Saturday, July 18, 2015

Last Week in Saint-Brieuc!!

Wow this last week in Saint-Brieuc flew by. And it was a busy one.  The week started off with a holiday.  Tuesday, July 14 is the French National Holiday, similar to our 4th of July celebration.  We cancelled classes Monday so that students could spend the long weekend with their host families.   The holiday finished up in Saint-Brieuc with a dance party in the middle of town and fireworks, but the students participated in all sorts of different activities with their families.

Wednesday we had our guided tour of Saint-Brieuc.  Why so late?  After 6 weeks in town, the students now know the town well enough and can understand enough spoken French to take in all of the historical details that our guide from the Tourism Office provided.  We learned about the medieval history of the city as well as many of the modern developments.  Pictures from the guided tour of the city can be found at the link below:

Guided Tour of Saint-Brieuc

After the tour, everyone quickly changed their clothes as we finally had our official reception at the Mairie (City Hall).  Below is a photo of everyone in front of the Mairie.

During the reception, Brigitte, our Onsite Coordinator and the Adjunct Mayor for Education welcomed the students and their host families.  After a brief introduction from me (Alisha), Anna Kluender and Quinn Gordon both gave speeches on behalf of the students, thanking the host families and the city of Saint-Brieuc for hostimg them this summer.  Both were phenomenal.  The speeches were followed by a reception with light refreshments.  Pictures from the Mayor's reception can be found at the link below.

Mayor's Reception

Friday morning, we held the Défilé de Mode (Fashion Show) as the last part of the Culture class.  The students showed off their new fashion acquisitions from the Soldes this summer.  Pictures from the Défilé de Mode can be found at the link below.

Défilé de Mode

We finished up the week with our Farewell Show Friday evening.  Five weeks of work in theater and choir culminated in several excellent performances.  The students in choir wrote and choreographed their own songs and the students in theater performed two plays. Many musicians and singers also performed individually.  Overall it was a great success and the students were able to display their enormous talent.  Everyone was very impressed.  Photos from the show can be found at the link below.

Farewell Show

Tuesday we head to Paris, and then three days later back to the USA.  My how time flies!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Our Last Excursion in Brittany

Wednesday, July 8 we had our last excursion in Brittany.  First stop on the list was Cap Fréhel, where we spent an hour taking in the breathtaking landscape and marveling at the power of the sea.  Before exploring the coastline, we took a picture in front of the lighthouse (or "phare" in French).  Take a look at a picture of the whole group:

After exploring the Cap, we hopped back on the bus to head to Fort-la-Latte, a Château Fort located on the coast about 15 minutes drive from Cap Fréhel.  The students explored the donjon, the oubliettes and the grounds of the castle.  Below is a photo of the group before entering the Château.

After touring Fort-la-Latte, we ate our lunch following a brief misty rain and reboarded the bus to head to Cap d'Erquy, where we hiked 1.7 kilometers to the coastline while singing songs from our afternoon choir activity and this.

We only spent a few minutes taking photos at this Cap before it was time to hike back to the bus for the next stop on our excursion.  We briefly stopped in front of the Château de Bienassis where we took a group photo and saw the only filled moat that I have ever seen around a French château.  Check out our group photo below!

Our final stop on this excursion was the Abbaye de Beauport, a thirteenth-century coastel Abbey about thirty minutes drive from Saint-Brieuc. Some students explored the grounds of the abbey on their own while others followed the one hour guided tour.  Below is a picture of the group in front of the abbey after our visit.

Before leaving the Abbey, we celebrated the birthday of Chris Metzger.  We also celebrated the birthday of Rachel Linville on Monday afternoon. Pictures from the birthday celebrations have been added to the Birthdays folder below:


We also had our last dessert exposition by the ROUGES group on Monday.  These photos can be found at the link below:

Desserts - Rouges

Finally, pictures from the entire excursion can be found at the links below:

Cap Fréhel and Cap d'Erquy

Fort-la-Latte and Château de Bienassis

L'Abbaye de Beauport

Next week is our last full week in Saint-Brieuc.  Stay tuned next weekend for an update about our guided tour of Saint-Brieuc, our reception at City Hall and our Farewell Show!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Normandy and such

What a week!  We had our two day excursion to Normandy Thursday and Friday, and it was an awesome trip.  We started out Thursday morning with Le Mont Saint-Michel where we visited the Abbey at its peak and Sarah Kay gave an amazing guided tour.  Take a look at a picture of the group below:

Le Mont Saint-Michel

Afterwards we made our way to the city of Bayeux where we visited the museum and viewed the famous Bayeux Tapestry.  The tapestry itself is history as it has survived for centuries, but the story it tells of events important to the Norman conquest is also intricately depicted in hand-stiched scenes, that runs a total of 230 feet long.

Our final stop on day 1 of the excursion was La Pointe du Hoc, which was our first stop on our World War II part of the excursion.  It's really striking to see the effects of history, still present today, the craters left by bombs, and remains of German bunkers. 

We finished up day 1 at a hostel in Lion-sur-mer.  After dinner we walked the two minutes to the beach and played soccer and frisbee until the tide came in.  Some students even went for a dip.

Day 2 of the excursion started bright and early with breakfast at the hostel at 8am.  We then climbed back on the bus to make our way to the Caen Memorial, a museum dedicated to World War II history and its effect on our world. 

Le Mémorial de Caen
After lunch at the museum, we headed to the American Cemetery, first hiking down to Omaha Beach.  We had watched a film at the Caen Memorial which depicted the debarkment on D-Day at the beaches on the coast of France. Standing there looking at the same waves and sand that were once the site of an intense battle and where many lives were lost, was incredibly moving.

Following some time on the beach, we climbed back up to the cemetery, where the students visited at their own leisure.  At one point you could hear bells chiming that sang out the Star-Spangled Banner.  It was a touching experience.

Our last stop on this excursion was the German Cemetery.  The contrast between the two World War II cemeteries was striking.  While both had a somber tone, the German cemetery was much darker and simpler, with flat headstones, while those at the American Cemetery were upright and bright white, much like at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC.  Both cemeteries were a stark reminder however of the number of lives lost, and the price that humanity paid during this war.

Photos from our excursion in Normandy can be found at the link below.


Earlier in the week, we celebrated the birthday of Abby Jones and we tasted delicious desserts made by the Blanc group.  Photos from the birthday celebration have been added to the birthday folder at the link below.


And photos from the desserts can be found here: