I stopped blogging for a bit because I went on a two-week trip to France, Belgium, and Luxembourg with teachers and French club students from my school. I wanted to write a longer post about the trip, but haven’t had time this week because I needed to finish the first draft of an essay about Gay’s Lion Farm for the East of East reader on El Monte history that my friends from the South El Monte Arts Posse are putting together – so I decided to do an S6S with photos from the trip.
My wife Marlene, who is the photographer in the family, picked 10 of her favorite photos from the trip, and I’ve chosen the six that I most wanted to write about.
On our first full day in Paris (that is, the first day we woke up in Paris; we arrived in Paris at 10 am the day before in a bit of a daze after our overnight transoceanic flight), we went to the Arc de Triomphe. Marlene and I had gone here on our first trip to Paris, in 2012, but hadn’t gone to the top. After we recovered from the sudden ascent of about 17,000 stairs, we were rewarded with the view above: Champs-Elysées to the right, Montmartre in the distance to the left.
We visited Versailles and fell in love with the bit of gardens that we were able to explore. This little garden near the apartments was my favorite: full of flowers and insects and even a snail!
Sacré Coeur was extremely popular: it seemed that the entire population of Paris was there on Saturday afternoon. We climbed the stairs and from there we walked through the streets of Montmartre. As beautiful and famous as the church is, the clouds are my favorite part of this picture.
On our last night in Paris, we took a Seine cruise. As we were waiting to board the next boat, the Eiffel Tower shone like diamonds.
The trip leader was French teacher Anne, who is Belgian on her mother’s side; my favorite day of the trip was probably our visit to her family’s tiny village. Anne’s mother also lives in the U.S., but the family has kept the house that her grandmother and about a half-dozen generations lived in, and we had lunch there (Anne’s mother and friends put together a wonderful spread for us, with delicious regional beers for the adults) before taking a walk around the village and environs.
We visited the cemetery where Anne’s grandmother rests. I was deeply moved by one of the gravestones, which, rather than noting the deceased’s years of birth and death, instead reads “Résistante, 1940 – 1944.” I don’t know a lot about the resistance to the Nazi occupation in France and Belgium, but I’d like to read more about this era and the people who fought the Nazi occupation.
We visited Luxembourg City, where Marlene captured this whimiscal scene not far from the main plaza.