Written by Morgan Aufenger ’20, recounting March 15
On Friday, we started off our morning with a stroll through a park and a tour of the Foundation Louis Vuitton museum. The building, modeled after a ship and designed by Frank Gehry, is a work of art itself along with the pieces inside. From the viewing deck we had a wonderful view of the Paris skyline and the wooded park surrounding it, which was highlighted by the abnormal structure of the building. This center strives to be environmentally friendly as much as possible; one of the most notable ways is by collecting rain water to fill their toilettes to not waste water.
After our tour, we walked to a farmers market in Neuilly where some of us had the chance to try out our French and buy some authentic food and jewelry. For our second activity, we took a boat tour of the Seine on a bateau mouche. We all enjoyed watching famous Parisian landmarks as we traveled down the river.
Written by Pooja Mahesh ’20, recounting March 14th
Yesterday we got to experience a major part of French history: going to the Opéra Garnier. We felt as though we were the rich French people of the 1800s when we walked through the sparkling doors. All the walls were covered with beautiful art, and the ceilings were painted with beautiful classical murals. Although we didn’t see an opera, It was a mesmerizing experience that made my neck hurt because I spent so much time looking at the elegant ceilings.
After a great lunch with our corres we went to the Louvre. Although we only had an hour and a half, we were able to see the most important pieces of artwork in the museum such as Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa.I got to recreate a picture I took ten years ago with the Mona Lisa (it was très cool). We were able to witness a lot of French culture through art.
Written by Camille Foley ’20, recounting March 13th
This morning we all met at St. Dominique and had our morning meeting. Then, we were on our way to the Île de la Cité. After taking the metro there, we met up with our tour guide Chloé and walked around the island until we got to Sainte Chapelle. Chloé taught us about the stories in the stained glass and told us about the process of the glass making. That building took seven years to build and each window is 49 feet high, and the whole room depicts over 1,000 scenes from both the Old and New Testaments.
After Sainte Chapelle, we went to the Pizzeria Sarno. Then, we headed to Notre Dame, which took over 140 years to build. From the gargoyles all around to the intricate designs on the doorways and stories in the statues, this building has much to appreciate. We all had an amazing day!
Written by Danielle Doss ’20, recounting March 12th
Today we went to Musée D’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower. At the Musée Orsay, I was so excited to see all the artwork that I had seen before in books. It made me feel so immersed in the wonderful culture of France, because the Musée D’Orsay was once a train station, beautifully designed of course. We completed a challenge to imitate specific pieces of art throughout the museum.
We all had tons of fun at the Eiffel Tower, as we all styled up with a view of Paris behind us in one of the most iconic places in all of France. I especially loved how we could walk around the 2nd real floor, and we were able to see different parts of the city we had visited.
We started out the day learning about sustainable development in the northeast of France and seeing the estuary and bay in extremely windy conditions. From there we headed off to a quick lunch, then journeyed four hours to Paris! It turns out we had nothing to be worried about (we were all nervous about seeing our families) because they were all super welcoming, and it was exciting to see our corres again and meet their families!
Written by Ells Boone ’20, recounting March 11th
Today, we each woke up in a separate place for the first time of the trip, in the homes of our correspondents. We each successfully got to St. Do on time and nervously introduced ourselves to the school. After chapel, we were greeted with a light snack before a tour of the school. The eventful morning continued with classes. I went to one Spanish class and one math class, each much different than our own at NA. After a quick lunch, we headed out on the metro for the first time to Le Marais, a historic neighborhood in Paris. Le Marais was very nice and contained many churches, shops, and bakeries. We ended the day back at St. Do where we went home with our respective corres.
Today, we took to the road and went to Mont St-Michel, a very old church whose construction began in the 8th century. It was constructed on top of an island with a small town underneath. We were given a wonderful tour of the church by Monsieur Chatrousse and then got to explore the town located below the church. We were able to get lunch and shop while practicing our French. The group also had many great pictures with the beautiful Mont St-Michel in the background.
Written by Sofia Wachtmeister ’20, recounting March 7th
We had a wonderful day today! We woke up and had a great breakfast with assorted breads and cereals. Then, we went on a 2-hour bus ride to a World War II museum. It was very interesting and ended with a short movie. A tour guide joined our group to show us the beaches of D- Day. Soon we made our way to the cemetery. It was a very eye opening experience!
