Sunday, April 10, 2016

Want to see more pics from the trip?

How can I access more pictures?

Simply sign in to your Edline account and click on the "France 2016 Pics" folder with links on the bottom, right-hand side of your home page.

While we tried to take as many pics of the whole group when we were together, you'll note that most of Mr. Mbayu's pictures will be students on Bus #1 and most of my pictures will be of students on Bus #2. Look through both! You'll be sure to see yourself (or your kiddo) in some.

Hope you all had an amazing time! 

See you around the halls,

Ms. G :)

Wednesday, 4/6

Eek! 3a.m. wake-up call for Bus 2 and 5am wake-up for Bus 1! What an early start but we are ready to head back to D.C.! With a 2 hours flight to either Frankfurt or Amsterdam, a 2-3 hour layover, and an 8.5 hour flight back to the US, we are all ready for some well-deserved rest!

Our chaperones were amazing...

And our tour guides (Matt & Marguerite) and Mr. Mbayu deserve a big merci beaucoup for all their hard work putting together this amazing experience for all of us!

If you would like to send a personalized thank you note, please email them at the following:

     Bus 1 - Marguerite:

     Bus 2 - Matt:

They were so patient and loving with our kiddos! We hope they are enjoying some relaxing time off! :) 

à tout à l'heure!

Tuesday, 4/5

Today, we took a 3-hour tour around Paris to see the monuments and notable sites.

Stop 1 - Paris, France

We started our tour at the Arch de Triumphe, the largest in Europe, built to celebrate One of Napoleon Bonaparte's victories. We traveled along the Champs Elysees where we passed a large shopping district, France's version of the White House, L'Elysee, and the  Obilesque at La Place de la Concorde. 

We saw the church at la Madeleine with its 52 columns to represent the weeks of the year, and no windows, but a glass ceiling allowing the sun, representing divinity, to enter. Then, we passed the Opera, the largest in the world. It's the inspiration for the Phantom of the Opera! 

We traveled down Opera Avenue and saw the uniform facades of the architecture typical of the city and continued to the Louvres and the glass pyramids build for the 200 year anniversary of the Revolution 1989. 

We took a left onto the Quai du Louvre and saw le Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris, the first to be built in stone. To our right, we say la Cite and la Conciergerie, which also served as a prison where Marie Antoinette was held before she was beheaded. 

Later, we saw L'hotel de Ville, Paris's town hall. We saw iron bridges that are being covered with glass on the sides so that tourists and couples in love will not hang locks upon them. As we crossed the island of la Cite we saw Notre Dame. 

Thierry, our guide gave us our tour in both French and English. We were excited to use what we knew to show that we understood, and he was impressed with our accents, or our lack of American accents when we spoke in French.

We saw the restaurant where Voltaire died in 1778, and the D'Orsay museum.

We saw our countryman, a statue of Thomas Jefferson, ambassador of the U.S. during the Revolution as we traveled along the Seine. We also saw the French Parliment building, L'Assemblee Nationale. 

We saw Le Grand Palais used for Paris Fashion week last month before turning right down the street to see Les Invalides where Napoleon was buried.

Then the groups split into Versailles and non-Versailles. Those who did enjoyed touring Versaille while the others went on a Paris-by-day tour.

And finally, another birthday surprise!

Monday, 4/4

We prepared for a long train ride today. What a challenge it was to get 74 kiddos and 11 adults into the train in less than 3 minutes! Most enjoyed their time playing cards, chatting, enjoying some lunch, or sleeping on their way to The Louvre.

Stop 1 – Louvres, Paris

The Louvre Palace is well-known for its unique pieces of artwork. We got to see the Mona Lisa and other pieces.

Happy birthday shout out to Jamir! He was so excited for his surprise celebration at dinner!

<Jamir BDAY PIC 0713>

“Paris by Night” Boat Ride

Sunday, 4/3

Stop 1 – Danostia-San Sebastián 

After our walking tour of Liberty Avenue, kids learned about the old town (on the right of the avenue) or the new town (on the left) and got to savor the different kind of food they had to offer.

Stop 2 - Saint Jean-de-Luz

We then made our way to Saint Jean-de-Luz where we saw where Louis XIV lived (below) and the church he was married in.


Students then were taken to the beach where many played in the sand or spent their free time to exploring Saint Jean De Luz!

Stop 3 – Biarritz

The most fun of all stops - Biarritz! Students had 2 hours to enjoy dancing to the music being played on the street and playing at the beach.


Finally, some yummy paella at Geltokia.

Saturday, 4/2

Stop 1 - Carcassone, France

What a long ride! We spent 2.5 hours driving to Carcassone but it was worth it. Kiddos got to explore the medieval walled city, have some lunch, and enjoy the shops.


Stop 2 - Biarritz

A special birthday shout-out to Izzy! Bus 2 sang Joyeux anniversaire (Happy Birthday in French) before many took a much-needed nap during the 4.5 hour drive to our to our final destination, Biarritz, where we will spend the next 2 days.

Finally we arrive! 


Friday, 4/1

Stop 1 - Avignon

Hotel de Ville = City Hall

Palais des Papes

We learned all about the history of the French Pope Palace with their tour guide before heading in to explore.

Inside the palace, they learned all the details about how it was built and how it has changed over the years.

Stop 2 - Haribo Factory
The kids were really excited for this surprise stop! Many enjoyed the tour of the factory while others opted to spend their time in the shop.

In France, "Sour Patch Kids" = "Very Bad Kids"!

Stop 3 - Nímes

The cold rain couldn't stop us from touring Les arenes de Nimes (Nimes Arena) Each student got a personal tour via Whisper before enjoying a delicious dinner in Nimes.