so the Greek and roman gods in the art in the palace have his face on them. The palace held prestigious events, parties, and celebrations. It was a massive palace that attempted to show how incredible France was. However, the incredible palace was controversial, because Louis XIV’s priority was his palace and gardens, while the third estate was left suffering.   

The people were taxed heavily and Louis XIV waged war, while they stayed hungry. He was a king trying to prove France’s legitimacy, but he didn’t focus on the French that weren’t in his court. This eventually led to the French Revolution when Louis XVI was king. The people had had enough. They were tired of the royal court being able to sit in luxury and enjoy lavish celebrations, so some women and men of Paris stormed the palace. To this day, the Palace of Versailles remains controversial. Louis XIV’s goal of making France look powerful and creating a culture was successful. His palace receives nearly 10 million visitors annually. But do the ends justify the means? What about the people who worked and saw no profits because they had to pay the king? What about the people who didn’t get to sit in the court or dance in a ball? What about those who paid for the palace, but didn’t get to even see it? Was it worth it? Is it worth putting it aside? Or can the beauty still be admired, yet also apprehended?


“History.” Palace of Versailles, 11 July 2018, 

“History.” Palace of Versailles, 11 July 2018, 

“The Palace.” Palace of Versailles, 11 Oct. 2021,

Lyon as Text

“Into the Traboule” by Isabel Brime of FIU in Lyon, France 8 July 2022

Lyon’s Traboule architecture – Image Taken & Edited by Isabel Brime CC by 4.0

Lyon is a city of beauty, but much like the traboules, it has a secret passageway that leads to a deeper history. At first glance, the yellow stone architecture of Lyon may catch your eye and remind you of Italy, but if you open the secret door within the city, you will find a whole other world full of history. The most impressive thing about Lyon was not that it was the Roman Capital of Gaul or that its downtown is an UNESCO world site or even that its gelato is amazing. Rather, one of the most interesting things about Lyon is its role in World War II.

Located in Lyon is the Montluc prison, a prison used by the Gestapo to incarcerate resistance fighters and Jews during World War II. The Montluc prison holds 127 cells, so you would think they would only hold 127 prisoners, but they held about 350 prisoners at a time, even grouping up to ten people in the same small cell. There was no sense of guilt until proven innocence at the time. Out of about 10,000 prisoners only about 300 would even get a trial. Times were tough and uncertain. You did not know who to trust or who to run from. People were not arrested for committing a crime, they were arrested for not fitting the “Aryan” standard or for not thinking the same way. People were arrested for being Jewish or even having Jewish decent, even if they were not a practicing Jew. Many who did not agree would join the Resistance, like Denise Vernay-Jacob, the mother of Laurent Vernay, the owner of the hotel we stayed at, Hôtel des Célestins. Denise was arrested for joining the Resistance at 19 years old, where she would go on missions like recovering parachute equipment (Mémorial National de la Prison de Montluc). She was also Jewish but was able to hide her identity by being arrested on a different name, Denise Jacquier. Others, like Claude Bloch were not just held in Montluc, but also sent to the concentration camps.

The cells of Montluc and Claude Bloch looking at famous WWII movie posters – Image Taken & Edited by Isabel Brime CC by 4.0

Claude Bloch was forced to grow up quickly. While his friends were starting high school, he was sent to Auschwitz, where he was separated from his family. It was hard for me to hear Monsieur Bloch’s testimony while I had the privilege to be sitting down in a study abroad trip to France. Why was I lucky enough to experience the simple pleasures in life and enjoy a trip to Europe, while there are people like Claude Bloch who were tortured and robbed of a childhood? They tried to strip off their identities, but they failed. Claude Bloch is a living example of this. To this day, he wears his number stamp proudly to show that the Nazi’s efforts to dehumanize him did not work. They tried to turn him into a number, but he did not let them.

In front of me was a humble man telling us about the darkest time in his life. My problems felt so insignificant compared to his. How is it possible that we, as a human race, allowed that to happen? How could we allow the dehumanization of these innocent people? Monsieur Bloch’s story will not stop with me. I will carry over his story and share it with others to make sure that we never let it come to this again.

Lyon is an important city, because although it was a center of Nazi occupied forces, it is also the starting point of progression because the court of justice in Lyon held the first crimes against humanity case. It was the capital of French Resistance, and they were able to hold Klaus Barbie’s case in the city. Jail to a man that caused so much death and suffering is not the conclusion, but it is the beginning. The beginning points to make sure these crimes against humanity don’t happen again.


Bloche, Claude. 8 July, 2022, Centre D’histoire De La Resistance Et De La Deportation Lyon, France

Denise Vernay Jacob Agent de liaison des mouvements Unis de la Resistance a Lyon et en Haute-Savoie, nd, Mémorial National de la Prison de Montluc, Lyon, France. July 8, 20122.

Izieu as Text

“44” by Isabel Brime of FIU in Izieu, France 10 July 2022 

Maison d’Izieu – Image Taken & Edited by Isabel Brime CC by 4.o

44 children were arrested and killed for nothing. 

44 young children were robbed of the rest of their future.  

44 young, innocent children were taken away from their families and had to face atrocities.  

These 44 will not be forgotten. Their story will not go untold.  

Walking into a mountain of nature and beauty, you can see a couple of well-kept houses looking out into beautiful scenery. From the outside, it looks like a lovely home that radiates warmth. However, the second I walked inside, I felt my heart drop to my stomach. This was not just a random house that belonged to random people. It was a haven for Jewish children that were trying to escape persecution in World War II. This farmhouse acted as a summer camp refuge for Jewish parents to send their children. The refuge was supposed to be safe. Instead, 44 children and 7 teachers were arrested by order of Klaus Barbie.  

