Finding the joie de vivre in France
Students from a local Canadian school enjoyed a wonderful ten days in France. We began our visit in Paris: the city of lights and love. We enjoyed a guided walking tour on our very first day, strolling along the charming cobbled streets of the Latin Quarter and taking in the sights. The next day, we continued our exploration through an exciting biking tour through the city. We cycled along the Seine, navigated through the hidden alleys of the Marais neighbourhood, and enjoyed the views of the Eiffel Tower, Place de Concorde, and the Alexander I Bridge. Next we were off to visit the Louvre, where we wandered through the Egyptian exhibit, the Islamic art, and of course the Italian paintings, featuring the famous Mona Lisa.
We started our third day in Paris at the Musée D’Orsay, where we enjoyed the impressionist paintings and the special exhibit on the importance of black models through the centuries. Later, we went to Sainte Chapelle: an old Gothic-era chapel decorated with incredible stained-glass windows. We ended our day climbing up the steps of the magnificent Eiffel Tower; enjoying the sparkling lights and the panoramic views of the city. The following day, we visited the mysterious Catacombs of Paris, where we walked through the carefully stacked and stowed remains of over 6 million people from medieval times. Afterwards, we walked through a local Parisian market, tasting our way through the many food stalls and admiring the jewelry, clothing, and other artisanal goods for sale.
Our last two days in Paris were spent visiting the nearby Palace of Versailles and Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny. We learned all about the Sun King, Louis XIV, as we strolled through his gold-covered palace and expansive gardens. We channelled our inner artist as we wandered around Monet’s famous gardens, smelling the flowers, listening to the birds and the rain, and admiring the lily pads and the Japanese bridge.
On our eighth day in France, we enjoyed a charming train ride to Provence, in the South of France. We visited the Abbaye de Senaque in Goult and learned about the life of the Cistercian monks, centred on hard work and prayer. Our final day in France took us to Nice, on the gorgeous Côte d’Azur. We started our time in Nice with a kayak outing on the Medetteranean! We paddled around the marina, took a dip in the sweet sea water, and learned how to control our boats. Afterwards, we tested out our baking skills during a cooking class where we made lemon meringue pie, made with real lemons grown in the region.
We leave France with many happy memories, and a new appreciation for the French way of life: to profiter of all things and fully embrace the joie de vivre.