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Friday, July 18, 2014

Last Week in Saint-Brieuc

We've nearly finished our last week in Saint-Brieuc.  The students will spend the weekend saying their goodbyes to their host families and then Monday we take the bus to Paris!

This week was a short one since Monday was July 14, the French National holiday.  We didn't have class this day so students spent the day with their families. Many spent the weekend traveling (camping for example) or taking in the festivities for the national celebration. For example, in Saint-Brieuc on Monday night there was a cinema themed fireworks show.

Tuesday and Wednesday were our last days of classes and we spent the afternoon after classes preparing for our Farewell Show, the Fête des Familles.  All of the students worked really hard to prepare two plays, several songs and various individual performances.  We had our Fête tonight, which was a smashing success, enjoyed by all the students and the host families alike.

We concluded the night with a dance party after the Farewell Show. Students, Host Families, Teachers and other guessed danced the night away to modern and classic French pop and dance music. Everyone also stuffed themselves full of mini desserts.

And thus our stage is rapidly coming to an end. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we will spend in Paris and then Thursday its back on the plane to rejoin our American families in Chicago.  What a way to end an amazing summer!

Here are a few pictures from the Fête des Familles. More can be found at the link below.

Fête des Familles Dance Party

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Week 5 - Winding Down

This week was our second to last week in the city of Saint Brieuc. We opened the week with the final installment of the Dessert Exposition. This time it was the Rouge group that presented us with their tasty treats. After three weeks of desserts made by the stagiaires, and all the desserts we've eaten with the families or in town, no one can say that they haven't tried every last sweet treat that France has to offer.

Wednesday we had our last excursion.  The first stop was the city of Dinan.  The bus dropped us off at the port and we hiked up the steep hill through the historic part of the city to take in the sight of the traditional buildings that have been maintained over the last few centuries.  We then stopped in the Basilica of Saint Sauveur where the heart of Bertrand du Guesclin, a knight who defended the city of Dinan from the English, is interred.

After leaving the Basilica, we walked along the ramparts to the Château de Dinan, also known as the Château of the Duchess Anne.

For lunch we stopped in the city of Dinard and ate on the beach. Dinard's local claim to fame is that it was a favorite vacation spot of Alfred Hitchcock. And it is said that he found his inspiration for the film Psycho, based on a house overlooking the beach, and possibly The Birds as well due to the large population of seagulls that will snatch away a sandwich right out of your hand when you're not looking.  At Dinard we also celebrated Aron's, Elle's and Victoria's birthdays.  Pictures from the lunch can be found at the link below.

Our last stop of the day for this excursion was the coastal fortified city of Saint-Malo.  Although the city was completely destroyed during the Second World War, enough photos of the city existed to completely reconstruct it as it was originally designed.  At Saint-Malo we walked along the ramparts of the city and took in the sight of the ocean.  We passed by the statue of Jacques Cartier who's claim to fame is that he was the first French explorer to set foot in Canada.

We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping, and sampling probably some of the best ice cream anyone has ever tasted at Sanchez.

Next week we'll be wrapping up classes and preparing for the Farewell Show. Monday is France's National Holiday and the stagiaires will be experiencing this holiday and the long weekend with their host families.  Photos from the Dessert Exposition and the last Excursion can be found at the links below.

Le Concours de Desserts - Rouges

Dinan-Dinard-Saint Malo

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Another Busy Week

Week 4 was another week jam-packed with activities.  Monday we had our second installment of the Dessert Exposition. This time is was the group Blanc, who provided us with tasty treats to sample.  All of which were delicious.  Hopefully they remember to bring the recipes home with them at the end of the summer.  After sampling all of the tasty desserts, we also celebrated Evelyn's and Katie's birthdays. Below is a photo from the dessert exposition and more photos can be found at the link at the bottom of the post.

The rest of the week continued on with class as usual. Tuesday we had our third session with Babi,  our fitness instructor (an optional activity for those students who are interested) and Wednesday afternoon we went down to the valley for sports in the afternoon.  Amber and Sarah Kay led half of the group in some outdoor yoga, while Jamie and I tried to keep up with all the soccer stars we have here this summer.

Friday morning, we had our Défilé de Mode, where the stagiaires strutted their stuff showing off their best French fashion. After classes, we offered bowling in the afternoon as an optional activity before the reception at the Mayor's office. Because this activity was optional, not all of the stagiaires participated, but those who did had a blast. Below is a group picture.

After bowling, all of the stagiaires and their families met at City Hall for the official reception at the Mayor's Office.  Unfortunately, the Mayor could not attend, so we were welcomed by the Adjunct Mayor for Education, Mme Brigitte Blévin.  Two students, Molly MacGuire and Morgan Cornacchini gave a joint speech to the families and guests.  After the students, an alumni of the Honor's Program, who is currently living in Saint-Brieuc spoke and provided us with a brief glimpse of how the program has changed over the last 50 years.

Following the formal presentations, the stagiaires sung La Marseillaise, the French National Anthem.  We then surprised them by having them sing The Star Spangled Banner. It was the 4th of July after all. After singing, everyone enjoyed light refreshments before it was time to go home so that all of the French families could catch up on the World Cup game.  Sadly, France lost to Germany.

Next Wednesday we have our final excursion. Stay tuned for more on the amazing activities of our stagiaires!

Here are more pictures from the weeks events:

Le Concours de Desserts - Blancs

Le Défilé de Mode


Réception à la Mairie