As I walked through the door and started to see portraits of the teachers, I felt a sense of hope. The hope that there were people kind enough to take stranger’s children and try to conserve their childhood. As we moved on to the table preserving children’s artwork and letters, I could not help but choke up. These kids knew of the horrors around them, and they showed it in their artwork. There were lots of violent cartoon images that revolved around the theme of death and murder. However, their letters showed peace. They sounded like normal children who were just thankful to be receiving socks or wishing their mom a Happy Mother’s Day. It made me uncomfortable to realize that this was their reality. They had to be away from their homes and loved ones just to be safe. Although I could not believe it at first, the children’s time at the house (before April 6, 1944) was full of happy memories where they could have fun and feel safe. The kids felt like they were in a summer camp and the teachers made sure to help the kids preserve the happy thoughts and memories. In an odd way, now knowing that the children enjoyed their time at Izieu before their arrest does not give me comfort. I find it hard to just outweigh the suffering and the good.  

The Children from the Maison d’Izieu – Image Taken & Edited by Isabel Brime CC by 4.o

Although the first floor of the house was hard to swallow, it was walking into the second floor that made my heart stop. I saw school desks perfectly preserved, waiting to be sat on. A clean chalkboard, waiting to be taught in. Today, they lay there in silence, where others can come and observe, but not touch. It belonged to the 44. It belonged to the children who were there to be protected and safe. I can hear the silence in the room as I feel the pain in all our hearts trying to process how something like this could happen. As I walk into the next room, it becomes real. They are not just numbers or statistics, they are kids. The story is now about 6-year-old Emilie Zuckerberg; 11-year-old Herman Tetelbaum; 13-year-old Max Tetelbaum; 5-year-old Claudine Halaunbrenner; and the rest of the children who were arrested that day.  

As I look at the portraits around me, I find it hard to imagine a 5-year-old little girl who misses her parents and is now being arrested by strange men who stormed into her haven. The kids were taken for questioning. Some of these kids were too young to understand, yet they were still arrested as if they were the most wanted criminals. Many of the children were immediately taken to the gas chambers in Auschwitz-Birkenau. These children were not a threat. They were not an obstacle. They were innocent. They should have been left alone. The story of their arrest is unfathomable. This should never have happened. It cannot happen again. These 44 children and 7 adults should have been able to live out their lives. It is not fair.  

Again, I feel this sense of guilt. Why is it that I was able to live past their ages? Why were they not allowed to graduate school? Why were they not allowed to hug their moms on Mother’s Day? It is not fair. I am grateful to be here, but I am conflicted. I wish I could have done something. I wish my voice were loud enough. I wish I could have protected the children from the terrors they faced. I am just one person, but I am sure not going to let that stop me. These children were arrested and murdered for no reason. Just because Klaus Barbie got life in prison, does not mean it is over. The war may have ended, but this war is about to begin. We will never let anything like this happen to anyone ever again.  

Normandy as Text

The Young Man from Berkshire” by Isabel Brime of FIU at Normandy, France 26 July 2022

Nelson M. Walker’s grave at the Normandy American Cemetery Taken by John W. Bailly CC by 4.0

A sporty young man from Berkshire County was ready to give up his life for others, enlisting in the army fresh out of high school. This young man had a successful career in the military fighting from World War I to World War II, eventually gaining the rank of Brigadier General. This young man was Nelson Macy, born on September 27, 1891, in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. He was an athlete at Pittsfield High School c/o 1911, part of the baseball team and track team. Very soon after when World War I was starting, he decided to join the army. He enlisted and was sent to Plattsburgh, New York for Officer’s Training Camp. In 1917, he was named Second Lieutenant of Infantry. He fought in the Argonne Forest in France and received a Purple Heart medal, awarded to those who were serving when they were wounded or killed, for being gassed and hospitalized. After the end of the war, Nelson decided to stay in the army, which led to him being promoted to Captain just a couple of years later. Soon after, there was a new war on the horizon, so many Americans started to enlist in the army and build up the military force. He was eventually promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and in 1942, just a year later, he was promoted to full Colonel. Soon after, less than a year later, he was promoted to Brigadier General.

As Brigadier General, he led soldiers with the winter training program and was involved in modernizing the technical and tactical training, which won him a Legion of Merit award in 1944. On February 15, he was then appointed Assistant Division Commander of the 8th Infantry Division. When Nelson and the rest of the division landed at Normandy on July 4, 1944, they immediately went into combat operations in Hedgerow country against the germans. It got tougher as different infantry regiments suffered from different casualties. This happened to Company E (the 121st Infantry Regiment of the 8th Infantry division), so it was causing a hold up down the line. Brigadier General Nelson Walker approached the regimental headquarters and asked to go investigate to see if he could get the unit to move forward. His investigation led to finding out that Company E had been stuck for two days in the south of the main road between La Haye Du Puis and Carentan because of German fire. Brigadier General Nelson took a platoon with him through the hedgerows and arms fire, until they reached German automatic fire. Nelson was the first to get shot and six other wounded soldiers. Lieutenant Fry went to get help and brought back a stretcher to take BG General Walker to get medical attention. The bullet went through his right thigh and his hip socket. The bullet penetrated his pelvis, and eventually died about two hours after he was shot.

Image (left) by James E Pollard and the newspaper (right) CC by 4.0

On July 10, 1944, Nelson, Assistant Division Commander of the 8th Infantry Division at the battle for the hedgerows, died at age 52, just after the D-Day landings. The 121st and 28th Regiment decided not to advance, which led them to be relieved of their duty because they failed to move further through the hedgerow faster. Because deaths of general officers require an official Army investigation, they got 2nd Lieutenant Perrin Walker, his son, to perform the investigation. For his sacrifice, Brigadier General Walker was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross, which is the second highest US award that can be granted for valor. His selfless actions exemplified his bravery and devotion to the army and his willingness to give his life for others. 