Written by John Gregoire ’20, recounting March 8th In coming to France, one of the things I had anticipated most was the food, and the first day did not disappoint. After a long travel day, after which all of us were exhausted physically, we went to a bakery and got subs and baked treats. Personally, I was feeling somewhat sick, as well as sleep deprived, but once I got that sub into my system, it gave me the energy I needed and allowed me to better enjoy the Bayeux Tapestry. The trend of good food continued at dinner, where we enjoyed foods that we were not used to, which were all good. The meal was capped off with a cheese platter, with three distinct cheeses that I had never tried before. It was fun being adventurous and trying new foods, and I found a lot of new favorites.
Our 2018-2019 Short-Term French Exchange group is gearing up for their upcoming departure for Paris! The group met on Thursday, February 21 to craft some “Group Goals” and “Daily Leadership Roles” for their upcoming experience abroad:
– Improve our French! (speak with St. Do friends, host family, and one another in French; play games when on excursions to hold each other accountable with this; be able to have a full conversation in French by the end of time abroad)
– Try new things/Get out of comfort zone (eat new foods)
– Make new friends (open up to NA classmates; connect with corres and host family)
– Become more familiar with French culture / pick up on “Frenchy” things
– Focus on being present (Limit tech/phone use)
– Learn more about ourselves
– Document and reflect on experience throughout (photos; daily journal)
– Become a better and more confident traveler (vs. being a tourist)
– Have fun!
Daily Student Leadership Roles:
Leader(s) of the Day
Follow along on their adventure abroad March 6-20 here on the blog and on our International Programs Twitter feed!
Written by Gabby Foley ’19 to recount Saturday, March 17, 2018:
Hey everyone! It’s Gabby Foley. Today we all woke up to a rainy, cold Paris. Because today is Saturday, we had a day to join our host families in their day’s activities! Many families took their students to Versailles today, while others went shopping. Still others just took the time to soak in their very last moments in the city.
Myself and my corres, Violette, met up with a few other students today in the neighborhood of Le Marais. We had a petit café and walked through the cobblestone streets in search of thrift shops or as the French call them «Friperies». Much to our surprise, as we walked outside our first store, large flakes of opulent, white snow came hailing from the sky. We were delighted by the weather change and took the opportunity to frolic in the snow and take pictures. Many of us took home small treasures from the Friperie, and the memories we will take from that snowy day in the picturesque Parisian neighborhood of Le Marais will certainly stay in our memory of the 2018 NA-St.Do French Exchange forever.
Overall, this exchange has impacted each student differently, and I certainly can’t speak for everyone. However, in my experience, I have learned so many lessons from this trip, none of which can be taught in a classroom. I have gained more confidence as a leader, worked effortlessly to attempt to better myself in a language, and most importantly learned how to appropriately juxtapose European culture to the culture of the United States and more specifically my community at school. Seeing another culture’s way of life introduced me to foreign ideas of solutions to problems and helped me develop a greater appreciation for difference in opinion which I had needed to work on before.
Thank you so much to our teachers Mr. Warsaw, Ms. McCallum, and Mr. Lilly for helping guide us through this exchange and thank you to the students of St. Dominique for graciously welcoming us into your homes.
Written by Virginia Darden ’19 to recount Friday, March 16, 2018:
Today we began our morning by walking to the Foundation Louis Vuitton, an architectural masterpiece. The building itself is a piece of art, fascinating the entire group with its abundance of glass panels and modern design. The building was made to promote contemporary architecture by the group LVMH.
We then participated in a scavenger hunt all around Paris. There were 12 steps to the hunt which each had to be documented with a photo or video. On the metro ride back to Neuilly, my partner, Lily, and I unknowingly went in the wrong direction, going farther and farther away. Thankfully, Lily noticed and we got off on the next stop and switched. We learned that it is important to stop and realize where you are going instead of just walking into the metro and getting on.
For lunch, some of us stayed at St. Do, while others walked down the street to the local boulangerie. They have the absolute best beignets there, and I will miss them greatly while in the US!
We then spent a few hours shopping around La Défense before returning to St. Do to end our day with a « goûter » or a small snacktime with cookies and other refreshments with our corres’.