France Trip Summer 2007


French students at the high school were given the opportunity to travel to France this summer.  9 students, one adult along with Mme Sylvestre and her family left for France on July 9 and returned the 18.  Parents dropped off their children at the Bonanza bus terminal in Providence where all participants boarded a bus for Logan Airport in Boston.  They flew AirFrance to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and then went to their hotel to drop off their luggage. 

Everyone arrived tired but after leaving their luggage at the hotel, they set off for the Eiffel Tower which was literally 2 blocks from the hotel and could be seen from the front door of the hotel.  The students took so very many pictures that if they needed to use film, their luggage would not have made the weight requirement.  Thank goodness for digital cameras! 

On the first leg of the trip, we stayed in Paris where we also visited the Louvre, seeing the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and other famous works of art.  We toured the city stopping at various sites such as: Trocadero, Les Invalides and eventually Notre Dame de Paris.  I do believe that we even saw Quasimodo hiding in the shadows.  One evening, we took a boat ride on The Seine River and experienced all of the wonderful monuments of Paris at night.  It was fabulous to walk where the French walk and have the opportunity to practice our French. 

We then went on to Versailles to see the beautiful palace and explore the gardens.  We ventured into the town of Versailles to eat and do a bit of shopping which the students truly enjoyed.  Then it was on to Tours.  The part of France that boasts the most perfect spoken French.  While in Tours, we viewed a parade for Bastille Day and found a part of France that was so very different from Paris.  We visited the châteaux of Chambord and Chenonceau then going on the the town of Amboise which also hosts a château.  The students found lunch on their own in Amboise.

The next leg of our journey took us to Mont St. Michel.  The Benedictine Abbey on the English Channel which before the change in tides, was only able to reached by auto at low tide.  We climbed via the outer wall to the top and entered into a magnificent structure!  That evening, we went on to St. Malo.  A walled town on the English channel with wonderful beaches.  As it was the 14 of July, a national holiday for France, we witnessed some spectacular fireworks.

It was then on to the Normandy beaches.  Our bus driver, Raymond knew all of the wonderful places to stop and even though they were not on our list of places to stop, he made time for us to do so.  He is a true Bretagne.  It was a bit mournful to be at the American cemetery and witness all of the grave markings.  It must have been a horrible experience.  France has given this cemetery to the United States so not only are these men buried on US soil, they are buried facing the Atlantic Ocean thereby facing the United States.

We also stopped in Bayeux and viewed the Bayeux Tapestry.  This is a tapestry that is 70 m long depicting the Norman conquest.  A wonderful site for French 4 students as we study this tapestry in French 4.  We then arrived back in Paris staying in the district quite close to the Opéra.  We visited Sacre Cœur on a very rainy night and Mme took a wrong road and we took the l-o-n-g way to Montmartre.  Several students were unable to go inside as those wearing shorts were not allowed.  The weather dampened people’s spirits and we decided to take the métro back to the hotel.  The following day, we visited the Champs Elysées, the most famous and widest street in Paris and then returned for some shopping in the area of the hotel.  We returned to Arc de Triomphe at night to see the sites in a different light.

When we arrived back at Logan airport in Boston, the students wanted to continue to travel.  We had such a wonderful time that if we really did have bottomless wallets, we more than likely would have.