Parlez-Vous Francais? - My Family Travels

“Parlez-vous français?” This means “do you speak French?” which was a very important quality for the trip I took. Two summers ago, after finishing the ninth grade, I took a school trip to France. It was mainly offered to French class students, but family members of some came along. Accompanying me was my aunt and mother. We departed for the airport on June 10, 2009 and were going to fly from Roanoke, Virginia. Our flight was scheduled to leave at three o’clock, so we all met up a little earlier and bid our goodbyes to our family. As departure time was approaching, a storm occurred which delayed the flight five hours and made for a very boring wait in the terminal. When our flight finally commenced, we flew to Dulles near Washington D.C., from there to Germany, and from there to Paris, France. The entire flight overseas took about twelve hours.

Once in France, the next ten days were packed full of sight-seeing and exploring the culture. In addition to the group that went from my school, there were groups from California, Texas, and Pennsylvania. We all became great friends and were guided by our tour guide Mario who stayed with us the whole ten days of the trip. He was such a great help to us and could answer any question we had about the country.

The most exciting place I visited was definitely Paris. The Eiffel Tower was gorgeous, especially at night. After climbing to the top, our group took a boat tour on the Seine River and was able to see the Eiffel Tower decorated in bright yellow lights. The view was spectacular and something I will be sure to remember for the rest of my life. That night, we strolled down the streets of Paris. I can now see why it is called the “City of Love” because the atmosphere is so romantic. After a couple of days in Paris, we boarded a tour bus and traveled all over France stopping to see castles in small towns. The castles were absolutely gorgeous and so huge. Each had a tour in which we learned all about the history of the castle. We were able to visit a perfumery called Fragonard by the famous perfumist. Another major sight was the Palace of Versailles where the kings of France lived. The tour showed us where the royal family slept, ate, and danced. In addition to France, we visited Monte Carlo which is a small island off of France. Though it is sometimes viewed as part of France, Mario informed us that the people of Monte Carlo are ruled by an individual king though they keep close relations with the people of France.

There is so much history in France and so much to learn. The architecture is intricate, and the culture is very vivid. I was able to try so many foods though the desserts were my favorite. Bon appetite! It was a great opportunity to practice my French and make many personal friendships with people from all over the country. It was an awesome educational experience, and I am so thankful that I had the chance to do this. I would love to go back one day or study abroad. Exploring another culture is one of the best ways to learn.

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