After visiting and learning in three incredible countries, our program came to a close in the beautiful city of Paris. I come from the smallest province of Canada, Prince Edward Island, so it was almost surreal to be in such a large environment.
Our first excursion actually came as a surprise to us from the chaperones. We began a walk through the city, exploring the different landmarks. Finally Katy, our Education Coordinator stopped the group and asked us if we wanted to visit the Eiffel Tower. We replied “yes, of course!” and ended up spending the evening together climbing up to the second level of the Tower, enjoying the sights and lights looking down on beautiful Paris at night! Even though the program only had a day left, it felt as if time had stopped for a few hours so we could be together longer.
Our next stop was at the Musee de l’Armee where we were able to see a First World War and Second World War exhibit. Having seen different museums along the trip it was so interesting to see how the French remembered the war and how they wanted to present their history. In the Second World War exhibit there was a hallway that focused on deportation. It showed those people that had been sent to concentration camps and gave us a glimpse through photos and stories into what their life was like. I found this extremely sad and was moved by the tragedies they endured yet their perseverance through it all.
Finally, I want to wrap up my little blog post with an enormous thank you to the coordinators, other participants and most of all the sponsors of the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize. This program taught me more then I could ever learn in a classroom, and instilled in me a strong passion for remembrance. I have visited amazing places, learned incredible things and met friends that will last a lifetime! Thank you so much!
– Hannah Hardy, Albany, Prince Edward Island
It has been yet another lovely day in Paris and I cannot believe it is our last. After an amazing and scenic start to our day, we slowed things down with an evening walk in Montmartre, one of Paris’ distinct and beautiful neighbourhoods. While in Montmartre, we walked around the bustling shops and vendors and tried some classic Parisian sweets like crêpes, macarons, and – although this treat isn’t authentic to the country – I had the most amazing gelato! In the heart of the neighbourhood stood the beautiful Sacré-Cœur Basilica, a picturesque Roman Catholic Church. After walking down a small cobblestone path, my group and I found a balcony overlooking all of Paris and took the opportunity to take some pictures! On this final night, we were treated with a three course dinner that was accompanied with lots of laughs and reminiscing about memories of the program.
When we got back to the MIJE (our residence for the night), some fun activities awaited us! We first participated in an appreciation circle where each person shared a story or a comment which validated the two people sitting on either side of them. This activity lifted everyone’s mood and made us even closer. The night also consisted of a round of message-writing in everyone’s personalized booklet. This was very important as it gave us the opportunity to share a story or to show appreciation for each other for an amazing experience, “in writing” (this was quite emotional both literally and figuratively!) It was an emotional night, no doubt, but it provided us all with some much-needed closure from one of the best two weeks we had ever had.
My BVP blogging career has now come full circle ever since the time I wrote my very first blog on one of the first nights. I’m glad I’ve gotten to record some of our joyful memories and adventures, and tonight was truly a wonderful end to a wonderful trip.
– Haleh Zabihi, St. John’s, Newfoundland