Students and Teachers Travel to France for Spring Break Trip


Lillie Lavelle

French teacher Sarah Bowers, along with 47 parents, students, and chaperones, attended an eight-day spring break trip to France with a group from San Ramon Valley High School from Saturday, April 1 to Sunday, April 9. 

Alongside Bowers, social studies teacher Matt Sweeney and associate vice principal Daniel Caravalho chaperoned for Miramonte. Although there were no requirements for going on the trip, most students who attended are in the French program. “I went on the trip because my friends and I all agreed we would go together, and it sounded like a super fun experience,” senior Avery Welch said.

The group spent the first three days of their trip touring Paris with their own historian. “We went to the Louvre, Palais de Versailles, Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. We also talked about Les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, le Musee d’Orsay, and the Centre Pompidou, which is the modern art museum,” Bowers said. 

After sightseeing in the city, the group attended a boat tour on the Seine River, where they visited Notre Dame, La Conciergerie, and L’ile de la cité. “We toured neighborhoods such as the Latin Quarter and Le Marais, where we ate and drank croissants and crepes to our hearts content!” Bowers said. “Some of us went to the famous cafes where Hemingway and Simone de Beauvoir chatted it up with Picasso, Jean Paul Sartre and James Baldwin.” 

Following their days in Paris, the group took the fast train to Avignon, a city in the Provence region. Once there, they visited the Palais de Papes and the Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct. Next, they toured the city of Arles, which contains Roman ruins and a Roman colosseum where concerts and traditional bullfights take place today. 

From the Provence region, the group drove to Nice and explored the smaller towns of France. “On our way, we went to a quaint village on top of the hills called Les Baux de Provence. There, we saw olive trees and the vines that make some of the world’s best rose wine,” Bowers said. 

When they arrived in Nice, they went to la Vieille Ville–the “Old Town” neighborhood–where students soaked up the Mediterranean sun. “My friends and I went to get ice cream, shopped around the city, and then went to the beach until we met up again with the group to get dinner,” senior Charlotte Forman said. After their day in la Vieille Ville, the group tried cuisine from the French Riviera.

On their last day, the group visited Monaco. “We saw the palace and some of the yachts of the world’s richest people. We also went to a little town called Eze, and here we stopped at a parfumerie, and we learned how they make perfume,” Bowers said. 

The trip allowed students to speak French in an authentic environment as well as experience authentic aspects of French culture. For example, students learned how to ask for food and pay for items. “We learned about early civilizations in this region and got to see how each generation has added something marvelous to these places. We learned how different regions produce different foods and how Paris is a Mecca for art, food and culture,” Bowers said.

Bowers believes that traveling is an invaluable experience. “Our minds and hearts always work hard when visiting different countries. We start to make connections and realize that our world is truly filled with a lot of beauty despite our differences. If we don’t travel we don’t have perspective of what this world truly has to offer,” Bowers said.