Paris: The City of Love

Montrose girls and chaperones in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Leslie Baker '24

Montrose girls and chaperones in front of the Eiffel Tower.

On October 6th, nine of our Montrose students grades ten through twelve embarked on an exchange trip to France with chaperones Ms. Lechner and Ms. Ortiz. After some long flights and hours of delays, we finally landed at Charles De Gaulle Airport in France at 5 pm on Friday, October 7th. We went home with the families and spent the weekend sightseeing around Paris and other areas of France. Girls went to visit the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, and many other monuments in Paris. On Monday, we went to school with our host sisters and got the full French school experience at Les Vignes. Tuesday, the Montrose girls went on a trip to the Château de Versailles, then took the train into Paris. We got amazing crepes, went shopping, then walked through the Luxembourg gardens. On Wednesday, the Les Vignes and Montrose girls went on a trip to Paris.

Sacre Coeur Church. (Leslie Baker ’24)

We went to the Jacques Andres Museum, then Sacre Coeur. We climbed the stairs to the top and got a wonderful view of the city of Paris. On Thursday morning, we went to school at Les Vignes. After lunch, the Montrose girls went to Musee D’Orsay. We saw lots of gorgeous art, focusing on the impressionist art style. On Friday we went to school at Les Vignes again. Then, on Saturday all the Montrose girls went on another trip to Paris. We saw Saint Chappelle, Notre Dame, Victor Hugo’s house, Place De Vosges, and the Eiffel Tower. We had delicious macarons and gelato. On Sunday, we flew back to the United States and landed at 7 pm at Logan airport. 

Montrose girls outside the Chateau de Versailles (Leslie Baker ’24)

The trip was a wonderful experience, and we learned a lot about French culture. The food there was wonderful, especially the pastries. They were also very cheap. All of the Montrose girls got paired with one of the Les Vignes girls and stayed with their families. We stayed at a variety of locations: apartments, houses, or condos. Most girls were near the school, which was very close to Paris, but some girls were a 45-minute to 1-hour train ride. Most girls took the train to school, and some of them walked or scootered. I noticed that the French people will just start crossing the street, even if there’s a car coming, and make the cars stop. It was even more shocking that all of the cars stopped, but the bicycles wouldn’t. They had bike lanes everywhere too. A lot of people smoked, but Paris was very clean and beautiful. The trip itself also improved my French greatly. At the house I stayed in, the little brother didn’t speak any English, so we spoke entirely in French. They talked very fast but would speak slower with simpler words when they were talking to me. Most of them also spoke English, so if I was very confused, they would explain it to me in English. I spoke French back with them, and as the week went on, my host mom would tell me to make full sentences whenever I answered a question. My French skills definitely improved from talking for a week.

The Eiffel Tower from the Siene. (Leslie Baker ’24)

Every day, we got home from school at 6 pm and ate dinner at 8 pm. At night, we would either play games or watch movies after dinner. I played French Clue and watched three movies. They don’t like when the words in movies don’t match up with the actors’ mouths, so if they were watching an American movie they would watch it in English with French subtitles. We watched two movies like that, and then one movie in French. I also told my host sister that I liked to play soccer, so she took me to her soccer practice. At their school, they don’t have sports, so she played on a club team. The girls at Les Vignes were very surprised to learn that we have sports Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. However, their school also goes from 8:30-5:30 so they wouldn’t have time for sports after school. There are a lot of differences between Les Vignes and Montrose, but also lots of similarities. They are like the 6th grade, where their teachers come to them and they stay in one classroom. They don’t have a gym, so they have to walk to a community field/court for gym class. They also have 2-hour classes, and they have a lot stricter rules than Montrose does.

Overall, the trip was a great experience, and definitely a success. We all learned a lot and had a blast. We got to see great monuments and sights and improved our french skills. 

By Leslie Baker ‘24, Clubs and Classes Editor