Freshly out of high school, Nelson Walker enlisted in the army and was stationed in various posts all across the country.  His career in the military was long-lived, fighting in both World War I and World War II. Nelson Walker gave his life to the military, participating in Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne Offensives. He was awarded a Purple Heart Medal and a Distinguished Service Cross for his efforts in the military. They even named a naval ship after him to honor his life. Today, Brigadier General Nelson Macy Walker is buried in the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Plot B, Row 23 Grave 47 (MID: 56651144).

I have always respected the admiration and glorification of the military, but I never understood it on a personal level, because I couldn’t relate to it. I don’t have family members who served or know people who are currently serving, so it was hard for me to make a connection with them. However, it does not take a genius to feel and understand the sacrifices that the troops make. Nelson had a whole life ahead of him to choose from and he chose to be selfless by enlisting in the army. He fought from War I to World War II and was recognized for his valor with different awards. It’s admirable to see someone so young make a decision so easily that could result in their death. Nelson was willing to fight for his country and what they believe in, embodying the sacrifice and efforts of the military for our lives. 

Nelson Walker was just a kid. He was a young man finding himself and he selflessly gave it up to protect and serve our country. His bravery may have been awarded already, but it’s certainly more than that. He didn’t just sacrifice his life for one war, rather he gave his life so that others after him could live a free, full life. This selflessness is admiring and makes me reflect on my own decisions. How many times have I made such a selfless action? I like to think that I would want to help others and fight for my rights, but what would I do in the actual moment? I couldn’t imagine going through brutal training to prepare for World War I, just right out of high school and then having to fight right away. I couldn’t imagine just getting out of that war only to go straight into another war. In World War II, he led his troops in the field, eventually getting shot first. He went down to help another unit, showing how he always thought of others before himself. I’m thankful for the sacrifice he made because, without it, we would not be able to be where we are today.

After Visiting the Normandy American Cemetery, my perspective changed. I was no longer researching a person for a project. I was connecting with the different people around us that helped fight and win the war. Thanks to them, we celebrate freedom today. 

Thank you, Brigadier General

Your courage is admired. 

You saved the lives of several, 

Leaving all of us inspired.

Worthy of the Purple Heart 

For leading the 8th infantry division,

ending the war, and doing your part.

For helping complete the vision, 

Putting your life on the line. 

For dying as a true hero, 

Because bravery you redefine.


“Brig Gen Nelson Macy Walker (1891-1944) – Find a…” Find a Grave, 

“General Nelson M. Walker.” Naval History and Heritage Command, 

“Nelson Walker – Recipient.” The Hall of Valor Project,

“1st Battalion 22nd Infantry.” 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry the USNS General Nelson M. Walker, 

Père Lachaise as Text

Here lies a baroness, a daughter, a wife, a mother, a vampire?” ” by Isabel Brime of FIU in Paris, France 29 July 2022 

Young Elizaveta Alexandrovna, Baroness Stroganova (1776-1818), later Countess Demidova by Jean-Louis Voille CC by 4.0

As you walk into the French cemetery, you can see a massive grave peeking out across the cemetery with an ornately decorated mausoleum. Here you can find a Russian baroness laid to rest in Pere Lachaise. Her tomb is surrounded by mysticism and mystery and it matches the story that comes along with it. Pere Lachaise is the largest and most famous cemetery in Paris, where many who lived or died in the city are laid to rest. Elizaveta Alexandrovna Stroganova, although Russian, lies here since her death on April 8, 1818. Elizaveta was born a baroness to one of the richest aristocrat families of the 17th century. Her family had worked their way up from being Pomor peasants to being successful landowners and merchants to the point where Peter the Great gave the family the title of Baroness of the Russian Empire. By the time Elizaveta was born, the baroness was the heir to a wealthy industrial salt and fur trade. She was born in St.Petersburg on February 5, 1779. 

When Elizaveta was 16 years old, she married a Count from one of the richest families of the last Russian tsar, Nikolai Nikitich Demidov. Nikolai became a diplomat, so he and Elizabeta moved to Paris for his diplomatic service. She was a beautiful cheerful person, so she socially fit in very well. She really enjoyed living in Paris, but had to move outside of France, then to Italy, and back to Moscow because of her husband’s job and tensions between Russia and France. Nikolai and Elizabeta had four children together, but only two survived to adulthood, Pavel and Anatoly, but their marriage was unhappy due to differences in personalities so they separated in 1812 after Anatoly’s birth. Her son Anatoly became Prince of San-Donato when he married Napoleon’s niece, Mathilda. Both, Nikolay and Elizabeta, were Napoleon supporters, even spending several years in Italy to follow him. Eventually, Nikolay fought against Napoleon while serving the Russian Tsar, even though he greatly admired Napoleon. 

Paintings made by Robert Lefevre CC by 4.0

After separating from Nikolai, Elizabeta decided to return to Paris. Although not much is known about her life in Paris, it is known that she enjoyed living here and was very socially connected to the city of Paris and its people. Some have said she was even a salon holder.  6 years after her move back to Paris, Elizabeta died at age 39. The baroness had always loved the city of Paris and had made it her last wish to be buried there. Because she died while living in Paris, she was granted the opportunity to be buried at Pere Lachaise so she would be able to stay in Paris for all eternity. There is not much known about Elizabeta’s life, but her death has brought much attention. 

Elizabeta was originally buried in division 39 but changed to division 19, where she lies to this day in a marble mausoleum, one of the largest tombs in the cemetery, towering the cemetery at 32 feet tall. Her tomb is like a temple on a small hill that looks down over the living and the dead around it. The tomb was made with a strong, stable foundation and decorated with large columns and symbols that represent the Stroganodd and Demidoff families. Surprisingly, what makes her death so interesting to many is not her ornate tomb, but rather the secrets that lie within it. Rumor has it that before the Stoganova baroness died, she left a testament with a Parisian notary with a large fortune that anyone could claim – if they completed the challenge.

