France in the Summer: CDH students explore French Culture and History

July 29, 2022

A group of Cretin-Derham Hall students headed off to France for a trip of a lifetime this past June. Mr. Babcock and Mrs. Cornett led 13 CDH students on travels from Normandy to Nice as they experienced both the far north all the way to the southern Mediterranean coast. Their travels included many opportunities to experience in person what they have been studying in class.

Paris was one of the highlights. They enjoyed visiting the top of the Eiffel Tower and looking out over the city at midnight. In Normandy and Bretagne, they visited the American cemetery and museum. “The American Cemetery and Museum so keenly described the happenings there that would eventually lead to a Europe free from Nazi rule, bearing witness to the immense sacrifice that was made,” said Mr Babcock. They listened to La Fête de la Musique in Tours on the summer solstice and enjoyed  “listening to live music and seeing dancers in the street, and dancing in the street ourselves.”

Mrs. Cornett really liked a stop that had a connection to her 10th grade English class.  She explained that one of the favorite destinations on the 10-day journey was a brief stop in the walled city of Saint-Malo, a 12th century port in northwest France.  This charming town also happened to be the setting for one of the novels read in 10th grade English, Anthony Doerr's ‘All the Light We Cannot See.’ 

“After a delicious dinner of prosciutto and gruyere crepes at a little cafe, many of us set out in search of ‘Number 4 Rue de Vauborel’ the home of the novel's main character - Marie Laure,”  recalled Cornett.  “After successfully completing our mission, we were treated to a breathtaking sunset over the English Channel.  The city's walled ramparts were the perfect viewpoint to take in the sounds of the waves and the brilliant colors.

“The trip was an exciting and magnificent experience and opportunity that I was so thrilled to share with the group of students, Mrs. Cornett and Mr. Babcock,” said Luna McLeod, one of the CDH students on the trip. 

She referred to the unique nature of each of the different cities they visited.  “I was very thrilled to use some of the French I've learned in school to communicate with some of the locals in France, and I must say it paid off better than I had anticipated,”  said McLeod.  “One of my personal favorite places we visited on the trip was Mont Saint Michel where I  felt like I'd traveled through a portal in which time had frozen during the Renaissance; it was all so magnificent to see.”

The last part of the trip involved a stop in Nice and Monaco where they enjoyed the beach and the waves, the market with local artisans and a visit to the Cathedral to pay their respects to Princess Grace Kelly.

There is no place like home, but France is a great place to go if you are hitting the road.” said Mr. Babcock. “We were given so many great opportunities and took advantage of them all - seeing the sites, taking in the culture of food and music, and experiencing history. All this with a great group of travelers - young and young at heart.

McLeod gave a lot of credit to the trip leaders.  “Both Mr. Babcock and Mrs. Cornett did a fantastic job as group leaders and made the trip enjoyable for all the students,” said McLeod. 

“This trip definitely has become a lifelong memory for all of us who went on it.”

A night out in Nice, France after a day of train rides to Monaco and enjoying the beach. (Day 8)

Bright eyed and bushy tailed we are ready to explore Paris, France. (Day 2)

Out on their own students try some new dishes and some variations on familiar foods. (Day 7)

After spending the morning exploring the Louvre and hanging out with the Mona Lisa we are ready to hit the town and then Summit the Eiffel Tower to see the city lights. (Day 3)

Enjoying the sun set from atop the ramparts of St. Malo. (Day 4)



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