France Trip


Gabbi Ams, Photographer

This spring break, I had the opportunity to travel in Europe with Ms. O’Brien, eight other RMA students, and a group of students from Loyola Academy in Chicago. Our group spent five days in France, traveling to Paris, Strasbourg, and Colmar, and two days in Switzerland, traveling to Bern, Geneva, and Lausanne. 


Of our five days in France, we spent three in Paris, where we saw many famous French landmarks like Les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysees, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre. The architecture of almost every building we saw in France was absolutely breathtaking.  All of the small cafes visited in Paris really helped us get a feel for the Parisian culture and how people in the city spent their days. We walked quite a bit through Paris and spent our last day outside enjoying the city, starting with a few games of petanque–traditional French game where you are trying to throw your metal ball closest to the target in your team–in the Jardin du Luxembourg before trying the best ice cream in Paris at Berthillon and heading to the Louvre. We finished off our last night in Paris by having dinner with a local Parisian named Annie before watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle from a distance. We ended our time in Paris by riding the Metro one last time back to our hotel before preparing for our next stop in France.


Our last two days were split between Strasbourg and Colmar. In Strasbourg, which is along the border of France, we were able to admire the beautiful architecture and coziness of the town on our walking tour before stopping for dinner. We ended the night on an evening canal cruise through the city, where we learned about the history of the city. We spent the next day in Colmar, a charming town just below Strasbourg on the border of France with beautiful flowers and cobblestone streets, before heading up to Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg, a medieval mountaintop castle. We finished off our time in France with a traditional Alsatian tarte flambée dinner and prepared to head to Switzerland. 


The last two days of our trip were spent in Switzerland in Bern, Lausanne, and Geneva. On our first day in Switzerland, we split our day walking through both Bern and Lausanne. Our last day of the trip was spent in Lausanne and Geneva, where we visited the Olympic Museum and Red Cross Museum, which were surprisingly interesting. The real show stopper, however, was Lake Geneva. The crystal clear water and tallest fountain in Europe looked straight out of a postcard and made for the perfect photo-op. We were even able to take a water-taxi cruise across the lake and enjoy the view from all angles. 


This trip was a once-in-a-lifetime, amazing experience. I had so much fun spending time with my friends in a completely different culture and would do it again if I could, and I definitely recommend all RMA students to look into future trips with RMA (there’s another trip to Europe tentatively scheduled for 2024), as this is not a typical field trip offered by schools. While not everyone on the trip was currently enrolled in French, Ms. O’Brien’s French students were encouraged to speak French as often as possible, like when ordering at a cafe or checking out in stores, but these trips are not limited to students in foreign language classes. Ms. O’Brien’s expertise in French culture was an absolute necessity throughout the trip, we couldn’t have done it without her!