By Mairin Hoffman ’25
On March 3, 2023, 13 students flew to Europe on an art-focused trip to France and Spain. The trip has been in the works since before COVID-19, but unfortunately had to be postponed. The trip’s chaperones were Andrew Richards and Julianne Petrillo, ‘18. During the trip, students visited Paris, Avignon, Nîmes, Barcelona, and Madrid in a 10-day period over the first week and a half of spring break.
It started late on Friday night, March 3rd. The flight to Paris was flying out at about 8:30 pm. Many students were excited about the trip, but others were nervous as it was their first time flying. Once boarding began, it was very dark out, but the anticipation was vibrant. The six hours of travel were long and miserable, as the cabin turned out to be very warm. After arriving in Paris, students saw a Celebrity Makeup Artist and YouTuber Jeffree Star at the airport from afar, an interesting first impression of Paris. Students then took a trip to the River Seine and a boat ride to see the city of Paris. The boat ride passed many famous structures, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and The Louvre Museum. Next, students enjoyed a lovely dinner at a French restaurant that included various kinds of French cheeses that were amazing to try. Then students took a trip to Sacré-Cœur, a beautiful Basilica looking over the city of Paris. From the Basilica, the Eiffel Tower could be seen, sparkling from afar. Over the next few days, students visited the Palace of Versailles, The Louvre, the Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe, and of course, the inside of the Eiffel Tower. After Paris, students saw Nîmes, a city in Avignon. There, students viewed the famous Nîmes arena and the Vers-Pont-du-Gard, a beautiful historic bridge.
Before heading to Barcelona, there was a quick stop in Carcassonne, a beautiful French-fortified city. There were many gift shops, boutiques, cafés, and restaurants. After this quick visit, students went to Barcelona by bus. In Barcelona, landmarks such as La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera-Casa Milà, and Park Güell were major highlights of the trip. A memorable moment from Spain was swimming in the Mediterranean Sea at dusk, right underneath the moonlight, a breathtaking sight. Next up was Madrid, where everyone tried spectacular Spanish cuisine.
The France and Spain trip was a unique experience for The Frederick Gunn School students interested in art. The trip opened student’s eyes to cultures they had never seen before, changing their views for the better. Look out for trip opportunities like this in the future if you are interested!