Last month, Indiana Area Senior High School French teacher Benoit Denault accompanied students on a two-week journey to Vannes, France.
The group departed the Pittsburgh Airport and endured a 7 1/2-hour flight across the pond to Paris. From Paris, they took a three-hour train ride to Vannes, where they'd be staying for part of their trip.
While in France, the Indiana students were surrounded by gorgeous architecture, public transportation, a different education system and lots and lots of food.
Most people in France use public transportation in an effort to reduce pollution. Also, the driving age in France is 18, so even if the students wanted to, they couldn't drive anywhere.
The streets are made from cobblestone, and the buildings are very old with fantastic architecture and tile or hardwood throughout.
Education in France is very different from the educational system in the U.S. French students start their school day at 8 a.m. and attend one-to-two-hour classes with 15 minute breaks between each class. French students are permitted to leave the school campus for lunch, as long as they return by the time classes start for the afternoon.
Indiana students also enjoyed a wide variety of food in France. Each meal takes about an hour because it's considered family time. Every meal had some type of dessert, as well as the entrée.
While the Indiana students were in France, they went shopping, visited historic sites and took in all the wonders France has to offer. Their first few days were spent in Vannes, with their host families, but soon enough it was time to leave Vannes and head to Paris.
In Paris, they went on tours of the entire city, seeing old churches, windmills and other important landmarks. They took the metro to the Louvre to see famous art pieces on display. The students were even lucky enough to go on a boat tour of the city.
The next day, they woke up bright and early to see Notre Dame. Afterwards, they got on a train and went to the Palace of Versailles.
Senior Savanna Smith said, "I was pretty excited for this because the palace was my favorite thing that I learned about in AP Euro class!"
That day was filled with awe and excitement because of their next stop --the Eiffel Tower. They took the glass elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower to see this exciting view of the city.
Sadly, on the ride to the top of the tower, students realized their trip to France was just about over. They were all happy about the great opportunity they had received, being able to go on this great trip, but also sad because it had to come to an end. The next morning, they packed their bags and headed to the airport. It was a long nine-hour flight back, but all agreed it was well worth the trip.