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French Immersion

During spring break 24 Middle School boys visited France. Here are a selection of entries from their journals. Scroll down to see a photo gallery of their travels.

Juno Y: We started our trip in Avignon. We explored the Palais de Paper, which is the Pope’s palace, and the Pond D'avignon. The Palais de Paper had installed a new interaction IPOD system with a treasure hunt and audio grid. The largest gothic building in Europe at 5000 m squared provided an amazing glance at the history of the papacy in Southern France. The second monument was a bridge showing the legend of Benezet, a man given a mission by God to create a bridge connecting France to the Mediterranean Sea. The bridge originally spanned 22 arches but had to be rebuilt multiple times due to flooding that destroyed other monuments in the area. It was a great first day of French history and an immersive experience of the Papacy in Avignon.

Drew G: We visited Roman ruins, and I especially loved the theatre, which was so well preserved. I could envision what it looked like during that time period. As I walked through the ruins it really conveyed a whole different culture. 

Curtis L: Today we saw the Roman theatre in Orange. It was much larger than I expected, and I was astounded. I even got to sing inside of the amphitheater and got to see the quality of its acoustics in person.

Gus S: We started the day with an amazing breakfast before visiting Roman ruins and the roman bridge, followed by another delicious meal. The theatre was incredible. To end the traveling portion of the day we traveled through the countryside to a chocolate factory.

Colin M: On our last day in Avignon we toured a castle and got to pick our food from a local market for lunch. We went to the city of Arles and visited an amphitheater and a Roman bathhouse. This tour was a lot of fun.

David P: We explored the streets of Cavaillon and experienced all the sounds, smells, and sights of the markets. My group bought a baguette, cheese, strawberries, fish, and took Mr. Woodward’s recommendation of radishes, butter and salt, which were delicious. I enjoyed watching my classmates speak to the vendors in French. Although it was cold and windy, I had an amazing time. I gave a presentation in this delightful place, and I am glad that I was able to experience it. 

Henry H: We took the TGV to Paris. The train was so smooth, and it was beautiful to see the plains with cows, sheep, and horses. In Paris I saw my site, Jardin du Luxembourg. It was very cool to see the fountains and the Seine. The statues and the palace were beautiful. It was a wonderful day.

Burk M: Today we rode on the TGV from Avignon to Paris. It was very fast and went through the French countryside. We visited Notre-Dame and the architecture was very cool. When I did my presentation on Notre-Dame I talked about its construction and history through time. 

Alex W: Le Louvre was originally a fortress but changed to an art museum when Louis XIV moved to Versailles. I was surprised at the very large area under Le louvre. In fact, we even had lunch and went shopping underneath it all! The Mona Lisa was the main subject when we cruised through the museum. It was housed in an entire room by itself behind bullet proof glass. Did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci, the artist of this painting, actually painted the Mona Lisa so it seemed like she is always watching you? He wanted to create an optical illusion out of this painting, so I guess that saying is true! It is also true that he experimented in using a weird tar-based paint. This means that ever so slowly, the Mona Lisa will get darker and darker until it disappears. So see it soon! 

Noah P: Musée Rodin is a museum that was specifically designed to hold the works of Auguste Rodin, a French sculptor whose statues are extremely realistic. In fact, some of Rodin's work is so realistic that people did not believe him when he said he made it without a cast. After studying some of his famous works, such as The Thinker and The Gates of Hell, seeing them in person was fascinating. Experiencing some of his lesser known works was also pretty neat. All of his sculptures convey so much emotion you might think that it was actually a human from a distance! 

Owen D: Today we visited Les Invalides, the location of Napoleon’s tomb. The church was designed by Jules Mansart. This was nice to see in person because over the past two years I have done two projects about Les Invalides. The tomb is placed below everybody who walks in because Napoleon wanted everyone to bow down to him. 

Justin B: Today we saw the Place de Concorde, which was the location I studied. It was larger than I anticipated, and I enjoyed seeing it. We also went to the Eiffel Tower, which met expectations. The view from the top was stunning, as you could see for miles. I have really enjoyed my time here in France and I am not looking forward to the day of travel ahead of us.