Monday, December 8, 2008

Field Trip to the Louvre

One of the great things for kids in Paris is that you get to take school field trips to the Louvre as opposed to the local Coca Cola bottling plant like when I was in elementary school. The downside is that first, the Louvre can be kind of a zoo, and second, you may end up with a guide like the one assigned to my child's group last week. Although guided visits are arranged in advance, the woman designated to take this group of 24 nine year olds through the Egyptian collection was absolutely unwilling to conduct the tour in English. Mind you, she could definitely speak English. I don't know whether she thought it was for the kids' own good that she speak in French or what. I can only tell you that she was absolutely resistant even when it was pointed out that a) English was the common language among this group of kids (who come from Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Korea, Israel, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Africa,and the U.S.) and b) that some of the kids had only had 3 months of French instruction. Her solution (in the cacophonous galleries) was that she would speak in French and the teachers and parents would translate. So the whole thing took twice as long as it needed to; fortunately, the children were all very patient and well behaved.

Well, actually, they weren't as well behaved as the guide would have liked. She berated one boy for yawning (who promptly burst out in tears) and rapped the heads of a couple of other kids who were talking instead of paying full attention (to the languge they don't fully understand). These kids had never seen anything like that...a stern talking to, yes, but a knock on the head, never. They were mightily impressed by the mummies, the sculptures, and the mastaba, but they'll never forget that guide.

3 comments:

Isabelle said...

Well, you (or the teacher who organized this visit) should complain to the person in charge of organizing tours for kids at the Louvre, that this guide wasn't exactly the perfect person to take care of a group of children.

I suppose that this visit wasn't free, so you are completely allowed not to be happy with the guide's behaviour!

Starman said...

I absolutely agree with Isabelle (though it won't do much good). One expects rude waiters and salespeople, but a guide for children?

Carolyn said...

Thanks for the smile. A museum guide knocking kids on the head would be quite a sight, indeed.

Cheers.

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