By Andrew Sias
KMS World History Teacher
Please Note: This trip was organized through EF TOURS which is not associated with Kingsley Area Schools.
Our Grand Tour from London to Paris
When a group of spirited middle school students embarked on a European adventure to London and Paris, they were not only met with iconic landmarks and cultural treasures, but also an exceptional tour director named Maciej. From the bustling streets of London to the romantic charm of Paris, this travel club's journey became an unforgettable experience of discovery, learning, and fun where history, art, and architecture came alive.
Day 1: Arrival at Heathrow Airport and a Walking Tour of London
As we touched down at Heathrow Airport, excitement filled the air. Led by our expert tour director, we took an introductory walking tour of London. Our adventure began with the promise of days filled with history, art, food, and adventure.
Day 2: Exploring London's Icons
An unexpected highlight came in the form of a royal parade with King Charles riding a horse, adding a touch of regal enchantment to our journey. Our tour guide that day was a consummate comedian and kept us laughing as we careened around the city with our affable and highly competent bus driver.
The day continued with the exploration of the Natural History Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, feeding our curiosity and love for learning.
We toured around the city past the majestic Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, where our travelers marveled at the imposing architecture that defines London's skyline.
Next was a whirlwind tour through Piccadilly Circus. That day, we viewed St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, and the venerable Westminster Abbey.
The grand finale was the spectacular play "Wicked," a West End theater performance that left us spellbound as we experienced the magic of a live performance in the world's theater capital.
Day 3: Towering Adventures
The students delved into history as we ventured to the Tower of London, a place steeped in tales of intrigue, execution, and legends. The Tower Bridge awaited, providing an adrenaline-pumping experience as we walked across its glass floor, peering down at the River Thames below.
We later set off on a Thames river cruise with a delightfully entertaining guide giving us humorous takes on the historic buildings lining the banks on each side of the river. The London Eye then gave us a completely different view of the city, allowing us to see all of London’s boroughs.
Day 4: Crossing the Channel
With Maciej's expert guidance, the travel club boarded the Eurostar train, whisking us from London to the romantic city of Paris. Here, we embraced the culinary culture with a traditional French cooking class, mastering the art of French cuisine and creating lifelong memories.
Day 5: Embracing History and Grandeur
The day commenced with a guided tour showcasing the city's most iconic landmarks, from the hubbub of Place de la Concorde to the elegance of Champs-Élysées. The group examined the Arc de Triomphe and learned of its history and that it was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte to memorialize the French military victory at the Battle of Austerlitz.
We then visited the mesmerizing palace and gardens of Versailles, a testament to opulence and artistic mastery. Guided by a local expert, we explored the State Apartments and were awestruck by the Hall of Mirrors.
Our Parisian exploration continued with another walking tour that took us past the Notre Dame Cathedral which had nearly been consumed by fire in 2019. It was fascinating to see the progress being made in reconstructing the cathedral to its original glory. This incredible day ended with dinner at a traditional creperie followed by gelato for dessert and more time gazing at Notre Dame.
Day 6: Art and Bohemian Vibes
We immersed ourselves in art at the Louvre, encountering masterpieces like the Mona Lisa as well as works from all over the world encompassing ancient times to the present.
We then had a tour of Montmartre, experiencing the bohemian spirit of the city and taking in the panoramic views of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica - first by a train ride, then by hours of exploration in smaller, chaperoned groups.
Day 7: Bidding Adieu
As the travel club's adventure came to a close, the students boarded their return flight from Charles DeGaulle Airport, carrying with them memories that would last a lifetime. These young adventurers had not only explored the history, culture, and beauty of Europe but had also grown as global citizens, their hearts forever tied to the enchanting cities of London and Paris.
Lessons Beyond the Classroom
The travel club's adventure wasn't just about sightseeing; it was about personal growth and expanding horizons. Navigating foreign public transportation systems, trying new foods, and being immersed in different languages and cultures broadened their perspectives and built resilience. The journey to London and Paris transformed them into global citizens, igniting curiosity for exploration and a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of cultures and our commonalities. Through this adventure, these young travelers discovered that the world is a classroom without borders, waiting to be explored one adventure at a time.
Big thanks and appreciation to all who supported this endeavor through our fundraising as well as to those who otherwise invested in educational travel for these students! All of the adults on the trip were amazing and their mutual support and cohesion ensured that this trip was successful!
Join us in Japan in Summer 2024!
Want to go on the next Kingsley Middle School Travel Club Trip? Join us in Japan in June of 2024! The nine-day itinerary includes guided tours in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. Click here to learn more. This trip is organized and led by EF TOURS which is not associated with Kingsley Area Schools.
Questions? Reach out to trip leader Andrew Sias at email@example.com