Any brave man who was willing to spend 365 days and 366 nights in the tomb with her was eligible to win a million dollars, about 2 million rubies. However, the challenge came with a list of difficult rules. Her coffin was not normal, just like her challenge was abnormal. Inside the tomb, all the walls and ceiling are covered in mirrors and she is said to lie right in the middle in a crystal coffin, so that from any angle, she could be seen. Spending 365 days forced to see her body at all times of the day may seem like enough of a challenge, but the baroness added more rules to make the challenge even harder. Those who dared to try the challenge were forbidden to communicate with anyone while participating. They were also not allowed to work or have any source of entertainment, the only exception was bringing a book to read. Someone was allowed to bring food once per day and bring a bucket that they could use as a bathroom. The only time they were allowed to leave was for an hour walk at night once the gates had been closed. Even with these restrictions, people from all over the world were interested in trying the challenge. Letters flooded the cemetery with interested individuals who wanted to try the challenge. Many tried, but nobody made it longer than a couple of weeks before begging to be let out or come out screaming. Some say that at the end of her days, she was starting to go mad, so she created the crazy challenge for her inheritance. To this day, the curator and cemetery officials refuse to comment and have now sealed the tomb so that nobody tries again.

Although I am not a baroness nor do I plan on leaving my inheritance for anyone willing to spend a year in my tomb as my body withers, I find myself relating to Elizabeta in a way. She thrived in social settings, so much so that she even moved back to Paris after her separation from her husband, Nikolai. She was a rich baroness who had it all, but she was still independent. I have a loving support system of family and friends, but I, too, am very independent. I enjoy being in social settings, where I can meet people and learn about different cultures, like Elizabeta did when moving to Paris from Rome. The Russian Baroness was independent and willing to do what she had to do to be happy. She moved to a different country, which is admiring to see women doing things for themselves. In the 1800s, women were expected to take care of the homes, so seeing a powerful woman like Elizabeta who left her home to pursue her personal desires, despite these norms, exemplifies how women today can do the same. She married into money, but also came from a rich family, so she could depend on herself financially. She did not have to live her life for a man or for a society that expected certain roles.  Although I do find myself interested in the supernatural, I don’t know how much I really believe in the rumors of the challenge. However, I like to imagine that they are. I like to imagine that this majestic baroness decided to leave a final little game as a her last act of “defiance” to society.


Castleton, David, and Chris Woodyard. “Baroness Demidoff – the Glass-Coffined ‘Vampire Princess’ of Père Lachaise Cemetery.” David Castleton, 8 June 2021, Accessed 23 July 2022.

“L’étrange légende du mausolée de la comtesse Demidoff.” Brèves d’Histoire, Accessed 22 July 2022.

Steves, Rick. “The Most Mystical Tomb in Père Lachaise Cemetery – France Travel Info France Travel Info.” France Travel Info, Accessed 10 July 2022.

Beau, Oddie, director. The Mausoleum of Baroness Demidoff – a Portal of Nightmares. YouTube, ObsoleteOddity, 25 Apr. 2020, Accessed 4 July 2022. 

Isabel, Brime Declaration 2022

Isabel Brime is a sophomore majoring in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communications (PRAAC) at the Florida International University’s Honors College. She hopes to pursue a career in travel or entertainment marketing. Coming from a Mexican background and culture, she was raised in a Spanish-speaking household along her two sisters. She loves to travel and add new adventures to her long list of hobbies: running, wakeboarding, paddle boarding, singing, writing, producing & editing videos, sewing and spending time with her family and friends.

Declaration Project: Marie-Madeleiene Fourcade

“L’Espionne Secrète Oublié” by Isabel Brime of FIU Honors College on April 25, 2022.

Marie-Madeleine Fourcade’s false identity card under the name Marie Suzanne Imbert.Credit…Tallandier – Rue des Archives/Granger, NY

Historical Context

On September 1, 1939, Germany decided to invade Poland. Three days later, France declared war against Germany to defend Poland, starting World War II. Germany decided to then attack France’s impenetrable line of defense, the Maginot Line. To do so, Germany  decided to go around and attack France from  the Ardennes forest by using their new war technique, Blitzkrieg, which meant lightning war. This tactic worked for Germany by having tanks run over the French line of defense and pave the way for the German army to directly follow and break the army supply chain and communication. In about a couple weeks, French government officials and military leaders gathered with the German army to surrender and give up the country for the German Occupation. This surrender was meant to protect the rest of France from being completely  destroyed and allowed German soldiers to occupy France. The people of France decided to take matters into their own hands by creating the resistance (France during World War II: Occupation and resistance).

The French resistance wanted to sabotage supply lines for the German army, by stealing and destroying information, killing generals, and using all efforts to make it difficult for Germany to win the war. One successful tactic was infiltrating spies. Being a spy was one of the riskiest jobs, because if caught, they were tortured for their information and then killed. Many French were recruited by the British army and taken to basic training, where they were taught how to use weapons, read and write encrypted messages, morse code, destroy tanks, and other physical training to prepare them before sending them to the front line. They were parachuted into enemy lines and territory, where they then established contact with their commanders for further instruction and orders. The Royal Air Force (RAF) airdropped spies and supplied bombs, weapons, explosives, ammunition, and other equipment required for completing their missions. There were many heroes among the French spies, many of them died for the cause. One recognized French spy was Marie Madeleine Fourcade, who wasn’t just fighting against the Germans, but was also a woman fighting for human rights.

“Women in WWII.” Women and War,

Women’s Roles – Gender and sexuality

During the 1940s, Germans were on high alert for sabotage attacks, because Men of the French resistance were mostly responsible for these damages against the German army. Germans targeted French men as they were on the lookout for any plan that could affect the third German Reich. In the 40s and even earlier, a woman’s only role was at home, with very little legal importance and rights. At that time, many thought that women were not capable of helping the French resistance, so they were not allowed to join. Women were not even granted the right to vote in France up until 1944. However, when the Germans started to occupy French territory, many brave women stepped forward and joined the French resistance. Some women started working as spies, which ended up being an effective tactic in the war. 

