Friday, February 28, 2014

In the past 36 hours we've had a very busy itinerary. We departed Angers at 8 on Thursday and we're exploring Le Mt St Michel by 11. Fortunately the bad weather held off and caught a few pictures with blue skies. We checked into our second youth hostel, ate, and thenha a group game night which included them acting out major sites we've seen (and their chaperone's traits) in charades.
Today was another full day spanning nearly 1,000 history with Bayeux Tapestry (year 1066) which chronicles the Norman Conquest of England, then nearly seven hours of D-Day and WWII history at a fantastic, interactive museum, then a 5-hour tour of the major sites including Omaha Beach and the American Cemetary at Colleville-sur-Mer. Our tour guide knew an incredible amount of history.
Tomorrow we'll load the bus for 8am and head to the airport.
As far as we know, everything looks to be on time so we'll expect you between 6 and 6:30 at the airport.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

With great regret we had our last day at Lycée Chevrollier. We enjoyed classes in the morning as usual, and visited three small museums in the city in the afternoon (tapestry and sculpture galleries).
When we returned to school at 6pm we were surprised to see all the parents waiting for us with the students. After a few speeches of gratitude from the trip leaders on both ends, the Angers students surprised us with our own hoodie sweatshirts (it seems the Angers students were the ones to arrange this).
I imagine all the Brookline students are busy packing their bags preparing for the last stage of our trip: Normandy.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Today was a rather straight-forward day. The students visited class with their hosts and managed to do some work in the study room. After lunch, we took a group excursion to the maisons troglodytes (cliff houses) which were inhabited as farms until the 1960s. On the way home, we found an cathedral in a mostly abandoned village which was a great subject for our more photographically inclinded students. We worked our way back to Angers along the Loire River which is very high with a swift current these days after a particularly rainy winter.
We're sad that tomorrow is our last full day in Angers.
More tomorrow.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Today was the first time seeing our students since the weekend, and it was fun over-hearing them tell stories of what they'd done over the weekend. Some went to Futuroscope (a futuristice theme park), visited Nantes and one even had the pleasure of helping deliver a baby cow on the farm! Also, the number one topic on every teenager's mind seems to be food, so we thought we'd include a sampling of the dishes that have been mentioned:
-foie gras
-rillettes and other pork pâtés
-a dish called "headless birds" (really just chicken stuffed with ham)
-purple mustard made partly with grapes
-pork cheeks in honey
-plenty of Orangina
-honey of all different flavors (it seems it will be a very popular gift for friends at home)
-tapenade (olive spread)
-countless varietites of cheeses, and of course...
-French candy!
More to come from Angers.

Friday, February 21, 2014

After a nearly full day of travel including visits to France's two most famous castles (Chambord and Chenonceau), we safely arrived in Angers around 5:30 to find our hosts waiting for us in front of their high school. The reunions were joyful and quick and almost immediately the kids had departed.
This morning the kids were abuzz sharing stories of their first night en famille, swapping stories about what they ate and what funny linguistics mishaps had transpired. The Headmaster officially welcomed us with a breakfast in the cafeteria and then the kids visited two hours' worth of classes. After lunch we took the tramway into the city center and visited the Angers castle/fortress and learned about its famous Tapestry of the Apocalypse.
At 6 pm they met back up with their hosts and decided upon plans for the weekend, which from what I can gather, include ice-skating outings, shopping, excursions to Nantes, trips to farms and more.
We'll update next on Monday.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Today we saw the Louvre where we made it to the three highlights but only just barely--the teachers had a heck of a time reading maps and navigating the crowds. We even ran into another Brookline family with two high school age boys! What are the chances?!
Kari took a group through the cavernous Catacombes while Laura's group checked out Monet's extra-large waterlily murals and a photography exhibit. Today's highlight was the group dinner at the charming La Citrouille restaurant in St. Germain: soupe à l'oignon, boeuf Bourguinon and mousse au chocolat were the most popular choices!
We'll be sad to be leaving Paris but we are very excited to be reunited with our host brothers and sisters tomorrow (and relieved at the prospect of much less walking).
The next update will be from Angers! A bientôt!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bonsoir from Paris! The group is currently ice-skating on the pavillion of City Hall having lots of fun! Previously today we visited the Musée d'Orsay where the French 4's honed their skills at identifying Impressionist painters and paintings. From there the group took the stairs to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, then summited with the elevator. From there, Andrew took a group down a botanical walkway towards the Père Lachaise cemetery in time to see a few famous tombstones. Laura and Kari got the following students to the Musée Rodin's sculpture garden with some time in a café.
Tomorrow will be our last day in Paris so we'll see what we can cram in!
More to come tomorrow!