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Form 1 Pupils Get Taste of France

06th July 2023

At the end of the Summer Term, 31 pupils from Form 1 travelled to Boulogne-sur-Mer on the Côte d’Opale to spend four days exploring the language and culture of France.

Ed Milner, Head of Modern Languages, travelled with the group and sent this report:

After a rather tiring journey, we were revived by some excellent food and managed a quick scavenger hunt at the hotel complex to round off the first day.

Day two revolved round a trip into historic Boulogne and a visit to Nausicaa, France’s largest aquarium. The morning challenge was to negotiate Boulogne market to buy the best possible picnic lunch with 5 euros per head. The groups pooled their resources well and given the high quality of the market, lunch was something of a feast. Few picnics involve roast chicken, strawberries, artisan cheese, cured meats and watermelon for 5 euros each and the linguistic skills of the pupils clearly came into their own with a bit of haggling. The watermelon proved a bit difficult to negotiate outside, so the seagulls also tucked into a rare treat afterwards.

Nausicaa was enormous, with several spectacular tanks of huge rays, sharks, penguins and sealions combined with a very full and detailed exhibition about the state and importance of the world’s oceans and seas. Once back at the hotel, the traditional hearty dinner, plus a snail degustation (tasting) and some French team building exercises left everyone suitably ready for bed.

The sun returned on day 3, just in time for a fairly demanding treasure hunt round old Boulogne and a bit of beach time afterwards. Fortunately, all had sufficient energy for Rando-Rail, a pedal powered rail trip up and down a pretty steep disused railway line, in the afternoon. Highlights of the 10km round trip included dropping a phone into the long grass, then finding it again thanks to a helpful family and some self-destructing shoes! In the heat of the afternoon we were all ready for a bit of down time before dinner. Tanguy, the French supervisor’s primary school classic sports activities were fortunately completed in the cool of the evening.

The trip home featured for many the highlight of the trip – a visit to a working traditional bakery with somewhat draconian instruction from a stick-wielding baker in how to make croissants. Shocked, but intact, we all made it back to Calais in good time for the ferry.

The trip was a huge success thanks to the willingness of the pupils to get stuck into a lot of linguistic challenges, both formal and day to day; the quality of the French animateurs: Louise, Erica and Tanguy; our inimitable and cheerful driver Steve and not least Mrs Worthington, Mr West-Sadler and Mr Milner who demonstrated flexibility, patience, kindness and attention to detail in equal measure. As both Louise and Steve put it, it was a pleasure to be on the trip and the pupils were a credit to both themselves and their school.”


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