At the time, many women held office jobs, so women took advantage. Some women pretended to be hired for secretary and related office jobs inside the German army, but in reality they were there as spies. This was key for the intelligence of the French resistance, because the women would be hearing strategy plans and other key information. Women spies were also effective, because they could take advantage of their physique and beauty. Beautiful French girls caught the attention of German commanders, who would often flirt with them, never expecting them to be spies. Some commanders often unknowingly confessed their plans to gain their attention. Because many thought women could not hold important military or war roles, the German soldiers completely overlooked them, making it possible for women to sneak into strategic places carrying messages or supplies for sabotage missions (Haynes A call to spy real history: Women spies in WWII). Many men held the belief that they were superior to men and that women were inferior. Men thought that women shouldn’t be working as spies and instead should be helping the resistance in other areas of the French army, such as kitchens and hospitals. They believed women would be too weak for the job, because it was a heavily demanding risk. If spies got caught, they were tortured until they confessed everything they knew, so the job was considered only for “real men”. Thankfully, spies like Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, who even led entire operations, proved them wrong.

“Marie-Madeleine Attending a Plenary Session of the European Parliament in 1980. .” Forgotten Female Spymaster, European Union,

Religion, Philosophy, and Early Life

Marie-Madeleine Bridou (later known as Marie-Madeleine Fourcade) was born on November 8, 1909 in Marseille, France to a wealthy family. Her father, Lucien Bridou, was the executive of a steamship company, so they spent a lot of time in China. Marie-Madeleine also grew up with her mother, Mathilde, and her siblings, Yvonne and Jacques. (The beautiful spy: The unsung heroine of World War II). Marie-Madeleine attended a convent school in Shanghai and later the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris (Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, French resistance leader, dies at 79). She got married in 1929 and had two children, Christian and Béatrice, with her first husband French army officer, Edouard Meric, but quickly separated. Marie-Madeleine not only separated from her husband, but from her children as well, because long periods of time would pass without her being able to see them. A few months after Marie-Madeleine’s divorce was finalized, she married industrialist Hubert Fourcade on November 20, 1947. Before the war began, Marie-Madeleine worked in Paris at a job in the radio industry, also earned a pilot’s license and competed in auto races (Tenorio et al. Forgotten female spymaster led French resistance’s largest intelligence ring).

When Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was asked what she’d done during World War II, she described herself as “the wife of an officer, the mother of a family, a member of no political party, and a Catholic” (Resistance is a state of mind: On Lynne Olson’s “Madame Fourcade’s Secret War: The daring young woman who led France’s largest spy network against Hitler”). As per her self description, one can infer that her religion was a very important part of her life. Marie-Madeleine Bridou was born and baptized Catholic in Marseille. While she and her family lived in Shanghai, because of her dad’s job,  her family kept very close to the almost nonexistent Catholic community in China. After her father passed away, her family returned to France, where she attended Couvent Des Oiseaux, a boarding school founded by Mother Marie-Euphrasie, canoness of the Congregation of Notre-Dame. She was a nationalist and anti-Semitic, most likely as a result of her Catholic upbringing. 

Although the practicing of her faith is not a matter found in history books, it is often briefly mentioned through different anecdotes. She even wrote a memoire of her life as a spy and named it Noah’s Ark, a biblical reference. When Marie-Madeleine had been captured by the Gestapo she asked a Catholic priest for permission to take cyanide pills, because suicide is considered a mortal sin in her Catholic faith. The priest advised her not to worry and said it would not be considered suicide, rather a matter of resistance. Luckily, she survived (Remembering a woman who was a leader … – The New York Times)She has always been referred to as upholding many Catholic values. She was described as having more willpower than most men, but never losing her feminine genius and her natural care for others around her (Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, French resistance leader, dies at 79). Even at the end of the war, Fourcade kept up her courageous fight to defend liberties. When her children asked why they were away from their mother for long periods of time, she claimed that she had a job where she played a fun game by hiding, disguising, tricking, and keeping quiet (Provence Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, au bout de la résistance (2/2) – memoires de guerre). On July 20, 1989, Marie-Madeleine Foucade died at the age of 80. At the time of her death, she was shown exceptional homage by the government and survivors of the resistance. Her funeral was held in the Saint-Louis Church of the Invalid and then became the first woman to be buried at the Cimentière du Pèrelachaise in Paris (Marie-Madeleine Fourcade).

Marie Madeleine Fourcade At His Desk Of U.N.R (A64464142) In 1959. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

Life In The Resistance

When Marie-Madeleine was having tea at her sister Yvonne’s apartment in Paris, she met Major Georges Loustaunau-Lacau. who was recruiting people who disagreed with France’s passivity against German forces and fascism. Loustaunau-Lacau wanted to start a private organization to collect information on Germany, so he recruited Foucade so she could help with recruitment. The network “Alliance” eventually partnered up with the English secret service M16, the Intelligence Service. When Loustaunau-Lacau, code name Navarre, was arrested in 1941, Foucade was chosen to lead and continue the movement. Marie-Madeleine decided to choose the code name Herrison, meaning hedgehog in French, because even though the animal is small, any predator would think twice before messing with them. From 1941-1945, Fourcade was the leader of the largest, longest-lived spy network in France (Tenorio et al. Forgotten female spymaster led French resistance’s largest intelligence ring). 

