After months of preparing, the French exchange group flew to Paris, France on the night before Easter. The group consisted of Ashley Murphy, Alison Madsen, Jake Hogan, Stefan Ceccherini, Kathrine Parella, and me, Rada Ruggles, accompanied by our school’s French teacher, Mrs. Gaffey and her husband. Upon arriving in France, the group was taken to the school and greeted by our host families. Previously in October, the students of these families made the trip to visit our school and gain an experience of living in America, similar to the one we were just starting. My exchange student was Leanne and her parents were Danielle and Laurent. My host family took me all over Paris, from the Eiffel Tower, the Arch of Triumph, the Opera and various other famous monuments. I got to try authentic French Cuisine that my exchange mother cooked for us all to eat for dinner.
During the week, the group would meet during the day and visit various famous places in Paris. The first day, we visited Versailles, the old palace of the kings and queens of France. It was really interesting to see how these people lived during the time period that the palace was occupied. That afternoon we went to Hotel des Invalides, where the tomb of Napoleon is and the Musee Rodin! We all took photos with Le Penseur and that was only the first day! The second day we went to Sacre Coeur, a beautiful basilica, and the town of Montmartre. We then went to the Louvre and saw all the famous painting that we had learned about in class such as Le Sacre de Napoleon and statues like La Venus de Milo. Thursday we went to the Musee D’Orsay and got to impressionist paintings, which we studied in class previously, as well as famous sculptures and other famous artworks! We then walked along the Garden of Tuileries and down the Champs-Elysees! After that we went to the Pantheon, where famous people such as Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, and many more were buried. It was inspiring to know we were standing next to the tombs of some of the greatest French authors and philosophers. Friday morning we went to Chartre, a small little town with a beautiful cathedral. We learned about the history of the cathedral, and some interesting biblical history as well! After that, we walked around the small town and everyone was able to try a Croque Monsieur or a Croque Madame! The Croque Madame is the same as a Monsieur except it has a egg on it. It was all very delicious! That afternoon we got to drive around Paris, and see various famous sites. On our final weekend, my host family and I went to the Notre Dame Cathedral and walked around the famous neighborhood around the beautiful cathedral. We even got to go to Victor Hugo’s house.
We came home sadly on Sunday morning and arrived mid afternoon on Sunday, Boston time. It was a lifetime experience and we got to do so many incredible activities that we would never get to do elsewhere. Our host families made us all feel at home and getting the full experience of living with a French Family was really the main point of going on this trip. We were very sad to leave,but we have the memories to remember this beautiful trip.
By Rada Ruggles