I traveled on a train for a few hours to get to the region of Provence in France. Provence is known for providing around 80% of France's fruits and vegetables.  The area is a lot like Louisiana because of the weather.  I toured the city of Avignon with a tour guide.  Guess what joke she told me?  Why do the French eat snails?  I knew the answer because you all taught me that joke!  She was so impressed!  I saw the Palais de Papes which is the Palace of the Popes.  The whole city of Avignon is surrounded by a stone wall made hundreds of years ago.  They also have stone ruins that have been around since before Jesus!  Isn't that crazy!?  I visited some little villages and then headed to see some of the life of Vincent Van Gough. As you can see in the pictures he enjoyed gardens like Monet did.  It was very cool to see what he was looking at when he painted all of his famous paintings.  
 
 
This is where King Louis lived!  Wouldn't you like to have this backyard to play in? This place is HUGE! It took us an hour just to walk through it.! ALl of the rooms were filled with paintings and the ceilings were so detailed. It was very cool to see the bed that the King and Queen slept in.  He even had a dining room table in his bedroom!
We went to Giverny which is the city where Monet's house and gardens are.  He painted some of his most famous paintings by getting inspired by the nature around his home.  As you can see, he had a lot of  inspiration.  Isn't it beautiful?
 
 
This video is from the class that my class will work with next year at Jean Prevost Elementary in Yvetot, France.  In the video they are saying in French, "Hello, The Dufrocq School!"  They are very excited to work with a class in America!  Their school is different from our school because they have Wednesdays off!  They also have 1 and a half hours for lunch every day.  However, they stay over an hour longer each day at school than we do.  As you can see, they can wear whatever clothes they want to school. Their school is the biggest in the region and they have 200 students there.  They were amazed at how big our school is! They don't have a playground for recess or a lot of computers like we do, so we are very lucky. Guess what?  They ALL knew who Leonardo was!  They also thought that our school's name was funny because "frocq" is a word for pants in France!  xoxo 
 
 
 
 
We visited three castles today!  One was designed by you-know-who, Leonardo.  The whole estate is the same size as the entire city of Paris!  It had 365 fireplaces!  The second castle is where Leonardo stayed towards the end of his life.  It is also where he is buried.  The last castle is built in the middle of a river.  It was very cool to see castles with my own eyes instead of in movies or books.

In Paris you have to pay to use the bathroom in a lot of places.  It costs about $1.00.  When you gotta go, you gotta go...I paid the $1.00. They even have bathrooms on sidewalks for people to use.  

Guess what else?!  When we were riding on the Metro, there was a man who had a CD player that was playing  "When the Saints Go Marching In" out loud for everyone to hear!  I felt like I was at home in Louisiana.  We also had a few people ask us about Hurricane Katrina.  It was interesting to know that people in different countries wonder about Louisiana in that way.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
Today we saw a lot about Napoleon.  He built the Arc de Triomphe to welcome his army home.  We climbed the HUGE arc and got to see Paris from the top!  The Arc is like the middle of the sun and the streets and Paris are like rays coming from the center.  We noticed that people have gardens on top of their homes.  Our legs were shaking from walking up and down hundreds of steps!  We went to the Eiffel Tower and rode the elevator to get another great view of the city.  We waited over an hour in line to get to the elevator.  We saw a few classes that were on field trips there, too.  We also went to the Invalides which is where Napoleon is buried.  It is a huge museum with a ton of his clothing, weapons, etc. in it. 

We have been eating pizza and baguettes.  The pizza here is different because it is thinner and has different toppings.  The baguettes are like poboys, but the bread is very hard to chew!  They aren't as good either!  We really miss the food in Louisiana because nothing has much flavor here.  Things are much more expensive, too.  I had a $20 cheeseburger!  How crazy is that?!  Almost everything on menus in France has ham in it.  Ewww! I hate ham!  They even have ham potato chips!  If you want bottled water, it costs a lot...about $10.  The regular water here does not taste very good.  We are very lucky to have good water in Louisiana.  Oh!  Since so many drinks are imported to France from the USA, it costs more.  If you get a can of Coke, it is about $6!  

