Sunday, July 22, 2012

L'Ile de Ré

Another week down, and only one to go.  This past Friday we took the stagiaires on our third excursion, this time a much slower-paced, relaxing one.  We went to the Ile de Ré, an island off the western coast of France, shown on the map below.

While the previous excursions focused on French history and visiting lots of important monuments, this one was primarily an opportunity to see another part of the country and to take a much needed break together. The island is a very popular tourist destination and is known for its production of sea salt.  Our first stop was a small town called Saint-Martin-de-Ré, where students ate their picnics and did a little shopping.  It was rather chilly and rainy in the morning, so the other professors and I were afraid we'd have to continue our excursion with our Plan B, which would be a visit to La Rochelle, a very nice town nearby where students could do some more sightseeing and shopping.  But we had already gotten the students hopes up that we would be going to the beach, so we weren't too thrilled with the uncooperative weather.  By the time we finished lunch, however, the clouds gave way to a bright and warm sun, so the beach was back on.  

Even though the sun was out, the water was still cold.  Still, many of the stagiaires were brave enough to jump in the sea and swim around for a bit.  Most everyone took advantage of the sun at one point or another and lied down on the beach.  Others searched the sand for seashells, and a few of us got a good game of beach volleyball going.  Marie-Line and I did  have them work for just a little bit on their theater and choir pieces for the upcoming farewell party, but for the most part, we simply had a fun, relaxing day at the beach.

We hope our stagiaires are rested up, because we have a pretty intense final week prepared for them.  We have one more day of classes, a guided tour of Saumur (scheduled for the end so that the students can understand and appreciate it better), a visit at the Fontevraud Abbey, a final exam, and the farewell party as well as a great deal of rehearsal for it all during the week.  After that, we just have our Paris visit left, and then they'll be going home!  It's going to be a wild ride from here to the end, but I think it's going to be a lot of fun.  More to come very soon!

Quick note: I've been trying to upload some of my videos on the picture website, but the website is currently not letting me do it.  I'll keep trying, though!

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