The Student News Site of Saratoga High School

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

French trip continues annual visit to France over spring break

Elaine Haggerty
Attendees of the trip pose in front of the famous Stravinsky Fountain in Paris.

Over spring break from April 6-14, French teacher Elaine Haggerty brought a group of eight students and three parents to Paris and Brussels to explore the French language and culture. 

The annual trip first began in 2017, continued in 2018, but took a five year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only restarting in 2023. Since the trip is not organized by the district, anyone was welcome to join the trip, including Los Gatos High students and non-French class taking students. 

“This is only the fourth trip we’ve actually managed to take. We try to do Paris plus [another city] every year,” Haggerty said. 

In the past, the group visited two cities within France. However, this year, for the first time, the group decided to venture outside of France and spend a day in Brussels, Belgium, where French is still one of the primary languages. They also toured other parts of Belgium, including Bruges, for its picturesque scenery to explore French art and culture. 

Another difference from previous years was that parents were included on this trip, which Haggerty said was useful for additional chaperones, as retired Spanish teacher and long-term substitute Arnaldo Rodriguex could not come on the trip.

“Actually, I’m really happy to have the other adults along because [the district] wouldn’t pay for Mr. Rodriguex to come this year,” Haggerty said. 

A key component of the trip was the experience of staying with host families in Paris, organized through a program called Forum by Prometour. Each host family took care of about two to three kids. They provided a guest room to stay in, cooked dinner and breakfast and drove the students to the train station where other students and Haggerty met up. 

“We’ve stayed with that host program twice for this trip now; it’s been very smooth running and easy,” Haggerty said. 

Freshman Sanyukta Ravishankar decided to attend the trip because she wanted a true experience with the French language and culture besides classroom learning. 

“It was great staying with an actual family over in a hotel because we could watch how typical French families’ days go and experience it ourselves,” Ravishankar said. “My host family was really sweet—they made us breakfast, lunch and dinner, and our specific host even took us on walks around town every evening.”

The group first flew to Paris and then took a train to Brussels. Some of the sites they visited in France were the Musee D’Orsay, a famous French art museum that’s the second most visited after the Louvre; Montmartre, a district famous for a white-domed Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur and artistic history; and a boat ride on the Seine River. In Brussels, the group visited attractions like the Grand-Place, the old town square, and the Comics Art Museum, a museum that showcases the work of Belgian comic artists, including the original Smurfs.  

“The trip motivated me to try harder in French because I realized that being able to communicate with people outside the US would change my perspective on a lot of things,” Ravishankar said. “I plan to go on the trip again at some point because it was a super fun and educational experience with my friends.”

Donate to The Saratoga Falcon

Your donation will support the student journalists of Saratoga High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Saratoga Falcon