16 Mar Year 10 French Trip 2017
On Wednesday 8 February 43 Year 10s and 3 Year 12s travelled to Desvres, near Calais in France. Leaving the comfort of our beds at 4.30am, students dragged themselves to Highbury Grove School where we took a coach to Dover and then a ferry to…
On Wednesday 8 February 43 Year 10s and 3 Year 12s travelled to Desvres, near Calais in France.
Leaving the comfort of our beds at 4.30am, students dragged themselves to Highbury Grove School where we took a coach to Dover and then a ferry to Calais. After arriving at Calais we stopped for lunch on a cold and windy beach in Wimereux, where students skimmed stones in the sea, and then headed to the accommodation in Desvres.
At the accommodation, the students were shocked to find that our guide, François, didn’t speak any English and he insisted on explaining all the hotel rules in French! He introduced students to his dog Winston, the ducks and his two pet goats, Electro and Billy and spelt out the Wi-Fi code to them in French: N-O-W-I-F-I.
We spent the afternoon at a ceramics factory, where the students got to experience making the traditional tiles of Desvres from clay and then returned to the accommodation for a three course dinner. Again, François explained what each dish was in French before students could eat. The evening was finished with a quiz in French, won by our team of 6th formers, with an honorable mention to Monsieur Flaherty, who was a close runner up with his stunning answer of “NEUF!”
The second day we were excited to visit a local French school. We were welcomed in the dining hall by the headmaster and some younger students who served us fresh croissants and orange juice. Students spent the day with their French exchange partner doing a range of activities: a biology lesson, a speed-dating activity where students had to ask questions in French and record the French students’ answers, a maths challenge in French and an afternoon of sport. The highlight of the day was definitely the French lunch – a 3 course meal prepared fresh with a range of options.
On the third day we went to a local market at Étaples. Students were given a list of challenges to complete, including asking for the price of certain items and trying to navigate around all of the stalls.
We returned to the accommodation to have a picnic lunch and then set out again to go to the chocolate factory. When we arrived at the chocolaterie we were amazed by the factory, which contained a Willy Wonka style molten lake of chocolate being rotated on a wheel. Our tour guide explained to us how truffles and chocolate bonbons were made and we were able to taste some of the specialty chocolates.
Our penultimate day was the busiest. We awoke in the morning to find a thick layer of snow. After breakfast we headed into the centre of Desvres for an orienteering-style Town Trail in the snow. Students had to use a map and clues to navigate around the town centre. We then headed to the Bec a Suc sweet factory where students learnt about the process of making sweets. The tour guide showed us how sweets were traditionally made by hand. Plenty of sweets were eaten and bought before we headed on to the bakery to learn about how traditional bread and croissants are made. At the boulangerie students were intimidated by our scary tour guide who beat on the desks with a wooden stick to get their attention and stood menacingly over them, glaring and demanding they answer questions such as “comment tu-t’appelles?” and “quel âge as-tu?”. We then headed to a French “hypermarché” – a huge mall-style supermarket – where students were able to buy some final souvenirs before heading home.
We returned to school on Sunday 12 February, having spoken lots of French, eaten lots of French food and made some new friends. C’était des vacances formidables et on espère vous voir l’année prochaine!
Ms Robinson (Head of Modern Foreign Languages)