On the early hours of Sunday morning, 42 Year 10 students set off to begin their voyage in Tours, France. It was a lengthy journey via the Channel Tunnel but we finally met our host families that we would stay with for the rest of the week, 12 hours later. We spent the first evening getting to know our families and settled in very quickly, thrilled about the week ahead.
The first destination we visited on the Monday morning was the Chateau de Villandry, well-known all around the world for its breath-taking, symmetrical Renaissance gardens. It is fair to say that we all enjoyed the amusing story which was signified by the beautiful, pink flower beds, representing love.
We were later able to see the contrast between the rich and the poor by visiting la Vallée Trogolodytique des Groupillières, where we learnt much about the lifestyles of peasants over who lived in caves until the turn of the 20th century. We had the opportunity to explore the area after lunch, meeting a variety of farm animals and entering these basic homes. Later on that day, we also enjoyed our first experience meeting goats at La Ferme Cabri au Lait and even eating different types of goat cheese!
Our second day in Tours consisted of going to a French secondary school, Collège Christ-Roi Notre Dame des Ailes. Everybody was enthusiastic and eager to learn more about the education system in France as well as making some new friends!
Later on in the day, we were given an in depth tour of Tours with a lovely guide who showed us some famous spots in Tours such as the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours and the Tours Cathedral. We were then given the chance to explore the streets of Tours by ourselves when we used this time to do some shopping and to take pictures of the beautiful views of the city.
The following day, we visited Amboise- firstly, the final home of Leonardo de Vinci called Château Clos Lucé, where we were able to see his spectacular designs and inventions throughout the chateau and the gardens. Also in Amboise was a chocolate factory (chocolaterie Bigot) where we learnt about the detailed production of chocolate and tasted the varieties of it too! Concluding the day, we explored Chateau de Chenonceau through audio description and captured magnificent images of the luxurious gardens surrounding the chateau!
The penultimate day was what we were all looking forward to, a full day in Futuroscope which is France’s theme park based on multimedia and virtual reality. We had an astonishing day whilst we went around as groups and tried out all these sophisticated rides. We were able to watch 4D films, dance with robots and even discover the Taj Mahal at birds eye view on the simulators! By the end of the day, everyone was exhausted after having so much fun at the theme park which we will never forget.
Overall, our 42 students went to France as a quite nervous group but came back having learnt a lot of new French as well as gaining knowledge about the culture and traditions in France. On behalf of all the students we would like to thank Mme Hulley, Mrs Oliver, Mrs Lyne and Mrs Starkey for all the effort they have put in behind the scenes of our wonderful trip and ensuring a brilliant experience for each of us.
Angela Kanu, Shriya Bingumalla