It’s been a busy week on the French Riviera. The group arrived at the Nice Côte d’Azur airport on Thursday the fourth, jet-lagged and exhausted, where we met up with the program staff. After meeting our host families and getting some rest, we started the next morning with orientation and a tour of the city hall. There, we got to meet the mayor of St-Laurent-du-Var and learn about the system of government, including the voting process and record-keeping. Our tour guide even took us down into the archives to see documents and maps dating back to right after the French revolution.
That afternoon, we finished orientation with games and a spoken French test to determine our level. There are two classes- a beginner to intermediate one and an intermediate to advanced. Our teachers, Camille and Sara, are both lovely people and absolutely committed to helping us learn the language.
The next day we took the train to Villefranche-sur-Mer, where we snorkeled and learned about the plants and animals of the Mediterranean. Our knowledgeable guide showed us baby octopi, starfish and sea anemones. Afterward, we ate lunch on the beach and swam some more. We spent the afternoon exploring the narrow streets and steep hills of Villefranche, shopping, and buying coffee and gelato. Some of us went into the church in Villefranche or discovered some caves in the side of the hill.
After eating dinner with our host families, we went to the Fête de la Saint-Pierre on the beach in Cagnes-sur-Mer, where we watched the traditional celebration. There was a parade with music and dancers and the symbolic burning of a boat on the beach. La Fête de la Saint-Pierre is a festival honoring Saint Pierre, the patron saint of fishermen.
Sunday, we joined the group staying in Nice for a trip to Monaco. We took a bus over the Moyenne Corniche, a winding road through the cliffs and hills over the Riviera. In Monaco, part of the group took a tour of the palace where the prince of Monaco lives and the others visited the world-renowned Oceanography Museum. We learned about Monaco’s history and government, as well as it’s famous residents and royalty, like Grace Kelly.
After exploring Monaco we drove to the small village of Eze to visit a perfume factory and walk up to the town. Some students bought lotion or perfume and others picked up souvenirs or jewelry in Eze and Monaco.
2019 St. Laurent du Var Student Ambassador