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Athenian School France Trip Journal 2016

March 12, 2016

Bonjour! We have arrived in France and we are off to a great start! Today we visited The Louvre, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and got to walk around the city of Paris. In the Louvre we got to see the Mona Lisa and we went on a scavenger hunt. Awaiting more great adventures to come!

– Odiso et Georgia

March 13, 2016

We went on trains for the first time in Paris today. When we arrived in Versailles, we started by going to a market. Then, we went to the Palace of Versailles and took an audio tour through the palace. Finally, we went to the Eiffel Tower! We went to the second level and we were super high. (Note from the Home Office: More detailed description coming soon!)

March 14, 2016

This morning we boarded the TGV to reach our next city, Lyon. After settling in our youth hostel, we enjoyed an excellent pizza lunch. We walked to the Fourviere Basilica and enjoyed its unique mosaic walls. The climb up was tough but the view from up there made it worth it! We traveled back in time as we wondered around the Roman ruins. We had lots of fun playing the French game of Beret, and ended the day with a gourmet dinner in one of the famous bouchon restaurants in Old Lyon.

– JT

March 15, 2016

Bonjour! Today we woke up to the “gracious” sound of Matt knocking at the door and went straight to breakfast. Afterwards we packed up and made our way to the high speed train. The train could go as fast as 300 km per hour. As soon as we arrived in Lyon we walked to our new hostel it was the nicest hostel so far. Fifteen minutes after we dropped off our bags at the hostel we walked few blocks to a pizzeria where we had a great lunch. Our choices were four cheese pizza, mushroom ham and cheese pizza. On top of that we had the choice of grenadine or water. Later we divided into two teams and played the French game Beret on the main square it was fun. Then we went up a strenuous hill, in order to visit the roman ruins and the Basilique Nd Fourviere, the cathedral was very beautiful inside and out. It gave off an elegant and royal vibe, then we started to walk back to a restaurant to eat dinner. Then we went back to our hostel. After reviewing our day as a group, we retired to our beds for the night.

-Ryan et Amanda

Our second day in Lyon was probably one of the most interesting days of the trip so far. We had a guided tour of old Lyon and took a cooking class. We made saffron risotto with jumbo shrimps, and hazelnut panna cotta for dessert with a French chef. We had fun chopping off the heads of shrimp in the cooking class.  One of the coolest things we saw was the Roman museum. It is amazing how many ancient Roman artifacts they had at the museum. For dinner, we got to return to the same pizzeria as the day before because we liked it so much. Tiramisu for dessert was amazing. We had our group circle time and then headed back to our hostel. After staying awake quite late last night (at least in the girls room) we finally fell asleep at a more reasonable hour.


March 16, 2016

The food in France is an important part of the culture that defines the country. French food is a combined mixture of salty and sweet. For breakfast, we usually eat fresh bread with butter and jam, a pastry of some sort, orange juice and hot chocolate. For lunch, we eat at a variety of places including traditional bakery restaurants and pizzerias. Dinner is by far, the fanciest meal of the day. Dinner usually starts with some bread, then comes the appetizer, then the main course, then finally, the dessert. In conclusion, French food is fancy, culturally significant, and of course, delicious.


Yesterday after we woke up in Lyon, we ate our breakfast, packed our bags and went on the TGV to Avignon. Once we arrived there, it was raining very hard and it was cold. We ate lunch at the train station. We hopped on a bus that took us to the hostel called “Pop!” It was the nicest hostel yet. We dropped our bags off there and walked to the “Palais de papes.” We took a tour there and we got to hear the history and see the original frescoes. There was incredible architecture and it was very enjoyable. After that we walked to the “pont d’Avignon” and walked on the bridge. But it was cold and raining so we walked back to the hostel and rested there until eight and we went to a Moroccan restaurant. The food there was really TASTALICIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After eating we went back to the hostel, reviewed our day as a group and slept.

-Dylan and Finn

March 17, 2016

We had the best croissants in the world this morning for breakfast, a great way to start the day!  We went on a scavenger hunt in the market in Avignon, where we saw lots of different kind of olives, cheese, spices, potatoes of various colors, shapes, and taste. Later we boarded the bus that would take us to our next destination, Carcassonne. On our way, we stopped by the Pont du Gard, a Roman Aqueduct and UNESCO World Heritage site. We went for a short hike and we skipped stones in the river, enjoying the nature around us. We had lunch en route. We arrived in Carcassonne… it was still raining! But nothing can stop us, and after checking in our new hotel, we went for a scavenger hunt in the medieval city -another UNESCO World Heritage site. We got lucky and ran into a medieval group presenting a fire show, even though it was raining. A couple of cobblestone streets further was our restaurant, one of the oldest restaurant in the medieval city. Mixed salad, French fries with local sausage and apple pie made for a perfect dinner.

March 18, 2016

Today was our full day in Carcassonne. We ate breakfast at our hotel, then made the short trek up the hill to the old walled city. There we had a guided tour with a woman named Jacqueline, who had quite a bit of information to offer about the castle. After the tour, we were able to eat lunch and do some last souvenir shopping in France. After, we ate and had some free time, we drove to the Limousis caves. There, we went about 165 ft underground or 50 meters. After our big adventure, we drove to new Carcassonne and also had some free time there. Dinner was at a restaurant that we ate at a day before. There a small group of us met the cook’s daughter, a nine year old girl who we got to practice our French with. Last, we walked back to our hotel had a group meeting and headed to bed to sleep.

-Eve and Aleeza

France is a country that is very similar to America at first glance, most people speak at least some English, the food is somewhat familiar (though much better than American food), and most of the French customs are similar to those in the United states. At first, France didn’t seem all that different, but by the second day we were beginning to notice the differences. For example, in France, everything is smaller, especially the roads and the cars. There are no SUVs or large trucks. There is almost no traffic, and very few cars are on the road. Also, sidewalks are hard to tell from streets, we will be walking down what appears to be a pedestrian road for an hour and see no cars, and then suddenly a car drives through the narrow cobblestone street. Probably one of the most amazing things about France is its history, we saw so many ancient castles and churches that we saw one or two per day. And in Paris, we could hardly walk five feet without seeing a famous monument. America is such a new country that we don’t have much history. Money and prices really influenced our visit. A lot of things (especially the food) in France are really inexpensive, yesterday we bought an entire 3 foot long baguette for 90 cents, and the biggest, most delicious crepe ever for two euros. The strange thing about euros is that there re one and two euro coins. So you can pay for an eight euro thing all with coins. Some other things that are different about France is the amount of nature compared to America, and the bathrooms are different (and usually co-ed, which is strange), and people dress fancier in France.

– Sydney

March 19, 2016

Goodbye France, Hello Spain!

This is our last day of the trip, and we spent it exploring the exciting city of Barcelona.

We left France early morning and made our way by bus to Barcelona. After a lunch break in Park Guell, we saw the incredible Sagrada Familia cathedral, visited the Casa Batlo, in just a couple of hours we saw the three most famous masterpieces by the architect A. Gaudi. After a stroll through the colorful Market of La Boqueria, some free time on the busy Las Ramblas, and a quick look at the Mediterranean Sea from Barcelona’s harbor, we had a fancy dinner at a nice restaurant in Barri Gotic to celebrate the end to a great trip across Europe! A couple of hours of sleep later, we were boarding our return flight to SF. Adios et Au Revoir!