Indian Creek students travel to Paris

WINTERSVILLE – The City of Light provides visitors with a plethora of history lessons, exquisite cuisine, stunning sights and a cultural experience.

Students from Indian Creek High School were able to partake in all of the above during the school’s annual trip to Paris.

According to Indian Creek High School history teacher Jonathan Hoover, two groups of students traveled to the city between Jan. 22 and Feb. 5.

“We had a total of 25 students between the two trips this year,” he said. “While we were in Paris we visited many of the great sites, including the Madeline Church, The Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triumphe, Champs Elysees, D’Orsay Museum, the Louvre, the Pantheon, the Latin Quarter, Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacre Couer, Luxembourg Gardens, Tuileries Gardens, Hotel de Ville, Montmatre, the Palace of Versailles, the Catacombs and an ancient Roman gladiator arena. We also had a chance to shop at the Galleries Lafayette, Champs Elysees, and the Latin Quarter.”

Hoover said the trip is planned for a variety of reasons, but the main reason is to experience the history of the city.

“Paris has been the center of so many different cultural movements,” he began. “We can go and see where artist and writers have painted and written. We also go to see the sights of the city. We talk about the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumphe, the Louvre and Montmatre in class. This gives us the opportunity to see these great places in person. We are able to see the old art that best exemplifies the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the modern art movement.

“We also travel to give the students a taste of being overseas,” he continued. “They get to experience another culture. While we are there I encourage the kids to eat the French foods and talk to the French as much as possible. This past trip I arranged the visit to a French high school. There, our students had the chance to talk to French teenagers and this allowed them to see that they are not so different from the French.”

The trip is scheduled down to a tee, with an itinerary set for each day.

“Each day we left the hotel to go out to see the sites and used the Metro system to get around the city and the RER to go out to Versailles,” Hoover said. “The students are responsible for their breakfast. This is encourages them to try to eat like the French. Many of the students walked down the street to a little bakery where they had beignets, French pastry made from choux paste, then deep fried. These are topped with sugar or filled with a fruit filling or chocolate. There were croissants, plain or with chocolate, tarts, eclairs, quiche and baguettes.

“Each morning we left the hotel at 9 a.m.,” he continued. “We would head out to go to a different part of the city each day. Friday included a trip to the Catacombs, which during the expansion of Paris in the second half of the 1800s, many cemeteries were moved to the old rock quarries just south of the city. Here there are over 6 million people in the space where rocks were removed. Afterwards we went to D’Orsay Museum. This is the location of many impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. In the evening we went to the Louvre where we saw the Mona Lisa, Italian sculptures, and Renaissance paintings.

“Saturday we visited the Luxembourg Gardens and the Pantheon,” he noted. “The Pantheon is an old Roman temple that was rebuilt in the late 1700s. Instead of becoming a church it was used as a mausoleum for important French citizens from the 19th century. We then went to the street markets of Rue Mouffetard, one of the oldest markets in France, where we had lunch at one of the best crepe shops in all of Paris, Chez Nicos. That night we went ice skating at the plaza at the Hotel de Ville.

“Sunday we took the RER out to Versailles,” Hoover continued. “This is where Louis XIV built his grand palace in the late 18th century. We had lunch at the market in the center of town, then walked to the palace. That evening we took the students up the Eiffel Tower. Monday was an easier day as we allowed students to shop at the Galleries Lafayette, Champs Elysees and the Latin Quarter.”

The last day of the trip was spent at Lycee Henri Bergson, a French high school.

“Their head master, Mr. Patrick Hautin, allowed us the chance to visit and interact with his students,” Hoover stated. “After we toured the school, we went to a classroom where the students rotated through four small groups that talked about French food, culture, sports and French and American stereotypes. When the small groups were done, our students talked about Indian Creek High school and we were able to find many similarities and differences between the two schools. To finish, the students of Lycee Henri Bergson put on a buffet of French desserts for us to try and conversations with both sets of students. This was the favorite part for many of our students.

“This annual trip has turned into a great form of learning and enjoyment for our students,” he noted. “I am looking forward to going again next year.”