As we left King’s School at midnight on Sunday, 25 March, the bus was filled with 31 Removes and Shells students, four staff and a certain joie de vivre, despite the 16 hour bus journey that lay ahead!
When we arrived at Château Beaumont in Normandy we were greeted by François, our French group leader, and after sorting out sleeping arrangements and briefly exploring, we sat down for a lovely supper, followed the pupils’ first French challenge. Asking for their nightly hot chocolate, I can still hear ‘Je voudrais un chocolat chaud, s’il vous plaît’ now!
Tuesday started with a visit to Le Marché de Laval in the morning, a typical French market filled with souvenirs and nic nacs that certainly enticed the children. We were back at Château Beaumont in the afternoon to try our hands at climbing, archery and an obstacle course. It was great to see all the pupils getting thoroughly stuck in and making new friends.
On Wednesday we travelled to Le Mont Saint Michel and its beautiful abbey, which is a world heritage site. It captured the student’s attention due to its grandeur, with a lot of steps to climb, but the views overlooking the water were worth every step. The afternoon took us to Saint Malo, a beautiful little town by the sea. Here we had time to explore and immerse ourselves in the French way of life.
Thursday morning was all about ‘Le fromage du Chèvre’ (goat’s cheese). We visited a lovely ‘fromagerie’ where the children, and adults alike, not only learnt about how goat’s cheese was made and aged, but also interacted with the goats themselves! A great morning spent with these lovely creatures and I know from the smell on the bus later a fair amount of goat’s cheese was bought to travel back to England.
Friday was possibly the day the pupils were looking forward to the most from the outset – Disneyland Paris. This really brought out everyone’s inner child and the day was spent exploring the park and seeing who would go on the most daring rides!
All in all, it was a fantastic few days away in France with both the year groups and it was a pleasure to accompany the students as they behaved impeccably, as well as being curious and bold in speaking French and trying different foods for the first time, such as frog’s legs and snails.