As the leader of the spy network, Fourcade also recruited more men and women as radio operators, pilots, couriers, and spies. In their missions, they attempted to gather as much information as possible about the movements, forices, plans, weapons, equipment, and other information about German forces (Provence Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, au bout de la résistance (2/2) – memoires de guerre). Her alliance was able to collect information on the movements and locations of German U-boats, on supply shipments, on which of the bridges into Paris were mined and other key information they fed to the British. Most spies were captured by the Nazis, but only some were able to escape. Fourcade was captured twice, but managed to escape both times. Once, she had to endure an 8-hour trip smuggled in a Vichy mailbag, so that she could cross the French-Spanish border. At the time, she was smoking three packs of cigarettes a day, so she was very thin. When she was caught one time, she stripped naked and was able to squeeze through the cell bars with her clothes in her mouth. She jumped down and crawled across the street on hands and knees to her escape. (Kelly Review | the young mother who took on the Nazis as head of France’s biggest Spy Network)

Fourcade was an inspiration to her Alliance and sparked the obedience and passion from her male members, who often had military background, and from the women members, who made up about 20 % of the Alliance Among their many achievements were sending the British information about the whereabouts of German submarines, creating a 55 foot-long map of Normandy Beaches and German forts, tricking German officials into revealing plans for the V-1 and V-2 rockets, and other important information (Tenorio et al. Forgotten female spymaster led French resistance’s largest intelligence ring).

Women were not suspected of being spies, so Marie-Madeleine Foucade often flew under the radar. M16, the British key partner, didn’t know that the Herisson was actually a Herissone. She constantly dyed her hair and used molar implants or different disguises to complete her missions. Even her pregnancy in 1943, did not stop her.  M16 was a key partner as they fully funded most missions and provided important tools and requirements, so Foucade did not want to reveal her gender, in fear of M16 pulling out their support (Kelly Review | the young mother who took on the Nazis as head of France’s biggest Spy Network). For a while, she was able to keep her identity safe. On one account, the Gestapo knocked down her door to look for French Resistance spies that could be in hiding. Since they never expected a woman to hold such an important role as that of a spy, they just pushed her aside and didn’t think twice about her, even though she was actually the ringleader (Fawcett Madame Fourcade was one of World War II’s most daring female spies). Eventually, she revealed her identity to M16. Even though they took hours to respond to her message, they inevitably decided she was much too important to the operation, so they just looked over the fact that she was a woman.

Title Page of Marie-Madeleiene Fourcade’s memoir, Noah’s Ark

Reflection and Connection

When I first chose this woman for my project, I have to admit I just chose a random name on a list, but I quickly found out how much of an incredible and inspiring woman Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was. I wish I could say that I, too, was a spy ringleader who defied all stereotypes and rules. Although that was not the case, I still related a lot to her character. In her early life, she worked in the radio industry, got a pilot license, and then ended up working as the ringleader of a spy network. Even through her difficult professional career, she was able to have a family. She was direct proof against the misconception that you have to choose between having a family and a professional career. Marie-Madeleine Foucade is a historical name that has not received the rightful credit. Even though her story is not openly shared in history books and lesson, her story is never forgotten. Her bravery and intelligence have made her an important historic character, because through her network of spies, they were able to help in the World War II.

Like Marie-Madeleine, I often find myself questioning the decisions of those around me when they don’t speak up when they think something is wrong. Marie-Madeleine Foucade was a brave woman who was not afraid to question France’s passivity against the German occupation of France. She was willing to risk her comfortable and safe life for a life of risk and danger to fight for human rights. Marie-Madeleine was a wealthy woman who was not directly in danger over the war’s efforts, yet she decided to help in whatever ways she could. She was willing to endure torture, capture, and risked her life to help the cause. Not even the pregnancy of her third child could slow her down. Even though she had no right to vote and had to face sexism, she saw a cause that was worth fighting. Marie-Madeleine Foucade inspires me, like she inspired so many, to always fight for what you believe in. If it’s worth fighting for, then it’s worth the risk.

Works Cited

“France during World War II: Occupation and Resistance.” Smithsonian Associates, 

Kelly, Mary Louise. “Review | the Young Mother Who Took on the Nazis as Head of France’s Biggest Spy Network.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 8 Apr. 2019, 

“Marie-Madeleine Fourcade.” Military Wiki, 

Provence, La. “Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, Au Bout De La Résistance (2/2) – Memoires De Guerre.” Mémoires De Guerre, Mémoires De Guerre, 6 Nov. 2020, 

Provence, La. “Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, Au Bout De La Résistance (2/2) – Memoires De Guerre.” Mémoires De Guerre, Mémoires De Guerre, 6 Nov. 2020, 

“Resistance Is a State of Mind: On Lynne Olson’s ‘Madame Fourcade’s Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France’s Largest Spy Network against Hitler.’” Los Angeles Review of Books, 6 May 2019, 

Tenorio, Rich, et al. “Forgotten Female Spymaster Led French Resistance’s Largest Intelligence Ring.” The Times of Israel, 4 Oct. 2019,

Isabel Brime: Miami as Text 2021-2022

Isabel Brime is a sophomore majoring in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communications (PRAAC) at the Florida International University’s Honors College. She hopes to pursue a career in travel or entertainment marketing. Coming from a Mexican background and culture, she was raised in a Spanish-speaking household along her two sisters. She loves to travel and add new adventures to her long list of hobbies: running, wakeboarding, paddle boarding, singing, writing, producing & editing videos, sewing and spending time with her family and friends.

Deering as Text

“Beauty, but at what price?” by Isabel Brime of FIU at Deering Estate on January 28, 2022.

Deering Estate Images Taken & Edited By Isabel Brime

The Deering Estate, located on Miami Dade’s south coast is a hidden wonder. The Deering Estate’s 444 acres leaves a lot of land and secrets to discover. I have lived in Miami for about 18 years now and not once had I heard about the Deering Estate, so I was excited to visit and explore Charles Deering’s estate. I put the coordinates on my GPS and it took me to the wrong place, TWICE. When I finally arrived at the right place, I had ran all over the place and had now lowered my expectations for this expedition. I was ready to expect a boring hike, get murdered by mosquitos and have a bad experience, but I was quickly proven wrong.

