Author Archives: sallyweathers2009

Our Last Day in Paris

Today, the students capped off their experiences in France by creating independent research goals, and then exploring, in pairs, the places in Paris they knew would inspire their questions, thinking, and reflections.

From left to right, Jane Maeng (’18) and Macy Reid (’18) visit, in Jane’s words, the “young” 125 year old church, Sacré-Coeur.


Our final dinner in France. We celebrated at the Café Le Buci with NYU Paris student and Porter’s Ancient Callie Brzeziński (’16), third from right in the first photo below.



Gaelen Carroll (’18) reports to the group on her day of research in Paris.


Maya Butensky (’18) investigated the contemporary music scene in Paris, and encountered a musician. She writes, “he told me about his life and asked me if I wanted to play.”

Paige Madigan (’18) lights a candle in remembrance of her grandfather and uncle at Notre Dame.



New City, New Friends

Porter’s students have been walking, boating, busing, and traveling around France’s capital city these past few days, absorbing as much of the Ville Lumière as our short visit will allow.

Today, artists and community organizers (as well as siblings!) Nicolas and Louise Harlet brought to light for us the complicated landscape of contemporary Paris. They guided us through topics including community art, immigration, Nuit Debout, and environmentalism, introducing us to grassroots efforts dedicated to building a more progressive France.



The morning conversation with Louise and Nicolas was generously hosted by Trinity in Paris Director Francie Plough Seder (pictured at center), who happens to be the sister of Porter’s faculty Carol Plough.


Our final walking tour, organized by Nicolas and Louise, began in the Stalingrad neighborhood of Paris, continued along the Seine, and ended at the Place de la République.






Paris at Midday

We arrived at the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood around noon today, finally setting foot in our final destination: Paris!

To kick off our Paris schedule, we headed to the Mona Bismarck American Center, where Porter’s Ancient Danielle Berger Fortier (’97) serves as Director of Exhibitions and Programs. The Center welcomes Parisian audiences to American art, artists, and themes. She was happy to speak with the students about Mona Bismarck, the Center, and Porter’s memories!

Ancient Danielle Berger Fortier discusses how she works to bring exhibitions into the historic space of Mona Bismarck’s home.



We get our first glimpse of an icon!


Pictured clockwise from the lower left: Jane Maeng, Katherine Bishop, Lyrik Garyk, Maddy Tamms, and Viola Corning (’18) put their cultural and linguistic skills to use at a Parisian restaurant.


Au Revoir Rennes!

Our students are making the most of every last moment in Brittany today!

Katherine Bishop (’18) with her host sister. Katherine attended her host sister’s soccer game and then the pair visited Dinard today.


Macy Reid (’18) captured these scenes in Dinan today. She writes, “Dinan is located along a river which has on either side steep terrain, so there are a lot of bridges and hills in the town.”




Maddie Duchesneau (’18) on an outing to Rennes’ soccer stadium with her host sister. Maddie’s host family took Maddie to the athletic complex because, she explains, “they knew I loved soccer.”



Our Last Day in Brittany

Tomorrow, we are off to Paris! In the meantime, our students’ adventures with their host families, in and around Rennes, continue.

Nancy Zhou (’18) spending the weekend out with her host family.


Many students are traveling to the beautiful city of Nantes today. The city is the administrative capital of the Pays de la Loire region.


Second from left, Maddie Duchesneau, and second from right, Lyrik Garyk (’18), enjoy a meal with their host students.


Viola Corning (’18) spotted a rainbow in the French countryside.





Saturday Reflections

As our time in Rennes draws to a close, we are spending it in the the good company of our new friends and appreciating all that Brittany has to offer!

A Saturday night dinner with hosts. At far left Lauren Boyes (’18), third from left Gaelen Carroll (’18), fourth from left Lillian Parrotta (’18).


Nancy Zhou (’18) visited the church in Dinan today.

Church Dinan

Jane Maeng (’18) took a walk on La Baule, the largest beach in France (pictured center).


Paige Madigan (’18, at left) attended a professional soccer match between the Paris Saint Germaine and Rennes teams.


Maya Butensky (’18) visited the town of Vannes.




During the second half of Thursday at the Lycée, our students partook of two cultural pastimes organized by our hosts: making crêpes and Breton folk dancing!

We were guided in our crêpe-making by two retired teachers who returned especially to teach us how to prepare this delicious pastry.

Breton dance forms a part of Brittany’s Celtic history. A dance troupe led our students through the moves, and even introduced some to the bagpipes!

Maya Butensky (’18) applies her musical skills to a new instrument.


Cultural Exchange & the Planetarium

Our students started off the day with a lecture from Monsieur Février on Brittany’s past and present. Next, Monsieur Février invited some of his French students to join the class and share their views of America with our students, while likewise requesting our students to share their perspectives on France with his pupils. He thereby orchestrated an intercultural exchange and mutual learning opportunity.

Jane Maeng (’18) conversing with French students during an exercise. Maddy Tamms and Lyrik Garyk (’18 — pictured in lower right corner).



Nancy Zhou, Macy Reid and Maya Butensky (’18) in conversation with Monsieur Février’s students.



And afterwards, we were treated to a visit to the Rennes Planetarium. We gathered outside in light rain to take this photo, and consequently it is not clear, but nevertheless it provides a sense of the Planetarium’s structure.





Learning in French

This Wednesday morning, our students immersed themselves in subjects from Mathematics to Spanish, all in the French language and alongside their French peers. At times called upon to offer perspectives and/or comparisons based on their experiences at Porter’s, our students were given the opportunity to participate in an academic day at the Lycée Saint Martin.

Following classes, our students dispersed to join their hosts in a number of activities.

Several were invited to a much anticipated event about which we have been hearing nearly all week: a visit to “McDo” or McDonald’s — which, in France, serves macarons. Below, Porter’s students (from second on the left to second on the right) Lyrik Garyk, Nancy Zhou, and Katherine Bishop (’18) enjoy a meal with their hosts.



Others visited cultural sites, or even left the city for a short day trip. Below, Maya Butensky (’18) captures a beautiful view at Dinard:



A Half-Day Immersion

This is the first school day during which Porter’s students will accompany their hosts to the Lycée’s regularly scheduled classes. Since it is a half-day, we will meet as a group shortly before noon for our daily reflections together, but until that time, it’s all about being immersed in the Lycée Saint Martin!

As we look forward to the morning schedule, we also thank our hosts for a remarkable series of site visits yesterday. In honor of these, please find below (from left to right) Gaelen Carroll, Carmela Daponte-Smith, and Lillian Parrotta (’18 — pictured top), Jane Maeng (’18 — pictured middle),  Lauren Boyes, Maddie Duchesneau and their French hosts (’18–pictured below) at Mont Saint Michel abbey.




We also wish to thank our hosts for arranging a bowling activity last evening with Porter’s students, host students, and host families. At the bowling venue, from left to right, please find below Viola Corning, Shushu Fang, (’18–pictured top), Katherine Bishop, Lyrik Garyk and Maddy Tamms (’18 –pictured below).



For now, though: off to classes!