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Life Changing Experiences

Culture & Cuisine, from Paris to Tignes! – ONTOUR Backpack France, Switzerland & Italy

Our third day was filled with a tour of the Gardens of Rodin Museum and the iconic castle of Versailles. One of the highlights for many of the trip members, especially Erik and Greg, was assembling a picnic lunches from the various food vendors at the open-air market on the other side of the city. We bought bread from the baker stand, fresh fruits from the fruit vendor, and even a few whole rotisserie chicken! At the end of the day, we took to the stage to show off our singing talent (or lack thereof).  Amanda felt right at home with the microphone in her hand, getting the whole group to partake in singing “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5. The boys (including trip director Rob) serenaded the girls with a fabulous rendition of “Don’t Cha”.

ONTOUR Backpack France, Switzerland & Italy in Paris

Our final day in Paris was jam-packed with incredible sights. We spent the morning at the Louvre, appreciating the beautiful artwork and taking selfies with our new friend Mona Lisa. We then made our way to the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysées and the Notre Dame Gardens! After a heated debate about which Gargoyles were truly the scariest, we enjoyed dinner in the Latin Quarter. Our waiter even gave lessons to a few of our adventurous Trip Members on how to properly eat escargots!  We were lucky to experience a show while we were eating, as local performers took to the street in front of Notre Dame to show off their acrobatic rollerblading. Connor L captured jaw dropping photos of their athletic death-defying abilities.

The perfect end to our Parisian adventure was a boat tour on the Seine River.  After seeing all the sights lit up at night, and all the Parisians dancing, singing, and playing music by the river to escape the heat, we were heartbroken to be leaving such a romantic and beautiful city.

Au revoir Paris! We packed up our bags and made our way to Tignes, a tiny, picturesque village in the heart of the French alps that becomes a once-in-lifetime summer sports resort. Hopping onto the Eurorail, we traveled like Europeans.  Allison was happy to find her new favorite, Croque Monsieur, perfectly melted in the dining car of the train.  Upon arrival at our quaint, family run bed and breakfast, we enjoyed a home style dinner, where most Trip Members decided to try le canard a l’orange (orange duck). Most also discovered a new love for fresh, local goat cheese paired with baguette.

Early the next morning, a group of our skilled skiers headed out for the slopes of Grandes Mottes. We had to take a funicular, a gondola AND a chairlift to get all the way to the top!  We skied among the British Royal Airforce Ski Team and some future Olympians (we think!).  A few hours later, we turned in for the day and enjoyed some gauffres, frites et des colas at the glacier chalet.

ONTOUR Backpack France, Switzerland & Italy in Tignes

Those who did not go skiing got to experience a bird’s eye view of the village by taking a Gondola to the top of the mountain.  To cool off, we went to the Sportignes pool-house to play in the water and enjoy the indoor waterslides. We also had time to relax on their grassy terrace overlooking the Tignes lake and mountain view.  After dinner, the Trip Members impressed us with their European knowledge, Disney facts, and American history at Westcoast Connection Trivia Night.

Our adventures continue with one more day in Tignes, and then we’re off to Switzerland!

The Westcoast Blogger

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