NDP France

NDP France

Meg Zink, Editor

Bon voyage was given a new meaning when girls from NDP went to France this summer. The bus came to NDP on June 17th to take everyone (including the Spain trip) to the airport. After a long eight hour flight, 15 girls and Ms. Rest and Ms. Brennan arrived in Paris at the lovely time of 7 a.m.,  a bright and early time to begin the amazing trip.

The first stop on the trip was Paris. Paris, as a whole, is indescribable. The first day in Paris was tiring. After a long flight, we couldn’t go to sleep due to our full agenda. We met our tour guide, Aurora (just like the Princess), and she made sure that as soon as we put our bags in the hotel, we were off to the next place. The first place we went was the Arc de Triomphe. It is a giant arch structure in the center of a traffic circle and one of the major landmarks in Paris. We climbed a tiring 284 steps to the top, but it was all worth it. The view of Paris from the Arc is amazing. It was here that everyone got their view of the Eiffel tower for the first time. After the Arc we spent lunchtime at the Champs Elysses, one of the most famous avenues in all of Paris. Later that day, we began going to Montmartre, a hill in Paris that has a beautiful cathedral on top. Before we got to the cathedral, we came upon a carousel that adults are able to go on and ride. How many times do you get the opportunity to go on a beautiful carousel in Paris? So with this in mind, of course, we went on. We got to see the beautiful cathedral and then go and eat our first meal in Paris. The second day we got to see so much of Paris. We saw the Musee d’Orsay, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower. As well as having a lot of gorgeous art, the Musee, itself, was absolutely beautiful especially as it used to be a train station. We did not get much time in the Louvre (even three days would not be enough in there). However, we were able to see some highlights like the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. After the Louvre, we saw the creme de la creme of Paris, also known as the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower was amazing. It was a little scary going in the elevator to the top 3rd floor, but it was worth it as the view was breathtaking. All of Paris can be seen from the top. The third day, we took a bus to Versailles and Chartre. Versailles is the palace built by Louis XIV or the “Sun King,” and it certainly looks like it was built by the Sun King as gold is everywhere. Versailles is truly a gilded palace. The small village of Chartre might have been (in my opinion) the most purely French place that we visited. We saw the historic cathedral that is the biggest landmark in the town, and then we were able to stroll around the town to take it all in. The town itself was so beautiful. The fourth and last day in Paris was spent going to Shakespeare and Company (my new favorite store), Notre Dame, and Victor Hugo’s house. We started the day at Shakespeare and Company, which is an English bookstore where many famous authors such as William S. Burroughs have hung out there. Notre Dame was as perfect as it is in pictures. We were also able to experience a short French Mass there. It was such a cool feeling to be in such an iconic cathedral just celebrating Mass. At the end of the day, we were able to watch the French people celebrate the summer solstice with the Fete de la Musique. Groups of people gathered in the streets to play the type of music that they loved to listen to. It was a great way to end in Paris.

Next place we went on the trip was Avignon. Avignon is a town in the Provence region of France. The first day in Avignon we saw the Palace of the Popes. This Palace is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Avignon. Six Popes lived in the palace in the 14th century. We were also able to walk around Avignon and really see what the gorgeous town looked like. Later that day we went to Mass in a local church. The congregation was so excited to have us, and everyone was extremely welcoming. The next day we went to other towns in Provence. The first town we went to was Arles, which is famous for its Roman structures. Arles has a amphitheatre and an arena where bull fighting used to take place. After Arles, we went to Baux-de-Provence. Baux-de-Provence is said to be one of the most picturesque towns in the Provence region. We were able to eat lunch there and do some sightseeing on the gorgeous little town on a hill. Later that day, we were able to shop around Avignon for souvenirs.

After Avignon, we headed to Nice. On the way to Nice, we stopped in Aix-en-Provence to see some beautiful gardens and to try the famous callisons (candied melon and almond candies). Nice is a gorgeous beach town on the French coast. While in Nice, we were able to go see some pretty interesting places. We were able to take tours of Florian chocolates, a chocolatier that specializes in candied flowers such as roses, and Fragonard, a French parfumerie.  We explored the small, picturesque town of Eze. We went to the Principality of Monaco. While in Monaco, we saw the beautiful palace and were able to see the famous Monte Carlo. Our last day in Nice was spent exploring Old Nice in the morning and going to the beach in the afternoon.

All in all the trip was amazing. Many of us were able to use our French while doing things such as ordering and purchasing souvenirs. France est magnifique!!!!