When we got to the center of the Richmond Cottage and Stone House, it really felt like I was not in Miami anymore. I got a glimpse of the future of our summer trip to France and got really excited. When Professor Bailey explained the architectural history of the different shapes that muslims and romans used, I started to think deeply and not just at the superficial beauty. When we made our way to the People’s Dock, I was captivated by its beauty. Even the quaking ducks who wanted to join our lecture added to the experience. I saw so much life in that water, thinking of the different life it held, like the manatees I hoped would pop out. However, that image was quickly altered when I was informed of the 5 Bahamians killed in the explosion. I looked around for a memorial or plaque and was very upset to see there was no such thing. As we kept walking, I kept thinking of the Bahamians that lost their lives and even said a quick prayer for them and their families. Hopefully the next time I visit, the documentary on them is finished or they receive some sort of honorary memorial.

When we got to the Prohibition-era Cellar, I felt a rush of excitement. I felt like we were walking into a movie with secret doors and safes. As I stood in the center of the room, I couldn’t help but think how determined Charles Deering was. His waterfront property was close to Cuba, so he had the money and resources to get all the liquor he wanted. I laughed when I heard how Charles Deering made his property into a lighthouse, because his permit to build a lighthouse was denied. It got me thinking of what Professor Bailey mentioned about how those with more money were able to get away with what they wanted and it made me relay it to our present day. Even though about 100 years have passed since the Prohibition-era, we still see a lot of money influencing power.

As we made our way to the final part of the expedition, the hike, I had a lot of thoughts on my mind- the Bahamians, the injustices, the mosquitos. I didn’t expect that another thought would appear on my mind, the Tequesta. They’re so forgotten that it’s even been marked as if it’s spelled wrong. I loved holding their shell tools in my hands, so that I don’t just visualize them, but I can feel them. As we walk through the trees and paths ahead of us, I’m surprised at this new Miami that I’m discovering. I had seen about a million mangrove trees and palm trees growing up, but something about all these trees and plant life made me awe in wonder, and also in fear of poison ivy and unknown plant life. When we made it to the Tequesta burial ground, I was finally able to resolve a portion of my conflicted feelings. Finally, Charles Deering had done something admirable-leaving the Tequesta alone. It was hard to see the mound, so I really had to use my imagination, but it gave me some sort of relief. If we cut off the trees, so that spectators can have a better view, that would be selfish. These poor Tequestians are at rest and we would just be disturbing them if we did.

In the walk back to the conclusion of the tour, I was trying to lay to rest all these thoughts in my mind, but, frankly, I just can’t. There was so much beauty in this estate, but it all came with a price. The fate of the Bahamians who died on the explosion building the beautiful People’s Dock, The fate of the Tequesta, and the injustices that many faced. Even though they’re building some awareness by making a documentary on the Bahamians and respecting the Tequesta burial mound, I think more can be done. The dock is now a home to manatees, fish, and other sea life. The burial mound is now fertilizer for trees that populate the forest. These people have brought life and beauty, so we need to fight for them.

Vizcaya as Text

“Is it a flower or do I have to use my imagination” by Isabel Brime of FIU at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens on February 18, 2022.

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens Images Taken & Edited By Isabel Brime

Living in Miami, I expected to know the ins and outs of this beautiful city, but my visit to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens proved me wrong. Vizcaya, located in Biscayne Bay by Coconut grove, is a wonderful villa with magnificent gardens and stunning architecture that belonged to the late James Deering. Contrary to his brother Charles Deering, his estate gives a more elegant rather than rural vibe. As we stood in the entrance to the gardens while we heard professor Bailly’s lecture, I remember eagerly waiting to go in and see the villa already. I could see the villa in the distance with the ocean background and couldn’t wait to go inside. 

When we finally entered the villa, I was amazed to learn that we were entering through the back entrance. I was thinking of the grandeur of the entrance and remembering the picture of Pope John Paul II and President Reagen standing in the same door I was walking into. It caught my attention, because if I found the service entrance great, I couldn’t wait to see the rest of it. As we walked through the different rooms, I loved hearing about the little details that I would have overlooked if I visited Vizcaya without a tour guide. Looking at the lion statues and images, I was not just looking at cool art, it was art created by artists who had never seen what they were creating. The telephone room was not just an antique, I was now “a guest from Missouri who longed to contact home after a long week of travel.” I wasn’t just looking at the antique fridge, I was now a “poor person who was too poor to even know about such technology.” Each room we passed by had a story, which paired up with the history lessons from Professor Bailly to create an immersive experience. 

One of my favorite parts of the villa was the stained glass and attention to detail. I found myself looking for seahorses and ships across the ceilings and windows. I found myself trying to “pervert” my mind and try not to just see a flower painting, rather understand the Rococo painting’s true intention and double meaning. However, when we left the building and reached the gardens, I was surprised to actually enjoy the greenery of the landscape. I had expected to find just a couple of trimmed trees and mazes, but I found myself actually enjoying the nature’s beauty without the worry of mosquitos, like in the Deering Estate hike. As we walked through the gardens, I liked to imagine how it must have been living in this era. Walking through the mazes I felt like a noble in Versailles taking an afternoon stroll. 

I liked the ship bow and was interested in hearing that J.D insisted on giving the mermaid a “breast reduction.” Someone behind me conspired that since he didn’t give the mermaid a “breast augmentation” it fed into the theory of James Deering’s sexual orientation. It got me thinking of the secret doors that led to his bedroom, the way he decorated his villa and the sexual innuendo throughout Vizcaya’s art. The “J’ai Dit” door caught my attention, because it made me put everything together. Sure, there is a ton of attention to detail and a lot of mystery that we can try to uncover, but maybe some things were just not that deep. For example, James Deering added an arch because he simply said so, instead of because he won the victory. On the other hand, if James Deering was clever enough to secretly write his initials “J.D.” into a window by saying “J’ai Dit” (meaning “I said” in french), then maybe some things are deeper, so for now I’ll keep examining and wondering.  

