Part 4: France Exchange 2015
All good things come to an end...
I've had the best time writing this mini series of the time I went on an exchange to France with some Grade 11 and 12 French Immersion students/classmates from my high school. I probably would've had more detail throughout the whole series, but I'm just glad I finished it and I hope you guys did too.
Here is the last part to the series, and I will link the first part right here.
Friday, March 13, 2015 - Palais Garnier et Palais de la Découverte
After another tasty 8 AM breakfast, our first stop today was the Palais Garnier or the Paris Opera House. Amongst ourselves, we were split into small groups and given short tours. The opera house is outstandingly beautiful... it's very elegant and it reminded me a lot of the musical 'Phantom of the Opera'.
Following that visit, we were given time to buy some lunch and we all sat on the stars in front of the Palais Garnier and listened to a man singing covers of American songs which were actually pretty good that one of my friends bought his mixtape.
We went off the itinerary again, as what mostly happened nearing the end of our time in France, and one of our teachers decided that we go to a science museum (kind of like 'Science World' in Vancouver) called le Palais de la Découverte. Once we got there, we all went inside and explored for a bit. I still remember being there, playing with this lever thing with my friends, then these French boys come towards us and we back away slowly and look at each other like "lol I hope they don't speak to us in French 'cause that'd be embarrassing for us..." Okay, that may have just been the thoughts going on in MY head, but anyways, my friends and I decided to leave the museum (we had the choice to) and so we went to les Champs-Élysées just to explore.
We went into a few stores, and I have got to say this; once you walk into a store in France, you will be greeted in French, but once you speak a word in English, the employees will immediately switch to English. This may or may not be unfortunate if you want to go to a French-speaking country to practice your French, so try not to use your native tongue!
This is just for memories sake, but some of my group went into Abercrombie & Fitch, and the inside was crazy. There were these blue gates that you had to go through to get into the store, and it was all dark inside (obviously) with chandeliers everywhere, and I think that it just goes to show how luxurious-looking the stores are on les Champs-Élysées. Before going back to the science museum, some of us bought crepes, and then we were off for dinner at Le Cardinal Saint-Germain.
I don't have a photo of the main course, which was spaghetti, but I do have a photo of the dessert, chocolate fondant, which was amazing (second favourite dessert from Paris!). Good conversations were held at the dinner table with fellow classmates who have become closer friends throughout the trip, and afterwards, we went back to our hotel where most of us probably started to pack to go home *tear falling down my cheek*.
Saturday, March 14, 2016 - Roamin' around Paris, Sacré-Coeur/Montmartre (LAST DAY)
Today was almost completely free time. The only directions our teachers/supervisors gave us were that we had to meet at a certain time at Sacré-Coeur (or Montmartre). Most of us went into the same general area where there were more shops. My friends and I went into a store called Mango, which I was already familiar to me because I was a lot more into fashion at the time, and we also visited a small thrift shop and a few souvenir shops (which were still kind of pricy, unfortunately). I've got to also give a shoutout to the McDonalds here... they sell macarons?!? Pretty crazy.
We didn't want to be late to meetup with everyone, so we took the metro to the stop at which was found Sacré-Cœur. To be more clear, Sacré-Cœur is a Roman Catholic Church on Montmartre, which is this huge hill (thanks Wikipedia). Before heading to the meeting place, myself and two other friends went into a café to have a little snack and use the washroom.
The church, along with the view, was stunning. It was also pretty crowded with tourists and locals everywhere. We stayed there for a bit and then walked to our chosen restaurant, which was this all-you-can-eat place which wasn't very good, especially for our last night in Paris. Aside from that, what mattered most this night was taking in not only our last night in France, but our whole two weeks in this beautiful country *now fully sobbing*.
Sunday, March 15 - AU REVOIR, PARIS --> GOIN' BACK HOME
For the last morning in our hotel, I finally decided to take a photo of what I'd usually have for breakfast! Soon after, we boarded our coach at 9:30 AM and set off to the airport for our flight at 1 PM. I remember looking out the window, listening to 'Paris' and 'Coming Back by Bluey Robinson, passing by l'Arc de Triomphe and the beautiful European buildings, and feeling all the feelings I've felt during this trip.
France was a dream. It was like being in another world. Almost literally, because the culture and the surroundings are so different than they are here in Vancouver. It was a trip of a lifetime. I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to go. I went to France with my friends and other awesome people at 17-years-old! That's crazy!
As I said in my post 'This Is How It Gets Better,' my trip to France that year was a huge highlight. I fell in love with the country because of the feelings it gave me. It had given me new perspectives -- the notion that there are so many places to explore in the world, that there are so many people out there to meet, and that life can be so beautiful and worth living if you choose to make it that way.
Tu me manques toujours, France. To more adventures in the future for this Livin'Lin <3
Thanks for reading & I hope wonderful adventures also come your way! xo