Author Archives: sallyweathers2009

Saint-Malo and Mont Saint Michel Abbey

Tuesday found Porter’s visiting Saint-Malo, a coastal town in Brittany with origins in Roman times. Monsieur Février of the Lycée Saint Martin called our students’ attention especially to the walled city’s unique place in World War II history: Allied Forces mistakenly believed the community to be harboring the German military, and thus advanced a structurally devastating attack. Nevertheless, the beautiful town persists, and attracts many tourists during the summer months (fortunately, not so many right now).

Porter’s students and their hosts:



View of ocean from Saint-Malo, taken by Nancy Zhou (’18).



Monsieur Février delivers lessons:




Next, our hosts took us to Mont Saint-Michel, a small island that is home to a breathtaking abbey dating back to the 6th century, as well as smaller structures with similarly striking historic, stone architecture.

The Porters’ students and our hosts at Mont Saint Michel Abbey:



Lunch with hosts. Porter’s students (seated on bench) from left to right: Lillian Parrotta (’18), Shushu Fang (’18), Gaelen Carroll (’18), and Carmela Daponte-Smith (’18).



Lyrik Garyk (’18) gives Maddy Tamms (’18) a lift at the top of one of the abbey’s many staircases.



Monsieur Février continues his lecture inside the abbey.



And finally: the whole group, including our amazing French faculty hosts Mme. Marie Bodin and Mme. Siran Thomas (bottom left) and Monsieur Février (second row back, farthest right), on the steps of the Lycée Saint Martin.


A Day at the Lycée (and out in the City!)


It has been a full day! At the outset, the students toured the school, and were greeted by the principal, Monsieur Guilbert, who offered us a warm and generous welcome.

Lycée Saint Martin faculty member Monsieur Février subsequently became our teacher, guide, and advisor for the day, leading the students through a bilingual writing lesson and then leading us — quite literally — through historic Rennes itself, where the above photograph was taken of our full group.

Shushu Fang and Nancy Zhou (’18 — pictured top), Carmela Daponte-Smith (’18–pictured middle), and (right to left) Macy Reid, Maya Butensky, Gaelen Carroll, Lauren Boyes, Maddie Duchesneau (’18 –pictured below) having croissants and other refreshments for breakfast at the Lycée:


carmela breakfast



Monsieur Février then led a lesson with our students — Shushu Fang (’18) and Katherine Bishop (’18):



And later, he led us on a tour of Rennes, using city structures and monuments to study the area from medieval to modern times:



First Day of School!

Our students are beginning their first day attending the Lycée Saint Martin. Porter’s students will accompany their hosts to school, where we will engage in a day of programming with host teachers, and we will convene at 4PM local time (16:00) for an hour of reflection together, after which all will head home with their host families for the evening.

More later! For now, enjoy these photos of our students at the start of their school day:

Lyrik Garyk (’18) and Viola Corning (’18).



Lauren Boyes (’18) and Maddie Duchesneau (’18).



Nancy Zhou (’18) and Maya Butensky (’18).



Paige Madigan (’18), Lillian Parrotta (’18), Carmela Daponte-Smith (’18).




Exploring Rennes

Students will be expected at the Lycée Saint Martin bright and early tomorrow, so they enjoyed the last of the weekend with their host families.

Maddy Tamms (’18) reports that she sampled her first cheese fondue today, and loved it. She says, “We went downstairs for lunch and we had fondue! It was delicious and I had a lot of fun. In the picture is Papa [host father], Auriane [host sister], Jérémie [host brother], and me!”

maddy tamm


Viola Corning (’18) enjoyed a French game of Monopoly with her family. She writes, “Buying property in France takes just as much time as it does in the USA.”



Meanwhile, Carmela Daponte-Smith (’18) introduces us to her famille explaining “I just finished playing a board game with my family, and am about to have fajitas for dinner!”


And Jane Maeng’s (’18) adventures with her host family found her at “the tallest point of Rennes!”



Dimanche à Rennes

Our trip faculty leader Michelle Perry noted that the sun — foiled, in part, by overcast skies — did not fully rise in Rennes until after 9AM this morning! Shortly thereafter, she captured a panoramic view of the Lycée Saint Martin:


Today, Sunday (Dimanche), the students do not have classes to attend, so they will continue to become acquainted with their host families.


Many are enjoying trips to the seaside with their hosts, where they are strolling the shore, collecting shells and realizing that the only thing between them and Porter’s is the Atlantic Ocean!  Paige Madigan (’18) sent this photo of her evening view last night:



Others of our students are attending family gatherings with their host families to celebrate Three Kings’ Day — and, in one case, a grandfather’s birthday!

For those becoming acquainted with the city, they have neighborhoods such as these to tour with our hosts:




Our First Evening in France

It is after 9PM (21:00) local time in France, and our first day in the country is coming to a close.

Students have spent the afternoon with their host families — exploring Rennes, playing board games, sharing stories, etc. — and now everyone is looking forward to a good night’s sleep after our many hours of travel and excitement.

To celebrate the day, find below some more of the moments in which Porters’ students met their hosts for the first time:



From Paris to Rennes in an Afternoon

We arrived in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport and located the macaroon cart before catching a connecting flight to Rennes.


About an hour later — thrilled and relieved to have finally arrived at our destination — the Porter’s crew touched down in Rennes at about 2PM (14:00) local time.

Feet on the ground in Rennes.

Almost as soon as we entered the airport, we could see the students’ host families gathered to greet us just beyond a set of glass doors. Our students’ sense of anticipation and excitement was enthusiastically matched by our French hosts, who applauded as we entered the “arrivals” area.

Meeting host families for the first time.      Meeting host families for the first time.

And so begins the host family experience for Porter’s Intermission students in France, January 2017!