Downton Miami as Text

“Is this really the best we can do, Miami?” by Isabel Brime of FIU at Downton Miami on March 11, 2022.

Downtown Miami Images Taken & Edited By Isabel Brime

I’ve lived in Miami for 18 years and gone Downtown lots of times so I knew this lecture wasn’t going to be new, or so I thought. When I got to Downtown Miami for class that day, I felt like a tourist that had just gotten to Miami the day before. I had no idea where I was going or recognized any of the buildings I was in.  I’ve passed by Downtown Miami numerous amount of times, but out of all the stops we made that day, I had really only gone to one: the Miami River. I had also passed the Miami Circle National Historic Landmark, but I only knew that spot as “another dog park.” 

Visiting the Miami River was the first time I felt some sort of relief as a miamian, because I had been there before quite a couple of times. I thought I recognized that view very well, but I was surprised to hear that some years ago it had waterfalls and clear water, which made me wish that we would have done a better job at protecting the water. When we got to the Miami Circle, I felt that familiar feeling again, because I had spent my birthday (which was a couple weeks before the lecture) in the restaurant right next to the Miami Circle. I was so conflicted, because I thought it was just a dog park with a random plaque that was going to talk about flowers, but knowing it was a structure built by the Tequesta really confused me. If this limestone bedrock really belonged to them, the least we could do is respect it, but instead it just got a small plaque and dog poop. 

Going to school in Miami, I expected to remember some of the historical landmarks we were visiting from history lessons, but I actually hadn’t heard about anything at all. Visiting William Wagner’s home was awesome, because I got to get a little historical perspective. This german man marrying a creole woman and having kids was redefining the norms. I had never heard of his name, yet he was an important part of Miami’s History. Two name I had heard over and over again were Flagler and Dade. So, I was surprised and angered to learn that his place in history was bringing in segregation to Miami. He’s celebrated and praised for his role in shaping Miami, but he also brought in suffering by bringing segregation to Miami. Our county is literally named after Dade and finding out he wasn’t even that great of a major was anticlimactic.  His plaque makes their loss in the battlefield seem devastating, but when they killed those defending their land, it was a victory. 

“Is this really the best we can do, Miami?” Images Taken and Edited by Isabel Brime

I thought that my visit to Downtown Miami would make me appreciate the history behind this beautiful city I get to call home, but instead I was left in a conflicted state. I know that we can’t go back into the past and change things, but I do think we can make present decisions to pay our respects. Although some attempts have been made, I don’t see any real change. Flagler is highly celebrated, while Wagner and the Tequesta are left behind in history.  A hidden  statue of a Tequesta created by someone who doesn’t even know what they really looked like is not enough. A plaque in an archeological site, where dogs get to poop all day is not enough. Adding a plaque that makes the Building a Whole Foods on top of a huge, important archeological burial site is not even close to enough!

A highlight of this Day was definitely visiting Naomi’s Ave (Ave 0) and running to the middle of the intersection just to take a picture and run back.
Image Taken By Isabel Brime

South Beach as Text

“Thank you, Barbara Baer Capitman” by Isabel Brime of FIU at South Beach on April 1, 2022.

South Beach Images Takes & Edited By Isabel Brime

South Beach was the only location out of all our excursions that I’ve visited before. So, I was excited to finally not have to worry about where I was going and how to get there. I thought this excursion would be easy peasy and something I’ve heard about a million times from when my parents toured our guests. I don’t know why I haven’t noticed the pattern yet, but, obviously, I was proven wrong. First of all, I accidentally got off on the port and added about 10 minutes to the GPS. Also, I had heard about art deco a bunch of times, but I didn’t even know what it meant or how to categorize it.  

I’ve always known Fisher Island as an elusive, exclusive community, so it was so interesting to find out that originally it was the only place that Black workers and families were allowed on the beach. I had no idea that Dorsy, the first black millionaire in Miami, had to buy an island or else they weren’t even allowed to cross by that area, much less stay there. Since we began the day with a dreary tone, I thought it was going to mean that the rest of the tour would have a negative tone. However, after we acknowledged the history we got to learn about a bit more positive and vibrant side of Miami Beach. Although learning that Miami started flourishing because money was coming in from the cocaine industry in the 80s and 90s, it wasn’t necessarily such a depressing topic that we heavily discussed. I think this excursion was a great refresh to focus on the liveliness of Miami, rather than just reprimand it for its mistakes in the past. 

As we walked past ocean drive, I liked looking at all the buildings and trying to recognize what type of building it was. I was quick to recognize Art Deco and Mediterranean Revival, but I was not able to recognize Miami Modern as easily. I am a big fan of the number 3 so finding out that these buildings used the rule of 3 really called out to me. I am not the biggest architecture connoisseur, but I really appreciated the art deco buildings. As silly as it sounds, I really felt identified with the art deco buildings. My life is like the three floors and neon colors that characterize these structures. I think it speaks perfectly to what Miami is. It’s vibrant and full of light, like the pastel, neon lights that characterize art deco architecture. The three sea port windows are an homage to boats, because we are on the waterfront. The buildings are quite flat, like Miami’s geography, yet still have life and manage to avoid being dull. Just like art deco buildings borrowed Egyptian design ideas like the ziggurat roof lines, Miami borrows the cultures of the many immigrants that inhabit the city. At first I didn’t get why art deco architecture attempted to imitate a washing machine, but I kind of understand. Technology represents the latest innovations and it shows creativity, hard work, energy and power. These traits are desirable, so it makes sense to try to replicate them. Miami really is like these buildings, because all the traits we can use to describe the architecture style can apply to the people of Miami. Miamias are vibrant, energetic, and hard-working people that come from many cultures and countries, but come together as one. So, thank you, Barbara Baer Capitman, for preserving a piece of what makes Miami, Miami.

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