Women's Basketball Team Visits Sister City in France
Typically during the summer, the Albion College Women's Basketball team is given a summer workout program and the players go on their way to prepare for the next season. This summer was different. The Women's Basketball team received the opportunity of a lifetime! We spent nine days in Noisy-Le-Roi and Bailly, Albion's sister cities in France. Each member of the team stayed with a host family, and truly got immersed into French culture.
After a long 8 hour plane ride from Chicago to France, the team got onto a bus and went straight to the Palace of Versailles. The team toured the palace and strolled through the gardens. The women ate lunch at a restaurant within the garden and got their first taste of French cuisine. Feeling Jet lag and ready for bed, we all waited at the train station back in Noisy-Le-Roi for our host families to come pick us up. One by one we were picked up by our families and immersed into the French speaking household, ready to learn about French culture.
We were back to our roots with a day full of basketball. We started the day with a morning workout to acclimate ourselves to the new gym. Following the workout, we were ushered to a barbeque put on by some of the host families. There we were fed numerous plates of ribs and chicken. With some time to kill before our first game, we ventured to the Parly 2 for some pre-game shopping. To end the day, we beat Versailles's semi-pro team in a tough game.
A beautiful day in France brought more sight-seeing our way. This day was also the time that we had our first run in with public transportation. Taking the train to Paris, we walked the streets to the top of a hill and on top stood the Montmartre. We also went to Musee D'Orsay. We ate lunch in the restaurant inside of the museum. At the museum, we were able to see the works of Vincent Van Gogh and many other famous impressionists. Upon our return to Noisy-Le-Roi and Bailly, we went back with our host families to have dinner.
After spending several days sightseeing, and with more to come, we took a day to give back to the community that had given us so much. We put on a clinic for the local children, teaching them drills and playing games like lightning and dribble tag. Following the clinic, we had a friendly scrimmage against the local 16u team.
Luckily, we got to stay with incredible host families who were so gracious to not only let us invade their homes for a week, but also spent an entire day with us. Some families took some of us to Normandy, some visited various parts of Paris, and some went canoeing.
The team started the week off fresh and got the opportunity of a lifetime by visiting the famous Louvre. We got to see the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and many more. We also went to a restaurant in the city of Paris. This is also when we got our first real glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. It truly was a day of experiencing French culture.
This day was different from most of the rest, but still just as fun! We got the opportunity to tour Albion's sister cities of Noisy-Le-Roi and Bailly. The team went to Bailly City Hall and then went to a local farm that the King of France used to use. We then went to a restaurant near the train station called The Manhattan, where some of the team was brave enough to try escargot. We then went to Noisy-Le-Roi City hall and took a tour of the city. Later that night, we had a basketball game and had dinner with all of our host families. We ate great food, socialized, and ended the night singing together.
This is a day that we had all been looking forward too by getting a chance to tour The Eiffel Tower. We had seen it from a distance when we were on the train or going in different places in France, however this was our first time that we got to get so close. We took the elevator up and looked at the breathtaking view of Paris. We then took a river cruise along the Seine River. Arriving back late at night, each player spent their final night with their family.
An early morning departure back to the States, left us with sad hearts, and although none of us were quite ready to go we were so blessed to be able to have had this experience.