Mile High Academy’s British Literature class (and other interested students) went on the trip of a lifetime to London and Paris last April to see many historical sights in the two cities.

We flew overnight from Denver to Heathrow Airport in London, and after arriving we immediately began sightseeing. We took a river tour of the Thames and went to see the London Eye, an observation wheel much like a ferris wheel. We spent most of the next day at Hampton Court, the palace of King Henry VIII and Mary of Orange, but also squeezed in some time at the British Museum.

On Sabbath we visited the famous churches Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral. We also saw Buckingham Palace from the outside.

Sunday we spent at Shakespeare’s Globe (a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre) and the acclaimed Tower of London. I was sad to leave London, as there was so much more to see, but excited for the next part of our trip.

We traveled to Paris on Eurostar, the high-speed train that goes under the English Channel from London to Paris.

In Paris we enjoyed a river cruise on the Seine, then saw the Eiffel Tower. We climbed to the second landing where we saw an amazing view of the city.

We stayed four days in Paris, spending time at Versailles, the Hall of Mirrors (where the Treaty of Versaille was signed), Marie Antoinette’s gardens and the Louvre. We were even able to see Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the Arc de Triomphe.

One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The group visited the iconic 850-year-old cathedral only one week before the recent devastating fire. I was grateful to see it in its original glory.

Finally we left Paris and headed home, where we arrived only five minutes later than scheduled. This was even after being stuck in customs in Chicago and sprinting to the gate while the airline held the plane for us.

Mile High Academy teacher Brian Howard, who was one of the sponsors on the trip, says he sees many benefits to exposing students to travel. “Experiencing different cultures, getting students outside their comfort zones, seeing new and different ways of thinking about the world—these are the opportunities that truly change our students,” says Howard.

Tallya Waller is a junior at Mile High Academy.