At the unearthly hour of 4.30am on a Tuesday, Year 6 gathered at the bottom of Weston Park East, ready to board the bus for our French residential trip. Excited girls arrived in good time and we were able to make a prompt departure.
After a brief stop in Folkestone, the coach boarded the Eurotunnel train to take us across the channel; this was a particularly exciting experience for Isla – her first trip abroad: ‘Bonjour la France!’
The first stop was a visit to an authentic French bakery, where we watched a demonstration of artisanal bread-making and were then entertained by a strict baker, keen to use his acting skills to see whether we had remembered the ingredients used in French (luckily, we were prepared, as we had learnt them in school!).
Arriving at the ‘Château du Broutel’ was a great experience – not many of us had stayed in a real French château before and were eager to see our dorms. We were not disappointed – the rooms were large and airy with comfortable bunks and lots of space for rehearsing our dorm inspections!
The next morning, we were up early for breakfast and then off to a wheat farm; we spent an enjoyable morning making corn dollies and baking bread, followed by a delicious lunch of ‘crêpes au fromage et jambon’ – empty plates all round. In the afternoon, we returned to the ‘Château du Broutel’ and took a stroll into the local town of Rue to learn some local history.
Throughout the week, evenings were always a highlight – filled with supper, copious rehearsing for our dorm Inspections (all in French), followed by an energetic evening activity. We enjoyed scavenger hunts, trail and camouflage, mini-Olympics and a fabulous campfire on the last night!
The days flew by as we tried our luck at kayaking and raft-building on the lake (followed by hot showers and spa baths to warm up!) as well as visiting some traditional French artisan suppliers and sampling rural pursuits: making cheese at the goat farm in Prouville, floating leisurely through the ‘hortillonages’ floating market gardens of Amiens, or reliving our first term’s historical theme by taking a tour of the trenches at Beaumont Hamel.
The bustling market at ‘Le Touquet’ was a great highlight, as we went off in our groups to shop for foods - a great opportunity to use and practice the conversational French we had been learning in school. From baguettes to (gluten-free) bread, brie to brioche, fromage to fraises and pommes, poulet and pain-au-chocolat, the girls succeeded in buying themselves a tasty, nutritious picnic lunch.
Foody treats were the order of the day, with snails and frogs legs to sample in the evening – followed by a sumptuous birthday cake baked especially for Cat by the chefs at the Château.
All too soon, it was time to leave; a final trip to the supermarché and then homeward bound, sad to be leaving, but eagerly anticipating seeing our parents and recounting our travels.
A fantastic time was had by all – so many memories that will remain forever.
Mrs Sharples and Year 6 Team