By Maya Kulukundis, Ibby Lee and Celia McCormick
On Sunday evening of the 14th April, all the U6th arrived back early from the Easter holidays, and ‘camped’ in Fans, all eagerly awaiting the start of the annual French Trip.
We set off early on Monday morning in the coach, where we were acquainted with our coach driver, Terry. After an hours drive to Poole Harbour, we boarded the ferry, which departed for Cherbourg at 8:00.
Although we had suffered from a lack of sleep, we were very much wide awake and with adrenaline running high by the time we ate breakfast onboard.
Most of our time on the ferry was spent on the windy top deck enjoying ourselves, but unfortunately, sea-sickness caught up with a few us, inevitably dampening our ferry experience.
After having lunch on the ferry, we came to Cherbourg around 1pm. Then we drove to Hôtel Le Canada, in Hermanville-sur-Mer, near Caen, arriving around 4pm. On arrival, after leaving our baggage in our rooms, we were treated to an excursion to the beach, which was visible from our bedroom windows.
After an aperitif at a nearby bar, we returned to the hotel, where we enjoyed an exquisite meal.
On Tuesday morning, after a typically French breakfast of croissants, hot chocolate, bread and juice, we prepared our packed lunches and headed off to Billy Farm. There we were shown both the cider and apple juice (and were given a detailed commentary on how it is made) and the animals around the farm. We even got to taste a sample of the apple juice and a small bit of cider!
After visiting the Billy Farm, we drove to Bayeux. There we had our picnic lunch and were then split into groups. We had been set several language tasks in the town, such as ordering ourselves an ice cream, buying a stamp and a postcard, which we completed as we walked around the town in our groups. During these tasks, we really felt that we were immersing ourselves in the French culture. We also visited the beautiful cathedral and the Bayeux tapestry. It was amazing to see such a famous historical object.
The next day, we got up earlier to set out on a day trip to Paris, about three hours away. We were all very excited, as many of us had never been to Paris before. Luckily it was wonderful weather, as we took a boat trip down the Seine, past the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower. It was great to be able to see all the amazing architecture of Paris along the river.
We were taken to the bottom of the Eiffel Tower to take some photos and to see the famous monument close up. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go up it, though we thoroughly enjoyed seeing it.
Next we were taken up the Tour Montparnasse, which was extremely tall, with fifty-nine floors. From the roof of this building, was the most incredible view of the surrounding city.
On the way home, we passed the Arc de Triumph. We had plenty of time to admire it, as we got caught up in the Paris traffic.
On Thursday morning, we went to a market in Caen. We were allowed to wander around the market in groups of two or three for an hour, buying various items to take home. We were also set the ‘one euro challenge’, where each person was given one euro to buy an item, though you could group together to buy an item of greater value. The objects would then be judged by the driver, Terry, who would decide who had won. In the end the winners were Laura K and Honor J and in second place were Sophia, Daisy and Katie (perhaps because they had bought socks!).
That afternoon we were driven to the stunning harbour village of Honfleur. We were taken around the art gallery there by Mrs Witheridge, who pointed out paintings by painters we had studied in Art Appreciation. Madame Granados and Madame Rowland showed us around the church in Honfleur, which was unusual, as it was built entirely of wood. Before leaving, we persuaded the teachers to let us have a go on the merry-go-round in the centre of the village, as well as an ice cream.
We packed up our belongings before our last breakfast in the hotel, and after a heartfelt good bye, we drove to the National Stud at St-Lô. It was really interesting for us Hanford pony-lovers!! We met one special horse (slightly bigger than the average Hanford pony at 17 hands!!!) who had been rescued by the guide at the stud from being turned into horsemeat, as she had managed to convince the stud owners to keep him, in return that the tourist office paid for his keep.
Our last stop before the ferry was at the supermarket in Cherbourg. We were allowed to spend the remainder of our pocket money here and were given an hour of free will to do this, so long as we stayed in groups of two and three.
We boarded the ferry, just before dinner, and said a last good bye to France. We were sad to be ending this trip, but cheered up when the following prizes were announced.
Making the most of every opportunity – Minty Morgan
Les Blagueuses - Fenella Carr-Smith, Mary Petherick, Sophia Buchanan and Ellie Whitbread.
Tidy Dorm (Main House) - Maya Kulukundis and Minty Morgan
Tidy Dorm (Annexe) - India Fallowfield, Honor Clinton, Freya Petty and Carmen De La Esperanza.
Tidy Dorm Runner-up ( Main House) – Laura K, Daisy Moors.
Organising Dorms - Mary Petherick, Freya Petty and Araminta Stubbs
Good Egg Award - Franny Hunt-Davies
Most Improved French - Caroline Borton and Ottilie Tabberer
Best Effort To Speak French - Alex Howard-Harwood
Shopping Award – Laura K
Helping Others Award - India Fallowfield
Breaking Glass Award - Celia McCormick