Year 8 French Trip

The Year 8s had a wonderful trip to Northern France with mild weather and a variety of learning experiences and visits to suit all.  There were plenty of opportunities to enjoy the French cuisine and to ask for more water, bread, cereals in French. The group loved going to the kitchen and made sure they gave a big cheer to the cook Julie!  The pupils realised how much they understood and gained confidence day by day. See below for excerpts from some of their daily journals.

Jour 1

Bonsoir, comment ça va?

We are well in balmy North of France! We are fatigués and very much contents. All went very well at both borders and off we went on a ferry. We enjoyed our buns and packed lunches outside in the sun, even managed to get iced cold water from Costa. We were lucky to get a big comfy lounge and went on the deck in small groups to see both France and England on each side, what a wonderful sight in full sun!

We arrived at the hotel mid-afternoon and Erika presented the hotel, the rules, the boundaries all in French – what a start! For diner, we enjoyed a friand à  la saucisse, du riz avec des poivrons en sauce avec du poulet rôti. Then, we had emmental fromage, salade et un beignet au chocolat, c’était délicieux !

We then enjoyed free time playing rugby, table tennis, foozball and chatting. We are ready to dream in French and looking forward to tomorrow morning.

Bonne nuit,

Harry and Madame Simonin

Jour 2

Les canards nous on réveillés! We got woken up by lovely ducks outside the window. Ce matin, nous avons dégusté un très bon petit déjeuner avec des pains au chocolats, un yaourt, un jus d’orange, des fruits, de céréales et du lait ! Afterwards, we went to La Coupole to see to learn about V1 and V2 and to inform ourselves on Hitler’s plans to destroy London. We also learnt France’s occupation and deportation camps. L’après-midi, nous sommes allés manger à la plage to eat our tasty baguette and picnic. We were incredibly lucky with the hot weather, we enjoyed some ball games on the beach and dipped our toes in the water to refresh a bit. After our break we headed to the nearby Nausicaa aquarium, the biggest in Europe with endless sights of fantastic fishes, pinguins and seals. We saw a show about the latter and learnt a lot about their characteristics – they are truly clever animals!

Finally we arrived at the hotel and completed our journal in French in groups and we enjoy actively taking part in the lessons to freshen up our French. We actually know so much already we don’t realise it. We enjoyed a fantastic dinner of taboulé, cordon bleu avec des légumes, du formage bleu et un beignet à la fraise. Nous avons adoré the meal !

Puis nous avons eu « freetime », some of us played board games, ball games or had a chat.

We just can’t wait for tomorrow to do the French market mission, the chocolate, factory and the bakery… Yum Yum!

We are all very excited and say a BIG HELLO! We are having great fun and are learning lots and lots of French.

Naomi said “I enjoyed the aquarium and looking at the different animals and species, it was very different to La Coupole exhibition.”

 Kate said “I am really looking forward to the market mission and try to improve my French vocabulary.” 

Bonne soirée

Madame Simonin

Jour 3


Nous avons eu une longue journée bien remplie. To start, we had a French breakfast with pain au lait! We went to the local market with plenty of stalls to choose from and a wonderful opportunity to try out our French, we were very well prepared and loved the challenge in teams of 4. The Elstree crew impressed us all with their balanced French picnic which pupils presented all in French before they could enjoy their food. We could see a great variety of grapes, clementines, avocados, lettuces, tomatoes to accompany their roast chicken, saucissons, cheese, ham… They certainly ensured that they catered for all tastes in their groups. They also got the correct amount, so plenty of quantities practice!

We headed to the boulangerie to learn about traditional bread making in the oldest oven of the area and tasted a truly scrumptious big pain au chocolat. As you can imagine at this point the pupils got very excited at the prospect of visiting a chocolate factory! 

It was so wonderful to see how much energy they had on the way back with lots of singing! At the hotel, we managed to squeeze in another wonderful French lesson and I must say how satisfying it is to see so many pupils actively taking part regardless of their abilities. Their engagement is first class and they are certainly getting more confident with comprehension and speaking!

Tomorrow will be a fantastic trip to the Somme memorial, Lochnagar crater and the Somme museum.

I wish you une bonne soirée

Madame Simonin

Jour 4

Bonsoir à tous,

What a day ! Another great French morning routine followed by a full day out and about in the Somme region. We visited the Somme Albert museum located 10 meters underground and 250m long. We learnt about the everyday life in the trenches during 1916. We then enjoyed a French picnic in a local park.

Later on, we headed to Newfoundland Canadian Memorial Park which is one of a few sites on the Western front where the ground remains largely untouched from when the First World War ended. We could see the front line and the trenches on both side as well as where soldiers were fed, looked after when wounded and re-equipped with ammunition.

At the Thiepval memorial –  the largest Commonwealth Memorial to the missing in the world, we learnt so much from our guides who brought to life the meaning of the site, its representation, the lost soldiers and the work still happening today. The memorial commemorates 72,000 men from the British and South African forces.

We then headed to Lochnagar crater which is the largest on the Western front with a 300ft diameter and 70ft depth. When it exploded, it created an explosion that could be felt in London.

We returned to the hotel quite late so no journal completion this evening which, I am sure, we can catch up tomorrow.

Jour 5

Bonsoir Parents,

We have been so lucky with the weather this week, we managed to go to the beach twice for picnics and at different sites – what’s not to love when you can play in sand dunes, play football and do pull ups! Such a lovely site with some reading, searching for shells, finding shark eggs and cuttlefish bones. After breakfast, we headed to Boulogne for a tour, followed by a trip to a Go Ape style challenge and to finish, they had a little surprise spending the last few euros at the supermarket. They have been very creative with their choices until they got to the till… Some realised they were spending more than what they had in euros, this is a great learning curve and the ladies at the till as well as the locals were super patient too. Well done to the pupils for navigating their conversation in French. In addition, we enjoyed two French lessons to complete their journal for yesterday and today. They were brilliant with ideas and set phrases to communicate what they have been up to on paper. 

A demain!


Finally, such a trip can only be successful with enthusiastic and curious pupils who want to enrich their learning experience with incredible support from the staff who ensure the trip is an unforgettable one. I cannot thank Mr and Mrs Inglis, Mr Parks, Mr Wesley and Mr Christensen enough for their help to run a smooth and memorable trip.

Madame Simonin

What did the children think?

Talking to people in French, testing my own understanding of the language and laying out our picnic as well as doing our presentation all in French was a great experience! Monty 

French lessons were interactive and helped me to understand new words which will stay lwith me for a long time. Asking  for water and bread in the kitchen really helped to recall key phrases. Kate 

I enjoyed the many different activities we went to such as the aquarium with lots of fish and facts to learn about oceans, seas and animals. The different pocket of the aquarium allowed us to feel part of the tanks. Tom 

The Chocolate factory visit was super interesting and we learnt about the chocolate making process from the Ecuadorian seeds to the chocolate you buy in shops. The chocolate was rich but bitter. Information was given to us in French and I understood most of it in context. Naomi 

At the Somme museum, I saw lots of well-kept artefacts and I learnt about soldiers’ life in the WWI. When we went to the Canadian memorial, we saw trenches and walked in them, it was very somber, sad and we were all quiet. Mila

At the Boulangerie, the baker was very nice. I learnt how to make bread and we rehearsed lots of numbers. We did our Journal in French where we practised new vocabulary and quantities. Archie 

At Thiepval. It was very sad to see how many soldiers had lost their lives to save the next generation. We enjoyed a guided visit where we learnt lots of interesting historical facts. Each one of us also stood behind a headstone to remember the soldier who had fallen. Wilf