A Daily Glimpse of France


Eamonn Furey

The band visited the Louvre on its last full day in France.

Day 8

PARIS — On the last full day the band will spend in France, the group visited the famous Louvre museum and got up-close views of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, one of the world’s best-known paintings.  After the remarkable experience at the museum, the students had time to get lunch and shop on their own in a group of four or more before returning to the hotel to pack and change clothes for their fancy dinner. The meal was served on a river cruise along the Seine, from which the Eiffel Tower and ancient palaces could be seen, illuminated.  Students took the shuttle back to the hotel, where they would get one final good night’s sleep before returning to the United States. Today was a great way to cap off an unforgettable trip! Eamonn Furey

Leonardo da Vinci is thought to have painted the Mona Lisa from 1503-1506. The painting, one of the most visited and referenced in the world, has resided at the Louvre since 1797. (Eamonn Furey)

Day 7

VERSAILLES, France — For the third night in Paris, the band traveled to the Palace of Versailles, in Versailles, a city just outside of Paris. French kings ruled from the 2,300-room palace from 1682 until the French Revolution. However, after visiting the palace, the band was unable to venture into the city because it was closed due to labor protests. So, everyone traveled the hour drive back to Paris to shop along the Champs-Elysees and play the final concert beneath the Eiffel Tower. After the performance, the musicians ate dinner with chaperone groups and headed off to the hotel for bed. Eliot Call

Day 6

PARIS — Today marked our first full day in Paris. At dinner last night, directors announced the staggered breakfast groups. This morning, the groups ate and boarded buses for a guided, day-long tour. Afterward, we enjoyed  free time for lunch and shopping before today’s performance at the base of Square Louise Michel, a park in Paris. Citizens were seen opening their apartment windows to listen to the band perform. Attendance at each concert was mind blowing; listeners complimented the band and said that they had never seen a marching band like it before! After the exciting concert, we explored the city and ate dinner. Chaperone groups and their leaders spent time together, dining and shopping before returning to the hotel. Today was an educational and fun day. Tomorrow, the band will play beneath the Eiffel Tower! Eamonn Furey

A former army hospital, now an army museum. (Eamonn Furey)
Garbage builds up in a Paris street. Millions of workers throughout France have been protesting Prime Minister Emanuel Macron’s plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. (Eamonn Furey)

Day 5

NORMANDY, France — Today the band visited Omaha Beach in Normandy, as well as the solemn Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. The graves of 9,386 U.S. military dead, most of whom perished during the D-Day landings and  Normandy liberation, are found here, including that of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., President Theodore Roosevelt’s oldest son, who led a wave of soldiers ashore at Utah Beach. Select band students performed in a memorial service to remember those who were lost. The band then traveled to the City of Love, Paris, where they will be staying the remainder of the trip. Eliot Call

The burial area lies beyond the reflecting pool, visible from the west side of the monument, at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. (Eliot Call)

Day 4

ROUEN, France — The band woke bright and early to eat breakfast at their hotels and head 131 km east to Rouen for a day of music, fun and sightseeing. The buses loaded up and departed around 9:30 a.m. When the band arrived in the 2,000-year-old city of Rouen, students had free time for lunch, as well as time for exploring. Then, students met up with their sister school, Lycée Flaubert, and nearly 50 local musicians who had practiced the band’s pieces. Together, they played a concert in the town square, then enjoyed a reception and dinner. Shaker then headed back to Caen for a final night. Tomorrow, the the band will travel to the solemn D-day landing beaches for a day of remembrance and respect. Eamonn Furey

The band rehearses with its sister school in the Lycée Flaubert auditorium. (Eamonn Furey)
Among the historic sites in the 2,000-year-old city is Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen. (Eamonn Furey)

Day 3

CAEN, France — Today, the band visited Le Mont Saint-Michel, an abbey situated on an island off the Normandy coast in northern France. Construction of the abbey began in the 10th century. It is now a UNESCO Wold Heritage Site. The band also performed for the first time today before a good crowd in Caen. Eliot Call

Eamonn Furey and Eliot Call, along with fellow band members, visited the historic monument Mont Saint-Michel today.
The band performs in Caen.


Approximately 190 band students and their chaperones landed safely in Paris today for their spring break tour of France, March 22-30. Shakerite reporters Eliot Call (saxophone) and Eamonn Furey (trumpet) are sending snapshots of their travels throughout the trip. The band traveled to the airport on five buses and flew in three groups.  The first photo documents Call’s group checking in at Detroit Metropolitan Airport for its 7:30 p.m. flight to Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport.

DETROIT — Day 1: March 22 at 4:18 p.m. “My band group is getting checked in and getting prepared for our flight at 7:30!” (Eliot Call)

CAEN, France — We flew overnight and landed in Paris today. The staggered groups retrieved their luggage at the terminal after passing through customs, and later stopped in Bayeux, a town in the northwestern France, for some free time. Before we walked the cobblestone roads and explored the bakeries and shops, we gathered in our assigned tour groups and visited the Notre Dame Cathedral, built in the early 11th century.  After exploring, and when every flight group had settled down, the buses drove east to Caen, where students, staff and chaperones would spend the night and eat dinner. A busy day but a great start to the trip. Eamonn Furey

Day 2: March 23. Over the ocean. (Eamonn Furey)


Notre Dame Cathedral in Bayeux. (Eamonn Furey)

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