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Picture-perfect summer travels: A bon voyage in Paris

Olivia Demetriades, LIFESTYLES EDITOR

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   While many students spent their summers at various sleepaway camps and summer programs, a select few strolled through the gardens of Versailles, sampled authentic French cuisine and viewed the landscapes of Monet’s famous paintings—in real life.

   This past summer, French teacher Vanessa Spallone took nine students on an in-depth, week-long tour of Paris, France with day excursions to its surrounding areas.

   “I really wanted the trip’s emphasis to be on Paris,” Spallone said. “I didn’t want to jump from one European capital to the next. I really wanted us to see everything that Paris has to offer.”

   The group finally arrived in Paris after a 9-hour flight and met up with the two other schools that were part of the EF Tour—one from Texas and one from Kansas.

   “It was really interesting getting to know the different schools,” senior Jackson DeBord said. “There was one from Kansas—before this trip I didn’t really know anything about Kansas.”

   While in Paris, the group had the opportunity to visit a number of the city’s attractions. They viewed the Palace of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower and two well-known art museums, the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay.

  What was shocking to some was the enormity of the city, made up of a daunting 20 districts.

   “I didn’t realize how big Paris is,” sophomore Ashley Mason said. “There were just so many people everywhere,”

   After a few days of exploring Paris, the students embarked on day excursions, which provided a welcome respite from the city’s hustle and bustle.

    “I like the big-city feel of Paris, but it was nice to get away and also see the countryside,” Debord said. “It was very green and pretty.”

   Among these excursions were trips to Monet’s house in Giverny, Loire Valley castles (including Chenonceau) and even a visit to Chartres Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.

   Monet’s house was a favorite among many on the trip. Being able to see scenes from some of Monet’s most famous paintings in-person was incredible, according to Spallone.

   “I love gardening and plants, and seeing the gardens just the way Monet painted them with the lily pads was amazing,” Spallone said. “[Monet’s] house itself was also amazing, and I had no idea that he was such a lover of Japanese arts and bright colors.”

   Additionally, the group visited Montmartre, the art district of Paris. Situated on a large hill, Montmartre is home to many artists working in the streets, and it is well-known for its history of famous local artists.

   This trip provided a thorough taste of the local French flavor, both literally and metaphorically. Students enjoyed sampling authentic crêpes and macaroons, and those taking French were able to immerse themselves in their language of study.

   “I am in French III right now, so I got to practice my French while I was there, especially while ordering food and asking directions and things like that,” Mason said. “I think the trip helped a lot, because I always forget my French over the summer, but it was a good opportunity to practice.”

  Because of the trip’s success, Spallone is returning to France with students next summer from June 7 to 15. This time, the group will spend two days in Paris, but will focus on Normandy and Brittany to learn about the rich history in these towns.

   After a week full of cultural experiences and incredible memories, it was hard for students to decide on their favorite part of the trip.

   “Overall, I loved the excitement of the kids – they were just so happy to be there. They were so excited about the food, the sights, everything,” Spallone said. “It was great to see that they were having fun.”

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The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School
Picture-perfect summer travels: A bon voyage in Paris