For 20 All Saints pupils, the May half term holiday was spent exploring new places and enjoying new experiences in the South of France. Accompanied by Mrs Windybank and Mr Razzell, the pupils in years 9 and 10 set off on Friday 27th May for a week-long stay near the town of Ganges, situated around 50 km north of Montpellier. A fantastic time was had by everyone and we were very impressed by the pupils’ outstanding behaviour throughout the trip. Here’s a little about what we got up to each day, along with some pictures we took along the way!
It may have been an early start, but at 6:30am we were ready to say “au revoir, Weymouth” and board the train towards London. A few hours later, we had reached Gatwick airport and not long after that found ourselves in the departure lounge, having queued patiently through security. For some, it was their first experience flying, and before we all knew it, we had taken off and landed in Montpellier mid-afternoon. Noticeably different was the weather and the temperature (a rise from England’s mid-teens to France’s mid-twenties!), which remained for most of the week. We completed the journey to our hotel “Station Cévennes”, where, having settled in, we had our first taste of some French cuisine. All week there was an interesting selection of food (and always 3 courses!), ranging from salads, fish, meat, bread, vegetables and desserts. It was a time to try new things and, by the end of the week, everyone had sampled something they’d not had before that they enjoyed. Très bien!
Having slept well, we woke up refreshed and navigated our way on public transport to Montpellier, the capital of France’s Hérault region, taking a bus and tram into the centre. We had a walk around, before heading up through the city’s own “Arc de Triomphe” to eat our lunch. This led us to a typical French open market, where we had the chance to enjoy some local produce. Délicieux! We then met up with pupils from our partner school who took us on a further tour of the city. Having walked and shopped a lot, we travelled back to our hotel, nicely tired, ready to plan for the next day.
One of the main reasons for organising this trip was to see pupils and staff from our partner school, Collège Louise Michel, in Ganges. We are working on a joint project based on cultural links between France, Britain and World War 1, and have been very fortunate to receive European funding to enable this trip to happen. We therefore spent Monday in school, where pupils experienced a day’s lessons, were able to discuss the project and had the chance to socialise with each other. Everyone had prepared a short presentation about themselves for one of the French classes, as well as some information about the war. It was therefore the perfect chance to practise speaking and understanding French! Getting to know each other and having reflected on several differences between the British and the French, the same evening we enjoyed a picnic together by the river. On a bien mangé et c’était très agréable!
Tuesday saw us return to Ganges, but this time to explore the town. Thanks to our tour guide, Virginie, we learnt about how the town had changed over the years and saw both the older and more modern areas. In the afternoon, we returned to Montpellier for some shopping, where the shop “Monoprix” proved to be a favourite! We were also able to stock up on souvenirs and things for our French-themed party in the evening. After donning our stereotypical French outfits and playing many party games that evening, we headed to bed to prepare for an action packed final day…
Ready for a day’s water sports, our minibus picked us up promptly on Wednesday morning. Adjusting to the French law requiring everybody to wear swimming hats and tight-fitting swimwear (!), we were able to try out the pool, its Jacuzzi area and slide. Afterwards, we set off via a shopping centre to the paddle boarding centre, where we enjoyed navigating our way around one of the bays. Despite the wind and a little rain, we really enjoyed it and it was great to hear so many pupils saying they wanted to try it again. On our arrival back at our hotel, we began packing for the journey home, but we still managed to fit some disco dancing with some of our fellow hotel guests… Alors on a dansé!
It was sad leaving on Thursday, but great to know that everyone had had such a great week and learnt so much. Although it was the outward journey in reverse, the return journey took a fair bit longer, but despite the numerous delays at the airport and train stations, everyone remained in good spirits throughout and we made it back safe and sound, arriving into Weymouth at around 11:20pm.
Thanks again to everyone who took part, making the trip one that we will remember for years to come. Enjoy the end of the summer term and “bonnes vacances à tous”!
Mr Razzell & Mrs Windybank