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Feature Article

France Language and Culture Tour

France Language and Culture Tour

During the term one school holidays, French students from Years 10 to 12 had the opportunity to travel to France on a cultural language tour.

We packed and checked our bags and said “Au revoir” to our families and just like that we were heading through the departures tunnel. After an excruciating 14-hour flight of restlessness, movie watching and eating we finally landed in Dubai. As if that flight wasn’t long enough, Dubai was not our planned destination. Another 7-hour flight of crying babies and ears popping, the girls could officially say, “Bonjour Paris!”.

Our first day was jammed packed with 17 kilometres of walking and visiting sites like Notre Dame Cathedral, the Seine River and its two natural islands, the Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis. Our next few days in Paris we spent meeting our French homestay buddies, learning and immersing ourselves in the culture and experiencing what life is like as a student in Paris. Channelling our inner Parisienne, we walked and took the metro to see stunning views from the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and Sacre Coeur whilst enjoying a plethora of French cuisine.

Caen was a spiritual journey. We retraced the footsteps of our founder, Euphrasie Barbier’s childhood from the tiny house where she was born and rushed up a hill to be baptised, to the church where she grew up and prayed in. We also got the experience of a guided excursion around the remarkable Mont-St-Michel, a monastery on top of a tidal island.

We spent our first day in Lyon discovering its famous ‘Old Town’ and admired its architecture. We took the funicular up to the real Fourvière which was nothing like our Fourvière building. The Basilica dominates the skyline of Lyon with its four main towers and a bell tower topped with a statue of the Virgin Mary. We enjoyed hearing stories from RNDM sisters living in a nearby convent and took time to reflect on the trip thus far.

On our last night, we had the ultimate chef showdown where in groups we created two tapas, one sweet and one savoury. What a way to end our two-week trip on a high! Finally, it was time to pack our bags and to return to our normal lives. We all shared a final breakfast together and it was an emotional “Au revoir France”.

Although, I got to experience seeing and ascending the Eiffel Tower in person, my favourite highlight of the adventure was creating new friendships and connecting with girls who I will forever be connected to through this trip.

Thank you to the teachers from Sacred Heart and Notre Dame des Missions in Paris along with WorldStrides who made this trip possible for us!


Year 11

Day 1: Paris

Out first day in Paris started with a delicious French breakfast. We walked 17 kilometres, visiting several of the beautiful Parisian sites. enjoying the architecture, the history, the Seine River walks, the Spring flowers and the food. We also celebrated Teneika's 16th birthday.

Week In Paris

During our week in Paris, we visited many of its well-known sites such as the Rodin Museum, the Eiffel Tower, the Arch of Triumph and Versailles. We enjoyed many panoramic views of this beautiful city celebrates art, history, architecture and food.


One of the highlights of our France Tour has been our school and homestay experience at Notre Dame des Mission Saint-Pierre in Charenton. We were warmly welcomed and each day, we have accompanied our French buddies to their classes. It has been really interesting to see what school life is like in France. In the evenings, our hosts have welcomed us into their homes to share in their evening meal and their family life. Our buddies have become our friends and we hope to keep in touch long after our Tour is over.


Another wonderful day exploring the delights of Paris. On Tuesday 1 April, we spent the afternoon in Montmartre. We climbed the steep stairs to the magnificent cathedral of Sacré Coeur which provided a great view of the city. We also went to Fragonard Perfume museum and learnt about the history of perfume throughout the ages and the way it is made. Many of us will be coming home with some French perfume.

Monet Gardens, Giverny

After Paris, our first stop was a visit to Monet’s house and garden in Giverny. The garden was filled with beautiful flowers. His colourful garden with the water lilly pond and bridge were a source of inspiration for many of his artworks. It’s easy to see why.


Making our way to Caen, we stopped at Rouen. A port city on the river Seine and the capital of the region of Normandy, Rouen play's a very important role in the history of France. Stepping back in time, we were surrounded by Gothic churches, cobblestone paths and medieval half-timbered houses. The highlight of our visit to Rouen was the Joan of Arc museum which took us on an interactive journey of her triumphs, trials and tragic martyrdom.


Bonjour Caen! We spent the day in the birth city of Euphrasie Barbier and we saw the Bayeux Tapestry and visited Mont Saint-Michel.

The Bayeux Tapestry is approximately 70 metres long and it depicts the events of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, ending in the Battle of Hastings. We were fascinated by the rich history of the fragile century-old hand embroidered cloth.

Then we stepped into the magical bay of Mont Saint Michel, situated between Normandy and Brittany. We reflected on the lives of the monks and the many pilgrims who come to the island. we explored the narrow winding streets of the village and visited the abbey at the top of the island, immersing ourselves in this religious history, culture and politics. Mont Saint Michel is the third most visited tourist site in France and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Year 12


During our visit to the D-day beaches, in Normandy, we walked along the beach and through the Canadian and American cemeteries. We were saddened by the incredible loss of life of young people who died so that we could be free. Together, we prayed for them and for peace in our world.


Our first day of exploring Lyon was an extremely busy but super fun one. We started off with a visit to the Parc de la Tête d'Or, filled with beautiful flowers as well as a zoo. We immersed ourselves in the beautiful nature and spent time watching the animals. Then we stopped for lunch and sat by the river- appreciating the beauty the city has to offer. We also visited the saint jean Baptiste cathedral and admired the stained glass windows and had an interesting tour of the traboules which are little arcades and alleyways that link streets and buildings. The day ended with a lovely dinner together.

Year 12


Our last day in Lyon was spent visiting and attending mass at the Basilica of Notre Dame of Fourvière and meeting the Notre Dame De Mission sisters. We spent the afternoon learning more about Euphrasie Barbier and the legacy of the RNDM sisters. After, we all participated in a French cooking competition where we were given a box of ingredients and we had to work in teams to produce a sweet and savoury dish for our dinner. There were some unusual items such as fennel and celeriac but we all were able to produce 2 dishes and we had a lot of fun working together. It was a great ay to spend our final evening in France.

Tuhina & Abigail

Homeward Bound

After two wonderful weeks with our tour guide accompanying us, we have seen beautiful cities, learnt more about our founder, Euphrasie Barbier and grown more confident in our language skills. We sampled French cuisine, made new friends and shopped.

No doubt we were a little sad to be leaving but we have made memories to treasure and we look forward to coming back in the future.

Vicky Burgio
French Teacher