We had a smooth, early start to the trip, leaving school around 6am. The motorways were mercifully quiet meaning we got to Dover in time for our ferry – the drivers did suggest it might be tight but we made it! A calm crossing was followed by our first encounters with the language, culture and money at the service station. Students learnt that many things are the same in both languages and managed to order food without much problem and had a game of ‘babyfoot’ for good measure. We arrived in Paris in good time to get settled into our rooms, eat a lovely French meal ‘chez Didier’ with lots of compliments coming from the students.
We caught a train into Paris the following morning with very few students losing their tickets; one student in particular crawled under a barrier as their ticket didn't work! A beautiful morning beckoned over the centre of Paris with clouds making way for glorious sunshine. Unfortunately, the time spent waiting to go through security to the base of the Eiffel Tower was somewhat wasted as, to our astonishment, the tower was shut. It seems a strike had been called with no warning. The staff at the boat ticket office knew nothing of this and were happy to accommodate us on a river cruise after lunch.
We made our way to Sacre-Coeur via the numerous souvenir shops – cue students buying Paris hats and PSG shirts galore. There was a festival going on at Sacre-Coeur so we thought it wise to head to the Artists Quarter at Montmartre for the students to check out what was on offer. Having had caricatures done, we headed through Pigalle (which raised a few eyebrows) to the restaurant for our evening meal. It was pleasing to see students trying some different food, one even winning an award for loving a ‘galette complete’. The two groups took different routes home on the trains, but ultimately (and unknowingly) ended up on the same train at the end. An honourable draw to end a great day, despite the disappointment of the Eiffel Tower being shut. Did anyone mention it was Friday the 13th?!
Saturday's weather was even more glorious and the excitement of going to Disney hit fever pitch at we approached the park. The Tower of Terror loomed large, the Castle brought the magic and we got through in good time to see the Parade and try a few rides. Onto the Studios in the afternoon and several students teamed up with staff to try a few rides with queuing times less than in previous years.
We returned home the following day (with more beautiful sunshine) in France and slightly grey skies in Dover. I can safely say that most people would have happily stayed in France. Paris continues to be a place of awesome beauty and despite missing out on going up the Eiffel Tower, it’s a friendly and vibrant destination for our Year 8s where they learn to live with each other, look after each other, budget their money and just try something new.
Thanks for making it so great Year 8!!!