Year 9 Visit to Paris
Friday 27th May saw 47 excited Year 9 students plus one of our French A level students and five staff set off on a four day trip to the beautiful city of Paris. There were a few delays in Dover due to extra passenger numbers caused by lots of Liverpool fans travelling across the channel for the Champions League final in Paris. We enjoyed a complimentary meal on the ferry, which was fortunate as we arrived very late at our hotel on the outskirts of Paris.
On the Saturday, we woke early and enjoyed a buffet breakfast before setting out to explore the wonderful sights of France’s capital city. At the Louvre Museum we started a treasure trail with the students enthusiastically solving clues, in a mix of French and English, looking at the culture and architecture in Paris. We ate our picnic lunch in the sunshine in the Jardins des Tuileries and crossed the busy Place de la Concorde (the biggest and most historical square in Paris) to rejoin our coach.
In the afternoon, we travelled to the amazing and beautiful Palais de Versailles. Here Mr Bodo explained the historical significance of Versailles in the main courtyard before students set off to explore the corridors and endless vast rooms of the ornate palace. Our Head of History made the most of his visit by creating revision videos for Year 11 and Year 13 students about to sit their exams. Mr Bodo had a willing band of enthusiastic students to help with the filming and production of these videos.
After a buffet dinner back in the centre of Paris, we paid a visit to the magnificent Arc de Triomphe. Here we saw the eternal flame and plaque on the tomb of the unknown soldier, honouring all French soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in conflict.
The lovely weather continued into the evening, which was perfect for a leisurely riverboat cruise to see the sights of Paris – the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame cathedral, the two islands in the middle of the River Seine and much more. The highlight of this cruise for many was when the boat emerged from under a bridge in time to see La Tour Eiffel from below lit up and sparkling like a beautiful Christmas tree – this only happens for a couple of minutes every hour during the hours of darkness. Students reacted with screams of delight and many rushed to get the best photos and videos of the sparkling scene.
On the Sunday we travelled by coach to the area at the foot of the Eiffel Tower to admire the monument in daylight and to complete a competitive team quiz on Paris and France. There was a bit of time for souvenir shopping and ice cream buying and an opportunity for students to converse in French with the shopkeepers. In the afternoon, we visited the world famous Louvre Museum. Many students rushed to find the Mona Lisa and were surprised by the long, snaking queues of people waiting to see such a small painting. They went on to explore some of the rooms full of paintings, sculptures, royal family jewels, items of haute couture and Egyptian artefacts. To conclude our day’s sight seeing in Paris we went to the viewpoint on La Tour Montparnasse. From here, you can take beautiful photos of Paris, with La Tour Eiffel in pride of place and without all the crowds and queues involved in a visit to the more famous tower.
After dinner at the hotel we had our final round of questions for the team challenge and practised our knowledge of French vocab and structures in a closely fought team quiz. The beautiful weather continued on Monday and the students thoroughly enjoyed the rollercoasters, water rides and the famous parade of characters at Disneyland Paris.
I would like to thank the wonderful staff team of Mr Bodo, Mademoiselle Briand, Madame Elding and Ms Hirst, who gave up their weekend and start of the half term break to accompany the trip. Thank you also to our fantastic group of students who were excellent ambassadors for Vandyke and a special mention to our A level student, Zach, who became an integral part of the staff team and was an excellent role model for our younger students.
Miss Rhoden, Head of Modern Foreign Languages