Dr. Marie Langhorne, professor of French, and Ann Clifton, Assistant to the Office of the Provost and the Glenn and Addie Ketner Center for International Studies, accompanied a group of 6 students to France for a cultural experience unlike any other. Dr. Langhorne's class, a special topics course in Humanities named French Culture, has been studying the ways of French life since the beginning of the semester. The students enjoyed a ten-day escapade of capital city, Paris, and various locations in Southern France.
In Paris, which was the first stop on the journey, students were able to see some of the most world-renowned structures and sites in the world. The days in Paris were filled with laughter, sore feet, and sightseeing. Many of the students enjoyed a stroll down the Champs-Élysées, or a visit to the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris located right on the Seine River. The students were treated to a fabulous dinner in the restaurant located on the first level of the Eiffel Tower, followed by a boat cruise down the Seine River. Paris is not only a beautiful city, but also has so much to offer. Many of the Parisians agree that you can live there but never see it all. Dr. Langhorne and Mrs. Clifton felt that a visit to The Palace of Versailles was a must see. The students thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent palace and gardens.
The next leg of the trip included a trip on the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) or the high-speed train, which travels up to 220 mph. Southern France was the destination at hand. The first stop in Provence, the southern region of France, was Avignon. Students experienced the rustic old city surrounded by a wall of concrete protection. Avignon was the location of the Papacy from 1309 to 1378, when Pope Clement refused to serve in Rome. Students were able to visit the beautiful Palais des Papes, where all the Popes lived during their reign in Avignon.
Another trip on the TGV brought the group to Aix-en-Provence, a gorgeous gothic inspired city. Aix, known for the numerous water fountains and fixtures located throughout the city, created a small town atmosphere despite the huge tourist attraction. A day trip around other areas of Provence allowed the group to visit special places that Van Gogh cherished during his lifetime. Seeing the inspiration for Van Gogh's works truly created a connection to the areas visited. The French cuisine and art of the table in France were an first experience for many in the group. The French truly savor their meals, sometimes spending hours in a restaurant for dinner. The last evening in Aix, Madame Langhorne's brother Jean-Pierre joined the group for a special dinner full of conversation (in French AND English) and questions.
Some of the students took a day trip to the city of Marseille, the second largest city in France. The gorgeous weather made for a perfect day cruising around the Mediterranean Sea. The unbelievable view from the Notre Dame de la Garde, a famous cathedral "on top of the hill" in Marseille, will forever be etched in the minds of those who witnessed the beauty of Southern France.
Students on this trip had the opportunity to witness and indulge in the beautiful French culture, language and new found friendships.