French students embrace new cultures


Taylor Close

EXPLORING. The students had time to walk around the cities that they visited themselves. Many chose to wander around the city instead of spending their time in the shops, getting to see the different types of architecture and lifestyle. In Mont Saint Michel, several students walked along the narrow streets, climbing higher and higher. Photo courtesy of Taylor Close.

There were multiple school sponsored trips over spring break, including the French trip with French teachers Mrs. Lesley Chapman and Mrs. Saundra Toerpe. 16 students accompanied them to multiple cities in both France and Belgium.

The group started out flying to Brussels, Belgium, where they learned about Belgian chocolate and explored the city, including the Grand Place. While in Belgium, they also visited the medieval city of Bruges.

“I absolutely loved Bruges. The buildings were brightly colored and the canals were so pretty! My favorite thing from that day was definitely the boat ride through the city that we went on,” said Emily Reddy, 12.

After Belgium, the group traveled by bus to Normandy, France. They stopped along the way in the village of Honfleur, France for lunch, where many French Impressionist painters whom the students studied in class worked for periods of their lives, .

“Honfleur was one of my favorite cities because it was so peaceful and quiet just being able to sit by the water. My friends and I got sandwiches for lunch that day and sat on the pier instead of sitting down in a restaurant somewhere,” Reddy said.

In Normandy, they visited multiple places related to D-day and World War II, including the American Cemetery, Omaha Beach, and Pointe du Hoc. In the American Cemetery, they were given flowers to place by a famous statue representing that day.

From Normandy, they traveled to the small seaside town of Saint-Malo, where the book “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr was set. The town is enclosed in a wall to protect it from the sea.

On their way to Paris, the group stopped at Mont Saint Michel, a small community located on an island. The group had a tour around the abbey located on the island and several hours to explore.

In Paris, they lived with host families to get an idea of life in France. They visited popular Parisian sites like the Eiffel Tower, as well as some lesser known sites, including a cafe where philosophers often met.

“I think the host family experience was extremely helpful, especially because I am taking AP French this year and it forced me to speak French more than I normally would,” Reddy said.