SPFHS French Students Venture on Trip to Quebec City


McKenna Dwyer, Staff Writer

From Friday Apr. 21 to Sunday Apr. 23, Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School French students visited Quebec, which means ‘where the river narrows’. Over the three-day trip, students were educated by locals about the city and its people, commonly referred to as Québécois.

Below is a schedule of the trip that the French students and chaperones took:



Early Friday morning, SPFHS students boarded the coach bus around 6:30 A.M. and departed on their venture to Quebec. The trip took around nine to ten hours with traffic and rest stops, as well as a brief stop for lunch. 


Upon arrival, students met with their tour guide and briskly walked the few blocks to the Observatoire de la Capitale, a local observatory. Students entered the Marie-Guyart Building and took an elevator to the 31st floor to have a scenic view of all of Quebec City. Students were able to walk around the top floor to have a view of the East and West sides of town, one that faced more residential buildings and another that faced the Chateau Frontenac and the St. Lawrence River. 


SPFHS students saw a beautiful first glance of the city before heading to dinner at Delice, where they had a choice between chicken fettuccini, pizza, or other options to fit students’ allergy and dietary needs. They were given the choice between a chocolate moose and a maple pudding for dessert, before driving around 30 to 45 minutes to their hotel, where they relaxed for the night.



Students were able to go to breakfast as early as 6:30 A.M. at the hotel, where options such as fresh fruit, scrambled eggs and waffle-making machines were available. 


Shortly thereafter, students took the bus to a downtown meeting spot for their guided walking tour through the city. They were guided by a man dressed in historical fashion, with a cloak and a tricorne. 


Following the walking tour, students took the bus to the Galerie de la Capital Mall. Students spent about 90 minutes exploring the different stores the place had to offer: Starbucks, Lush, a rollercoaster ride or other facilities in the building. 


Students visited Saint-Jean Street, where they were set free to grab lunch on their own. Many of the visitors went to Ashton, where they got poutine–french fries with gravy and other toppings, a Canadian classic–or Paillard, a local cafe.


After, students visited the Plains of Abraham Museum, where they sat and participated in a recreation with their chaperones, where they learned how to reload a rifle, how to stand at attention and the names of old military equipment.


Students explored the stunning surrounding area near the Chateau de Frontenac, aka the Frontenac Hotel, the most photographed hotel in the world. Students were given free time to briefly walk around, visit shops and take photos along the edge of the St. Lawrence River. 


The trip then went to Immersion Quebec, where people participated in a virtual reality experience. Students put on goggles and headphones and watched a concise history of the construction of the city and then played a game on tablets in the adjoining room. Students learned more about the history of Jacques Cartier in Quebec City and about the founder of Quebec City, Samuel de Champlain.


Afterwards, students went to a medieval style restaurant called La Chope Gobeline. Students were given a plate and shared chicken legs with fries, cauliflower, carrots and brussel sprouts.


When it got darker out, students went on a local ghost tour, which concluded at 9:30 P.M.. They were led through the city and participated in role plays where they were people from history, including evil priests, travelers, and “filles de rois” (the King’s daughters), who were sent over from France to be wives for the Canadian villagers.


Students returned to their rooms at around 10:00 P.M. and rested up for their final day.



After breakfast and a short drive, students and chaperones ventured to the Montmorency Falls, a waterfall that flows into the St. Lawrence River. The waterfall is taller than the Niagara Falls, standing at a height of 83 meters (272.3 feet). They walked across a suspended bridge and stopped at a small gift shop.


Students went to a small island called Orléans (Île d’Orléans), where around 6,000 to 7,000 people live. The tour guide allowed for the trip to stop at a chocolate shop called La Chocolaterie de L’île d’Orléans. Students and chaperones had the chance to browse and purchase chocolate and different items at the quaint store.


Afterwards, students went to Chez Dany, where the travelers had an all-you-can-eat lunch, provided with natural maple syrup. They had ham, eggs, crepes and traditional Canadian foods. Following their meal, students went out to the sugar shack (where maple syrup is made) and learned about the collecting of sap and the making of maple syrup and other maple products. Students had maple syrup taffy, which was made after heating up maple syrup to a certain temperature, pouring it onto snow and then waiting a few seconds before placing a stick on top, rolling the chilled syrup onto the stick, and then indulging in the taffy. 


Shortly after, students started off on the bus ride home. They stopped again for dinner and returned to SPFHS around 11:15 P.M.



The trip was chaperoned by four staff members, including SPFHS French teacher Ilkay Ozedemir.


“Because [Canada] is a Francophone country, [students] were able to really learn while they were in the country,” Ozdemir said. “[We are] always talking about Francophone countries in class, but we never [get] the chance to physically go to one of them. When we went, students realized the importance of speaking with a real Francophone person. It is a little bit different than in class, but I think they did a good job. They really tried, and they realized that they could do it and they could understand the other person.” 


Students definitely learned a lot from the trip, including new phrases, history and cultural differences.


“My main takeaway [from the trip] was probably how there are [many] similarities and differences in our lifestyles,” freshman Kelsie Waldron said. “There are similar stores and foods, but [they] live in a more crowded area and they have more of a ‘city life’ than in [Scotch Plains].”


Overall, the trip was successful and Ozdemir and SPFHS French students look forward to taking more trips to the beautiful city!