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French Students Enjoy an Immersive Study Trip to Bordeaux

15 November 2017

16 girls, 2 teachers, 20 lessons over 4 days, 12 meals & 6 nights with host families, 7 activities and lots of photos!

After a good journey to Bordeaux on Sunday evening and meeting our host families, we started Monday bright and early for lessons. Admittedly the first day was a culture shock, speaking in French for a whole morning we battled through together, with subtle translations to each other! I think the hardest thing was when we didn’t know a word so had to describe it in another way, in French.

Following a delicious lunch eaten whilst enjoying the sun in the park, we headed into Bordeaux Centre for cultural activities; including a tour, the Musee d’Aquitiane, the Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas, Miroir d’eau, the Tower Chateau de la Brede and shopping. In the evenings we returned to our host families for dinner where our speaking and understanding was further developed by conversations with them.

My favourite day was the Bank Holiday, we had a welcome lie-in and met to walk down the river to the new bridge; Jacques Chaban-Delmas. The bridge lifts to allow boats to pass underneath but differs from Tower Bridge as the entire middle lifts vertically. Then we walked to the Miroir d’eau and the Place de la Bourse, where we could see our reflections in the layer of water. When it drained away we ran to have a photo in the middle but the water returned before we expected!

Overall, the trip was great fun and we all agreed that every aspect of our french improved, I think our understanding benefited the most from staying with a French family, being in language school and the French environment. The cultural activities were fun and gave us an insight into Bordeaux; its history and its development, as well as allowing us to explore Bordeaux. Finally, thank you to Mr Roca and Mme Daguenet who made the trip possible, very enjoyable, and for the translations during tours, we greatly appreciate it all!

This year’s French trip to Bordeaux was one of the best trips I have ever been on. Midday on Saturday we left on a coach from Bath to Gatwick and by 9pm (French time) we had arrived in Bordeaux. We were met at the airport by our host families, who would be looking after us for the next week. The host family I shared with Mathilda were great, with seven children and a cat - we couldn’t be bored, and the conversation never stopped. After a meal of bread, cheese and cold meats we went to bed in the little guest house in the garden, ready for the 8am start the next morning.

Every morning we had French lessons at the ‘France Langue’ school in the centre of Bordeaux from 9am until 1pm. At first we thought we would never be able to cope with 4 hours of lessons every morning, as well as speaking French constantly with our families, however we found the lessons went faster than expected, with our teacher Thomas showing us French music videos - such as Stromae’s ‘Carmen’- which related to our A-level French topics, and trailers for films, before asking us to answer questions and often predict the endings. The lessons were so much fun, even if we were tempted to speak English when we couldn’t remember the French - having a French teacher who doesn’t speak too much English forced us to work it out and help each other.

The activities each afternoon were interesting and allowed us to see more of Bordeaux. Wednesday was a French bank holiday, so we didn’t have school. After a lie-in, we ate breakfast with the family and headed to Bordeaux to meet the others for lunch and a walk along the river. Shopping on Thursday was fun, and seeing (and getting lost in) the largest independent bookshop in France was really cool, my favourite activity was visiting Châteaux La Brède - the châteaux where French philosopher Montesquieu was born and lived. The inside was similar to what you might expect for a castle in England, but it was walking around the outside which I found beautiful. The châteaux looked magnificent against the backdrop of the French countryside and talking to the tour guide and Mme. Daguenet about the history and village was really interesting, and really stretched my French. The highlight of my trip, however, was Friday evening. One of the sons of our host family invited friends over, so we had to socialise with French young people - the best way to improve your French - for a few hours. They also taught us how to dance ‘la rock’, which was a lot of fun, and possibly my favourite part of the trip. Overall the trip was amazing and great for our French. Anyone who has the chance should go.

Darcy and Bliss

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