By Natalie Brown
Fall tour began bright and early on Friday October 28th, and after a week of midterms we were ready for a break from classes. We piled onto the tour bus at 7am to begin our longest journey yet; a trip that would last a week and take us to Metz, Paris and Strasbourg before heading back to Salzburg. We settled in for a long bus ride, most of us trying to find a comfortable way to sleep sitting up.
We arrived at our first stop, the Cathedral in Ulm, at around lunch time. We took a tour of the Cathedral (which boasts the world’s biggest church spire) guided by Dr. Loos, our Art History professor.
After the tour we had a break for lunch, and then it was back on the bus until we arrived at our hotel in Metz. We spent Friday night in Metz where we all had dinner together at the hotel and then had the evening free to explore the city. Saturday morning, we were all back on the bus and headed to Paris. But first, we had a couple stops along the way.
The first stop was the Cathedral of Reims which was very beautiful and we were lucky enough to be there on a perfectly sunny day.
After a lunch break at the Cathedral of Reims, we continued on to Champagne where we visited the Champagne Cellar Taittinger. We received a guided tour of the cellar and learned about the process of how Champagne is made with a good deal of skill and a great deal of patience. The tour was followed by a champagne tasting!
We got back on the bus after the tour of the champagne cellar for one last stretch before arriving in Paris that evening. Many students took the opportunity of a free evening to explore around the city and learn how to maneuver our way through the metro system. Paris was where we were to spend the majority of our time during fall tour and we found it to be absolutely captivating and beautiful. There was no shortage of stunning sites to visit or amazing adventures to be had around the city.
After a night of exploration on our own, we met back up with the entire group Sunday morning for a tour of the Cathedral of Notre Dame where we also had the opportunity to attend mass.
We continued on after Notre Dame to Sainte-Chapelle where we got to tour the interior with its beautiful stained glass windows.
Next on the agenda for Sunday was a tour of Musee Rodin, this was again led by Dr. Loos where we were able to see such famous works as “The Gate of Hell” and “The Thinker.”
On Monday morning we headed out to Fontainebleau where we toured the castle and the surrounding grounds. The garden and outside grounds were beautiful.
Tuesday morning found us on our way to Versailles where we toured the castle and the garden, both of which were extremely beautiful. We were able to walk around a great deal of the vast garden of Versailles before a surprise rain storm soaked us all, adding a little unexpected complication to the day.
Next we headed to a tour of the Musee Marmottan . Then it was back to the hotel to dry off and we had the evening to ourselves to do as we pleased.
On Wednesday morning we were again up early and headed out for another tour. This time we spent our morning touring the Louvre where we saw countless beautiful works of art.
After a lunch break, we went for our last guided tour in Paris which was the Musee d’Orsay.
We were amazed to find that our last night in Paris had already arrived. We went out on the town one last time to say goodbye to the wonderful city. Then, before we knew it, it was Thursday morning and we were back on the bus headed away from Paris. We made it to Strasbourg that evening and visited the Cathedral there. The town was small and quaint, and a big change from the huge city of Paris that we had just left.
We spent the night in Strasbourg and then left Friday morning for the last leg of our journey back to Salzburg. We made one last stop for a tour of the European Parliament.
When we arrived back at the Center in Salzburg, everyone was exhausted from a week filled with fun and packed with activities. We experienced so many wonderful things on our trip and although it was easy to wish that we could stay in Paris forever, it was undeniably good to be home.
Each one of us took away a little something different from our Fall Tour and there were so many places that we did not visit on our group tours, however many students took advantage of the free time we were given to see everything that Paris had to offer.
Here are a few places that some of the students especially enjoyed visiting:
“Paris was such an enchanting city, I felt like I could have stayed there forever. One of my favorite places to visit was the Sacre Coeur , the view was really beautiful.” –Becca Beshoar
“One of my favorite places to visit was the Eiffel Tower because it is what makes Paris, Paris. And the view was breathtaking.” –Allie Thomas
“I really loved Versailles because we got to go on an awesome bike ride around the garden. Even if it did start raining and we all got poured on.” –Megan Ewing
“Strosbourg was one of my favorite places. I liked the mixture of both French and German architecture and culture.” –Ben Culligan
Here is some advice to any Future Salzburgers on their Fall Tour next year:
“Use your metro tickets wisely and try to plan out your trips so you don’t have to buy too many. Watch out for tricksters!” –Becca Beshoar
“No matter how long the wait, go to the Eiffel Tower and climb to the top. It is worth it.” –Sarah Croy
“See everything you can. “ –Ben Culligan
“Bring good walking shoes because you will walk everywhere.” –Allie Thomas
“Eat lots of crêpes! As many crêpes as you can.” –Megan Ewing
Overall, we had a wonderful experience on our Fall Tour and could not have asked for a better trip. We even got a group picture in front of the Eiffel Tour after taking a driving tour of the city.