The first week in Saumur has been a blast!

Hello to all the parents, guardians, friends and families who are checking out the Saumur site blog this summer! I’ve read through your comments and I’m happy to see that you have enjoyed what I’ve been able to post so far. I imagine that you are all looking forward to hearing and seeing about your sons and daughter’s experiences in Saumur, so I won’t delay any longer!

This week has been jam-packed with adventures, so here’s an overview that I will follow up with more detail and pictures for each section!

Week 1 (Monday June 15th-Sunday 21st)

  • A photo-excursion of Saumur (Wednesday)
  • An orientation to the program for students (Thursday)
  • Ice-breaker activities at L’Institution Saint-Louis (Wednesday and Thursday)
  • A visit to Clos Lucé and a visit to the Chenonceau castle (Friday)

Let’s get started!

The Saumur Photo Excursion

On Wednesday after school, we took the students on a walking tour of Saumur to show them the important sights and familiarize them with the city (for example: downtown, the post-office, the town hall, the castle, the Loire river, the supermarket…) Here’s a few snapshots!

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A group shot of students as we embarked
Strolling through Saumur
Strolling through Saumur
A French couple strolling through downtown just in front the group
A French couple strolling through downtown just in front the group
Downtown art installation
Downtown art installation
Overlook of the Loire river
Overlook of the Loire river
Another angle of the great view!
Another angle of the great view!
A group photo in front of the Loire!
A group photo in front of the Loire!

Orientation for students at Saint-Louis

One might ask: ‘What is this Institution Saint-Louis?’… It’s the school where our students will have classes this summer! Here they will have Grammar and Communication lessons (taught by myself, Alan Ames); Linguistic and phonetic lessons (taught by Michael Kunz); Literature lessons (taught by Amy Conrad); and Culture lessons (taught by Renata Uzzell).

On Thursday we had an orientation session for students along with support groups meetings – small, professor-led groups to discuss any concerns the students may have with adapting to France and their new host families. We also spoke to them about the honor code and had them add their own personal additions to enhance the existing code. The students then worked on creating their own ‘Blasons’—a coat of arms—to show where they came from as well as their own personal goals for the program. These will be a part of the program’s magazine and I have shared a few here along with other photos from orientation day!

An impromptu orientation morning photo of some of the group!
An impromptu orientation morning photo of some of the group!
Student additions to the honor code; they made a group slogan too: 'Juste sourire et saluer!' - 'Just smile and greet!'
Student additions to the honor code; they made a group slogan too: ‘Juste sourire et saluer!’ – ‘Just smile and greet!’
Student Blason
Student Blason
Student Blason
Student Blason
Student Blason
Student Blason

Ice-breaker activities at Saint-Louis

During our trip to France and also during the first few days of the programs the students have had many occasions to interact and get to know one another, but it was unlikely that the students knew every other student’s name. On Wednesday after orientation and also in the afternoon on Thursday after lunch (a delicious and nutritious lunch at the ‘Habitat Jeunes du Saumurois’ cafeteria), we led the students through ice-breaker activities. In one activity called ‘the human knot’ they had to work together to untangle themselves and in another activity they had a team contest that is difficult to explain, but that was a real blast and generated a lot of laughs. Here’s some snapshots!

 

Team 1
Team 1
Team 2
Team 2
Gotta be quick!
Gotta be quick!
A more delicate approach...
A more delicate approach…
Almost got him!
Almost got him!
A showdown!
A showdown!
A knot of students
A knot of students
Another student knot
Another student knot
Slowly unraveling...
Slowly unraveling…
Mission accomplished!
Mission accomplished!

