Friday, July 8, 2011

On Our Way Home

We are on our final leg of the trip. We are sitting in the Pittsburg airport waiting for our connecting flight. We are tired and haggard from all of the customs and security checks, but are very excited to be on our way home.
Our unique travel experiences have indeed left "lasting impressions." Our painters now understand the difficulties of painting outside in the sun and the wind and even with a few rain drops. Our writers and thespians have been forever changed by their new understanding of the sacrifices made by the women of the French Resistance. The two groups of students learned from each other, worked well together, appreciated each other's work, and were a delight. We would be glad to travel with everyone of them again.
Our last night at La Giraudiére brought us all together to recognize the achievements of both groups of students. The thespians performed their play and the artists were awarded prizes for their paintings. The following awards were given:
The Lasting Impressions Award - Ashleigh
The Prix d'Anjou Award - Hailey
The Prix de Bretagne Award - Jill
The Architectural Painting Award - Annie
The Floral Award - Savannah
The Still Life Award - Lauren
The La Giraudiére Award - Hannah
The Drama Award - Katie
The Bruno Dahl Award - Katie
The Musée d'Orsay Award - Elizabeth P
The Dean's Award - Mary Clare
The Mary Cassatt Award - Judi
The Judges Award - Jennifer
The Best of Show - Hannah

Also, we failed to mention that the person who came in second in the ping pong championship was Jill L. AND the grand prize winners for the Trivia Contest were Elizabeth K. and Lily Kate, although Emma and Ellie won the most daily games.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Are you sure that it's over??

We have had such a wonderful day. The artists and actresses worked until the 11th hour to finish paintings and rehearse. The art show was impressive - the drama performance was beautiful, and every girl will be leaving with great memories. We have so much more to share with you, but we have to get up at the crack of dawn to catch the train to Paris. There will be much more to follow. Enjoy some of our pictures from the day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Terrific Tuesday

It is hard to believe that our time here is drawing to a close. We are looking forward to our tomorrow. The artists will present the work that they have prepared since arriving at La Giraudiere. The drama students will present their one act play based on the stories of the brave women of the French Resistance. I wish you could all be here to see the work that these smart and dedicated students have completed. Don't worry - we will share with you when we get home. Today was a fun-filled day. We made our way to La Guerande, home of the famous salt pans. We shopped in this beautiful walled city. I bet you will be receiving a gift or two from this enchanting place. Rain moved in on us fairly quickly, so we did not have our swim "sur la plage." We did have a bit of time to work in a bit of shopping. An H & M was spotted in St. Nazaire, so of course, we stopped. Our biggest surprise occurred at dinner tonight. The girls entertained us with a flash mob. They are not only entertaining young ladies, but also talented and sweet. This group is a pleasure. Look for our pictures tomorrow. We wish you were here with us!! - Ann

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday in France (sounds like a movie)

We began the day with the best croissants that any of us have ever put in our mouths. If we have neglected to tell you, the food here is outrageously good. And the bread - oh, the bread!!! We headed to town and attended mass at Notre Dame Des Gardes. It is a beautiful church and today happened to be the day of the wind festival in town. It was another beautiful day. We worked diligently on our projects and ended the day with a ping pong tournament. I believe that Mary Clare Walsh was crowned ping pong queen. We are down for a good night's sleep for tomorrow we will walk to the chocolate factory. If you are lucky, your girls may bring back souvenirs from this outing. More tomorrow - Ann

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's Saturday already?

Playwrights at Work

Chateau d'Angers

Painters at Work

After a hard morning's work, we traveled to the Chateaux d'Angers. We saw the beautiful gardens of the chateaux, and then we entered the Apocalypse. The tapestry of the Apocalypse was beautiful and mesmerizing, and it was somewhat frightening to see Revelations portrayed in images. We then shared a wonderful afternoon in the market eating and shopping during free time. We miss you and are anxious to show our work. More tomorrow -De vos filles!

Friday, July 1, 2011


Being inspired by all that they have heard, seen, and felt, these young and very special girls are becoming courageous creators. What has previously been uncomfortable is coming easier. What was once considered uncertain is now coming clear. What has been blocked is starting to open. You are going to be amazed when you see and hear all that has come from the energy of these girls. Each day we are amazed and inspired by their accomplishments. These are special young ladies. -Janis and Ann

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Writers Working on a Masterpiece

Painters Creating Magnificent Works of Art

Elizabeth Contemplating What She Will Write About

A Beautiful Cathedral

Today the artists painted outside for the first time in France! Mrs. McCarty set up a still life of a vase and some apples, and the artists painted away! The paintings were absolutely beautiful; the best that we have ever seen in any of our trips to France.
Meanwhile the overactive imaginations of the resident thespians were hard at work coming up with ideas for their one act play. After an emotional encounter with William Faulkner, the girls reflected on the front lawn of La Giraudiere and began eagerly scribbling ideas in their journals. After a vow of secrecy, the writers toiled away all morning before breaking at lunch.
After lunch all the girls (and chaperones) visited Nantes. This bustling metropolis is a perfect blend of the past and present, especially with the outré elephant from the world of Jules Verne, legendary science fiction author. After visiting the Flamboyant Gothic cathedral, the girls cooled down with some gelato before heading back to the bus.
With all these adventures in one day, the girls can hardly wait to see what escapades await them tomorrow! Lauren, Mary Clare, Ellie, and Emma

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

We have reached our destination!!

