Crossing in Canada: French Students Travel to Quebec


Halle Minner, Reporter

Snow, adventure, friendship, and French! All of these words can be used to describe the latest trip of teacher Monica Fritchman’s AP French Four class to Quebec, Canada. If you didn’t attend the trip, this article will take you on your own journey through Quebec, in the footsteps of the nine students who departed.

On Friday, February 5, Ms. Fritchman and her students set off for Canada after school in a 12 person van. Although not the most stylish form of travel, the van, whose door refused to shut, served its purpose in escorting them to their first destination: A Motel 6 in Calcium, New York. Sitting about twenty-six miles away from the border, everyone was excited to cross into Canada the next day.

The following morning, the French class hurriedly scrambled a breakfast together at a Dunkin’ Donuts before getting back in the van and heading for the border. Crossing it was seamless and easy, and the excitement towards entering a different country bubbled over each person.

Canada was covered in snow and hills, with frozen lakes and rivers stretching into the horizon. Eventually the landscape gave way to city streets and buildings, where the city of Quebec sat in southeastern Canada. The class arrived at Hotel Pur late in the afternoon, exhausted from their cumulative thirteen hours of driving from Erie to Quebec. For dinner they found a small restaurant called Phil’s Smoked Meat, where the owner himself served them a delicious dinner. One thing on the menu was a dish called poutine: fries usually served with gravy and cheese curds that is native to Quebec.

On Thursday, the class visited the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre Dame de Québec, located on the site since 1647 and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The cathedral was actually razed twice since its creation by fire, but stands today as one of the most historic sites in Quebec. Next, the class visited the Parc de la Chute Montmorency, a waterfall park rumored to be haunted by the “Lady in White,”: the spirit of a woman who killed herself after she learned of her fiancé’s death. After that, the class arrived at a tube sledding park outside of the city, where they slid down massive hills for hours on end. It was the perfect end to an amazing, educational day.

Friday, Ms. Fritchman’s class visited Casse Crêpe Breton, a restaurant that serves a flat French pancake known as a crêpe. “I loved it!” Says senior Mary Claire Cousins. “It had so many awesome crêpe options and the best hot chocolate!” After that delicious breakfast, they arrived at the event they had come to see: Carnaval. Carnaval is a pre-Lenten festival held in Québec City, and one of the largest winter celebrations in the world. There, they played carnival games like log pulling, moose riding, hatchet throwing, and hockey. And at night, they viewed ice sculptures made for the annual contest held every year, and walked through a castle made of ice.

On their last full day in Québec City, the class took photos with the mascot of Carnaval, Bonhomme. Bonhomme is a snowman-like figure that represents celebration and Carnaval in Québec. Next, they visited a Museum on the Plains of Abraham, which was the site of a significant battle in the Seven Years War. It was a fun, interactive museum that told the story of the battles that happened around Québec. Afterwards, they attended a parade held in honor of Carnaval, with many wonderful floats and lights.

Overall, the Québec trip was a fun, exciting experience for all who attended. It allowed a class of students to practice speaking a different language in a real-world environment, and gave them a list of new things to try in an amazing country. Although they are happy to be back in a place where they can speak English, all of them will look back on the trip fondly in the future.