Daily Archives: January 8, 2019

Rennes: Day 1

Rennes’ City Hall

Cathedral at Place St Anne

This afternoon, we had a lovely walking tour of Rennes — led by M Février. Our students got to discover different parts of the city, learn about the customary architecture, and take in some of the region’s rich history! It was a bit cloudy but in the 40’s — so a really nice to day be out getting some fresh air.

Enjoy some of our students’ first impressions of the trip below:

TaniaAt first, I was very nervous to meet my host family. France is a different culture with different customs, and I was afraid I would mess something up. I shouldn’t have worried, since my host family has been extremely welcoming since I arrived to France. They have been very courteous, and attentive to my needs, and keep asking if everything is ok.

SusanMy host family has been very welcoming since I arrived at the house. They kept checking on me to make sure that I had everything I need and I am feeling well. They were also very curious about both the American and the Chinese culture. My host sister and I already made plans to hang out and go shopping in Rennes tomorrow. I am very excited for the rest of the time here!!

Laura-JoëlleRennes is very pretty; I especially love how the city is modern but retains visible aspects of its rich history, such the beautiful renovated medieval façades of the buildings in the city center. I was surprised that the population of Rennes is about 220,000, yet the city is so urban, unlike my hometown of Durham, NC with a population of 260,000 and a relatively small urban downtown. In my perspective, the urban feel of the city makes it seem a lot larger and busier. Also, today I had a ham and cheese “galette”–a staple food of Brittany that is like a savory crêpe–for the first time, and it was very delicious! Rennes is a beautiful little city. It has tons of small restaurants and boutiques that I am looking forward to visiting. I am very excited for tomorrow, since I am going shopping with my host sister and some of her friends.

Kami: I love Rennes! It’s so pretty and my host student and her friends are awesome. I have tons of conversation with her and her mother and I can tell that my French is improving. My host sister and her sister play cards and other games. Having crepes for dinner and as a snack is an experience. My host mom is fantastic and the food is even better!

Darian: My first impression of Rennes is that it is a very nice city. I’m experiencing a little bit of culture shock because a lot of things are very very different. For example, when my host student and I took the bus to school this morning it was 8am but it was dark out, all of the stores were closed, and there was not a single adult walking around outside or going to work. Another example would be that Monsieur Février informed us that the French government requires people the renovate the outside of their homes if it looks a little broken down. If the family does not have the money to renovate the French government pays for it and the family is forced to vacate the house. The purpose of that is to retain the old style that tourists come to see in Rennes. It struck me as very inhumane and not empathic to kick people out of their homes if they’re already struggling, money is tight, and they can renovate the outside of their home.

Joi: Today Monsieur Février gave us a walking tour of Rennes. I loved how we could see different time periods within the architecture of the buildings. From the Middle Ages, to the 14th century, to “Le Rennes Modern” (the modern day Rennes), it is clear that this small city is filled with beauty and liveliness around every corner. Everyone at Lycèe Saint- Martin as well as my host family are so welcoming. I was initially nervous about immersing into the French language, but they all have been very understanding and excited to help us improve our skills. I can’t wait for what comes next.

Tanya: Rennes has been great so far. My host sister is really sweet and welcoming. The city is really beautiful and historic. We learned a lot during the guided tour. After the guided tour we waited for our host students to finish school because they each finish at different times. We took the opportunity to go and explore the city ourselves. We went shopping and ate crepes.

Zoe: So far Rennes is one of the most unique and beautiful cities I have visited. The building are grand and the people are very chic. My host family has been telling me all about the city and interesting things I can do while here. I feel very very welcomed by the family and have been able to communicate well with them and develop a good connection even with the language barrier.


MPS takes on Rennes!

Bonjour de Rennes!!

We are up and moving on our first full day! MPS students gathered this morning at 8am for M Février’s introduction to the school and explanation of rules and expectations. This gathering was followed by a croissant breakfast and welcome from the school’s Vice Principal. He explained how pleased Lycée Saint Martin is to receive students from an American school and reminded the girls how lucky they are to have a wonderful opportunity like this one!

M Février took the students on a guided tour of the school. There are three main buildings: a gym, a cafeteria and a chapel. The school was actually founded as an all boys religious school in the 1820s but became co-ed in the 1960s. Today, there are around 1,400 students and 100 teachers here. We had an interesting discussion about the similarities and differences between the two schools. Some of our students think that they prefer MPS, but others expressed interest in trying out the French school system! Tomorrow, they will have their first class immersion day, so they should get a better sense of what a French class looks like.

Everyone gathered in our base room!

Croissant breakfast!

Enjoying les croissants!

Batiment A at the lycée



M Février showing us a French dorm room!

We just finished up lunch at the school cafeteria and are heading out for a walking tour of Rennes!