SJC’s French Connection
June 16, 2016
France was an experience of a lifetime and I’m so glad I was able to participate in it. The trip was part of an honors art class filled with an in depth look at French art.
Before the trip, we made many visits to the MET museum and explored French art. During the trip, we had many fantastic tours and day trips that allowed us to learn and experience more of the French culture. We stayed in Paris and in Nice.
One of the first things we did was take a boat ride that gave us a tour of Paris, allowing us to see many sites that weren’t on our itinerary and we may not have had time for individually. There’s just so much to do and so little time!
"While in Paris we visited the Opera Garnier, which just by walking through it, makes you want to go back in time and walk up the majestic staircase like royalty." (Photos by Melanie Gomez.)
We also went to the Louvre Museum in Paris, allowing us to get that famous selfie with Mona Lisa! One of my favorite parts of the trip was having an afternoon to go to Disneyland Paris. I am a huge Disney fan and experiencing the park in comparison to the one in Florida is a dream come true. The castle was a beautiful fluffy pink and bubbly blue and the whole idea of Disney leaves me awestruck.
"We went to the Palace of Versailles and walking through the same halls that royalty once walked through, gives you a feeling that is unexplainable."
It rained a lot while we were in Paris, but that definitely didn’t stop us! We carried around our umbrellas and raincoats and although our feet were soaked, we wouldn’t have traded any of it.
My absolutely favorite part of the whole trip was visiting French artist, Claude Monet’s house and gardens. It was like being in one of his famous Waterlilies paintings. The immense amount of flowers that were in the gardens were breathtaking, and the rain helped add a significant change to the view that only made the whole thing more extraordinary.
"My absolutely favorite part of the whole trip was visiting French artist, Claude Monet’s house and gardens."
One of the things I did plenty of on this trip was take panorama photos! It was a great way of grasping the whole scenery in one shot. After Monet, we visited the town that the famous Van Gogh once lived in. Just like the gardens, there were so many beautiful flowers and plants, only this time they were crawling up the walls of houses people lived in. It felt like walking through the streets of a fairytale town. We visited Van Gogh’s grave, and being this was my first time at a cemetery, it was a pretty interesting experience.
On the following day we took off to Nice, which is in the south of France, along the French Rivera. We experienced the trains that would be our equivalent to Amtrak. Six hours later and we were there. Nice was absolutely stunning. There was no rain, and lots of sun! We stayed right by the beach, near a large town square, with many restaurants, bakeries and a fantastic food and flower market that we were able to explore. From here we visited the modern and contemporary art Museum, which had a great view on the roof!
"Nice was absolutely stunning. There was no rain, and lots of sun! We stayed right by the beach, near a large town square, with many restaurants, bakeries and a fantastic food and flower market that we were able to explore."
We explored some cities along the French Rivera such as Cannes and Antibes, and experienced museums like the Picasso museum, the Matisse museum and the Bonnard museum. We also did independent projects, which we chose to do in San Remo, Italy. Yes, I said Italy. It was about a two-hour train ride and there we were! We explored the old town of La Pigna, filled with passageways and ascending steps that led us straight to my project, the Gardens of Queen Elena. These gardens were dedicated to Queen Elena of Italy and had an amazing view of the whole city of San Remo from the top!
Aside from all the amazing sites we went to, we also had amazing food! Snails in Paris, Gnocchi in Nice, chocolate mousse for dessert everyday and gelato at least two times a day! Everything was so intriguing and breathtaking that it’s still so hard to believe that I was there and and that the trip is over. We spent so many months learning about the history, planning the trips and in a blink of an eye it was over. On our very last day, we explored the food and flower market, had a picnic on the beach and climbed the Chateau De Nice, to have one final look at the beautiful town we were in. France in whole was filled with only great memories, fantastic food, and friends of a lifetime.
SJC Brooklyn's French Review
“This experience of my first day ever in Paris is one that I will truly never forget because for the first time, I was an actual flaneur.”
"I connect with Van Gogh, not because I can paint in any way like him, but because in many ways, my artwork is my therapy. Sometimes all I need is just a notepad and pencils."
“Can you imagine how much more intense it was upon entering Monet’s gardens? It looked as if someone dropped a paint kit all over his garden, such was the mix of colors of nature.”
"I started off my first morning in Paris with a chocolate croissant and two rather large cups of coffee–the way every morning should start, in my opinion."