The weather is similar to Louisiana because it rains often, but then it will be sunny an hour later.  Guess what we are doing tomorrow!  Going to see CASTLES!  Three of them!  One is where Leo is buried and one is designed by him!  :)  xoxo
 
 
We had coffee and croissants for breakfast outside of a cafe this morning.  Pigeons are everywhere just like at home!  We toured the Notre Dame Cathedral during mass.  Everything is larger than life here.  Thousands of people were in the church.  We also went to the Orangerie Museum where Monet's wall-length paintings of water lilies are. Last, we went to the Pantheon.  The had the tombs of many famous people there.  It is also where the scientist Foucault did his famous pendulum experiment to discover how the Earth rotated Every place we go (restaurants, museums, etc.) has text written in many languages for people from across the world to read.  So, we have been able to read most everything in English since we can't understand when people speak French. I wish you all were here!  xoxo 
 
 
We're here!  The seven hour plane ride was miserable, but we made it! We didn't sleep on the plane at all, and we stayed up for about 30 hours straight because of the time difference.  We slept for 19 hours last night! hahaha.  Most everyone has been able to speak English to us, so we have been lucky that we haven't had much difficulty communicating.  

We went to the Metro (underground train) to buy tickets because that is mostly how people travel here.  You walk through underground tunnels to get to a train that takes you all over the city.  This is helpful for us because we don't have to drive anywhere, and we don't have a car! ha. 

Then, we went to the Conciergerie.  This was where they kept prisoners a couple hundred years ago.  The chopped off people's heads with a guillotine.

We had dinner at a cafe; Ms. Noelke got a baguette and I got quiche Lorraine with salad.  There are a lot of tables really close together.  It's almost like eating a restaurant with tables as close as the desks are in our classroom. 

So, there are some things we have noticed that are very different from America. Euros are used instead of dollar here.  They use a lot of coins instead of bills in France.  Also, their toilets don't have a handle that you flush. It is like a big button you press into the wall that makes the toilet fill with water like it is about to overflow.  Another difference is that the light switches are opposite.  You turn the light switch down for the lights to turn on, and you flip the switch up for lights to go off.  Weird!  Besides France being 7 hours ahead of Louisiana, their clocks are set in military time.  So, if it was 2:00 in the afternoon it would say 14:00 on the clocks because it is 2 hours after 12 (12+2=14).  Europe uses the metric system, which was Napoleon's decision.  All of our drinks come in milliliters. :)  Oh!  It is sunny until almost midnight!  It's hard to think it is nighttime with the sun still visible.

It is VERY cold here.  It was 35 degrees yesterday which is almost freezing!  This morning we went to....McDonald's!  They have a separate restaurant for McDonald's and McCafe.  They also don't salt their French fries!  I was not happy!  They don't even have salt to give you for your to salt them yourself.  :(  You don't get ice in your drinks in France either.  I ordered a Coke  and it just comes in a cup with no ice. Check out the picture of the McDonald's menu.  Chicken Forever? Isn't that hilarious?  Y'all know how much I love my Powerade....well....it is VERY hard to find here.  :(  I finally found one, but it tastes different, and, of course, there is no ice to make it cold.  :( 

We went to the Louvre which is one of the biggest museums in the world!  15,000 people visit it a DAY! And guess who was there....The Mona Lisa by Leonardo!  It was so crazy that people come all over the world just to see my boyfriend's art!  Can you see little Leonardo by his art in the picture?  Then, we got to see Napoleon's apartment in the Louvre!  Do you think those pictures look like an apartment?  I wish my apartment was made of gold!  Do you see little Napoleon in the pictures?

After the museum we went and walked around to see what the city looks like.  It looks a lot like New Orleans.  Hmmmm....I wonder why?!  :)  We got a crepe (a really flat pancake) filled with Nutella (melted chocolate) rolled up from a street vendor.  It was delicious.  You can see Flat Stanley and Leonardo eating some in the picture.

Love you all!  I will write more tomorrow! xoxox
 

    Keep up with our travels!

    Ms. LeBlanc and Ms. Noelke are traveling to France and Spain to learn more about Louisiana history. Check our blog for pictures and updates about what we are doing.  Send us questions and comments about what we post.  We want to hear from you!