Ellie's 18th Birthday Celebration at La Giraudiere!
Mont St. Michel
The Chateau

After spending the night in the beautiful Chateaubriand Hotel, we traveled to Mont St Michel, where we walked hundreds of steps to the top of the magnificent Abbey that appears to rise out of the quick sand in the English Channel. Our next stop was near Nantes where we visited the memorial to those members of the Resistance of the Marquis d'Saffre who lost their lives in that very spot - another moving experience. We have now reached our home away from home - La Giraudiere, where we begin classes early in the morning. The girls have settled in after a truly French birthday celebration for Ellie. She will never forget her 18th birthday. More tomorrow - Ann

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We started our day at the Bayeux Tapestry, unaware that this sequential record of the Battle of Hastings would be completely eclipsed by the majesty of the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach. From the D-Day Museum at Arromanches to Point du Hoc, we followed the history and bravery that we have always read about but never understood until we stood where they stood and imagined what they saw. As we entered the hallowed grounds of the American Cemetery, each girl tried to find her connection to the people who gave their lives for what was right and good. Passing through the rows of fallen comrades, we noticed names that represented every nationality--there were stars of David among the thousands of Christian crosses. After today every girl was changed forever.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Shopping, Macaroons, and Everything in Between

In our French Fairyland: Hotel d' Argouges in Bayeaux

On Monet's Japanese Bridge, June 27th

In front of the Sacre Coeur, June 26th

We began today's journey by waiting on Emma and Ellie to grace us with their presence. After a pleasant bus ride, we arrived at Giverny and toured Monet's home and enchanting gardens. Although the weather was scorching (and apparently Monet did not believe in air conditioning), we had a lovely time and bought gifts for our loved ones back home. Today's trivia winners were Dumbledore's Army (Ellie and Emma) and once again, the W's (Lauren and Mary Clare). They were awarded homemade ice cream for their efforts. Our next stop was the history filled town of Rouen where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. We went through the Notre Dame de Rouen and strolled around quaint shops, buying more gifts for our loved ones and this time, ourselves. We snacked on delicious macaroons and Joan of Arc's tears; they were so delicious we became quite emotional ourselves. Then, after many stops along the way, we finally made it to the location where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Back on the bus, we napped and napped and napped until we finally arrived at the French fairyland of Hotel d'Argouges. After an authentic french dinner, we will bed down early in the town of Bayeaux. We miss you but are having a marvelous time!

À demain et au revoir!
les filles dramatique: Lily Kate, Elizabeth K, Ellie, and Emma

Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 24 - 26 pics

Sunday, June 26th

The last 2 days in Paris have been a blast. In just 2 days we have been to The Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs - Elysees, Notre Dame, Musee d'Orsay, and the memorial at the sight of the Jewish deportation during WW II. In the midst of all that, we have managed to eat at the Creperie de Cluny, practice our French words, and learn as much about French history and French artists as we can hold. We are on to Montmartre this evening. After a good night's sleep we board a bus to Giverney. We will have much to report tomorrow night.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Busy Day

Busy day today. We walked 20,000 steps according to the pedometer. Going to bed. We are exhausted. Will report more tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Attention Painters!!

Don't forget to bring a paint shirt and finish reading "Private Lives of the French Impressionists."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Last Minute Reminders

Arrive at the Delta terminal at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, June 24. Remember the restrictions about liquids or gels in your carry-on luggage - 3.4 oz. or smaller, all liquid containers in only ONE quart size ziploc bag. Bring a change of clothing in your carry-on in case of lost luggage. It is a good idea to bring a toothbrush and small toothpaste and deodorant in your carry-on. Dress comfortably for the long flight. (Reminder to the art students: Do not carry your paints in your carry on.)

One week from today we will be on our way! Can't wait to see you all at the airport.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Final Information

Be looking for the final letter from Dean Maness with last minute instructions, reminders, and notices. It should be arriving in a few days.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Painting En Plein Air in the 100º Heat!

Six of our "Neo-Impressionists" painted in the scorching heat this morning at the McCarty home. I meant to take pictures to post, but I forgot. The young artists did an outstanding job, never complaining once about the heat and humidity. They all finished a beautiful little painting. Great job ladies. The next time we all paint together will be at La Giraudière.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dates to Remember

38 Days until we board the plane for Paris, France! We are busy thinking about what to pack and what to wear. We just need to get past exams and the final days of school. The art girls have been busy learning to paint with oil paints and have finally begun to paint "en plein air." (It's much more difficult than they thought it would be.) Drama girls are reading about the daring women of the French Resistance and the harrowing days of World War II.

Here are dates that all of our travelers need to remember.

Final meeting with parents and students - Tuesday, May 24 at 5:30 in the Hook Theater (PAC)
Please bring a copy of your passport, insurance form, and a signed behavior form.

Movie "Saving Private Ryan" - Tuesday, May 31, 2:00 - 6:00 in the DLC

Movie "Charlotte Gray" - Thursday, June 2, 2:00 - 4:00 in the DLC

Last paint out - Tuesday, June 7, morning and afternoon session (times to be announced later)

Departure for Paris - Friday, June 24, 10:36 a.m. (Arrival at airport 8:30 a.m.)

I will post a complete itinerary for our days in France after the parent meeting.