France Experience 2014

France Trip 2014: C’était si bon!

France Trip 2014 Group Photo Mount St Michael

During the first two weeks of April, 42 of Staughton’s finest staff and students journeyed over to France to immerse ourselves in a foreign language and to soak up some European culture. Despite the long flights, the students found their feet quite quickly and were super enthusiastic to get out into the city and start exploring.

Within an hour of landing in Paris we had hit the streets and visited some of the most important major tourist attractions. Over the following 4 days, students spent their mornings in French lessons and in the afternoons they visited a variety of sights which they had researched and signed up for prior to departure.

During our second week, we left the city metro behind to hop on board our own personal coach to see some of the beautiful countryside. Our first stop was the Loire Valley, where we visited 2 castles and Leonardo DaVinci’s manor house. Following that, we headed for the coast to visit the medieval style town and abbey on the island of Mont Saint Michel and spent the night in a very unique renovated 16th century Anglo-Norman manor house. We then made tracks for Amiens. Of the 3000 Commonwealth soldier cemeteries across France, we had just enough time to visit 3. We held a moving wreath laying ceremony in the morning mists at the Somme Battlefields Australian War Memorial, complete with salute, minute of silence, and recitation of the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ in both English and French. Students then fanned out across the cemetery to lay a poppy at a grave of their choice or in the huge wall listing the names of missing soldiers. We spent a number of hours in several museums, including the Victoria School Museum where the effort made by the Australian soldiers is highly honored and still very relevant within their curriculum today. We also visited a site in which the original trenches from World War 1 still lie as they did 100 years ago. We walked through them, peaked over them, tried to imagine spending a winter in them, and then ventured out across no-man’s land to hear about the Danger Tree. We all came away from that somber day with a deeper understanding of the horrors of war and the tragic sacrifices made during World War 1 specifically. To brighten everyone’s spirits, we finished the trip off with a day at DisneylandParis! The students enjoyed themselves thoroughly with the many rides, restaurants and shops.

Other highlights from the trip include: witnessing spring time blossom in Paris, going to the top deck of the Eiffel Tower, exploring the catacombs, visiting Montmartre, shopping at the Galleries Lafayette, riding the Paris night bicycle tour, viewing the city at night from the Montparnasse Roof Terrace Panorama, relaxing in Monet’s Garden, walking the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, seeing the Mona Lisa and the Louvre, playing with some of DaVinci’s inventions in his backyard park, hanging out with our coach driver Julien, meeting students from other schools from around the world, dancing it up at our good-bye dinner at the Barrio Latino, and did we mention visiting Disneyland?!

After cramming all of this activity into 2 short weeks, it’s no wonder the flight home was as quiet as it was. We were all very tired, but so happy with everything that we had seen and done. Our students were exceptionally well behaved and represented our school and the country of Australia very well while we were overseas. They should all be very proud of themselves. I would like to extend and big thank-you to the accompanying staff members Maria Alexiou, Karen Bowker, Angela Watters and Chris Wilson for their participation on the trip and for their care of our students whilst we were abroad.

Vive la France!

Susannah Duff

France Trip 2014 Orgnaising Teacher

Francais Photographie
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