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Paris Trip October 2019

Late on Friday night at the beginning of half term, all 27 children excitedly gathered in Kalendar Hall with their suitcases to start our French adventure with Monsieur Baurance, Madame Stancombe and Monsieur Featherstone. We were lucky enough to have two fantastic drivers who made sure our long journey was smooth and comfy. The weather, however, was not on our side and the ferry crossing took its toll on some of us!

We finally arrived in Paris on Saturday afternoon where our first port of call was the Arc de Triomphe. We were lucky enough to get up close and take some time to reflect on those who died in battles. It was also much, much bigger than many had thought. We also got to witness Parisian driving; always a sight to behold!
Our next stop was La Tour Montparnasse. We were lucky with the weather and got to see a magical view of the whole city with some atmospheric jazz music to top off the experience.

From the tower, we stopped off at a restaurant for some flammekuches, a pizza-type dish that is traditionally eaten rolled up. The children had the chance to order their deserts in French. The waitress was extremely positive about how well they did.

We finally arrived at the hotel later that evening and got some well-deserved rest, ready to visit Montmartre and the Sacré Cœur. We were all awestruck by the size and magnitude of the basilica, with beautiful Catholic icons, memorials and stained-glass windows to admire. However, with it being 11am on a Sunday morning, we made our escape from the crowds arriving for the service and went to see some of the street artists in Montmartre. We had lunch at Flunch which went down a storm, mostly courtesy of the chicken and chips on offer!

In the afternoon, we had the chance to see the city from the water with a Seine boat tour in not one but four languages. It was fantastic to see sights such as the Botanical Gardens, Notre Dame, Les Invalides where Napoleon is buried and the various beautiful bridges along the river.

After a brief crêpe stop, we headed over to the Eiffel Tower. Monsieurs Baurance and Featherstone took most of the group up the tower to see Paris from up high while Madame Stancombe and the rest experienced a typically Parisian Sunday afternoon of hot chocolate, more crêpes, carousel rides and a stroll around the Champs de Mars.

On Monday we had a French language lesson at the Accord language school. Year 7 and 8 were separated and learned about directions, the Romans and all manner of other topics, all completely in French. The children did extremely well to understand so much and everyone took a huge amount away from the experience. After lunch, we visited the much-anticipated Louvre museum. It most certainly didn’t disappoint, with enormous halls full of magnificent and very grand paintings for us to admire. The Mona Lisa (or La Jaconde as it is known in French) was tiny, no bigger than a piece of A3 paper. It attracted so many people that the queue was about fifteen people deep!

Before going to another restaurant for supper, we walked around Paris to find Notre Dame de Paris surrounded by fences because of the fire that took place last year. We were not able to go inside but admired this beautiful piece of architecture from the distance.

We had our best meal on Monday evening at a restaurant on Rue de Rivoli where we had the finest chicken and chips of our time in Paris, as well the best service. We also tried crème caramel to mixed reviews, from delicious to slimy!

Tuesday was the final day of our adventure. After checking out of the hotel, we made the hour and a half journey to the Palace of Versailles. It was incredibly grand and opulent. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side and it was incredibly foggy so it was hard to make out the details of the exterior. Once we got inside, however, the grandeur of Louis XVI and his estate became clear and we learned a huge amount from the audio tour in French about each room. The Hall of Mirrors was particularly spectacular.

We had a fantastic time and have taken away so many happy memories and experiences from our four days in Paris.
Merci Paris!

 

15 November 2019
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