Published: July 27, 2018
What a whirlwind the last two days have been! Hard work, good food, laughter, goats, and more châteaux than we could shake a stick at!
We started the day in Poitiers, where we said a fond au revoir to our host families (and gave approximately ten thousand bises...can't leave anybody out!) before hitting the road. Our first stop was the medieval town of Montbazon, which is the oldest donjon still standing in France. We toured the donjon—or what's left of it, at least—and learned a little bit about the history of the fortress and some of the professions that would have been practiced when it was in active use. We even got to see a trébuchet in action!
Before long, though, we had to head out again, this time to the château d'Amboise, high on a hill overlooking the Loire river. Again, we got the chance to learn about the history of the building and the kings (and queens!) involved in its creation; we also got to see the tombstone of Leonardo da Vinci, who is buried in the chapel at Amboise. The highlight of the visit, though, was our visit to the dungeons, where we got to play an escape game in the château itself! In small groups, we hunted for clues, decoded messages, found secret passages...and only shrieked one or two times. It was a great way to immerse ourselves in the world of intrigue and deception that is a part of the history of Amboise.
Anybody else might have stopped there, but not us! We carried on to the town of Blois, where, after a brief stop for a delicious Italian dinner, we visited yet another château! The château de Blois is famed throughout the region for its nightly sound and light show, where stories from the castle's history are projected on the walls of the internal courtyard. In between the ooohs and aaaahs at the fantastic display, it was great to catch some familiar names and faces (even if we sometimes get all of the various Louis mixed up...), and to learn about the history of yet another famous place. A fitting end to a busy day!
Today was a quiet day, in contrast. In the morning, we finished our final projects, which we presented in a nearby park. While we were still in Poitiers, we interviewed our host families about an aspect of French culture that interested us; today, we shared what we learned with our classmates and our teachers. It was great to see how much everybody had learned, both in terms of French culture and in terms of the French language! After lunch, we worked on our portfolios and spent some time exploring the city of Blois. Tonight, we're packing our suitcases, getting ready for tomorrow's train ride to Paris. One more day before we head home! We're excited to see our friends and families again, but we'll miss the friends we've made here.