The Year 8 children have just returned from a very successful five days in France, where they spoke, heard and most importantly, communicated in French. The trip was organised around themes - different every day - and each day had a reporter who, with his chosen team took pictures and related what they had done.
This is what our roving reporters had to report:
DAY 1: ENTENTE CORDIALE?
On Sunday 17th of September Year 8 were woken at 3.45am and had all staggered onto the bus by 4.00am. At 7.00am we stopped to eat our breakfast, arrived in Dover at 10.00am and boarded the ‘Pride of Burgundy’ to Calais. We were given a £12 lunch voucher for which we had a choice of full English breakfast or fish and chips.
We went out on the upper deck and looked across the sea towards the white cliffs of Dover.
From Calais it took roughly an hour to reach Agincourt – or Azincourt – which is the accurate French spelling.
Agincourt was a very famous battle of the 100 year war in which Henry V beat the French Dauphin, showing the might of the long bow.
In the museum there was an array of weaponry that had been used during the battle and above your head, soaring arrows. The museum also had a full diorama of the battle. Next, we experienced a walk through the events both before and after the battle.
The last part of our time spent in Agincourt was on a re-enactment of the way knights and footmen fought in the medieval period, and at the end we were allowed to hit a fully armoured man with his sword.
Finally, we headed to our hotel – the ‘Moulin aux Draps’ – where we met up with our guide for the week called Faissal.
We unpacked, enjoyed a 3 course dinner and then went outside to play French Games.
DAY 2: GASTRONOMIE
We were all excited to get up for our second day in France. After breakfast, we visited the Cap Gris Nez, from which you can see the crossings of the ferry and even the cliffs of Dover in the distance. We saw a lot of German pill boxes which had been built during the Second World War to spy on the English.
We went to the beautiful village of Wissant where we ate our picnic in the dunes. We saw a man about to swim the channel and then we were off for the snail farm! At L’Escargotiere , we learned a lot about the snails: they are both male and female, they are blind and they wake up when you put them on their backs because of the light!
We also tried some at the end of our tour. They came in different sauces: garlic and butter, cheese and tomato, but also chocolate and cinnamon!
The whole visit was in French and we had to listen very closely to understand!
Our final activity of the day was croissant making. It was really great fun and everybody loved it! The French baker gave us the vocabulary of the ingredients: œufs, lait, sucre, sel, eau, beurre, farine and levure.
To get the shape of the croissant, you have to cut the dough in triangle, get the wider side and roll down with your hands.
We also had a chance to eat a yummy croissant and pain au chocolat at the end.
We visited a local supermarket (it was huge!) and had to check the different produce. Most of us spent a lot of our pocket money on presents for our family and a few sweets!
That evening, everyone dressed up in a French costume - I dressed up as a french fry and so did Mrs Seddon!
Everyone’s outfit were amazing and it was a lot of fun!
DAY 3: DULCE ET DECORUM EST
On our third day in France we visited the battle site and memorial of the battle of Vimy Ridge. The battle of Vimy was between the Germans and the Canadians. The Germans had been at Vimy for about a year by the time the Canadians arrived, so they had longer to prepare. More than 65,000 Canadians served in WW1. At 5.30am on the 9th April 1917, the battle started; the Canadians moved forwards gradually yet bravely and through strength and discipline forced the surrender of the Germans.
ARRAS: the Wellington quarry.
Twenty meters below arras are the Wellington tunnels. In November 1916 the British started preparing for the 1917 spring offensive. Their stroke of luck: to have the town’s chalk extraction quarries underneath the town. The allies decided to connect these quarries to make underground barracks to house 24000 soldiers. They did this so that they could perform a surprise attack on the Germans.at 5.30 on the same day and time as the battle for Vimy ridge the allies unleashed their troops on the Germans and captured the town of Arras.
ARRAS: Commonwealth War Graves WW1
The Arras WW1 Commonwealth cemetery contains over 2650 burials from WW1.The memorial commemorates almost 35000 servicemen whos bodies were never found. Out of 2650 graves, 10 are unindentified and 30 are germans.
We also spent an hour in Arras. We sat at a terrasse, and had diabolo menthe or grenadine at a café of the Place des Heros , had some free time walking around the pedestrianised square and climbed up the Belfry .
In the evening we watched Michael Morpugo’s ‘Private Peaceful’.
DAY 4: BOULOGNE SUR MER.
On Wednesday 20th September, we woke up ready for an exciting day, after a scrumptious breakfast including pain au chocolat. We prepared our journal and checked the vocabulary we would need for the day. Then we hopped on the coach and for the drive to Boulogne Sur Mer, a beautiful city with an astounding Basilica.
When we arrived we were lucky enough to visit the Basilica and its crypt, which is the largest in France.
We then spent half an hour looking round the market, some of us buying souvenirs – or even shoes! We then ate our lunch in a nearby park and walked to one of the largest aquarium in Europe, called Nausicaa. This took us a good few hours to explore. It was amazing; there were all kinds of fish and sea animals. From sea lions to clown fish, it was truly a great experience.
After the aquarium we went to a creperie. The crepes were delicious!
PS: The children had a disco night and some of the moves on the dance floor were really astonishing!
DAY 5: LES BONNES CHOSES ONT UNE FIN …
Having packed the night before, we were all eager and ready to go. After breakfast we said a big thank you to the staff at the Moulin who had been looking after us all so well. We headed off to la coupole which is a gigantic WW2 dome bunker. We went in and watched a 3D film about space, and the future of spatial exploration.
We then visited the dome itself, which was divided in different parts: from the occupation of Northern France, to the resistance movement and finally the liberation of Arras and its surroundings during WW2.
We headed to the ferry where we had our lunches, and made our back home!
Madame Edwards, Mrs Seddon and Mr Shepherd found the children a joy to be with throughout the tour. For all, it truly proved to be a trip to remember!
A full album of photographs is available in the photos section of the school Facebook page.