27 April 2015

UVI French Trip

The UVI have just returned from their annual trip to France. The girls enjoyed a full itinerary and made the most of every opportunity to speak French. The highlights of the trip were a visit to a Stud farm in St Lô, making a clay ornament at Bavent La Poterie, shopping in the markets at Bayeux and Caen, buying ice cream in Honfleur and learning about the Impressionists. At Rouen we visited the spot where Joan of Arc was burnt and the Cathedral that so inspired Monet. The girls also visited the Arromanches D-Day landings site and were inspired to write the most moving Haikus.

Day 2

After a very good night’s sleep, we were awoken at 7:30 for breakfast, which was a delicious array of French food. We made our own lunches- baguette with a choice of salami, jambon (ham), fromage (cheese), tomates with clementines and yaourt (yogurt).
Our first visit was at the ‘Ferme de Billy’- Billy’s farm. A very nice man, the son of the owner, took us on a tour of the entire farm and we saw some very gorgeous donkeys ; Margot, Pomme (apple), Muscade (nutmeg) and Canelle (cinnamon). We learned how the farm made Calvados- a very alcoholic drink. In fact, Calvados contains as much alcohol as whisky ! The farm also makes ‘cider vinegar’ and there was a huge vat of it in the corner of the barn. Although the man spoke mostly in french, we were fortunate enough to understand most of it (with a little amount of translation thanks to Mrs. Rowland).
We were provided with a dégustation, a choice of three apple juices- original, acidic and apple-and-basil, with macaroons and chocolate chip cookies on the side. Most of us liked the basil one the best.
Then we drove to La Poterie de Bavent a very old village, which specialises in pottery.We were taken on a tour of the pottery house and different people demonstrated their talent with clay. One man was particularly amazing, using a potter’s wheel to sculpt the most incredible pots. At the end, we were all allowed to make a clay model too and they were all very good! Lunch was a picnic in the garden there and a little boy called Rex loved playing a version of Piggy-in-the-Middle with us!
There was a French listening test on the way there.We really enjoyed having to actually use our brains for the first time since Easter break. In Carbourg there was a magnificent Ferris Wheel. At the top, we could see the famous Grand Hotel where Proust wrote his famous book (we know that thanks to the comprehension) and loved eating madeleines.I am not the best to describe the wheel as I had my eyes shut most of the time, but as I gathered by the shrieks of laughter, everyone else had a great time! By Helena

Day 3

Le Matin.
We had a delicious late breakfast at 8:30am with hot chocolate and pain au chocolat. We left the hotel at 9:45am to go to a lively market in Bayeux. There we were set a challenge to buy the best item with 2 euros to be judged later by our wonderful coach driver, Colin. From an eel’s head to men’s cologne, many pieces were bought to participate in the competition.
Après Midi
After the excitement in Bayeux we picnicked outside a war museum at Arromanches, before watching a very moving film about WWII, in particular –D-day. It was displayed on a 360 degrees cinema screen complete with real footage and incredible sound. After being inspired we all wrote Haiku poems about the war in pairs.
After that we were allowed to go and do some shopping in the few shops in the town of the museum, which we all loved.
Le Soir
We headed down towards magnificent stud farm in St Lô. The stud farm was very interesting. We admired prize horses and met two adorable shetland ponies called Lulu and Pippa. We also saw some beautiful, ornate carriages and learnt about the amazing history of the site, much of which had been destroyed during the war and rebuilt later on.
After another fantastic day in France we returned to the hotel and had a delicious meal of fish. The girls who had bought the men’s cologne won the 2 euro competition. However the girls who had bought the eel’s head had become very attached to her and named her Latêteia and we went to the beach for a final goodbye to put her back to where she came from… - by Anastasia and Kali

Day 4

On the fourth day of the French Trip, the 23rd April we started our day in Rouen. Rouen was beautiful with typical houses and buildings that Mrs. Witheridge kindly pointed out to us. We visited the huge Cathédrale with lots candles decorating the inside. There were also origional statues from the outside of the Cathédrale including Jeanne d’Arc ; a French heroine and saint, but now there are replicas outside that can bear the weather. A famous painter called Monet rented a large appartement above a bakers shop and spent two years painting thirty different pictures of the Cathédrale at different times of the day and the seasons He even had three paintings on the go at one time! We then had some free time to do some shopping and found the most amazing sweet shop with large guitars made out of sweets.
The U6th, Colin (the patient bus driver), and the teachers then continued to Honfleur where Madame Rowland generously offered us ice creams, provided that we ask in French. In Honfleur there was a beautiful old church with huge bells chiming through the streets. We explored the church and some of us chose to write prayers. Finally, on the way back to the Hotel le Canada we stopped off at Le Supermarché Leclerc to buy some carambars, bits and bobs.
When we arrived at the hotel we had ten minutes to brush our hair and prepare for a delicious supper which was pommes purée and Rosbif, followed by éclairs au chocolat.
To end the wonderful day we had a fashion show (Défilé de mode) which was judged by the owner of the hotel and his wife, mother in law and his son. Violet’s true talents for modelling soon showed and she was declared winner, closely followed by Darcy, who blew a kiss at Colin. Thank you Madame Rowland, Madame Witheridge and Madame Morgan for a great day!

By Tallulah (and helped by Darcy)