Visits to the Clos Lucé and the Chenonceau Castle

On Friday we had our first major excursion to Clos Lucé (the home and workshop of Leonardo Da Vinci) and also to Chenonceau Castle (a castle that served as a military hospital for injured troops during World War I and also was home a long time ago to famous French figures such as Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Médicis). Both of these places were exquisitely beautiful and we had such luck with the weather—blue skies, sun, and the occasional cloud-cover…

Your sons and daughters did a terrific job staying with their groups during this excursion for safety and they took lots of photos (not to mention they had the opportunity to try out French ice cream and buy presents to bring back home!) I’ll let the pictures speak for this wonderful first excursion…

Entry sign to Clos Lucé
Entry sign to Clos Lucé
A close up of the Clos Lucé castle right before we entered
A close up of the Clos Lucé castle right before we entered
Students checking out the interior
Students checking out the interior
Students checking out the interior
Students checking out the interior
Hannah and Joe felt very photogenic!
Hannah and Joe felt very photogenic!
Overlook outside the Clos Lucé with students
Overlook outside the Clos Lucé with students
In the Clos Lucé gardens
In the Clos Lucé gardens
A group shot on the overlook
A group shot on the overlook
A photo shot of students in the gardens outside the Clos Lucé
A photo shot of students in the gardens outside the Clos Lucé
Trying to catch a shot of the peacock
Trying to catch a shot of the peacock
The elusive peacock in the Clos Lucé gardens...
The elusive peacock in the Clos Lucé gardens…
Rachel and John (Alex) stroll through the garden
Rachel and John (Alex) stroll through the garden
Ian at the Clos Lucé in front of the Mona Lisa
Ian at the Clos Lucé in front of the Mona Lisa
Jacob gave Da Vinci's tank a whirl!
Jacob gave Da Vinci’s tank a whirl!
Alex checks out a perspective glass
Alex checks out a perspective glass
Lauren checks out the perspective glass
Lauren checks out the perspective glass
An isolated and gorgeous bridge in the Clos Lucé garden
An isolated and gorgeous bridge in the Clos Lucé garden
A long shot of the Clos Lucé
A long shot of the Clos Lucé
An interactive Da Vinci invention!
An interactive Da Vinci invention!
The magic house in Blois; the dragon pops out and roars out over the city!
The magic house in Blois; the dragon pops out and roars out over the city!
A group shot as we enter Chenonceau
A group shot as we enter Chenonceau
A group shot as we enter Chenonceau
A group shot as we enter Chenonceau
A group shot in the Chenonceau garden
A group shot in the Chenonceau garden
A group shot outside Chenonceau
A group shot outside Chenonceau
The hall in Chenonceau where injured troops during WWI recovered.
The hall in Chenonceau where injured troops during WWI recovered.
A lucky side shot of Chenonceau. What a beautiful day!
A lucky side shot of Chenonceau. What a beautiful day!
At Chenonceau the students cross by the donkey stables
At Chenonceau the students cross by the donkey stables
A memorial to injured troops inside Chenonceau
A memorial to injured troops inside Chenonceau

In closing, I’d like to say that it’s an absolute pleasure to teach and guide your sons and daughters this summer in France. They are truly talented, polite, brave, curious, and motivated! The students have had a great week and I’ll keep you all updated here as we go on to week two!

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14 thoughts on “The first week in Saumur has been a blast!

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this wonderful glimpse of what our kids saw this first week.

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  2. Thank you so MUCH for the beautiful pictures and the much anticipated summary of what is happening in Saumur. We are thrilled that Casey is participating in your program!

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  3. Thank you so much for the detailed post! I almost feel as if I’m there! And of course the pictures are great. I’m glad to see my daughter Hannah A. is alive and well!

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  4. Robin,
    Ce semble que tu t’amuse bien! Les professeurs semble bien et la ville de Saumur regarde très jolie…
    J’espère que cet expérience est la meilleure pour toi!

    Ton ami,
    Hannah Scheib

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  5. Very nice collection of photos and comments! You don’t know how much this is appreciated to have you post this much. It all looks amazing! Thank you for doing it and we look forward to any more that you can post/ when and where… The Swanson clan is very grateful!,

    All the best,
    Teresa Swanson

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  6. Such beautiful pictures of the experience the kids are having. Thank you for keeping us updated. It’s very nice to see Matt enjoying himself. Je t’aime fils.

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